How Can a VPN Service Help You Stay Safe Online?

23 April 2018

The online world these days is far from a safe haven we would like it to be. There are numerous threats lurking around, preying on unsuspecting users. Sometimes, they are relatively benign, such as ad companies snatching your browser logs to target their offerings better. At other times, you could be at risk of more serious security breaches and hacker attacks.

Well, the good news is that we are not without means of preserving our security. Virtual Private Networks (VPNs) come to save a day and turn the tide of the cyber battle. They are not guarantees of anonymity and privacy, but they are the best shot you have to reinforce them.

How a VPN can make you safer online

Going into stealth mode

Generally, one of the main functions of VPN is to hide your IP address. Even most of the free VPN solutions do this automatically for you. In a nutshell, you connect to a server run by a VPN provider and do it via an encrypted connection. That means that VPN acts as a proxy (intermediary) between your computer and the internet.

All the data going from you to the server is scrambled, which effectively renders your online activity untraceable. Along with any cyber criminals, your Internet Service Provider (ISP) loses oversight as well. No one can obtain your real IP address, merely the address of a VPN. Moreover, you can overcome limitations and control present in the online world.

Safe channels and harbors

Furthermore, you gain an option to change your server location to another country. This feature redirects all your online activity to a different channel. Thus, you make it quite hard for anyone to monitor what you are doing. Note that all of this means that you are in a position to protect your personal information, not achieve complete anonymity.

Namely, there are ways for malicious websites to uncover your identity, using tools like zombie cookies, browser fingerprinting, etc. That is why you should consider using other security components such as script blockers, anti-tracking tools, and advanced cookie managers.

Not all VPS are the same

Not all VPNs are created equal as they employ varying security protocols. Tunneling is one of the most common methods used, which basically represents a P2P protocol. With advances in technology, though, we are seeing new protocols being implemented.

Most notably, we should mention Layer 2 Forwarding (L2F), Point to Point Tunneling Protocol (PPTP), and Layer 2 Tunneling Protocol (L2TP).  They involve different security layers, but do pretty much the same thing: they allow you to browse privately. Your choices matter, so do your research and find a solution that matches your needs and expectations the best.

Hit the ground running

The beauty of it is that getting VPN to work is quite easy. Even beginners to the world of computing should not have a hard time provided that they pick solutions that are not awkward and technical. You can just install a suitable VPN app on the device of your choosing and simply turn it on.

It is a good idea to opt for services that do not keep logs and prevent you from being spied on.  Also, you might want to go for something that is possible to use as long as you want, without any restrictions. There are some tools that set data and session time limits. So, again, we cannot stress enough the importance of doing your homework and knowing what you are buying or installing.

Reaping benefits

All in all, the benefits of using VPNs are many. You can thwart hackers attempting to steal your passwords. Likewise, encryption shields you against most Man in the Middle Attacks (MitM) attacks that include third parties intercepting your data en route. You are also able to use public Wi-Fi, which always poses a major danger, with a peace of mind.

Not only that, youe data should be safe even when connecting to bogus Wi-Fi networks set by hackers. Just note that your browsing speed could be decreased slightly. This is due to the additional processing power required for encryption and decryption. But, if you ask me, this is a small price to pay for regaining internet freedom and safety.

On the safe side

Historically, the internet has been an open and safe space. Today, however, our cyber safety is under siege. There are a slew of entities that might be trying to keep track of what you do and there are no easy one-click solutions here. Still, VPN is the best way to dissuade adversaries from making targeted attacks on you.

It is an essential part of a toolkit used to conceal your IP and ensure complete privacy. So, make good use of data scrambling and encryption. Keep prying eyes away from you and take your online security to the next level. Speed hits are usually not noticeable, which means there is nothing to lose here. Surf, download, and surf whenever and wherever you want.

Please note: This article was written by an external author. Any opinions or advice shared by the author are their own and not indicative of any official advice or opinions of Thomson Local or its employees.

Tagged with:

  • Anonymity
  • Online Safety
  • Online Security
  • VPN
Author -
Freelance Writer

Sean Lockwood is an IT expert with many years of experience in all aspects of IT, including programming, Photoshop and special effects software. He has spent some time in the field of security and now helps other companies with their own security. In his free time, he runs an extreme sports blog and likes to spend time with his two German Shepherds.

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