Why should I be using a VPN?
May 17, 2017 at 3:09 PM
You may already know what a VPN or Virtual Private Network is, but the chances are you are not using one. Put simply, a VPN allows you to create a secure connection, across the internet to another network.
It is a method used to add security and privacy to private and public networks, like Wi-Fi hotspots and the internet and are often used to protect sensitive data.
VPN’s can be used to access region-restricted websites (such as BBC iPlayer or Netflix) and shield your browsing activity from prying eyes.
When you connect to a VPN, you usually launch a VPN client on your computer, log in with your credentials, and your computer exchanges trusted keys with a faraway server. Once both computers have verified each other as authentic, all your internet communication is encrypted and secured from eavesdropping.
Many VPNs allow you to choose what simulated location you are browsing from and some of the high-end VPN offerings allow you to browse through hundreds of country options prior to connecting.
So, other than watching region specific TV Shows or connecting to your company network to access internal data, are there any other reasons I should invest my time in a VPN? For sure….
Use Public or Hotel Wi-Fi in confidence
Public Wi-Fi offers no encryption security to joining users and your signals are broadcast for anyone with the technical skills to eavesdrop. It is quite a straight forward process to intercept your un-encrypted Wi-Fi signal making accessing confidential email and sensitive company data a risk.
If you log into a public Wi-Fi network and then connect to a personal VPN, all your hotspot web use will then be encrypted and hidden from prying eyes. If you are a traveller or a user who is regularly using public wireless, then a VPN is a very wise investment in privacy.
Use Search Engines Without Having your Searches Logged
Have you ever searched online for a new tent or camping stove, only to start to notice advertisements and marketing pop up on your web pages advertising the latest in tent special deals in NZ? This is not a coincidence.
Like it or not, Google, Bing and every other big player search engine will catalogue every web search you perform to “customize” your online experience specific to your likes and dislikes. This may seem handy at times, but do you really want Google to store your searches for “love life advice”, “divorce lawyers” or “anti-depressants?”
To see for yourself, check out this link to see just what personal information Google knows about you.
Because Privacy is a Basic Right
“I have nothing to hide, so why should I care?” It doesn’t matter if you have nothing to hide, internet privacy is a basic human right and is essential for a free, democratic society to work.
Internet surveillance is a threat to your freedom of expression. Knowing you are being watched can make you less likely to research a particular topic, losing perspective and your thought can be pushed in an alternative direction as a result.
Arguing that you don’t care about the right to privacy because you have nothing to hide is no different than saying you don’t care about free speech because you have nothing to say.
– Edward Snowden
So How Much Will a VPN Cost?
There are heaps of alternatives out there, but the rough cost for something decent is between $5 - $10 per month. There are plenty of free alternatives, although most have adverts and restrictions, we suggest you trial anything before you commit to buying, demos and 30 day free trials are common.
We have listed a few below worth checking out.
IP Vanish - https://www.ipvanish.com/ - Great for downloading torrents and peer to peer traffic
Hotspot Shield - https://www.hotspotshield.com/ - Best for online private browsing
Tiger VPN - https://www.tigervpn.com/ - Great for novice users
Pure VPN - https://www.purevpn.com - Best VPN for maximum speeds
Cyber Ghost – https://www.cyberghostvpn.com/ - Easy to use, reliable, a great all rounder
If you would like to know more about VPNs, internet security and anonymity, them please get in touch with our McDonalds IT team, we would love to assist.
Article by David Turley
References – Lifehacker.com, Techradar.com