What is a VPN? And why do I need one?
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And why do I need one?
And why do I need one?
Nine out of ten Americans feel like they have lost control of how their personal information is collected and used, according to the Pew Research Center. And while precautions exist to safeguard sensitive data, most users feel like they should be doing more.
Usually we try to push our concerns to the side. But doing nothing is the online equivalent of handing out flyers on the street corner with your credit card numbers, medical history, and a photo of your driver’s license.
Like having insurance, it’s not an issue until it’s an issue. But the first time you’re hacked in a coffee shop, get your identity stolen, receive a cease and desist in the mail, or just sit down to think about the implications of all of your personal information being available to bad actors or those looking to profit off your data, the risks suddenly become very real.
Your best protection against the potential harm that could come from insecure personal data is a virtual private network, or VPN. A VPN provides security, privacy and access, all through user-friendly, simple software. We’ve partnered with IPVanish to explain VPNs in everyday language and why you need one stat.
What’s a VPN, exactly?
Using a VPN is like putting on a mask at a party. It’s an added layer in your internet connection that grants anonymity and thereby neutralizes hostile or discriminatory actions and takes the bullseye off your back.
When you use a VPN service, your connection goes through the VPN first, then to the broader internet. Through complex encryption technologies — including tools like IP security (IPSec), Tunneling Protocol, and Secure Socket Layers (SSL) — your information is shielded so the public web sees only the VPN server’s IP and location, not your own personal IP and location.
So you, the end user, get to choose a different mask each time you show up.
Privacy is paramount
We all have different expectations of online privacy, but regardless of your tolerance, surfing unprotected means opening yourself up to companies or individuals extracting just about everything there is to know about you.
Internet service providers, for example, have a long history of tracking user behavior and even selling that data or monetizing it through advertising. Other companies have come under scrutiny in recent years as well, including social media sites, online shopping sites, and search engines.
A lot of the risk comes in triangulating different data points. Put another way, companies can form a personal profile based on the whole of your online actions. VPNs counter companies’ ability to record information about you because there’s no way to track an online action back to you — all of your activity is anonymous thanks to the VPN.
Of course, this begs the question of whether your VPN is logging your information, instead of protecting it. That’s why it’s important when you’re looking for a VPN provider to look for one that doesn’t keep logs at all, like IPVanish, or has a strict policy about sharing and storing user data.
But security is even more important
If privacy is about keeping your information from others who may seek to profit it from it, security is about keeping your information from those who seek to do you serious harm for their own benefit, like hackers or thieves.
Every time you log onto public WiFi in a coffee shop or airport, you’re opening yourself up to potential breaches. Many file sharing sites, especially torrent sites, can also expose you to threats.
By acting as a secure intermediary, your VPN connection also serves as a layer of protection. Even when you’re traveling or on public wifi, your connection still routes through the VPN’s secure servers before heading out to the open, so you’re much more secure than when you’re on your own.
If security is a priority, make sure your VPN deploys the latest technology and tools like AES 256-bit encryption, a high standard for security and one used by the U.S. government.
International access keeps you connected
Then there’s the matter of location and access. With an increasingly geo-conscious internet, your favorite sites or services may be blocked or restricted based on your location, or charge different rates for things like video calls and long-distance calls. The internet is not as borderless as it once was.
IPVanish can help with that. Since your connection hits the site or service from the VPN location, you can essentially choose your digital nationality, bypass country-specific restrictions, and avoid fees based on distances.
Choosing the right VPN matters
VPNs are powerful tools in the fight for a better online experience and given their central role, it’s important you find the right one. To minimize the speed reductions that come with routing your connection through other countries, find a VPN with high speeds. Make sure the provider is known for privacy and security protocols that match or exceed your level of comfort. Finally, make sure to choose a VPN with a simple, easy to use dashboard, like IPVanish. You’ll feel safer and more secure in no time.