Protecting your privacy online is essential. We’ve all heard the horror stories about people who have suffered at the hands of cybercriminals – identity theft, credit card scams and stolen data – but how many of us take it seriously enough to invest in a means of online protection? You’ve probably got the free version of anti-virus software, but that’s about it, right?
Unfortunately, these days that’s simply not going to cut the mustard. That’s why it’s time to consider using a VPN while conducting all your online affairs. There are numerous reasons for using a VPN. In this article we’re going to cover the basics in the hope that you’ll be able to make an informed decision about whether or not a VPN is right for you.
Anything and everything that you do online is logged and can be traced back to your computer or mobile device via the unique IP address that is assigned to your device whenever you log on to an internet network. Depending on where in the world you happen to be, your IP address will determine the content that you can and can’t access.
A VPN will also allow you to access websites that you wouldn’t normally be able to due to border restrictions. Let’s say you’re visiting China, for example, and you would like to check a social media account, such as Facebook. Facebook, along with many other social media sites, is banned in China. In order to access it, you can switch on your VPN and use it to log on to another country’s server – one that does allow Facebook.
If you use a laptop or mobile in a public place and you’re logging in to a public network, it’s frighteningly easy for a hacker to access all your information. Anyone could access your emails, your photos and your documents. A VPN will give you an added layer of protection because it encapsulates all your data in what could be described as a kind of hidden chamber. This means that when you’re in the airport or at your local café, rather than all your data being exposed on the public network, the VPN is providing you with a network of your own that’s private and secure.
Leave No Trace
A VPN will hide all of your online activity. Using a VPN will ensure that your browsing history remains private and that your online presence is shrouded in an air of mystery. Identity theft is common practice, but fraudsters need to be able to glean as much information about you as possible in order to make it work.
You should, of course, be changing your passwords regularly and limiting the amount of information that you post on social media, but it doesn’t take much for someone to build a profile on you simply by analyzing your browsing history. If your email gets hacked and the hacker has enough little details about you, they can easily impersonate you and then reach out to your friends and colleagues – usually asking for money. Or they can discover something about your character that you’d prefer to keep private and use that information to blackmail you. A VPN will help protect yourself against what could turn out to be a long and miserable fight to get your life back. By keeping your online activity private, you’ll also stop unwanted companies from profiling you and sending you targeted advertisements and political propaganda.
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