The Digital Era is here, and people are becoming more and more invested in it. The Digital Square is now the public square, so people are spending more time online than they are off.
But what a lot of people don’t seem to realize, is that the Digital Era isn’t all red velvet cake and spicy tuna rolls. One of the biggest benefits of the Digital Era is that everything is online. However, one of the biggest cons of the Digital Era is that everything is online.
Your private information, your address, date of birth, contact list, etc. It’s all out there. And without the proper protection, it’s not hard for people to get their hands on your data. Cyber attacks are becoming increasingly more common and without any defensive measures, you’re pretty much a deer caught in headlights.
I know that some of you might be thinking that these big tech companies can help you keep your data safe, but the truth is, they’re after your data too. In some ways, tech companies are even worse than cybercriminals because they can harvest your data legally. If you want to boost your data privacy online, the responsibility falls entirely on you. This might seem intimidating, but consumers can secure their data online fairly easily by investing in one crucial tool: a VPN.
What is a VPN you might be asking? VPN stands for Virtual Private Network. As you may have guessed from the word private in the name, a VPN is going to help keep your business private when you’re online. In 2019, everyone should be using a VPN for all of their devices. That doesn’t just mean your computer/laptop but your smartphone as well. Going VPN pro bono is no longer a risk that people should be taking.
But what exactly is a VPN and how will it help boost your data privacy online? We’re glad you asked. Let’s get down to business and get you up to speed on VPNs.
What is a VPN and how can it protect my data?
A VPN, or Virtual Private Network, is an encrypted connection over the Internet from a device to a network. What this means is that when you’re attempting to access a public network, your data will travel to the public network on a private network.
Remember all those proxy servers you used in school to get past the firewall so you can log on to Facebook? VPNs are like proxy servers except a lotbetter. The encrypted connection keeps your data safe and hidden from any prying eyes, including cybercriminals or ISPs.
With all the websites you may or may not visit or apps you may or may not use on any given day, you’re leaving behind a pretty big digital footprint that hackers can use to pinpoint your sensitive data. With an encrypted connection, this is no longer an issue.
This is the basic level of security that a VPN can provide to you, but with the best VPNs, you also get some additional bells and whistles.
Hides your IP Address
VPNs also allow users to completely hide their IP addresses as well. Along with keeping users safe online, VPNs are also used to access geo-restricted content from locations all over the world. You can bypass any region locks by simply hopping onto a server in a country where said region-locked content is available. Not your server, not your IP address.
The best VPNs come with a kill-switch
When you use a VPN, your data is secured. However, if your VPN connection ever drops out, so too does your defensive measures and your data is completely exposed. In the event of this happening, if your VPN has a kill-switch, then your data will remain safe.
What a kill-switch does, is when your VPN connection drops out, your VPN service will immediately cut your Internet activity and will only restore it when your VPN connection is back online.
DNS Leak Protection
VPNs can keep nosy ISPs out of your business, but in the event of a DNS leak, ISPs can find out what you’re doing online; even if you’re using a VPN.
A lot of VPNs come with DNS leak protection technology that will lower the chances of DNS leaks occurring. It’s not 100% effective, but this added layer of protection does help a lot.
A Few Things to Keep In Mind about VPNs
VPNs are a long-term investment so go premium
VPNs will be sticking around for a long time, so don’t sell yourself short by using a cheap or free VPN. This is your privacy and data we are talking about, and the quality of your VPN service could be the difference between being a victim or not.
Avoid VPN services that keep logs
The entire point of getting a VPN is keeping your data safe, so using a VPN that keeps logs on what their users are doing, kind of defeats the purpose. That being said, make sure the VPN service that you sign up too does not keep logs of their users.
Also, keep in mind that although a lot of VPN services claim they don’t log activity, a lot of them still do. One PureVPN user named Ryan Lin found himself arrested by the FBI after PureVPN handed their logs on Lin over to the authorities.
I’m assuming no one reading this is an alleged criminal so this shouldn’t be an issue, but better safe than sorry.
Now before we give someone the wrong impression, VPNs are NOT perfect. VPNs will not provide you with complete protection online, but that’s to be a given. But they are still highly effective and will give you some peace of mind. Cybercriminals typically like to go after easy marks, and people with VPN defences are far from easy.
So long as you remain vigilant online and are using a top of the line VPN, your data should be a lot more secure online.