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What is a VPN, and why do you need one

Take a step back and consider how much of your life is transmitted through the unsafe Internet. Do you feel a creeping feeling of fear? It is perfectly reasonable considering the forces that stand for your integrity. One of the best ways to secure your data is to use a virtual private network (VPN), which also gives some control over how you are identified online.

What is a VPN and how does it work?

Simply put, a VPN creates a virtual encrypted tunnel between you and a remote server powered by a VPN service. All your internet traffic is routed through this tunnel, so your data is safe from curious eyes. Best of all, your computer seems to have the VPN server's IP address, masking your identity and location.

When your data reaches the VPN server, it will run on the public Internet. If the site you are on is using HTTPS to secure the connection, you are still confident. But even though it was intercepted, it's hard to track data back to you, as it seems to be from the VPN server.

  SecurityWatch To understand the value of a VPN, it helps to consider some specific scenarios where a VPN can be used. Think about the public Wi-Fi network, maybe at a cafe or airport. Normally you can connect without a second thought. But do you know who can watch the traffic on that network? Can you even be sure that the Wi-Fi network is legit, or can it be driven by a thief that follows your personal information? Remember password, bank data, credit card number and just plain private information you send each time you go online.

If you connect to the same Wi-Fi network using a VPN, you can be sure that no one On that network you can capture your data, not other users snoring around to become a victim, and even network operators . This last point is particularly important, and everyone should keep in mind that it's very hard to tell if a Wi-Fi network is what it seems to be. Just because it is called is called Starbucks_WiFi does not mean that it is actually owned by a well-known coffee company.

Another example that shows the value of VPNs uses these services to access blocked sites. Some governments have decided that it is in their best interest to block certain sites from accessing all communities. With a VPN, these people can get their web traffic safely thinned to another country with more progressive policies and access points that would otherwise be blocked. And again, because VPNs encrypt your traffic, it helps to protect the identity of people who connect to the open internet in this way.

Mostly, VPN clients are the same for both Windows and MacOS. But it is not always the case, and I have found marked performance differences depending on the platform. I have shared reviews of Mac VPN applications, if you have more fruit than Windows. Note that you can completely skip client apps and connect to the VPN service simply using the computer's network control panel. You still need to sign up with a VPN service, though.

For mobile devices, the situation is a bit thinner. Most companies offer VPN apps for Android and iOS, which is good because we use these devices to connect to Wi-Fi all the time. However, VPN is not always good with cellular connections. That said, it takes some serious efforts to intercept mobile phone data, even if law enforcement agencies or intelligence agencies can have easier access to these data, or metadata, through contacts with mobile operators, or using specialized equipment.

While VPN apps are quite similar in appearance and function regardless of mobile platforms, the iPhone VPN often uses different VPN protocols than their Android counterparts. However, this is good for the most part.

Do you use a less common OS? It does not necessarily protect you online. People who spy on network traffic do not care about what kind of computer they are from. Consequently, we provide a summary of the best VPNs for Linux as well as tips for setting up a VPN on your Chromebook.


Among the freedom and integrity enemies are two three-letter groups that are particularly keen on: NSA and your ISP.

Throughout the year's reporting and Snowden leakage, we now know that the NSA's monitoring device is enormously extensive. At one point, the agency had the ability to intercept and analyze almost every transmission sent over the network. There are staggering stories about secret spaces within data infrastructure hubs, from where the agency had direct access to the striking heart of the internet. With a VPN, you can be sure that your data is encrypted and less traceable directly to you. Considering the NSA and other mass monitoring efforts, it's good to have several ways to encrypt your data.

This does not mean that a VPN makes you invisible to spies or law enforcement. Your traffic can still be intercepted in a number of ways. A VPN makes it harder to correlate online activities to you and adds a layer of encryption during parts of your online travel. A determined, well-financed opponent who has issued you for monitoring is likely to find a way. However, VPNs and widespread adoption of HTTPS make it much more difficult for mass monitoring to work as before.

Your ISP may already be involved in some of these spy operations, but there is an even more current issue. The FCC has rolled back Obama's rules that sought to protect network neutrality, thus allowing ISPs to benefit from your data. Internet vendors wanted a record of the big data recovery spider that has pushed the growth of companies like Facebook and Google. These companies can gather large amounts of information about users and then use it to target advertising or even sell it to other companies. Internet service providers now have the green light to bundle anonymous user data and post it for sale.

It is true that companies like Google and Facebook make money for your behavior, you are not necessarily required to use these services. If you suddenly decided to stop using Facebook, you may lack cute pet photos and political rants from your friends and family, but you can still live a decent, maybe better life. You can even choose to avoid the Google o-sphere altogether by using the personally aware DuckDuckGo for your web searches and dropping Google Backed Chrome for ideal Firefox.

You do not have the same level at any time It comes to your ISP, which controls your home gateway to the entire internet. Although there are alternatives to Google and Facebook, most Americans have limited home provider options. Some areas only have an Internet service provider with wireless internet. It makes new changes that make it possible for ISPs to sell data from their customers increasingly worrying. There is one thing to choose in a shady system, it is completely different to have no choice in the matter.

"Internet service providers can see a lot of what you do online. They must be because they have to carry all your traffic," says senior technician Jeremy Gillula, the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF). "Unfortunately, it means that it is much more difficult to prevent ISP tracking on the web than to prevent other third-party tracking. You can not just install [the EFF’s privacy-minded browser add-on] Privacy Tag or browse Incognito or Private Mode."

  Related History See How We Test VPNs

What VPN Will Not Do

We should note that there are several ways your behavior can be tracked online – even with a VPN, things like cookies can allow web services (Amazon, Google, Facebook, and so on) to track your internet usage even after you've left their websites (here's a useful cookie cookie guide in your browser.)

The VPN does just so much to anonymize your online activities. If you really want to surf the web anonymously and access the dark web to start, you want to use Tor. Unlike a VPN, Tor runs your traffic through multiple server nodes, making it much harder to track. It is also managed by an ideal organization and distributed free of charge. Some VPN services will also connect to Tor via VPN, for additional security.

It is worth noting that most VPN services are not philanthropic organizations working for public society. While many are involved in progressive causes, they are all still profit-making organizations. This means that they have their own bills to pay, and they must respond to daily allowances and warrants warrants. They must also comply with the laws of the country where they live officially.

Therefore, it is so important to read the privacy policy for VPN services and to find out where a VPN company has its headquarters. NordVPN operates, for example, from Panama and is not subject to any laws that would require it to retain user data.

It may be difficult to trust a VPN. Recently, PureVPN submitted log information the company received federal investigators to build a case against a cyberstalker and general dirtbag. Some were surprised that the company had any information to hand over, or that it collaborated with investigators at all. It seems to us that PureVPN has stayed within the limits of its stated privacy policy. But it is also true that other companies, such as Private Internet Access, can not connect any of your personal information to your account information.

It's easy to find the perfect, magical tool that protects you from all possible threats. But the honest truth is that if someone specifically targets you and is willing to make the effort, they will come to you. A VPN can be defeated by malicious code on your device, or by analyzing traffic patterns to correlate activity on your computer to activity on the VPN server. But with the help of security tools like a VPN, you ensure you will not be a single target, or be appreciated in mass monitoring.

Complications for Integrity

We strongly reject the idea that safety and convenience are necessarily unfair. However, there are some notable complications that arise through using a VPN. This is not a business break, but they guarantee considerations.

Chromecast and other streaming protocols send data over your local network, but there is a problem when using a VPN. These devices are looking for streaming data from phones and computers in the same network, not from a remote VPN server. Similarly, smart home devices can gather a lot of information about you and your home that you would rather not have intercepted. Unfortunately, these devices simply can not run VPN. The solution for both issues is to move the security to a level by installing a VPN on your router. This encrypts data because it leaves your secure home network for the wild web. Information sent within your network will be available, and all smart devices connected to your network will have a secure connection.

Do you like Netflix? It's too bad, because Netflix hates VPN. The problem is that Netflix in England differs from Netflix in the United States, which also differs from Netflix in Australia and so on. Just because you can see your favorite show in a country does not mean you can watch it in another. The company has a complex global web of regional license agreements, and it is very important to ensure that people do not circumvent these limitations.

To ensure you do not have streaming content that is not licensed for your region, Netflix blocks most VPNs. However, some VPN services work hard to keep their customers still streaming movies and TV shows. It's something of a cat and mouse game, and a VPN that works with Netflix today may not work tomorrow.

Similarly, many VPN companies would rather not have to handle the legal consequences of their services used for download via BitTorrent. BitTorrent is of course not inherently illegal but it is is often used to pirate copyrighted material. Very few VPN companies prohibit direct BitTorrenting on their servers, while others restrict their use to specific servers.

Another major issue with VPN is the speed. Generally, using a VPN will increase your latency (or your "ping") and reduce the rate at which you upload or retrieve data. It's very hard to definitely say which VPN should have the least impact on your browsing, but extensive testing can tell you which service is the fastest VPN.

While download speeds are a thing, players play special concerns about internet connections. While there are some VPN games for gaming, they are few and far from. However, a few VPNs offer shared tunneling, which drives traffic from some applications outside of VPN. It is less certain, but also has less impact on latency.

Protecting With a VPN

When the internet was first destroyed, there was not much to think about security or privacy. First, there were only a lot of shared computers at research institutes, and computer power so limited that encryption could have made things extremely difficult. If anything, there was focus on transparency, not defense.

Today, most devices connect to the web that are much more powerful than the first computers in the early days. But the internet has not made any basic improvements. Keep in mind that in recent years, HTTPS has become widespread.

This means that unfortunately it is up to individuals to protect themselves. Antivirus and password manager goes far to keep you safe, but a VPN is a unique powerful tool that you should definitely have in your personal security tools, especially in today's connected world. Whether you choose a free service or even enter an encrypted router, it's important that you encrypt your internet traffic.

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