I’m a cyber and network security specialist, and today, I’ve been invited by Emenike Emmanuel, the founder of EntrepreneurBusinessBlog.com to teach you some of the functions of a virtual private network and how it can save you from identity theft.
But before we dive right into it, let’s look at the definition of a virtual private network (VPN)
What is a Virtual Private Network (VPN)?
A virtual private network (VPN) gives you online privacy by creating a private network from a public internet connection. VPNs mask your internet protocol (IP) address so your online actions won’t be open to cyberattacks, giving you a quality cyber defense.
How do they do that?
VPN services establish secure and encrypted connections to provide greater privacy than even a secured Wi-Fi hotspot.
Why Do You Need a VPN Service?
Surfing the web or transacting on an unsecured Wi-Fi network means you could be exposing your private information and browsing habits. That’s why a virtual private network, better known as a VPN, should be a must-have for anyone concerned about their online SECURITY and PRIVACY.
Think about all the times you’ve been on the go, reading emails while in line at public outlets or checking your bank accounts and other sensitive information while waiting at the doctor’s office.
Unless you were logged into a private Wi-Fi network that requires a password, any data transmitted during your online session could be vulnerable to eavesdropping by strangers using the same network.
The encryption and anonymity that a VPN provides helps protect your online activities: sending emails, shopping online, paying bills, etc.
VPNs essentially create a data tunnel between your local network and an exit node in another location, which could be thousands of miles away.
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This benefit allows online freedom or the ability to access your favorite apps and websites while on the go.
Here’s a closer look at how a virtual private network works. VPNs use encryption to scramble data when it’s sent over a Wi-Fi network.
ENCRYPTION makes the data unreadable. DATA SECURITY is especially important when using a public Wi-Fi network because it prevents anyone else on the network from eavesdropping on your internet activity. Antivirus giant that also doubles as a VPN can as well offer these services.
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VPN Privacy: What Does a VPN Hide?
A VPN can hide a lot of information that can put your PRIVACY at risk. Example below:
Your browsing history
It’s no secret where you go on the internet. Your internet service provider and your web browser can track just about everything you do on the internet. A lot of the websites you visit can also keep a history. Web browsers can track your search history and tie that information to your IP address.
Here are two examples of why you may want to keep your browsing history private. Maybe you have a medical condition and you’re searching the web for information about treatment options.
Guess what? Without a VPN, you’ve automatically shared that information and may start receiving targeted ads that could draw further attention to your condition.
Or maybe you just want to price airline tickets for a flight next month. The travel sites you visit know you’re looking for tickets and they might display fares that aren’t the cheapest available.
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These are just a few isolated examples. Keep in mind your internet service provider may be able to SELL YOUR BROWSING HISTORY.
2 Major Things Your VPN Can Hide
1. VPN can hide your location for streaming
You might pay for streaming services that enable you to watch things like professional sports. When you travel outside the country, the streaming service may not be available.
There are good reasons for this, including contractual terms and regulations in other countries. Even so, a VPN would allow you to select an IP address in your home country.
That would likely give you access to any event shown on your streaming service. You may also be able to avoid data or speed throttling.
2. VPN can hide your devices
A VPN can help protect your devices, including a desktop computer, laptop, tablet, and smartphone from prying eyes.
Your devices can be prime targets by cybercriminals when you access the internet, especially if you’re on a public Wi-Fi network.
In short, a VPN helps protect the data you send and receive on your devices so that cybercriminals won’t be able to monitor every move you make.
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How Can a VPN Help Protect Against Identity Theft?
Identity theft occurs when cybercriminals steal your personal information and use it to commit crimes in your name — like taking over or opening new accounts, filing tax returns in your name, renting or buying property.
So many things may happen out there that a data breach can also occur at an organization where you have an account — which is out of your control.
Important Features of a Good VPN
If you are thinking of purchasing any VPN, here are some features to look out for.
A Good VPN Offers Multiple Server Locations
A good VPN provider will offer you a healthy spread of coverage across a wide range of countries. This gives you more options when you want to switch to a new IP server. The more servers are available in a particular location, the better their performance. A VPN that has more servers available in each location is hardly overloaded.
Another unique feature of a good virtual private network is the presence of an integrated VPN kill switch.
Has an Integrated Kill Switch
The role a VPN kill switch plays is to help you monitor the VPN connection in case it drops, thereby exposing your true computer and browsing IP. When the VPN connection fails, a kill switch shuts down the transfer of data.
This feature is very important because no VPN service is 100% secure. When a VPN is not fully secured, it makes your computer to be susceptible to IP leaks. As the integrated kill switch kills the connection, it prevents unencrypted data from being transmitted.
The Best Virtual Private Network Has No Log Policy
To fully enjoy the true value of a VPN, you must ensure they have a “no log” policy. A reliable VPN will hide your search history from your internet service provider (ISP) making it impossible for companies like Google and Facebook to monetize your searches.
In conclusion, VPN actually has lots of positive sides which a lot of people don’t know and I presume maybe because they haven’t been opportune to learn about it.
About the Author
Francis Chinedu is a digital marketer, cyber and network security specialist and the author of Cybercrime Awareness Guide.