To Use a VPN or Not: Much Ado about Security and Privacy

The Internet has grown to become a major part of life as it exerts influence on all areas of human endeavors. The Internet plays a part in your education, ability to create wealth, monitor your health, maintain relationships, and even find good food in out of way places. The Internet, despite all its benefits also exposes us to some dangers; identity theft, cyber terrorism, malicious hacking, and borderline predatory capitalist activities.

Thankfully, a VPN service is a valuable tool that offers protection against some of the gravest dangers on the Internet. A VPN is simply a tool that redirects your internet traffic to disguise the location of your computer, phone, tablet or other devices when you connect to websites. You can be in the U.S. reading Geek Insider and a VPN service will make it appear as if you are accessing the website from Germany or any other country. Below are three important uses of VPN services for the savvy Internet user.


1. Protects your internet activity from being commoditized

Information is important for any company that wants to create targeted products and services instead of a hit and miss process of product development. Hence, Businesses are always in a race to outdo one another in acquiring and accessing information. Interestingly, your online activity provides insight into valuable information that could help companies develop products and market them to you more effectively. Some companies are able to access your online activity when you use their products and services and some other companies go as far as buying your data from unscrupulous third parties.

A VPN service however veils your internet activity, making it much more difficult to associate your online activities with you or your devices. Of course, the VPN service has access to your data and they could sell your information to the highest bidder if they were so inclined. Hence, you may want to check out different VPN service providers from a list of high-rated VPN services so that you can find a company that will be committed to keeping your data private.

2. Prevents access to your online activity and digital information

You might be able to vouch for the integrity of the Internet service provider in your home or office but you can’t always guarantee that you’ll be able to connect to the Internet through a reputable ISP. For instance, when you are accessing the internet in open Wi-Fi public places such as airports, coffee shops, and public libraries; it might be somewhat hard to know how secure the network is. For one, anybody could open up a Wi-Fi network and name it O’hare-Wi-FI or McDonalds Wi-Fi.

In addition, you might never know who is watching the traffic on the network. If the traffic on the network is accessible to criminals; then, your personal data such as location data, passwords, banking data, and credit card information among others is at risk. A VPN however ensures that nobody is able to intercept the data on the network. In fact, a VPN ensures that the operators of the network are not able to access your data or private information.

3. Allows access to geo-restricted online properties

A VPN service also makes it easy for globe-trotters to access the Internet without having to deal with frustrating local networks. Some countries such as China restrict access to websites such as Netflix, Twitter, and Google. A VPN service can also help you access websites that have restricted access to people from your home country. You can also use VPN services to access location-restricted internet content or mobile apps that are not yet available in your country.

Do people use VPN services?

Despite the many benefits that a VPN service provides, it is very interesting to note that only a handful of Internet users use a VPN network when accessing the Internet. To begin with, the fact that the best VPN services usually cost some money makes people less inclined to pay for the service. However, while there are a handful of free VPN services, you’ll most likely get the most reliable VPN service through the paid VPNs.

Even among people with an active VPN subscription, the frequency at which people use VPN is underwhelming. For instance, a study conducted by private technology company Anchor Free shows that people with active VPN services don’t use a VPN 80% of the time when they access the internet. People tend to use VPN services when they are researching a personal topic relating to their health, finance, or family.

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