(Photo : Pexels)
(Photo : Pexels)
You’ve probably heard of the term ‘VPN’ before, but do you actually know what it means? VPNs or virtual private networks basically create an encrypted tunnel from your computer to the Internet to keep your online data and activity anonymous.
How Does a VPN Work?
When connected to a VPN, any data exchange between your device and the Internet will look like it comes from the VPN server. This is done by routing your computer’s Internet connection through the VPN server instead of your own Internet service provider (ISP). In the process, your actual IP address will be masked by a new one that directs to the VPN server, making data packets originating from your online activity anonymous.
When using a VPN, your data will be encrypted into a code that only you and the VPN server have the key to. In simple words, encryption and decryption refers to translating data into a code while it is in transit and then using a unique key to decipher the code when it reaches its destination. VPNs follow a similar path but use different encryption and decryption technologies based on what the VPN is being used for. A VPN at the workplace might use different encryption techniques compared to the ones we use at home, for example.
In short, your data goes to a VPN server in an encrypted form. It is then decrypted by the VPN server, and from there, gets transmitted to its online destination with an IP address designated by the VPN server. So, anyone who tries to intercept your data will see it originating from the VPN server and not your actual device address. This way, you can browse the Internet more freely, exchange information safely, and prevent anyone from snooping in on your data. Similarly, any incoming data is first encrypted by the VPN server and then transmitted to your device in a safe manner.
The 21st Century is a Digital Book
(Photo : Pexels)
The first reason why you should use a VPN is because a part of your identity exists on the Internet. Every time you share a part of your life online or simply browse the Internet, you leave a digital footprint. Although this might not be easily available to the general public, it can be retrieved by other people who are up to no good.
Your smartphone is literally an extension of yourself. You constantly feed it sensitive data and extract information from it throughout the day. Although most people don’t have malicious intent, it only takes one instance to lose your money to data theft or get sensitive information leaked by a smart data scraper.
In 2021, a wealth of information of over 700 million LinkedIn users was put up online for sale. LinkedIn has stated that the data breach didn’t include login credentials or financial information, but it reportedly included full names, geolocation records, full addresses, genders, backgrounds, and even phone numbers. This information could be enough for people with malicious intent to create and target social engineering attacks.
Although data encryption techniques are constantly evolving to ensure a more secure online environment, there are people working in the opposite direction, possibly with the same intellect, to find loopholes in systems that could cause widespread damage to user identities.
When you are browsing the Internet, the HTTPS protocol secures the exchange of information between your browser and a website. Despite this added security, though, your data could still be vulnerable when you use public Wi-Fi in airports or coffee shops.
The pandemic-induced work-from-culture has also led to a rise in employee surveillance where in some instances, employers breached many levels of employee privacy through third-party apps in the name of work productivity. They would monitor on-screen activities, use keyloggers, track locations, and take remote control of certain applications. In the background, ISPs often log your online activity and see everything you do. VPN encryption could keep you safe in such scenarios where your true identity remains hidden since the origin of your data will appear as the VPN server.
VPNs Remove Internet Censorship and Could Possibly Increase Internet Speed
ISPs often cap our bandwidth, a practice known as bandwidth shaping. It is a process where data is not routed through the fastest available channels on your network. While data monitoring is common for ISPs, some would go further to limit Internet bandwidth when downloading large files or watching high-resolution videos on streaming services.
When you employ a VPN, you mask your IP address, making it almost impossible for ISPs to track your online activity. Since ISPs won’t be able to identify your device on the network, they won’t be able to subject you to bandwidth capping, either. So, if your ISP caps your Internet speed, using a VPN could prevent them from doing so, in turn improving your Internet speed.
Digital nomads or even someone on vacation may sometimes find their favorite content blocked due to licensing agreements particular to that nation, as well. In that case, you could bounce off your Internet traffic through your home country to gain access to your favorite TV shows.
While there are countless VPN service providers available nowadays, NordVPN has over 5,400 servers strategically located in 59 countries that could help you stay protected online without any internet censorship or bandwidth shaping. NordVPN offers a safe online space on their superfast network that allows you to exchange data anonymously using multiple devices at once.
Get 69% off and 3 months for free if you subscribe to NordVPN today.
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