Do I Need a VPN (Virtual Private Network)?

A VPN creates an encrypted tunnel between a remote server (website) and your Internet connected device. Your internet traffic is routed through this tunnel and shields your data from outside forces. This provides privacy and protection.

Many of my clients ask us if they need to use a VPN for added protection online.

The first thing to understand is that a VPN will not totally protect your privacy online or make you anonymous. You still have to implement other privacy procedures like those discussed in the previous blog posts. That said a VPN will hide your IP address (the location of your internet device) as well as encrypting your internet traffic and hiding your browsing activity, which will improve your privacy and security whilst you are online. There are other advantages to using a VPN:

  • It gives you more freedom, enabling you to connect to a server in a specific country and access content exclusive to that location (access online content such as Netflix that is ordinarily locked to a specific region).

  • VPN’S help to block malicious advertising.

  • Protect your Internet device from hackers when connecting to public Wi-Fi.

  • Block your ISP from tracking your online activity.

  • Block data harvesting companies from tracking your location online.

  • Protect your home Wi-Fi from hackers.

  • Allows you to have a secure connection to work from home.

  • Stop you from being charged extra for online transactions.

  • Increases your protection when accessing financial websites.

How Do I Get A VPN?

First step is to choose your VPN provider. There are free providers and paid providers. I would strongly recommend not using free VPN providers as it is expensive to run a VPN service so if they are not charging you they may be selling all your internet traffic to generate their income. A free VPN may not be able to give you the most secure VPN protocols. Always use a paid VPN service.

What To Look For In A VPN Provider

  • Military-grade encryption This includes either AES-128 or 256-bit encryption, which are the strongest encryption standards. Both are essentially impossible to break and are used by top security agencies, but 256-bit is the strongest.

  • No-logs policy — It ensures your browsing activity won’t be recorded by your VPN, further protecting your online movements. Some VPNs claim to be “no-logs”, but have been proven not to be in the past. So it’s also important to choose VPNs with no-logs policies that have been audited and verified to be trustworthy.

  • Advanced protocols — These let you customize your connection, so you can increase or decrease security accordingly. Some of the safest protocols include OpenVPN, WireGuard, and IKEv2.

  • Kill switch —This feature prevents the accidental exposure of your data if your VPN suddenly disconnects. In other words, it’s your final line of defence if your VPN malfunctions. It also protects your connection when you switch servers.

  • Obfuscation technology — This hides the fact you’re using a VPN by re-routing your traffic through an obfuscated server. It’s helpful for overcoming firewalls that block VPN connections.

  • DNS/IP leak protection — Your DNS requests and IP address can be accidentally revealed at any time, which is the result of a malfunction in the VPN software. But a solid VPN prevents any DNS/IP leaks with its built-in leak protections.

I recommend IVPN (https://www.ivpn.net/) as a trust worthy provider as their software is open source and they have a good reputation for privacy of their users.

How do I Get A VPN On My Devices?

  • Access the VPN Providers website.

  • Create an account (not always necessary).

  • Download the software on your Internet devices (including your tablets and smart phones via Google or Apple store). Check with the VPN provider to how may devices you can install the software on.

  • Install the software on all the Internet devices and connect to one of the VPN Providers servers and you are good to go.

The VPN Providers website will have a installation and how to use guide.

Is It Legal To Use A VPN?

VPNs are legal in most countries, but there are some exceptions. Countries with strict censorship laws like China, Russia, and Iran have outlawed or restricted VPNs. If you plan to use a VPN in a country with a lot of internet censorship, I advise that you look into the most up-to-date local laws first so you do not get arrested for breaking their VPN regulations.

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