If you want a hope of staying safe from the people that want to violate your privacy, a Virtual Private Network (VPN) is the most important weapon in your arsenal.
You can use a VPN without knowing exactly how it works, but if you want to really take control of your online security, education is critical. Privacy Journal’s VPN info articles are all you need to get informed. We’ll tell you what a VPN is, how it works, when you need one, and what it can and can’t do.
VPN Info: Basics
These days, threats to online privacy are everywhere. Corporations want your data so they can use it to sell you products. Hackers want to buy and sell your data, and use it for illicit financial gain. These two groups have one thing in common: you’re not a person to them, you’re a commodity.
A VPN is one way to take your personhood back. It’s certainly not the only way, and won’t be the best way in some situations, but anyone who values their privacy deserves to have one on their side.
How VPNs Work
How can an app keep you safe? To start, it helps to understand how the internet works. All websites are stored on servers. When you navigate to a site, your browser asks to view the content on its associated server. Your desired website gets sent to your IP address, which is a unique digital name.
IP addresses make the internet possible, but they also make you vulnerable by marking you out as a unique identity. Hackers, internet service providers, corporations and even governments can connect your browsing activity with your IP address to build a profile on you without your consent.
VPN Servers & Security
A VPN foils them by running all of your requests through another server, masking your IP address with a neutral one belonging to the VPN. At the same time, it encrypts all your activity with powerful ciphers, so snoops don’t even know where to start looking.
VPNs aren’t just about security. They’re also convenient for work and even great for entertainment.
Local Content: Work & Banking
Thanks to IP address masking, you can browse the internet as though you’re in another location — even another country. When you’re traveling abroad, you can use your VPN to access your work files, financial information and other sensitive systems as though you were at home.
International Content: Streaming & Entertainment
When work is over, you can stream the best shows and movies from your home country’s libraries. You can even explore the Netflix libraries of the world without leaving your house.
As useful as VPNs are, they’re not the alpha and omega of online security. They can’t protect you from downloading malware, or from falling victim to a social engineering attack. A VPN is just one part of a complete security stack.
Even so, understanding VPNs is a vital step to securing your life online — so if you’re ready to learn all about them, Privacy Journal has you covered.