To protect ourselves, neighbors, and loved ones, we’re all spending more time indoors during the COVID-19 pandemic. With the help of modern technology, we’re feeling a little less isolated. Interestingly, more people are using a Virtual Private Network (VPNs) during the pandemic than ever before.
Have you ever wondered why people use VPNs? Do you need a VPN subscription to stay safe, secure, and broaden your entertainment options? The answer to all these questions is a resounding yes. Let’s learn more about them.
How does a Virtual Private Network work?
Using a VPN is quite easy. You download the VPN client, connect to a VPN server, and lo and behold, you’re online through a VPN network.
How does a VPN protect me?
One of the most significant reasons why more people use VPNs during the pandemic is to protect their privacy. You see, a VPN server masks your IP address with its own. For example, if you connect to a VPN server in the United Kingdom from the United States, anyone trying to sniff your IP address will not see your home IP address.
Additionally, a VPN also encrypts your data. The link between your computer, tablet, or smartphone and the Internet is through an encrypted VPN tunnel. Depending on the type of VPN protocol, a VPN tunnel can be almost impregnable.
The following threat actors are increasingly interested in our online activity during the pandemic:
- National state-sponsored actors: Your government is highly interested in what you do and tracking your online movements.
- Foreign state-sponsored agents: Even if you’re not bothered by your government, you should be concerned about foreign agents spying on you to collect information or influence your thoughts.
- Hackers: A hacker can use your IP address to track your physical address. Using this information, they can learn more about you and design a phishing attack to hack your social media or financial accounts.
- Cybercriminal: Bad people are known to use IP addresses to launch IP address scams, where they convince you to download malware or hand over control remotely to your computer. Someone can also use your IP address to pin you for a cybercrime.
- Trolls: It seems like we’re growing more intolerant as a society by the day. A troll who doesn’t like your social media feed can use your IP address to learn more about you and dox you. Some trolls have also gotten innocent people killed by sending SWAT teams to their homes in a deadly prank called swatting.
- Stalkers: A VPN can protect you from stalkers online by hiding your IP address and keeping you anonymous.
How does a VPN help me consume entertainment?
Video game platforms, shopping websites, entertainment streaming services, and more, limit access to certain countries in a controversial practice called geo-blocking. For example, Netflix USA limits access to Americans. But with a good VPN service, you can trick Netflix USA into thinking you’re connecting from the United States, even if you’re in Australia, and watch your favourite shows.
Likewise, if you can’t download a first-person shooter in Germany because of geo-blocking technology, you can use a VPN to convince a video game platform like Steam that you’re connecting from Canada.
A VPN is also handy if you want to buy plane tickets. Most travel websites charge higher rates to customers returning from the same IP address because they know such users are more likely to buy them. With a VPN, you can get the lowest rates for plane tickets.
How does a VPN help me bypass censorship?
It’s not just entertainment platforms that use geo-blocking technology. Governments with harsh censorship rules use VPNs to limit what their citizens can see. For example, living in Egypt, you may not have access to some news websites.
Whether you’re a consumer, journalist, or activist, you can use a good VPN service to circumvent censorship technology and stay informed. Likewise, you can use VPNs to freely express your opinion on your favorite platforms like Twitter or WordPress, even if these pages are banned in your region.
Can’t I use a free VPN?
It’s incredibly counterproductive to use a free VPN service for the following reasons:
- Many free VPNs are run by foreign governments that don’t respect privacy.
- Free VPN service providers are known to spy on their users.
- A free VPN usually uses outdated technology because it doesn’t have the budget to upgrade.
- A few popular free VPNs were caught selling user data and bandwidth.
- The streaming speed on free VPNs is usually terribly slow.
Don’t take a chance on a free VPN. Subscribe to a reputable VPN service that offers a trial run and uses the new WireGuard protocol and the powerful 256-bit AES encryption. Not only will the right VPN protect your security and privacy, but it will offer the fastest and most reliable servers.
And there you have it: the basic things you need to know about a Virtual Private Network and some of the ways it can help you.