Have you ever been searching for something on Google and then go to one of your social media apps and see an ad on the very subject you searched? It’s scary, right?
That results from your data not being protected and consumers using targeted ads to draw you in. Although some of these sites may be harmless, it still leaves your computer at risk for security breaches.
So how can you protect your computer and increase your privacy while browsing? You can use a VPN at home. Do you know what a VPN is? If not, continue reading to learn more about what they are and how they keep you safe while you’re browsing online.
What Is a VPN?
A VPN, or virtual private network, is an essential tool that helps block your online activity from the government, hackers, and businesses alike. All of your data goes through an encrypted tunnel to prevent anyone from spying on you.
Think about when you travel. What’s the first thing you do when you’re in the airport or somewhere that you can’t use your mobile data? Most likely, you try and connect to the nearest Wi-Fi.
However, as soon as you connect to these hotspots, your online traffic is immediately sent to certain entities to monitor what you’re doing. The same applies when you’re at home.
Although you may have security protection from your internet service provider (ISP), it still doesn’t mean your data is safe. To remove those extra eyes from your browsing history, you should invest in a VPN at home.
How Do VPNs Work?
As we’ve already mentioned, VPNs encrypt your data while you’re browsing on the internet. So you no longer have to worry about your information getting stolen by hackers or companies looking to sell you their products.
Before you start browsing, you connect to a VPN, letting you browse with no worries. There are different servers around the world so that you can choose one to your liking.
However, we recommend choosing one that isn’t geographically distant. It can slow your computer’s performance. Instead, choose one with a location that’s nearby so you can protect your data and your computer’s production.
Depending on the supplier you choose, there may be a monthly or annual fee that you have to pay. There are also free VPNs, but they may not offer the same enhanced security as paid VPNs.
VPN Security Protocols
Each VPN provider uses different security protocols when connecting you to a secure server. So before selecting a service, check out the protocols they use to see which is more suitable for your needs. Let’s look at the various types below.
Internet Protocol Security (IP Sec)
IP Security protects your data through a tunnel or a transport mode. Both methods provide encryption and help enhance the security of your inbound and outbound traffic.
However, they require a lot of processing power, which can affect your device’s performance. So ensure that your computer can handle this workload before using a service with this protocol.
Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) and Transport Layer Security (TLS)
Before 2015, SSL was generally used by most VPNs because of its security measures and speeds. However, many vulnerabilities were made prevalent by hackers.
As a result, it transformed into TLS, which further encrypts data traveling through any SSL servers. Now with more complex algorithms, hackers will have a more challenging time trying to steal your data.
Layer 2 Tunneling Protocol (L2TP)
L2TP is a type of VPN protocol that doesn’t encrypt data by itself. Instead, it’s paired with IP Sec encryption. It’s an excellent tool because it provides enhanced security and is available for most devices. However, your connections will be slower due to the double layer of protection.
Point-to-Point Tunneling Protocol (PPTP)
PPTP is an extension of PPP encryption. It was one of the earliest security protocols, getting released with Windows 95. It was low-level encryption, which meant your connections were fast. But on the other hand, your data was still at risk from hackers.
Open VPN is another popular choice among VPN users. It provides you with high-speed connections and enhanced security. You also don’t have to worry about any technological difficulties. Since numerous third parties maintain it, features will consistently be updated to limit any potential threats.
Do I Need a VPN?
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, most people are now working from home, which means there’s an increase in internet traffic worldwide. However, this means that more people are putting their information at risk.
Most people don’t believe they need a VPN when working from home since their internet providers administer security measures on their behalf. However, if you want to protect any sensitive information, you should get a VPN.
Benefits of a VPN
When it comes to VPNs, we’re all pretty clear on the two benefits they offer; they increase your privacy when you’re browsing and security from hackers and other third parties.
However, there are more benefits to using a VPN at home. Let’s take a look at a few.
Shelters Your Private Info
These days when you go on a website, you’ll always get asked to accept cookies before entering. They’re basically asking you for permission to track your data. Some websites will give you a choice, while others don’t.
That’s why you’ll see targeted ads as you search. With the help of a VPN, your search data is kept private from others trying to access your connection. So you won’t need to worry about who’s monitoring your online activity.
No More Data Throttling
Do you know what data throttling is? It occurs when you’ve used a certain amount of data, and your ISP slows down your connection speed. So the next time you experience a lag in service, this may be the cause.
With the help of a VPN, you won’t need to worry about data throttling. It protects your data usage from your ISP, so there will be no more data caps, and you can browse with no limits.
Provides Access To Region-Blocked Sites
As you’re working from home, there may be times when you’ll need to access a foreign-based website to complete a task. However, since your IP address provides your location, the foreign site will not be accessible to you.
By using a VPN, you can change your IP address to match the location of the website you’re trying to access. It’s also great if you want to stream shows from different countries.
But make sure your check service agreements before permitting the use of a VPN. You don’t want to be subjected to any penalties and lose your streaming privileges.
Escape Bandwith Throttling
Sometimes you may go on a particular website, and it may be slower than usual no matter the time of day. You constantly refresh the page to see if that works, but there’s no change. Why is that? Unfortunately, it’s because of bandwidth throttling. It’s nothing that you have done; instead, it’s your ISP causing the trouble.
Anyone that has administrative privileges to your internet connection can cause a slowdown at any time. VPNs prevent this by encrypting your computer’s internet traffic and disguising its destination.
Access Regional Sports Content Not In Your Location
Sports are one of the backbones of American society. Who doesn’t love watching their favorite team play live? Since sports fans are everywhere, it’s likely they may support a team that isn’t in their location. But unfortunately for them, they can’t watch any local coverage because of where they live.
But a VPN can change that. Since you can change your geographic location with some VPNs, it will be easier to access content for your sports team across the country.
Makes Digital File Sharing More Secure
Sharing files online has become increasingly risky since many third parties can intercept the data and steal your information. Although you wouldn’t know if your files were intercepted, you still want to protect them from hackers.
Poor quality VPNs won’t provide file protection, leaving you vulnerable to cyber-attacks. However, a premium service will give your files complex encryption, ensuring that your data is safe from prying eyes.
Whenever you try to access some government or academic institution websites, a firewall will prevent you from doing so. That’s because they need to restrict your online movements by monitoring your real-time activity. With the help of a VPN, you can easily bypass these firewalls, making it easier to access the information you need.
How To Choose a VPN
Now that you’re familiar with all of the information regarding VPNs, it’s time to find the best rated VPN. There are many factors to consider since each has its pros and cons.
So it would be best if you considered your needs before choosing a service. Some factors you should consider are:
With most matters in life, money is always a concern. It costs a decent amount of money to operate and maintain a VPN service. Some providers may charge a fee to use a service, while others are free. However, what they don’t charge upfront, can come at the cost of ads or selling your data to third-party providers.
On average, a VPN service will cost roughly $3 – $10 per month, depending on its features. But some providers will also charge annual discounted rates.
No Possibility Of IP Address Leaks
The natural duties of VPNs include disguising your IP address to prevent others from tracking your online activity. However, some VPNs may still have security leaks that can leak your IP address.
A great way to find a VPN that addresses these concerns is to read customer reviews. That way, you can know which services not to use and see how others worked to rectify any problems in the past.
At times your VPN connection may drop, downgrading your connection to regular service. It will leave you vulnerable to cyberattacks during that downtime.
However, if you have a VPN with a kill switch, you don’t have to worry. It will automatically terminate programs when your connection becomes unstable, reducing any chances of your data getting leaked.
A common term you’ll hear when selecting a VPN is “no-log.” It’s a type of VPN that doesn’t collect any information that’s relayed through the network. So it doesn’t save your:
- Search history
- Personal details
There won’t be much to find if a cyber hacker penetrates a no-log VPN security system. However, check with the company to see if they keep logs or purge them periodically.
To further enhance your security, opt for a VPN service that proves multi-factor authentication. For example, it could be in the form of you entering your password and then answering a security question you listed during sign-up.
Or you could be asked to enter a four-digit code that gets sent to your phone before continuing. With the extra security, it will make it harder for anyone trying to steal your information.
Having a VPN at Home Provides Extra Data Security
As you can see, using a VPN at home is very useful. It will protect your information from hackers and companies trying to use it for their benefit. VPNs can also enhance your browsing experience by giving you access to other locations.
In a time where there’s uncertainty around when the pandemic will end, you need to ensure your data is protected while you work from home. Doing so will keep you safe from cybercrime in the future.
To learn more about VPNs and other internet security measures, feel free to check out our other blogs.