It’s Christmas time and there are frantic lists being made of the gifts that need to be purchased. Fortunately, in 2018, much of that buying will happen online from the comfort of our computers and less in store. No need to deal with the hoards of people in the store, not having the item you want in stock, having to wait in the queue while overworked cashiers try desperately to make everyone happy.
The convenience of online shopping just makes sense, can be done in your PJs, while watching a movie.
However, with that convenience comes a level of vulnerability as criminals/ hackers are also out shopping – but they are shopping for your credit card info.
This is where a Virtual Private Network (aka VPN) comes to the rescue.
What is a VPN?
A VPN is a secure way to transfer data from one point to another typically via an intermittent service which receives the data and relays it to the destination.
It was originally used by businesses who stored files and documents inside the company’s network behind the firewall and therefore not accessible to the outside world for security reasons. Therefore, any employee working from a remote location could not access those files or systems. When they used a VPN service, it was like that employee logged onto the network as if they were physically inside the building and therefore access the confidential information.
Does everyone need a VPN?
VPN is not just for the corporate employee and yes, anyone who cares about their personal information should use a VPN at all time when accessing anything online. Emails, website, streaming services can all be vulnerable and you are leaving your digital footprint everywhere.
What are the benefits of a VPN?
There are several benefits of using a VPN –
- Confidentiality: The most obvious is data encryption. Instead of having your info freely available to anyone with a little bit of hacking man-in-the-middle kind of knowledge, VPN encrypts your data right from the computer or device to the end destination.
- Therefore, no internet service provider is able to pick apart your data and identify the sites you visits, your physical location, nor any confidential data such as credit card info or login name and passwords.
- Location Based Services: Some service providers want to know your location before allowing you access – even if you are legally paying for the service. If you want to access your Netflix US , or watch Hulu, Amazon Prime, or BBC iPlayer etc from anywhere in the world, a VPN service will be able to assist.
- Freedom of Information: Some governments are policing the internet traffic and even restricting content based on their political or religious biases. A VPN provides you an anonymous IP so you can break through that restriction.
- Digital Footprint: When accessing sites, a record is kept of your activity. With a VPN secure connection, your personal information such as IP address and location will remain intact.
While businesses create their own VPN to ensure complete privacy, today you no longer need those highly technical skills and anyone can use a VPN via a VPN provider. While there are many VPN service providers to choose from, I typically look for speed and reliability.
Terrible speed is frustrating as I can not stream my content or access the info I need. Therefore I look for a VPN that has superb speed. I also look for a VPN provider that is reliable and for that I look for one that has multiple ports. In the event that one port is blocked, I can switch to another and continue to work.
Personally, I have been using PureVPN which at the time of this post has a special offer of lifetime VPN deal at $79 for 5 years. So if security, peace of mind, and safety are important to you, grab that offer ASAP.