A Virtual Private Network Can Protect Your Privacy and More
You’ve probably read or heard this before: “You need to start using a VPN today,” or “Here’s why you need a VPN.”
Not only does it sound bossy and assuming, it smells like a sales pitch… which it probably is.
So today, I’m not going to assume what you need, nor will I waste time trying to sell you on the benefits of using VPN. I won’t even discuss what a Virtual Private Network is.
Everyone’s done that. Just Google it.
What I am going to do, though, is help you decide, based on the way you use the internet, whether a VPN is worth about the cost of a cup of coffee at Starbucks this month.
Sound fair? Here we go.
Which of the following internet profiles do you fit?
THE RISK-TAKER (aka, Public Wi-Fi User)
Who doesn’t like free stuff especially, free Wi-Fi? However, without a secure VPN in place, all the information you send and receive – passwords and other personal data – is essentially broadcasted to everyone in that network. It likely says so on the Terms and Conditions you didn’t bother to read and instead just clicked, “I agree”. Anyone interested and savvy enough to “eavesdrop” on an unsecure network can get your information; that’s why public Wi-Fi is known as a notorious hotspot for hackers and identity theives.
That’s the deal with free hotspots. Anybody can hop online.
So, next time you’re at the mall using the free Wi-Fi, consider that spending a few dollars a month on a reputable VPN would keep any nearby snoopers out of your business.
At one point or another, maybe you’ve streamed, downloaded and even uploaded torrents from a file sharing site; after all, “sharing is caring,” as some say. Seriously though, it’s a known fact that ISPs frown on torrenting, and using BitTorrent services can land you on the surveillance list of copyright organizations and even the government. And if you think prosecution or civil lawsuit is far-fetched for streaming episodes of “The Walking Dead,” think twice.
The only way to stay safe and under the radar is to spend a few dollars on a good VPN service to get that extra layer of privacy and protection.*
You might be a political activist living in an oppressive regime, or just an ordinary citizen who believes privacy and freedom of the press is a basic right. You don’t want to give ISPs or the government the ability to snoop, control, use, or sell your information without your knowledge or consent.
Actually, there’s a good chance you already subscribe to a VPN service because you know your freedom, privacy, and possibly your life (in the worst case), depends on it.
If you don’t use a VPN, ask yourself if the price of one cup of coffee isn’t worth protecting yourself.
You always want a piece of home when you travel. In this digital age, that could mean access to your favorite shows on Hulu or Netflix, your favorite social media platforms, and even VoIP (Voice over Internet Protocol) apps to stay in touch with family and friends and #humblebrag about your adventures.
You already know a lot of subscription-based content are geo-restricted, which means you sometimes can’t access it in other countries. Social media sites such as Facebook and Instagram are some of the most censored around the world. You may also know that rates for airfare, hotel room or car rentals tend to go up with every new search and could vary in price from city to city.
But if you pay a few dollars a month on a VPN, you’ll get unrestricted access to your favorite shows, social media, or VOIP apps from anywhere in the world. And you could possibly save hundreds of dollars on travel expenses too. (You’re welcome!)
You don’t have to be an actual researcher, writer or reporter. You can be doing research for school or work or looking up something you heard on an episode of “Law & Order.” The point is, Google, Bing and other search engines keep a log of every web search, download, and activity you perform online. Most of the time, this can prove helpful to you; but it can also be a recipe for social disaster.
A good VPN will protect your privacy and keep Google from connecting search terms like “online dating,” “cybersex,” “personality disorders,” or “get rich quick,” to your device’s IP address, and then serving you related ads.
A VPN protects your privacy and saves you from a whole lot of embarrassment.
THE BREAKOUT ARTIST
As an employee or student, you’re typically subject to an “Acceptable Use” policy for browsing the web at work or school. This usually means that you’re blocked from accessing YouTube, social media sites/apps and sometimes even Gmail or Yahoo mail. I don’t recommend you break your organization or school’s policy, but if you want to break out of the restrictive network and access otherwise “denied” sites and services, a VPN can help you do that. More importantly, your VPN activity is hidden from network administrators, so they won’t have any evidence of your specific web activities.
Skip a coffee. Control your internet.
Do any of the above internet user profiles sound like you?
There’s good chance one or more do. You may have also learned about a VPN advantages you’ve never heard of before.
When you see all the security, privacy and access a VPN delivers, it’s clear a VPN is well worth it.