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Internet privacy and security

Updated on July 31, 2016

Virtual Private Network

Privacy on the internet

When you are reading some articles online, watching Youtube videos or playing online games it's hard to keep your privacy. Going to any website means sending and receiving packets to and from this website, these packets are simply bundles of data that travel through the web to some target point. Packet contains origin IP address (that is IP address of computer it came from), target IP address (that is IP address of computer it goes to) and data payload like for example phrase user is searching for, part of video, part of article or photo. When user is connecting with internet without using VPN these packets aren't secured in any way. This means that potential attackers can easily obtain all information about your internet activity. By 'attacker' I don't mean only some hackers but also government authorities or law enforcement bodies. Hackers most likely are interested in your money, authorities probably want to know as much as possible about your internet activity. Let's say you want to download something via torrent, when doing so you should use VPN to avoid being tracked by authorities fighting piracy. When you want to check your bank account via public Wi Fi using VPN will secure you from packets eavesdropping. People in oppressive countries often use VPN to write their opinions about politics without being caught.

Access to blocked sites

Believe, or not, but you don't have free access to whole internet. There are many sites that are not available for you without using VPN. It's not that your government blocks them, these sites are just unaccessible for certain regions or countries. For example person living in Europe can't access American Netflix. However same person using VPN will be able to do that (although not every VPN). Many people in Indonesia or Thailand use Virtual Private Network to get access to sites blocked by their government.

At work use

A lot of companies maintain VPNs for their workers. The reason is to prevent any data leak and to ensure secure connection from any place in the world. Many schools and universities provides VPNs for their students, again to ensure secure connection.

Should you use it?

The answer is yes you should. Using Virtual Private Network makes you a lot safer on the internet and gives you access to sites you couldn't access otherwise. There are many things you should take into consideration before you get one.

How to choose best VPN?

Don't look only at the price, getting the most expensive service doesn't have to mean getting the best one. Look for service's location, for example you want to watch US Netflix, then look for VPN which server are located in America.

If you often use your phone to connect with internet it may be good idea to choose VPN which provides mobile app for connection. It's always better to be able to use your service on different types of devices.

Check provider's logging policy. When you use Virtual Private Network nobody can spy on you, but your service provider can still log all your activity, of course not every provider does it. Choose this service which logging policy is OK for you.

Remember that VPN gives you privacy but you are still vulnerable to all kinds of malware. Some services provide anti-malware functions and scanners.

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