Should I Use a VPN for Online Security?

Today, targeted advertising has become a normal part of life. It starts when you search online for a specific product, such as cat food. Suddenly, every ad on social media shows different brands of cat food, toys for cats, and even local animal shelters.

Your browsing information is tracked by a variety of organizations. These companies use your data to personalize your online experience and monitor your activity. Even worse, they make a profit off of your private activity.

And they do it all without your knowledge.

With a VPN, you can protect your data from these spying eyes. This tool can provide a safer way to use the internet and give you a better online experience.

What does a VPN do?

Virtual Private Networks (VPN) create encrypted connections between your device and a server maintained by the tool’s provider. If anyone tries to track your information while you’re online, they will only see the server’s information.

Typically, organizations track your activity through a string of numbers known as an IP address. Every computer has a unique IP address, so they can use this number to connect who you are with what you are doing online.

A VPN masks your IP address by giving the server’s IP address instead. Since numerous customers connect to the same server, trackers can’t separate your activity or location from everyone else’s.

The VPN’s encryptions add another layer of security, keeping hackers from seeing your data, even on an unsecured network.

What are the benefits of having a VPN?

A VPN is beneficial for private browsing, as well as anything you do online for work. As long as you’re using online best practices, you won’t have to worry about your safety or the ways your data is being used. 

Stay anonymous

Internet service isn’t cheap, but most people need an online connection for both work and play. Given the high price you pay for your internet, it may surprise you to learn that your internet service provider (ISP) is tracking your online activity and using it to make even more money.

Many of the apps you download onto your phone, tablet, and computer are monitoring your activity as well. Remember that long user agreement you accepted without reading? It may have included permission to gather your data while the app is open or in use.

A VPN hides the details about the websites you’re visiting and the products you’re looking at. It uses the location of its server, hundreds of miles from your own address, to protect you from location-based targeting. Your ISP won’t be able to track the specifics of your activity, so they won’t be able to profit off of it.

That said, a VPN doesn’t make you completely anonymous online. Websites can still use trackers and cookies to keep an eye on your activity. Still, your data is much harder to monetize when you can’t be tracked across the internet.

Work from anywhere

After the pandemic, remote work became more common than ever. Many employees work from home, which often means working from public locations such as coffee shops.

When workers connect to a public Wi-Fi network, the company’s information is vulnerable to theft. Anyone else on the same network can access the company’s private network using the worker’s information. Client information, sensitive data, and more can then fall into the wrong hands.

With a VPN, your company’s information is encrypted. Even if someone attempts to hack into the company network, they won’t be able to use the user’s data to do so.

Additionally, companies won’t have to worry about the sensitive information their employees access at home. By equipping employees with both private internet access and VPNs, their data can remain safe.

Protect your data from hackers

Company information isn’t the only data that your VPN can help protect. You can also protect your private information from hackers.

When you’re on a public internet network, the information you use can be stolen by someone on the same network. If you log into your bank account to check your balance and or enter credit card information for a purchase, that person can use this information to make fraudulent purchases.

A VPN will encrypt this information to make it harder to steal. Hackers won’t be able to see what you are doing online, so they won’t try to steal your data. No matter where you are and what you are doing, your information is safer with a VPN.

Remember to use safe online practices

VPNs do a lot to protect your data, but they can’t block viruses or scams. To fully protect yourself when you’re online, use these tips.

Don’t interact with spam

If you get a suspicious email or see a strange link, don’t click on it. Scammers will use these tactics to install malware on your devices. Make sure you only go to legitimate websites. Never download an attachment or file unless you trust the source.

Some scammers will send fake emails about your accounts and subscriptions. Before opening anything, call or message the company to see if it’s a legitimate communication.

Keep your devices updated

Tech companies keep up with the latest scams and hacks. When they find a vulnerability in their software, they will send out an update to fix the problem.

Protect your information and devices by keeping everything up-to-date with the latest software releases. Frequently update your computer, phone, and apps to make sure you’re not vulnerable to hackers. To make things easy, you can set up automatic updates on all of your devices.

Use strong passwords and passcodes

The best way to protect your data is to secure it behind strong, unique passwords. Never reuse a password for multiple accounts. For the strongest security, avoid variations of passwords that only change a few characters.

Extra security measures such as two-factor authentication and personal security questions are also important. 

Make these practices a regular part of your online activity. By pairing them with a VPN, you can enjoy the internet without giving up your data and security.

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