As a normal individual going through your daily life, do you ever worry about your money getting stolen in the bank? I bet not, because you’re assured about their security and how tightly they keep your money locked behind metal doors. But did you know your money in the bank is safer than you connecting to a public Wi-Fi? Yes, I’m telling you you’re at risk for online danger.
Just like the security of a bank, make sure you’re secure while you’re surfing the net too. One efficient way to do this is to get a VPN. Without it, you’d be as good as naked while checking out sites and other unknowns on the net. Just last year, according to this report, almost 100 million Americans have been victims of cybercrimes. Almost 500 million people around the world have either been hacked, tricked, or scammed through the internet.
These internet criminals aren’t just normal thieves as well. They’re the ones that won’t steal your wallet, but instead take your personal details, credit card numbers, and other confidential information. That seems far worse than just losing cold cash. You’d be losing your whole identity to an anonymous hustler, and they’re harder to catch too.
So… What’s This VPN Business?
VPN is short for Virtual Private Network. It says what it is, a private, secure, and encrypted network where an individual can connect to, and thus hide their identity while surfing the internet. You can imagine it as some sort of tunnel you go through, visiting sites and other places around the internet. With the VPN acting as a barrier, no one will be able to peek at you or your personal information. No one can trace you as well, assuring your information isn’t littered all around the internet for unknown eyes to see.
Where & When Did VPN Start?
Let’s a little history lesson about this, shall we? Virtual Private Network was not what we know of today. Back then, it was called PPTN, point-to-point tunneling protocol, or also known as peer-to-peer tunneling protocol. This was created by those from Microsoft during the late 1990s as a way to create a secure network connection, a tunnel where they can send and receive important files safely.
Until the early 2000s, PPTN was exclusive to businesses to avoid any breaches from the outside. As years passed by though, many individuals have gained more and more access to the internet and they too were subject to the dangers these businesses were currently facing. Today, many have placed their personal information online, and at the same time relentlessly sought a way to secure it there. This is when VPN became more of a necessity than a luxury in recent years and especially during 2020 as well.
There are some benefits to getting this type of security, but there’s the bad side too. Read on to find out what they are.
A great improvement in security
Unlike going around handing your information out like free cookies (which is what ultimately happens when you surf the net unprotected), using a VPN is like using an unbreakable, irremovable mask on your face. This assures your online identity such as your IP address and everything that comes with it, is hidden in plain sight. Imagine having online footprints when you roam around the web, footprints that ISPs, online hackers, and government surveillance can track. With VPN, those footprints won’t even exist.
This is a very important aspect because, in the US, ISPs are known to do business with advertisers using your very own user data. As you’re not omniscient, you won’t ever know what questionable deals they’re having.
You won’t be restricted access to websites
A geo-block is when you, as a user in a certain country, get locked out from a site you want to access. This restriction bases its blocking through your location, so some sites may not be readily available if ever they so choose to add your country to their list due to copyright policies and other rules they need to follow. Read more about it here https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Geo-blocking for an in-depth explanation. So no, it’s not because they have something against your motherland or anything.
A VPN works as normally as this: it hides your real IP address, making you seem to reside in another location than where you are right now. This allows you to access the site you want because the IP address they see will be from the one your VPN shows them. This is a good perk to have when you have this trouble with Netflix and other streaming show companies. It can also be a good thing to have with you while going or working out of the country.
Gaming time becomes better
For our gamer readers, this security also gives you a better time gaming. It helps you avoid any unwanted circumstances, like your ISP ruining your quality time with bandwidth throttling. This happens when they see your online traffic having too much action, like gaming, and they cap your bandwidth.
You might think it’s for a reasonable purpose, but it’s only because they want you to purchase more expensive services. Don’t let them do that. Using NordVPN, for example, helps ensures all the benefits mentioned above and more. Make it so they won’t see what you’re doing online and thus not be able to do anything about your usage.
When you do your online shopping, some websites may track your IP address and price their products higher because of your geographical location. This discrimination has been found to work only in many online shopping platforms. With VPN, you can check out an item you want using several locations to see which is the cheapest. This trick has been done by many already, and they saved a lot of cash too.
Other than that, do you perhaps travel often? The tickets are horrendously pricey sometimes, aren’t they? Sometimes, it has something to do with your online location too. Check this article out on how to buy cheaper tickets online. Yes, ticket prices rise online with certain IP addresses, and that’s unfair, to say the least.
Although using a VPN to avoid online price discrimination won’t always work if the website has saved “cookies” to remember your device. Be sure to clear out your cache before using this service.
The Not-so Good
It may slow down your internet speed.
Though this rarely happens, it still has a small percentage of chance to do otherwise. Still, factors such as how far your VPN network is, how powerful your CPU is, what kind of VPN you use, etc., may contribute to this and not pose such a problem after all.
It may be good to note however that the speed reduced is just a few Mbps, and quite unnoticeable too. Still, this is considered normal, but not at all something that you should overlook if you wish to have consistent, fast internet speed (but let’s be real here, who has a stellar connection these days anyway?)
Before clicking away and swearing off of VPN forever, it is another notable possibility that your ISP may be causing this snail speed of the internet. If your internet speed is already throttled by them, then your usage of a VPN may just be adding to it, but not causing it directly.
The Wrong VPN
Sometimes, those that promise to protect you are the very ones to hurt you. That’s what the wrong VPN can do. Instead of keeping you safe from the unwanted lurkers of the internet, they are the lurkers. They can use the information you’ve been trying to hide and sell it off to advertisers, or even more to some shady business partners.
If the provider you have seems to be buggy or lacking any tutorials, and giving vague descriptions about their service, chances are they can greatly endanger you. Usually, this happens a lot with free VPNs, as they aren’t using secure encryption and can expose you to malware instead.
Also, look out for providers that keep tabs about your online activity. Recall that the purpose of this service is to make sure you leave no footprints for internet hackers to trace, so doing that will be a great irony on their part.
Is VPN For Me?
VPN is for everyone. It was more than 10 years ago that VPN was used exclusively for businesses, but the age we live in today is obsessed with security, and for good reason. There is a saying “Better safe than sorry” and that’s true. Not only will you be sorry, but you’ll also face some repercussions from not having protected yourself from the internet. So stay safe and always make sure to read reviews of the VPNs you plan to purchase, it helps a lot.