I'd like to ask you a simple question. What do you think of when you think of a VPN? No judgement here, but my years of experience tells me that a great majority of people will associate a VPN with piracy. While it's true that a small group VPNs users might possibly use their accounts for pirate activities (which we don't condone); the use of a VPN service is perfectly legal! Just like torrent technology, torrents are perfectly legal, what matters is how you use them. A Virtual Private Network, in my opinion is vital to today's on-line life. We're hearing more and more VPN advertisements on the radio. Now, even the most trusted ant-virus company, Norton, has announced various bundled services that now include a VPN. This should give you a little clue as to how important a VPN is. If you're still unfamiliar as to what a VPN actually is, maybe the time is now to invest in a little research!
So, without getting technical, a VPN in plain English, serves as a cloak. What does that mean? It means that your VPN service hides your real IP address with another. Now, some people might think, “that's why anybody that uses a VPN is doing something illegal!” Right? WRONG!!! There are totally legal and legitimate uses for having a VPN. Some of them include:
- Possible protection against malware attacks
- Protection on public wireless networks
- Protection from being logged
- Can make it more difficult for a hacker to attack a business's network
- Protect your SmartPhone while on a public network
- Protect your Skype/VOIP calls from being monitored
- Be protected against internet censorship
- Access to legal websites in other countries
- And the list goes on…. and on………
So, just imagine, you're living in a country where you can be jailed for voicing your opinion on abortion (for example). You can use your VPN service to hide our real IP address, post your views on any forum you please, and not have to worry about the authorities! For many people who live in those kinds of countries, having a VPN is invaluable! Or, what about your SmartPhone? Websites can now detect whether you're on a cellpone! Having a VPN on your phone can potentially prevent attacks specifically to your phone! These are things you should consider, if you're one of these that can't see the value of a VPN.
TWO LAST POINTS:
Before I close, I want to make two last important points. First, a VPN does NOT 100% protect you against viruses! Unfortunately, the best way to protect yourself from dangerous viruses is to modify your behavior. Meaning, scrutinize every email you encounter; check the email addresses before you open them; call your bank to ask the email is legit; etc. Stay away from downloading executable files that are unknown, or unfamiliar to you. Even word documents can have viruses in them. Once a computer becomes infected, there is very little a VPN can do, in fact it may make you more vulnerable.
Second, STAY AWAY FROM FREE VPN SERVICES!!!!! I know sometimes we're strapped for cash! I get it, we've all been there! However, in my years of downloading experience, and in this day and age, in regards to computers, there are somethings we MUST PAY FOR!! Those being (off the top of my head), Operating System, anti-virus, and a VPN. You must pay for an Operating System because not only do you get support for it, it's vital to your computer's function. You need to pay for an anti-virus, because there is no way to measure a company's/programmers incentive to keep it's users truly safe, if the product is free. And finally, you need to PAY for your VPN services, because the free ones are often unreliable, has flawed security, usually monitor your activities, and will often sell your personal information to a third party.