We’re sure you’ve heard of a VPN (Virtual Private Network) since it seems to be everywhere. (If you haven’t read this post first.) There’s big money in consumer information and when Congress voted in 2017 to repeal the requirement that Internet Service Providers (ISPs) ask permission of customers before collecting and selling their information, it meant internet users had no choice in allowing their online activities to be tracked.
The legislation took that away. (Source.)
While doing so was intended to provide ISPs with equal power to snoop like that of web giants like Google collect, it removed consumers’ rights to internet privacy.
What that means, is ISPs are able to track everything you do. Every webpage you visit. Every store where you shop online. Every Social Media outlet that you use. This is why VPNs have become necessary for those who wish to remain autonomous online.
In addition, apps, too, have access to all sorts of personal information you share and/or use online as well as content and information on your smartphone. These data are used to determine the best means to market to you specifically and while some people may appreciate direct, personalized marketing, most people prefer to surf and use the internet without being tracked and snooped on.
Top Reasons to Get a VPN
Protection of Privacy
First and foremost, is the protection of your privacy. Companies like KISSmetrics, for example, track the behaviors of users across any platform: smartphone, PC/laptop, tablet, and even offline. If you often click “Like” on your neighbor’s posts about gardening and landscaping, for example, trackers collect this information and share it so you’re more likely to see advertisements about the things you “liked.”
Overthrow Geolocation Obstacles
In some parts of the world, access to certain sites is restricted. For example, some apps cannot be download in certain areas (your local banking online app, for example, may not be available in another country).
Connecting to these sites and apps through a VPN, essentially “tricks” it into thinking you’re connecting from an ISP in the correct country.
Access Restricted Content
Whether through your workplace or due to government regulations, access to some websites can be blocked. As an example, China’s infamous Chinese Firewall is intended to boost China’s growing internet economy and specifically blocks many of the larger foreign content providers.
In other examples, some ISPs may block access to torrenting websites and many schools and colleges might restrict access to social media platforms. Using a VPN, however, you can bypass these restrictions to access those sites.
Secure Public WiFi Connections
With the explosion of free WiFi, many internet users connect to the internet via public hotspots. These hotspots, however, carry multiple risks even if you’re only using it to look up information.
Alarmingly, research shows that users of public WiFi most often log into their email accounts and their social media accounts more than any other activity. Your smartphone may be set to receive push notifications and emails automatically when you sign into a WiFi network. There’s no way to know if a public hotspot is encrypted so unless the owner/provider of the service is there and knowledgeable and can tell you whether or not it’s encrypted, there’s no way to know the information you’re sending/receiving is secure.
Further, public hotspots are rife with the opportunity for Man-in-the-Middle (MITM) attacks. With these cyber attacks, a hacker can intercept information being sent from (or to) you, read it, potentially alter it, and then return it. Neither end of the information is aware the content or information has been accessed and/or altered.
It’s similar to a nosy mailman who, before delivering you your snail mail, opens it, reads it, takes down information, then reseals it so you never know he read it.
Different things that can be done with MITM attacks are:
- Collecting passwords/login information.
- Steal private data.
- Replace legitimate links with nefarious ones.
- Insert fraudulent banking information to steal funds.
Some hackers might even set up a fake WiFi hotspot that sounds legitimate only to get instant access to your device as soon as you log into their hotspot.
A VPN will prevent hackers from being able to access your information since it encrypts all of the information and data you send and receive.
Get Better Online Shopping Prices
Shockingly, online retailers have been reported to practice “price discrimination differentiation” which is a method that websites use to raise or lower prices based on the demographics and socioeconomics of those who are ordering their products.
While it may be time-consuming, utilizing a VPN to connect to the same retailer through different locations can lead you to get a better bargain than you may think. While it may not be worth a couple of dollars, imagine the potential savings for large ticket items like tools or vehicles.
Use Torrents Anonymously
If you use online torrents to download things, you may be one of the unfortunate recipients of a threatening letter from your ISP, warning you to cease this behavior, even if you’re using it for legitimate purposes. With a VPN, your IP (internet address) cannot be tracked and your online activity will not be reported to your ISP.
Encrypt and Protect VoIP Communications
Believe it or not, your Voice Over Internet Protocol (VoIP) service (such as Skype, Google Hangouts, FB Messenger, etc.) can be hacked. While it may seem safer than typing out and sending actual characters to a recipient, hackers can breach weaknesses in your VoIP and eavesdrop, steal sensitive information, and even make expensive long-distance calls on your account.
Although it may also slow your VoIP connection, a VPN can prevent these kinds of intrusions and attacks and ensure your calls are secure.
Netsanity is committed to providing you with the very best and latest technology that protects your devices from hackers and tracking. While it will not protect your devices from viruses, you have an extra barrier of protection that prevents malicious apps and activity that compromises your safety, security, and even your identity.
As you have read, there are many reasons to subscribe to a solid VPN service. Without one, you risk being hacked, having your data stolen, and having your internet service provider snoop on your website activities. But you get what you pay for and free is not always best when it comes to VPN providers and your privacy. For $12/year NetsanityVPN offers a great alternative from the glitz and glam of expensive VPN providers that promise the world and under deliver.