5 Reasons why EVERYONE needs VPN
Until recently, Virtual Private Networks were used primarily two groups: Security conscious businesses, and hackers. At the turn of the century, people didn’t worry much about personal privacy, security, or identity protection when it came to the internet. This has changed in a big way over the past few years, with highly publicized thefts of private data, facebook scraping, and internet monitoring.
With people spending greater amounts of time (and placing more of their private information online as well) identity thieves have been moving to the web in their search for victims. Relatively recent breakthroughs like Wifi-Networks have untethered our computers and allowed users to connect from anywhere, but they simultaneously make unauthorized access to private data much easier for criminals.
Increased storage capacities and pressure from high-powered lobby groups have served to decrease personal privacy online. Internet usage is more closely monitored and recorded than every before, and can be stored literally for years. Many Americans might feel less comfortable if they new that Google now stores every search query a user makes with Google, and associates with that specific user either through their Google Account or IP address.
It is becoming clear that the interests of the powerful (corporations, politicians, and government agencies) and the individual (all web users) do not align when it comes to protecting personal privacy.
As such, individuals will have to take matters into their own hands when it comes to protecting their information and privacy. VPN technology is one of the most powerful and accessible tools for achieving this goal. It has become much more accessible to the public both in dramatically reduced prices, and increased visibility. Millions of Americans (and internet users worldwide) now consider a VPN an integral part of their personal internet security (just like Antivirus software). Here some reasons why everyone needs a VPN…
Wifi Networks are Extremely Vulnerable
We love wifi and the freedom it brings, but it also presents a huge security vulnerability. Free Wifi hotspots are like a free candy store for identity thieves, and the businesses providing the Wifi rarely offer an real security features. While you’re sipping that triple grande mocha, the guy 3 tables away could be lifting all your private data including passwords, credit card numbers, and even your Social Security number with just a few key strokes. Even encrypted networks can be hacked with relative ease. Both WEP and WPA Wifi Encryption has been successfully cracked.
A quality VPN will make it virtually impossible to decode your Wifi traffic, even on unsecured networks, meaning that all personal information you transmit will be safe an secure.
VPN Services are Extremely Affordable
Increased competition as well as economies of scale have caused VPN prices to drop dramatically. While 5-10 years ago, business professionals might pay $40-100 per month for a secure VPN, now even grandmothers and soccer moms can have easy, secure internet connections for prices well under $10 per month. Our list of the Best Cheap VPN Services actually has a few excellent options for around $3 per month, including Private Internet Access, one of our top ranked VPN’s.
VPN’s dramatically reduce the odds of getting Hacked
Nearly all remote computer based attacks (an attack from another network other than your own) are based on an IP address. An IP address represents a specific computer location on the internet, and each of us have one assigned to us by our internet provider. One of the great benefits of a VPN is the IP address that is visible online is not your true IP address, it is the one temporarily assigned to you by your VPN. As a result, any hacker who collects your IP address online and decides to target it would in fact be attempting to hack into a VPN server, owned by a company that specializes in network security. Not a good idea…
A VPN lets you maintain your privacy online.
You may not realize it, but your internet activity is monitored pretty heavily. Your Internet provider keeps records of your internet activity for as long as several years, and may even record information on websites visited, programs used, etc. Even your actual network traffic is visible to your ISP, including personal data transmitted to web based forms. Your ISP can also tell what technologies you’re using, such as video streaming, bittorrent, skype, etc.
Because a VPN encrypts all data transmitted between the VPN server and your computer, even your Internet Service Provider will not be able to inspect your network traffic or see what websites you’re visiting online. The only thing they can see is that you are in fact connected to a 3rd party server via an encrypted connection. I’d say that kind of privacy is worth $10 a month at least!
VPN lets you block throttling by your ISP. Get the bandwidth you pay for…
One of the biggest internet privacy related news stories of the last 10 years was the exposure of the practice of bandwidth throttling by internet providers everywhere. While your ISP may promise you 10 or 25 Mbps download speeds, the speeds delivered may actually be much lower. The reason? Throttling! Throttling is the practice of artificially limiting your connection speed for certain protocols.
Commonly throttled technologies include: HD Video streaming (like youtube and Netflix), P2P technologies such as Bittorrent, and video chat applications like Skype.
It’s no surprise the the most throttled technologies are also the ones most likely to utilize the bandwidth you’ve paid for. Throttling is accomplished through a technology called packet sniffing where your ISP intercepts some of the data packets sent between you and the website you’re visiting. They can then detect what sort of data is being transmitted (for example an HD video stream) and apply the throttling.
A VPN Prevents Throttling because it makes packet sniffing by your ISP impossible. They cannot read your network traffic, so they cannot decide whether it contains an HD video stream or not, they just see encrypted data. As a result, they cannot legally restrict your connection speed. When you consider that the average price of unlimited broadband is over $40/month, you’d think users would deserve to get full value for their money.
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