A virtual private network, or VPN, is a service that your device connects to before it accesses the broader internet. Basically, it allows you to create a secure connection over a less-secure network between your computer and the internet. This means that to anyone or anything trying to look at you on the internet, they won’t be able to see you or your device. Instead, they see the VPN that you are connected to. Your computer will contact the website through an encrypted VPN service connection.
When you connect to a VPN, you usually launch a VPN client on your computer (or click a link from a specific website URL), log in with your credentials, and your computer exchanges trusted “keys” with another, far-away server. Once both computers have verified each other as authentic, all of your communications are encrypted and secured from eavesdropping.
Ultimately, using a free VPN will keep you safe while browsing, and will stop anyone being able to track your movements.
Here’s How They Work
Image courtesy of TechAdvisor.co.uk
Having a VPN can be beneficial when you want to be invisible online. VPNs can protect you, and hen used for legal purposes, VPNs are completely legal in most countries. However, VPNs can also be used to do illegal activities, which may get you in trouble with the law. Again, the act of browsing online through another IP is legal, however hiding behind a VPN service to perform illegal activities is violating the law. Such illegal activities include: child pornography, email and account hacking, spreading viruses, spamming via email or other ways, and fraud, theft, or any other scamming.
Why You Should Use One
The most important take-away from this article about VPNs is that that they secure your computer’s internet connection to guarantee that all of the data you’re sending and receiving is encrypted and secured from prying eyes. Millions of individuals and lots of companies, large and small, use VPNs all of the time.
Says Gizmodo, “For as ubiquitous as connectivity has become and how reliant we’ve grown on it, the Internet is still a digital jungle where hackers easily steal sensitive information from the ill-equipped. … So instead of mucking around in public networks, just avoid them. Use a VPN instead.”
According to LifeHacker, a VPN is “a way to bolster your security and access resources on a network you’re not physically connected to. … You should definitely use one when you travel or work on an untrusted network (read: a network you don’t own, manage, or trust who manages.) That means opening your laptop at the coffee shop and logging in to Facebook or using your phone’s WiFi to check your email at the airport can all potentially put you at risk.”
Featured image courtesy of Gizmodo.