Often when you watch the news, and something bad has happened to someone, you will hear that they were in the wrong place at the wrong time. The same can be said for most cybersecurity breaches, as most attacks are not focused on a single person or a group, as hackers and other malicious entities on the internet tend to cast a wide net and just catch what they can get. This is the issue directly resolved by a virtual private network (VPN), as the service will remove you and your IP address from the sights of any cyber assailant.
Aside from masking your IP with an IP of the VPN server, professional VPN providers will often offer much more security features than the server. Companies like Le VPN have dozens of servers in all corners of the world, meaning that you can change your location to avoid restrictions, access regionally specific content and even provide direct protection when accessing the internet over untrustworthy WiFi.
Although the technical aspects of a VPN might not be the most interesting thing about the service, it is important to recognize at least the features that you want as to be able to pick out the best VPN service that will suit your needs exactly.
I. Aspects of Cybersecurity
Cybersecurity has become a very important subject in the last decade, as more of our personal information is accessible over the internet. In the past, most viruses were made to harm your computer just for the sake of harming it, as there were only a few ways any hacker could capitalize on sending a trojan. Now, in the time when access to your device meant access to your bank accounts, social security numbers, as well as highly personal material, hackers have an incentive to enter your device unnoticed, copy everything you have and use that data for their own nefarious purposes.
Cybersecurity comes in three essential aspects depending on the files that are being protected. From data security that is meant to safeguard both personal and professional records from being copied or stolen to the security of identity that prevents unauthorized users even to see that the data is there, all the way to behavioral security. The last aspect is the fastest growing one, as it defends your browsing data from individual hackers, companies, corporations, and even several governments, probably including your own. It is also the one that is best protected by using a VPN.
1. Data Security
Data might not be the information by itself, but current methods of storing usually mean that if someone has access to one of your excel sheets, they have access to all of them. Additionally, some data can be easily constructed into information using additional tidbits taken from social media. A hacker could access all of your stored images, which would be useless for them unless they knew your name and address, which might be public on your social media. This way they can hit the jackpot and misuse your identity for all sorts of deeds for which they will use your images, your name, and your IP address to commit cybercrime, and leave you to deal with the aftermath.
2. Identity Security
While you might not think about the inherent value of individuality and the meaning of existence on a daily basis, hackers do. And contrary to the great masters of philosophy they are not thinking in abstract, but the amount of money they would be able to steal with your identity. Even if you don’t have a lot of money in your accounts, your identity can be used to issue a credit card in your name, or also to take out a loan. It is estimated that the average cost of identity theft is around $90.000, as it doesn’t only cost the money stolen, but also the legal fees that follow you reclaiming your own identity.
3. Behavioral Security
There is a growing trend currently that is usually placed under the label of ‘’big data” even though this might be a misnomer. Collected mostly by government agencies and corporations, your online behavior is used to determine what kind of things you like, who do you communicate with, and what do you buy online. While small bits of this information are not as valuable, the sheer amount of information can make a pattern that is your life, and then used to try to control said life. This is where you need your online VPN enabled, as it will prevent companies from connecting your purchases with your other data and remove the possibility of entering phishing sites or shopping where companies store your information.
II. Risks in Cyberspace
As more parts of our lives migrate to cyberspace, so do more negative aspects of humanity. Apart from being shamed, berated, and abused online, you can also be robbed and, although only figuratively, abducted. Thankfully there are both ways to identify the possible risks and to defend yourself against any malicious person or entity.
Using a VPN is probably the most effective way of protection on the internet, as it displaces you and the IP address provided by your internet service provider (ISP) and places a professionally made secure server between yourself and the internet at large.
This being said, while a VPN can protect your digital identity, you should never expect (nor want) a soft to think instead of you and should defend your physical identity to the best of your ability. Be discreet, don’t leave your personal information in the open, and even try to access most data from a sock puppet account. The more layers you have between your data and any malicious entity, the safer you will be.
III. What does VPN do Exactly?
Most people are familiar with the fact that VPN masks their IP address, but that is far from the only thing it does, and the way it does it is quite different then what is happening when you connect to a proxy, use a TOR Browser or just connect over a joint server, as you would in a company. Tunneling is one of the most important parts of a VPN, and the security of the service can be determined by the strength of the VPN protocols and the encryptions used. This is yet another argument in favor of premium VPN services as these programs are updated regularly to stay ahead of the curve and protected from even the most experienced hackers. Premium VPN providers like Le VPN use a combination of proprietary software protocols as well as modified open source solutions, such as OpenVPN, to provide the VPN client with maximum safety and efficiency of the connection.
Additionally, what does VPN do is to make a solution that will include a way to make your VPN connection as fast as your regular connection by using a good system of Transmission Control Protocol/Internet Protocol (TCP/IP) packets, processed by the VPN server.
1. VPN vs. Proxy
Most people who are unfamiliar with cybersecurity tend to mix these two services as the surface level solutions of both are the same. A proxy connection will also connect to a remote server as to mask your IP towards the final destination, but that is about where similarities of these two services end. Primarily, a proxy connection usually connects only one application to a server and masks information sent by that application. In some cases this is very important and for people who are in specific industries to have this sort of use, both for security and for VPN access.
For regular use with modern devices, a proxy connection is not regarded to be safe, as your device will usually communicate with stores, apps, social media, and other services without your knowledge and without directly informing you. Because of this, it is only safe to connect to a VPN and a reputable VPN at that.
2. VPN vs. TOR
While TOR is a beautiful piece of software both from a developer and a user perspective, it is far from being as safe as a VPN, and in this regard, it is little more than several proxy connections placed serially in an IP network. The TOR Browser might conceal your identity, but it is mostly used to protect your physical identity by feeding the system with faulty data and providing you with an easy tool when you want to create fake accounts.
The good thing is that you can use the TOR system even when you are using a VPN, taking all the professional security from your VPN provider and using the open source TOR to have some fun and to conceal your actual identity. Where for real security you will use VPN TOR will always be a good source of fun and personal secrecy.
3. VPN on Mobile Devices
As our phones are slowly becoming the main device with which we access the internet, it is of great importance for our smartphones and tablets to be connected through a VPN service. In these cases, it is best to use VPN services that have already established themselves as safe for your home equipment, as they will usually make the best VPN apps.
Le VPN has an app that comes free with the regular subscription, as you can use the same username and password to connect to the VPN through mobile as you would on your desktop or laptop. Additionally, what does VPN do for mobile VPN is that it uses the same technology as does regular services and makes your data pass through the same VPN encryption tunnel, without using any additional data, keeping your phone bill the same as it would be without using the VPN.
IV. Uses for VPN
Security is the main aspect of a VPN service, but it is far from being the only one. Main purposes of a VPN connection are also privacy, as well as entertainment, the latter being the most common use of the internet in general. There are multiple reasons why use VPN and especially premium VPN that offers additional services inside the package.
1. Security Aspects
This is, by all means, the main aspect of a VPN, and the first reason why you should always be connecting through the internet over a VPN. With so many ways a device can be hacked or accessed, it is just better to have a huge protected server between yourself and any entity that wants your money or your life. The only difference between a mugger in the 20’s asking for your money or your life and the hacker doing so today, is that today you will not even hear the question and they will probably ask to take both, as your banking info usually contains more than enough for identity theft. With a VPN, they will still be the same, but instead of your personal firewall standing there, it will be huge VPN servers, with so many security protocols that even NASA computers wouldn’t be able to crack them.
2. Privacy Aspects
The National Aeronautics and Space Administration is the perfect segue, even though they are not the NSA, as they answer to the primary entity that every US citizen (and many people from other countries) should realize is spying on them and breaching their internet privacy. While the NSA has claimed that the only thing they collect is ‘’meta-data’’ to place into prediction AI, this was shown to be false on many occasions, with US citizens, as well as guests, being tracked. To make things worse, even with all of this, the US can be considered ‘’one of the good guys’’ as they at least won’t share that information with corporations and other entities for money. Some other governments that also track your movement have been much more aggressive in using, as well as selling, sensitive browsing data connected to personal names, IP addresses, and even home addresses.
By using a VPN, and some discretion on social media, you can safely remain private and out of sight of these entities that track you, as your tracks will be a needle in the haystack of many other people who use the same server, rendering it useless.
3. Entertainment Aspects
While maybe not the first thing you think about when someone mentioned cybersecurity software, there are actually many ways you can apply a VPN to your everyday entertainment needs. One of the main ways a VPN is used is to unblock movies and TV program that is under a regional lockdown. By using a VPN provider, you cannot only mask your IP with that of the VPN server but also use that mask to act like you are in the same location as the server. You can watch American TV and movies when you are abroad or watch BBC original programming when you are in the US. And for those of us who are much further down the rabbit hole, we can access the Le VPN Japan server to access the biggest Netflix anime library available. Gamers on both PC and console can use a VPN to create a Virtual Private LAN service, or a VPL, to make LAN parties without ever leaving their home, as well as to provide an online framework for games that are not supported by servers anymore.
Finally, for the users of the server, there is a SmartDNS service available to stream movies and TV with much faster VPN traffic, while still using VPN tunneling to protect your device.
4. Shopping with VPN
As shopping online exposes most of your private information as something you need to provide, online VPN shopping is essential if you wish to keep that private information confidential. The most usual attack online is a phishing scam, when a malicious website pretends that they are a retailer or something other where you need to insert your username and password, and once you do it, they will transfer you to the actual website, your info in their pocket. Without a VPN you might think that this is just a glitch and carry on, but what does VPN do is to make any site without authorization will be blocked, and you will not share your info with them. Additionally, you will be safe from MITM attacks as well as pop-up malware.
V. How to Choose the Best VPN
Most of the features that are mentioned above apply only for trustworthy, and premium VPN, and not every VPN provider will give the same security and additional features. You will need to select the best VPN available as to get the full experience and enjoy safe browsing.
1. Free VPN Costs too Much
There have been four significant VPN breaches systems in the last year, with all of the systems in question being offered as ‘’free VPN’’, and one of them even being a daughter company of Facebook. These attacks have cost users millions of dollars and even more if we count indirect consequences to the digital currency market. Best VPN will always be a professional company providing a premium service.
2. How Useful is the VPN App?
As we are using our phones for banking, social media, as well as taking selfies with our friends, having your mobile device secured it a necessity in the modern day. You best VPN option will always have a good VPN app that you can install on every platform and which will keep your device always connected to a remote server, without using any additional data.
3. Extra Security
As we have discussed, a VPN is not just a fancy term for a proxy internet connection, and an excellent VPN service will include additional security, both through in-app solutions and by using the newest security protocols. These additions will include a kill switch, a multi-encryption tunnel (L2TP), an IPsec protocol, as well as the best firewall available.
To determine what does VPN do we must ask ourselves for which purposes we use the internet. Aside from protecting our stay on the internet like a shield, or a mask, it will also allow us to digitally move ourselves across the globe and access all kinds of new media. If you are using a premium VPN service such as Le VPN, you will have a full package of premium software, secure servers, and good overall support, making your browsing, shopping, and entertainment safest than it ever was.
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