There is an army of shills on the internet pumping out unending content which claims that by simply clicking one button, you will be completely untraceable online. All of your online privacy concerns will be instantly addressed, as if by magic.
VPNs aren’t the one-click solution to internet security. In fact, if you don’t choose a reputable provider a VPN will do more harm than good.
Of course, there are reasons to use a VPN: Accessing blocked sites, hiding your IP address from the sites you’re visiting, and hiding your browsing activities from your internet service provider.
All of that is fine. Where the claims start to get a little deceptive, is when providers talk about security. Recently, there’s even been lawsuits, and providers in the UK were taken to court for overselling, and for leaking customer data.
In the article, we’ll address some of the most common claims providers make.
Is A VPN Able To Protect You On Public WiFi?
The problem with this public WiFi claim is that the majority of the internet has been encrypted for a long time. Because it’s no longer 2006, almost every time you open a web browser, you’ll notice a padlock in the URL bar.
This padlock indicates that all of your traffic is secure using HTTPS. This encryption takes place before it leaves the computer. There’s a chance someone has broken through HTTPS with a sophisticated man-in-the-middle attack, but it’s quite unlikely. Extremely unlikely in fact.
If you notice the padlock before the URL, you’re probably safe. 80% of the internet is already encrypted. It’s redundant to use VPN technology and expect additional security on public WiFi.
When you’re on a http:// website, beware! Everything you send to an HTTP website is in clear text format. Anyone using the network in your local coffee shop, library, or share house may read all of your passwords and see all of your photographs since they’re all cleartext.
Why Then Do So Many People Use VPNs?
The most popular use for virtual private networks is to watch television programs, movies, and access websites that are prohibited in their region of the world.
There are certainly authoritarian governments in the United Arab Emirates, China, Vietnam, and other nations that censor websites. However, even in freedom-loving countries, restrictive broadcasting laws limit what you can watch. US Netflix has 100s of titles you can’t get on Canadian Netflix, or UK Netflix, and vice versa. The Pirate Bay, Hulu, Sky Sports, and other geo-restricted sites and programming can all be watched with a VPN.
Privacy and Hiding Browsing History From Your ISP
A virtual private network (VPN) is a technology that hides the page you’re visiting from your Internet Service Provider (ISP). Even with HTTPS, the company that sells you internet can see the entire domain address: youtube.com/the-name-of-the-video or amazon.com/the-item-you-looked at. Your passwords are safe, and you’re secure, but it’s not private.
A Virtual Private Network (VPN) will protect your Internet history from your school or employer. If you’re studying at a conservative institution, you might not want the system administrator to know which sites you’re visiting. ISPs in several countries have the ability to sell the data they collect on you to marketers, limit traffic to specific websites, or build a profile on you.
Torrenting and Cease and Desist Notices
Because torrenting traffic is clogging their networks, some 3rd-world ISPs are limiting it. In South Asia, Quora reports, this is standard practice, but ISPs with adequate network capacity in competitive areas aren’t concerned. They wouldn’t risk losing the client base. If your ISP restricts your torrent traffic, you can just look for another provider.
The most serious risk while torrenting is that your IP address will be revealed on the tracker. There are several firms who do this and acquire your IP address, perform a reverse lookup, and send you a DCMA complaint via your ISP. Your ISP will need to double-check the IP address to determine if it belongs to a customer; if so
If you reply to these content rights owners, they may threaten you with legal action or try to persuade you to pay for the material in other ways. You may use a VPN to conceal your identity. Because the VPN’s IP address is utilized for downloading, there is nothing linking back to you.
Let’s Wrap This Up
A virtual private network (VPN) is a technology that allows users to access material on the Internet from locations outside their home countries. A VPN also allows you to remain secure while downloading, as rights holders may be unable to identify your public IP address if they cannot find it. VPN encryption exists but it’s only useful on sites that don’t use HTTPS, and the vast majority of sites do. If you’re interested, click here to find out more.