What is a VPN? Virtual Private Network Explained

January 12th, 2021

What is a VPN? Virtual Private Network Explained

Remember wiretapping—the infamous practice of spying on by listening in on telephone conversations?

Well, wiretapping isn't dead. It's been digitized and baptized into "eavesdropping." Today, it's not just law enforcement. Even criminals, business rivals, and everyone else can eavesdrop on your online communication, spy on you, track you, stalk you, and could eventually sabotage you if they were so inclined. You need at least a VPN to protect your identity, because relying on antivirus alone isn't enough.

What is a VPN?

VPN is a virtual private network. It takes you off the public internet by creating a 'virtual private network' for you to play, browse, talk, and work online without anyone eavesdropping on your activities.

A VPN covers your device's IP address, which makes online activities untraceable. A VPN solution adds encryption to your connection, making it hard to hack. That means that you can transact online without worrying about cybercriminals.

Why You Need a VPN in 2021

  • Identity theft: In 2019, people lost $16.9 billion due to fraud and identity theft online. One of the leading causes is unsecured connections. It happens that as you access the internet on a public WIFI, criminal minds on the network monitor you. As you input data on a payment platform, they seize the information and use it to access, takeover, and steal from your accounts.
  • Data theft: Sometimes, they don't even touch your money or identity. They only steal and misuse your data. This is mostly done by unethical advertisers who sell your information, including email address, browsing history, and location data to brands.
  • Remote access: 2020 highlighted the need for remote working capabilities. When the pandemic hit, most businesses lacked a secure and robust network for employees to access their workstations on the go. You can imagine the losses many incurred.
  • Blocked services: Not every region of the world gets to enjoy the internet with freedom. From Netflix to Facebook and TikTok—these services are banned or blocked-in certain countries. When one goes on safari, they are forced to live under the proverbial rock.
  • Bandwidth metering: Your internet service provider has a bad habit. After a long time of gaming online, streaming, or downloading stuff, they reduce your data transfer speed. You'll experience sluggishness even on an "unlimited" package.
  • Full-scale cyber-attacks: This is the age of sophisticated cyber-attacks; 445 million cyber-attacks were reported in 2020. From AI malware to distributed denial of service and bad power attacks—yes, they can attack your phone charger and command it to blow up your phone—antiviruses aren't sufficient to protect your devices.

VPN is the solution to all these challenges and needs. The encryption and IP masking that a VPN provides secure your data and online activities.

When you use a VPN, no one, whether cybercriminals, ISPs, brands, or governments, can see your device or activities online.

How Does a VPN work?

When you download a VPN application to your gadget and sign up, it starts working for you. It encodes, encrypts, or "locks up" all the data you send and receive.

The VPN creates a safe passage for your data on the public internet. Through encapsulation, it ensures that no one else can look at your information. The data gets decrypted when it gets to the destination.

  • It hides your computer’s internet ID (IP address).
  • It masks your browsing history.
  • It keeps your location a secret.
  • It enables remote desktop connections to your office.
  • It can help to fake your location by server switching so you can work abroad from your living room.
  • It strengthens your online security and helps you outmaneuver bandwidth/data metering and service bans.

How to Use a VPN

It is easier than Instagram. You do not have to be a tech genius to use a VPN. Simply:

  1. Download the VPN app on your device.
  2. Sign up and log in.
  3. Connect to a server near you and start using the internet with the privacy you deserve.