First, let’s understand that the internet is a public domain, so online privacy & data security are paramount important topics, especially during Covid-19 when people are asked to work from home by Organisations. Generally, over internet, we do lots of daily activities like emailing, online shopping, banking, social media browsing, and many more. To make our transactions secure and private we need a virtual private network (VPN).
(i) VPN provides data security, your data packets sent over the WiFi network through VPN become encrypted, scrambled, and thereby unreadable.
(ii) VPN keeps your browsing history private, meaning without a VPN whatever website you visit your ISP tracks your IP address and browsing history and sell it. As a result, you receive targeted advertisements. Hence in a way, VPN offers you online freedom being an anonymous internet user.
(iii) It masks your IP address and your location information and makes it look like you logged in from thousands of miles away using a “virtual tunnel”. So, you can choose from a list of gateways (USA/ Japan… any name) even if you log in from any other country.
(iv) Your Device details (if logged in from a mobile/ desktop/ tab …) are also kept protected when you use a VPN
We often login to public WiFi networks in Café/ Railway stations or Airports where it is easier for the hackers to obtain your WiFi user id/password and then capture your Online banking credentials, Credit card details etc – this is called Identity theft. So, VPN protects us from many degrees of online hacks which tries to steal your personal information.
Free VPNs are available in the market
VPN markets are overcrowded, and many of them are considered reputed like:
I wouldn’t recommend free VPN, these companies sell your personal data (email Id, demographics, browsing history, etc.) to their business partners and thereby you can be a potential target for Phishing, Ransomware type of attacks; although if you really want to go for a free VPN, try:
Should you always leave your VPN on:
I’d recommend NO, because
(i) During one VPN session, the IP address would be the same so in a way, you should close the session when you’re done
(ii) It also hampers your broadband speed