According to a recent survey, only one in three computer users rely on a VPN. This number is expected to rise over the next few years as more people become concerned about data privacy issues.
Breaches affecting large companies and individuals have made cybersecurity concerns of paramount importance to many. This is seen by the spike in the number of VPN downloads that have been seen in the Google Play store.
Another force that is impacting the public’s interest in VPNs are the changes in data protection laws. The repeal of net neutrality laws have been of great concern to many, and this has caused them to learn more about the various VPN services out there.
All of this means that there are individuals using a VPN for the first time every day. Many have only a vague understanding of how the technology functions and what the technology can do for them. As with any technology, VPNs, when used correctly, can enhance a person’s cybersecurity. However, when used inappropriately or when an individual misunderstands what a VPN can do, their use of a VPN can actually put their security at risk.
Clearly, a VPN will help protect you from a number of risks. But it is not a catch-all form of protection. There are a number of risks that your VPN is not designed to protect you from. For example, you may browse your favorite e-commerce store via your VPN. However, if this retailer has a data breach, your credentials, such as payment details, are at risk just like everyone else’s involved in the hack.
1. Misunderstanding the Terms and Conditions of Your VPN
Privacy is an extremely important concept to understand when either reading information online or creating your own content.
2. Misunderstanding How Free VPNs Make Money
New VPN users will sometimes be enticed by free VPN services. Who does not want something for free? It’s easy to ask why you should pay for a VPN when there are so many that are offering the exact same thing for free. When looking at VPN services, you have to remember that you are looking at businesses. Businesses make money. If the VPN is not making money by charging you for their service, you have to ask yourself how they are making money. The answer is that you are the product they are selling.
No. They are not literally selling you, but they are selling your data. As you are browsing online, they are collecting information about you. This information is being sold to marketers who are using that information to tailor their advertisements to your needs. This is why it is often better to spend a few dollars and pay for a VPN.
3. Misunderstanding the Differences between VPNs
Not all VPNs are created equal. Certain VPNs have been designed to meet a higher level of security than others. Before selecting a VPN, you have to decide what you want to use it for. For example, are you looking for a VPN that is heavy on security but might slow down your Internet speed? Or are you looking for a VPN that has been proven to get around geo restrictions, such as those used on streaming services like Amazon Prime or Netflix?? Not all VPNs are going to meet all of these requirements. You will need to do your due diligence in selecting the right VPN for your needs.
4. Misunderstanding the Privacy Capabilities of a VPN
A VPN will create an encrypted tunnel, allowing your web traffic to interact with others. This will prevent nefarious individuals, be them cybercriminals, government agencies, or your own ISP, from eavesdropping on you when you are using a public Wi-Fi network. When your VPN is activated, they will not be able to see IP address, where you are browsing from, or the information that you send using various forms.
5. Misunderstanding How VPNs Can Help Individuals
Businesses devote a lot of time, energy, and resources to protecting their employees and their businesses from cyber-attacks. This is why many businesses use things like password managers and VPNs regularly. A mistake some have made is thinking that VPNs only work in the business environment. What they fail to realize is that same protection their employer is using can benefit them as well.
As an individual, it can be difficult to take the needed initiative to protect yourself. However, it is necessary. In the same way that technology has advanced rapidly in recent years, so have the techniques that cybercriminals employ. Too many individuals are choosing to remain in the dark when it comes to their cybersecurity needs.
A VPN is an important element for an overall personal cybersecurity strategy. However, a VPN on its own is not a fix-all solution. In order to get the most out of your VPN, take time to learn what it can truly do, what other security measures complement a VPN, and how to get the most out of this security solution.
Do you currently use a VPN in your personal life or at work? What benefits have you found from using the VPN? We would like to hear from you. Please leave your thoughts in the comments section below.