The Best VPNs Have The Following Characteristics
Hide Your IP Address: IP addresses are valuable pieces of information that can be used to identify your location. A virtual private network will hide your IP address, making it seem like you are somewhere else. This is especially useful for anyone who uses public WiFi networks or whose home IP address might be attractive to hackers.
Encrypt Your Traffic: Connecting to a VPN will encrypt all of the data which travels between your computer and the VPN server. This ensures that no one can see what you are doing online, even if they are using the same network as you.
Prevent Others From Seeing Your Location: If youre in a public place and arent using a VPN, someone can use your unprotected IP address to figure out where you are. This is especially true when using public WiFi networks.
Prevent Snooping on Your Local Network: When using a VPN, all of the data flowing to and from your network is encrypted so that if anyone tries to capture it, they will only see encrypted gibberish. This means that if someone snoops on your local network, they wont be able to access any of your data because its all encrypted.
Get Around Blocks: Some governments are known for their internet blocks, which include censorship and blocking people from getting access to foreign websites for whatever reason a good example of this is Facebook in mainland China. A VPN will allow you to get around these blocks so that you can unblock sites that your government doesnt want you to visit.
A Quick Overview For VPN
We have had the chance to explain how a VPN works several times previously. Let us take a quick refresher on how VPN works.
Virtual Private Network uses a remote server as a proxy for a users internet requests. The Internet Service Provider is relieved of its duty to fulfill these requests by looking up the correct domains through its DNS resolver. It uses encrypted to add a layer of security to prevent any third-party from sniffing at the data packets and see what destinations the user is visiting.
Using a VPN doesnt take the ISP out of the process entirely it simply uses the ISP to route data to its server. It then connects to the destination webserver and returns the result to the user.
The VPN server makes a connection request to the webserver, so its IP address is what registers at the destination, not the users IP address.
You can learn more about VPN in our blog here.
Should I Use A VPN At Home
VPNs are especially useful when you are browsing the web through public Wi-Fi, whether you are at a coffee shop, hotel lobby, or public library. But a VPN can also protect your privacy when youre at home, keeping your browsing safe from prying eyes. You can also use a VPN to access streaming content from your home that might be otherwise locked in your area.
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How To Keep Your Privacy Secure
Protecting your online privacy means keeping your devices and networks secure. We’ve already mentioned some ways to do this – such as using a good password manager. However, here are some additional tips that can help you protect your privacy against hackers:
These tips should help block all the little backdoors that hackers like to use to get into networks, apps, and devices. Together with the other actions you’ve taken – reducing your digital footprint, using a VPN, and using encryption – they should help keep your private life the way you want it: private.
Finally, if you care about protecting your online privacy, make sure you keep up to date on cybersecurity. New threats are always emerging, and new ways of dealing with these threats emerge in response. Just as you’d update your computer software, keep your brain updated by checking in with the IT security community every so often, and check out the latest articles here at Kaspersky.com.
Is It Really Dangerous To Not Use A Public Wifi VPN
As the name implies, public wifi networks can be found in public spaces like malls, coffee shops, hotels, airports, and restaurants. These networks allow people to access the Internet for free and, for this reason, it has become so widespread that the majority of people have started using them without batting an eye.
According to a US study by One World Identity , around 81% of Americans use public wifi occasionally or on a regular basis. While theres no harm in using public wifi to check social media accounts, read blogs, or casual web browsing, certain online activities that involve transmitting personal and sensitive information on the Internet can prove risky such as accessing emails, logging on to your bank account, making online purchases, etc.
What most people dont realize is that public wifi networks can be extremely risky when it comes to data security. While the businesses behind these networks believe that theyre doing the public a great service , the security behind public wifi hotspots tends to be poor or none at all.
The following are some of the most common cybersecurity threats associated with the use of public wifi networks:
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If Youre Using A Bad VPN
Many VPNs are free and like always:
Few things are TRULY free on the Internet.
When you choose to go with a low-quality VPN provider on your site you also invite trouble into your system in many cases. The problem is that they will typically sell your information and they might even install bad code on your system that can do harm.
Hackers are smart people. They know how to get around obstacles.
Thats what they do.
So, make sure you never use a VPN unless you trust them. You shouldnt trust a free VPN. Not only is it typically slow and clunky because you will be sharing the bandwidth with a ton of other users, but more importantly, its not safe.
You need to go with a trusted VPN that has a good reputation in the market. Weve made a comparison of trusted VPNs that work great on any device. They are only around $5-10 per month so its a CHEAP price to pay for protection. It will quickly cost you a fortune if your system gets hacked!
What Does A VPN Not Protect You From
While using a VPN protects you from a lot of common hacking tactics, it does not protect you from all of them.
You could, for example, download an infected file and allow a hacker into your system.
Or, you could accidentally open a bad link from a spam email, and get infected that way.
What this means is, even if you use a VPN, you still need to take security measures to protect yourself from a hack.
Here are some of our top tips on how to do that:
- Keep your operating system updated. No one likes bothering with those pesky OS updates, but heres the thing: operating system upgrades come with defenses against cutting-edge viruses and malware.
- Use an antivirus. A good antivirus can protect you from some of the most common viruses, should you infect your system. Wed recommend using VIPRE, award-winning antivirus for both home computers and businesses.
- When using public Wi-Fi, connect to a VPN. As weve just explained, you want to use a VPN on public Wi-Fi to avoid hacking attacks like MITM.
- Avoid questionable websites or emails. Chances are, those shady websites or spammy emails contain a virus or two.
- Dont give out your username/password to anyone.
- Dont give out your security question answers. If someone on the internet asks you seemingly harmless questions like whats your pets name or what was the first school you went to, dont answer them unless you know who they are. Chances are, theyre fishing for the answers to your security questions.
Can Hackers Still Access My Computer With My VPN
The answer to this is Yes and No. A hacker cannot directly access your system if youre using a trusted VPN but your information can be acquired in a couple of ways.
If you download malware-infected files from a suspicious website while browsing anonymously, this will infect your system with malware and your VPN would be powerless to stop it. Also, you may click on a link online which may have malicious spyware in hidden code.
Your VPN does hide your internet activities and data from hackers. However, the spyware downloaded and installed would record your keystrokes, mouse clicks, and other computer patterns and then transfer it to the person who generated the malware code.
This is one reason why you should not download a free VPN. Many hackers use this free VPNs as a bait to lure unsuspecting users to download malware or trackers on their system. So it is recommended for you to get your VPN from a trusted source.
Always Use VPN On Public Wi
Public Wi-Fi is the most common place where Man-in-the-Middle attacks thrive due to weak security. A hacker can create a fake Wi-Fi access point that resembles the real one and allow you to connect to it. Intercept the communication between you and a web server it can see inside every data packet. A hacker can do whats known as SSL stripping to show you the HTTP version of the website if the webserver does not use HSTS for strict-policy HTTPS or direct you to a malicious website.
It is not uncommon to see Man-in-the-Middle attacks pair with phishing to achieve success. It is why you need to educate yourself on the various phishing techniques that exist.
VPN encrypts everything, keeping you safe from MITM attacks on whichever network that you use.
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Speed Performance & Consistency
Like every other VPN, IPVanish VPN calls itself the worlds fastest VPN. However, based on my testing, they can actually claim to be one of the fastest VPNs available.
There is a lot that goes into Internet speeds via a VPN. It is quite literally a middleman. So there is going to be a speed dropoff compared to non-VPN speeds, especially if your server is geographically distant from your location. That said, there is a lot that a good VPN can do for Internet speeds. Among other things, they can have a geographically diverse set of servers that correspond to both customer location and in-demand content. They can provide capacity above and beyond demand. And they can work with server settings depending on connection types and types of content.
I live and work in Atlanta, Georgia, United States, so my tests all have a strong American bias. But, IPVanish VPN is remarkably consistent across its servers, both in the United States and those in other countries, with speed and performance. And, several speed tests conclude that this VPN seems to have the most similar speeds to internet connections without a VPN for both downloading and uploading.
Here is my baseline, non-VPN internet speed.
Here is my typical result with IPVanish.
That is more than 50% of my non-VPN speeds. That is very impressive based on anecdotal comparisons with other VPN providers that Ive tested. Not the greatestbut also not the worst.
Overall, IPVanish scores really well on the speed/performance area.
Best VPNs For Protection Against Hackers
- Hackers grow more resourceful with each passing year and attacks only become fiercer.
- You should keep your PC secured with the best anti-hacking VPNs and antivirus software.
- While VPNs can’t stop hackers from attacking you, they can mask your online identity.
- Spoofing your identity could make a hacker’s attempt to attack you not worth pursuing.
The popularity of VPNs in the last decade has come with a lot of misconceptions since many people do not really know what a VPN does and its mechanism of protecting devices.
Among this misconception is the idea that VPNs alone provide protection against hackers and viruses.
5 BEST VPNS WE RECOMMEND
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Cant Always Access Geo
You may not be concerned about having access to geo-restricted content, like Netflix or YouTube videos that some countries ban. If not, then you can disregard this issue. For some, accessing geo-restricted content is a vital feature of their VPN.
IPVanish VPN claims to gain access to this content quickly, but some customers have found it hit-or-miss, especially with Netflix. But, to be fair, as more services catch on to VPNs gaining access to their content, more VPNs will have similar issues.
When I was trying to access geo-restricted content, I kept having to jump through hoops, like this one from Google
Its not a deal killer but was something that stood out as an inconvenience compared to other VPNs.
How Does VPN Protect You
Many reputable VPNs use 256-bit encryption for your connections as this is the most reliable encryption protocol available. It is practically hacker-proof and enables your information to stay hidden.
Hackers wont be able to access your passwords, financial details, and email information when youre surfing the web via a trusted VPN.
There are also other security protocols such as DNS leak protection and Killswitch features this enables users to surf the web anonymously. This is achieved by hiding your IP address and preventing hackers from accessing your keystrokes when browsing online.
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Does The VPN Have A Kill Switch
What if your connection with your VPN provider drops? Usually, your laptop, smartphone or other device will revert back to public Internet Protocol address provided by your home Internet Service Provider. This means that snoops could then be able to track your online activity and see your IP address until you connect back with your VPN provider.
Some VPN providers offer a kill switch feature to deal with this. If the VPN connection drops, the kill switch is designed to instantly sever your connection to the internet. This way, your IP address and online activity arent visible to anyone else.
Does the VPN have a kill switch?
- Norton Secure VPN no
- Tunnel Bear yes
Three Ways To Protect Yourself From Hackers
Another day, another data breach. At least that’s what it feels like after the data firm Hold Security made public its discovery that a gang of Russian hackers has made off with a cache of 1.2 billion user name/password combinations and more than 500 million email addresses. As reported by the New York Times, this represents “the largest known collection of stolen Internet credentials.” The sites from which the data was stolen range from “Fortune 500 companies to very small websites,” Alex Holden, founder of Hold Security, told the Times. And while Holden has declined to identify specific sites that were targeted, he cautions, “most of these sites are still vulnerable.”
While this latest episode reinforces the notion that hackers are usually one step ahead of the companies you’ve been trusting to house your personal information, the situation is not quite as desperate as you may be tempted to believe, if you’re willing to take a more proactive approach to your online security.
Taking these steps won’t completely eliminate the risk of data theft of course, but they’ll give you much better security odds than the vast majority of Internet users.
Treat Wi-Fi hotspots with caution
Use a password manager. Now.
1Password lets you create and store usernames and passwords for all the sites you visit while… removing the burden of having to memorize them.
Browse the Web with a VPN
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Does The VPN Log User Data
Paid VPN services usually promise that they wont log your data. Thats a good thing: If your VPN provider is logging or tracking your activity online, whats to stop it from one day sharing or selling your browsing history with businesses or government agencies?
The logging of data is why many tech experts recommend that consumers avoid free VPN services. These services might log your data and then sell them to others as a way to make money because they are not collecting monthly subscriptions.
Remember, the purpose of a VPN is to protect your online privacy. So its wise to consider a VPN provider that doesnt log your data.
Does the VPN log user data?
- Norton Secure VPN no
- Tunnel Bear no
How Does A VPN Protect Me From Hackers At Home
The number of smart devices that we own has drastically increased. Besides smartphones, tablets, and PCs, we also have other gadgets like surveillance cameras, smart fridges, and smart TVs.
All these smart devices are part of our home network and only work when connected to the internet. Therefore, the home network should be as secure as possible because all smart devices are vulnerable to hacking. Its impossible to connect each device separately with a VPN. However, you can connect your VPN with a router. It will secure all your connected devices at once, under the VPN connection.
When you connect a VPN with a router, it creates a secure encrypted tunnel that routes your online traffic. In short, a VPN establishes an encrypted connection using a server of your choice.
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VPNs Allow You To Change Your Location Online
VPNs are especially handy if you are living or traveling outside of your home country. Without a VPN, you may find yourself using websites in different languages because the websites are localized to your current location. If you are from the United States but traveling abroad, you can VPN back to a familiar location and access web pages in your home language.
You can also do the opposite. If you are at home in the United States, you can use your VPN to access a foreign location in order to legally watch shows or movies from another country. And because a VPN funnels your internet traffic, it still protects your identity when accessing foreign locations on the internet.