Thursday, January 26, 2023

How To Use Secure VPN

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Advantage : Secure Browsing On Public Networks

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Using a public Wi-Fi network can be very risky. Other users on the same network can easily tap into your data and personal information. Since you dont want others to have access to, for instance, your email login, images/files or credit card information it might be wise to use a VPN connection.

The VPN encrypts all of your data while you use the public Wi-Fi network. A hacker will only see encrypted matter and wont be able to see or use your personal information.

What Does VPN Stand For

VPN means virtual private network.

  • A VPN is virtual because its created digitally there isnt a physical cable that reaches from your device directly to the VPN server.

  • A VPN is private because it encrypts your data and hides your IP address.

  • A VPN is a network because it creates a connection between multiple computers your device and the VPN server.

What’s The Fastest VPN

When a VPN is active, your web traffic is taking a more circuitous route than usual, often resulting in sluggish download and upload speeds as well as increased latency. The good news is that using a VPN probably isn’t going to remind you of the dial-up days of yore.

Most services provide perfectly adequate internet speed when in use, and they can even handle streaming HD video. However, 4K video and other data-intensive tasks like gaming over a VPN are another story.

When we test VPNs, we use the Ookla speed test tool. This test provides metrics for latency, download speeds, and upload speeds. Any one of these can be an important measurement depending on your needs, but we tend to view the download speed as the most important. After all, we live in an age of digital consumption.

To evaluate VPNs, we first run several speed tests without the VPN. Then, we compare that figure to speed tests taken with the VPN active and find a percent change. Our speed tests stress comparison and reproducibility. That means we stand by our work, but your individual results may vary. After all, perhaps you live on top of a VPN server, or just happen to have a super-high bandwidth connection. Please read our feature, conveniently named How We Test VPNs, if you want the full details.

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Can You Trust Your VPN Service

If you’re using a service to route all your internet traffic through its servers, you have to be able to trust that service. It’s easier to trust companies that have been around longer, simply because their reputation is likely to be known. The trouble is that the VPN industry is very young, and some VPN companies have been playing dirty. In this environment, figuring out who to trust is very difficult.

At PCMag, we give special attention to the privacy practices of VPN companies and not just the technology they provide. In our testing, we read through the privacy policies and discuss company practices with VPN company representatives. We look for a commitment to protecting user information, and practices that gather and retain as little user information as possible.

As part of our research, we also make sure to find out where the company is based and under what legal framework it operates. Some countries don’t have data-retention laws, making it easier to keep a promise of “We don’t keep any logs.” It’s also useful to know under what circumstances a VPN company will hand over information to law enforcement and what information it would have to provide if that should happen.

How Fortinet Can Help


Fortinet provides a range of secure VPN tools with its FortiGate Internet Protocol security /secure sockets layer VPN solutions. The FortiGate VPN offerings are high-performance, scalable VPNs that provide users and organizations with access control and consistent security policies across all their applications, devices, and locations.

The FortiGate VPNs offer secure communication between multiple endpoints and networks through IPsec and SSL technologies. This ensures that users data is protected in high-speed motion, which prevents them from falling prey to data breaches or cyberattacks such as man-in-the-middle attacks.

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Does A VPN Protect You From Google

Now, a VPN wont stop Google from targeting you with tailor-made ads, however, if youre like millions of other people who cherish their privacy, you can use a VPN to hide your identity.Google, or for that matter, anyone tracking or monitoring your online activities, cannot identify you as the user.

Enabling A Network Lock

In the same vein as a kill switch, enabling your network lock is another quick and easy way to help ensure your connection is secure in case your WiFi gets interrupted.

In the event of VPN interference, the network lock will automatically prevent your device from accessing the internet. That means your information is able to remain protected while your VPN reconfigures itself.

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Case Study: How A VPN Aids Trane In Remote Monitoring

About CustomerTrane is a world leader in air conditioning systems, services and solutions, they control the comfort of the air for people in homes and many of the world’s largest and most famous commercial, industrial and institutional buildings.

Customer ChallengeTrane needed the means to securely monitor the health of critical HVAC systems. These systems were spread across the world.

OpenVPN SolutionTrane used OpenVPN Access Server software and OpenVPN clients for Linux and Windows operating systems. Trane selected our solution because their equipment installers could easily install our VPN clients and our server supported some of their required advanced networking features along with an external MySQL database.

ResultsWith OpenVPN, Trane was able to create a private network that enabled their central monitoring center to carry out round the clock remote monitoring for more than 4,000 of their remote telemetry locations.

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Another benefit of a VPN is that your true IP address is hidden behind the IP address of the VPN server. This makes it harder for advertisers and others to track your movements across the web. Even a dedicated observer would have a hard time telling whose traffic is whose, because your data is mixed in with everyone else using the same VPN server.

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Advantage : Protection Against Hackers And Governments

A VPN encrypts your data traffic through strong encryption protocols, which make intercepting and reading your data almost impossible. Why is this important? Well, in this day and age there are a lot of parties that want to listen in or take a look at what you are doing online.

There are many different parties that are interested in your internet traffic, among them are governments and cybercriminals. The security a VPN offers makes it a lot harder for them to look at your data. This increases your online safety.

We have to mention that a VPN isnt the ultimate solution to all things cybercrime. We always recommend combining a VPN with a good antivirus solution so you cover all your bases.

Will A VPN Service Help Me Connect Securely To My Office Network

If you’re trying to connect to your on-premises corporate network, you’ll most likely be assigned a VPN application by your IT department. This will allow you to establish a point-to-point connection between your local device and a server owned and operated by your company.

But, if your company is cloud-based, and you’re connecting to SaaS applications like Salesforce or Google, you should probably use a VPN service since you’re not actually connecting to your company but instead to a public cloud application.

If your IT department does not specifically identify a VPN service you should use for accessing their public cloud applications, definitely look at our VPN directory and choose one of the higher-rated service providers.

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Are There Free Secure VPNs

Yes, if you don’t feel like spending any money, then you can get a quality, reliable free VPN that is secure and will allow you to sufficiently protect your privacy without having to pay a single cent. It’s important to keep in mind, however, that free VPN services are typically restricted in various ways such as in connection speeds, number of server locations, premium features, and data limits.

It’s also important to understand that genuine, high-quality free VPN services are exceedingly rare. So if you do opt for a free VPN, then make certain that it does its part to protect your privacy and keep you secure. Why? Because the vast majority of free VPN services are either completely useless and provide little to no online security, or they make their money by selling your data to the highest bidder. Some free options can even be outright dangerous to use since they can be crawling with malware.

If you don’t mind dropping a few bucks a month for one of the premium services listed in this guide, then you’d really be better off securing your connection with one of our recommended secure VPNs.

Case Study: How Our Software Secures Sicom Point Of Sale Transactions

VPN explained: How does it work? Why would you use it ...

About CustomerSICOM is a provider of quick service restaurant technology that serves more than 25,000 restaurants in over 50 countries.

Customer ChallengeSICOMs hybrid-Cloud POS systems rely on the Cloud for configuration, reporting, payment processing, and other services. They needed a means to securely connect their POS to these Cloud-based services.

OpenVPN SolutionOpenVPN Access Server software is deployed on SICOMs Cloud and OpenVPN Connect client for Windows is integrated into their POS solutions

ResultsWith OpenVPN, SICOM is able to rest easy knowing that their critical Cloud-based services are being securely delivered to more than 16,000 of their POS systems.

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When Should I Choose Either Dynamic Or Static Ip

Every device connected to the public internet is assigned an IP address. It’s like a phone number for each device. To be able to connect to the internet, each device needs such an address.

The term “dynamic IP address” means that when a device connects to the internet, it’s given an IP address taken from a pool of available addresses. While it’s possible to get the same IP address on multiple connections, generally, each time you connect, you’ll get a different address.

If you want to hide your address from the web applications you’re connecting to you’ll want a VPN service that provides dynamic IP addresses. In our directory, we list the number of IP addresses each service offers. By using a service with more available IP addresses, the chances of you getting a repeated IP are quite small.

There are some minor disadvantages to using a dynamic IP. If someone who previously had the IP address you’ve been assigned did something nefarious on a service you use, the IP address might be banned. Usually, VPN providers are cautious about checking their IP addresses against blacklists, so the chances of this being a problem for you are slim.

Unless you have a specific application that you know needs a static IP, you’ll want to be assigned a new dynamic IP address for each VPN session you initiate.

Are VPNs Trustworthy

If you choose the right one, then yes. The thing is that there are many VPNs out there that simply aren’t trustworthy at all and actually do little to protect your online privacy. But each of the secure VPNs we recommend in this guide can indeed be fully trusted to safeguard your privacy online. We thoroughly researched each recommended provider to ensure that its privacy and security features are all up to snuff. Rest assured that the providers listed in this article are all reliable, quality providers that go above and beyond the call of duty when it comes to protecting user privacy.

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How Does A VPN Work

A VPN hides your IP address by letting the network redirect it through a specially configured remote server run by a VPN host. This means that if you surf online with a VPN, the VPN server becomes the source of your data. This means your Internet Service Provider and other third parties cannot see which websites you visit or what data you send and receive online. A VPN works like a filter that turns all your data into “gibberish”. Even if someone were to get their hands on your data, it would be useless.

When To Use A VPN

How to Work Securely by Using a VPN

Many people who value their online privacy employ a VPN all the time. The added step of starting the VPN app and authenticating is minor compared to the benefits. Here are several situations when using a VPN is particularly recommended:

One might think the added security a VPN connection provides would always be a good thing. There are at least two exceptions. Here are 2 situations in which you might want to disable your VPN connection.

  • When your actual location is relevant to your online activity, e.g. when searching for something in your neighborhood, or making use of an online streaming service that adheres to geographic licensing limitations. VPN services generally provide a number of international locations you can assume by connecting through different server addresses, but these may not be located accurately enough for your purposes.
  • When your online activities are not security sensitive, but your mobile devices battery usage is a concern. Using a VPN app adds a slight computational load to all of your internet communications some say 5 to 15%. If youre on a mobile device with a nearly empty battery AND the online task you are performing does not require full security or anonymity, you might do well to turn the VPN off and save a little juice.
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    Should I Use A VPN At Home

    The idea of being hacked at home might seem a bit far-fetched, but, unfortunately, its not.

    A VPN will have your back if you suspect someone may have, or be after, your WiFi password – and your WiFi passwords is a precious thing, controlling who has access to your devices and home connections.

    Remember those data packets that a VPN encrypts through the private tunnel? This feature protects you from cybercriminals attempting to dupe you with false connections, as youre already connected to the secure VPN, and theres no chance of your traffic being infiltrated and injected with malware that could steal your personal information.

    Lets also say that you werent using a VPN at the coffee shop and accidentally brought a malicious program back home: itll prey on your router if you dont have a VPN. With one, your router benefits from the encryption it provides, too, even if it becomes a target of attacks.

    Using VPN For Streaming

    One of the most common uses of a VPN is streaming. Thats because most streaming platforms offer different content for different regions, while some streaming options are downright unavailable in certain countries. From a user perspective, thats really unfair.

    Luckily, even these problems can be solved by the almighty VPN. By changing your IP address, a VPN service spoofs your country, tricking the streaming page of your choice. Thus giving you the posiibility to watch the Oscars, new movies, TV shows, and sporting events like Formula 1 online from any location.

    Unluckily, Netflix and other pages are constantly blocking VPN traffic , making it more and more difficult to bypass geographical restrictions.

    As a result, trying to unblock streaming services is a never-ending battle, and a VPN that works today might be unable to help you watch geo-blocked movies tomorrow. Thus, its a good idea to buy monthly VPN subscriptions, constantly switching to the service that works with your favorite streaming site.

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    Are The Free VPN Services Any Good

    There are some good free VPN services, but I avoid all free VPNs.

    Why? It costs a lot to provide the infrastructure to operate a VPN service, from the network pipes to the servers. That infrastructure has to be paid for somehow. If user fees do not pay for it, advertising, data gathering, or some nastier reason are likely to be paid for.

    Here’s another reason not to use a free service, and this one is a lot scarier: Malware providers and criminal organizations have set up free VPN services that not only don’t protect you but actively harvest personal data, and either use it or sell it to the highest bidder. Instead of being protected, you’re being plundered.

    What Does No Logging Mean

    How To Use VPN

    No logging means that your VPN provider doesnt keep any records of what you do while using the VPN. A no-log VPN provider wont track or store any information sent over the VPN connection they know only your IP address, payment information, and the VPN server you use while connected.

    Whenever an activity happens on a computer, that event is logged. Since servers are computers, they collect information by default whenever theyre accessed by a device such as yours.

    Before choosing a VPN, read the providers privacy policy closely to see exactly what type of information they collect and keep. If your VPN is storing your browsing history, then it defeats the purpose of using a VPN service for internet privacy and security.

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    What Do Net Neutrality Changes Mean For My VPN Usage

    Net neutrality has been severely under fire in the US. The Federal Communications Commission has eliminated many of the consumer protections against internet service providers harvesting traffic data and selling that data to advertisers, or worse.

    This could be bad. I’m not terribly concerned if Comcast discovers my secret passion for muscle cars and I get more ads for car customizing kits. It might be annoying, but I’m not doing anything I want to hide. The problem could occur if ISPs start inserting their own ads in place of ads by, say, ZDNet. That could cut off the revenue that keeps websites alive, and that could have very serious repercussions.

    As for personal use and whether you should use a VPN at home because of net neutrality, I don’t think we’re there… yet. Certainly, if you’re working on confidential information and connecting to work, you should use a VPN. But we haven’t yet seen any evidence of ISPs being so intrusive that always-on VPNs are required at home.

    Stay tuned to this guide because if that changes, we’ll let you know.

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