A Virtual Private Network or VPN is the way to send and receive digital data across shared or public networks. This technology encrypts data sent from the device when accessing online services and applications. It means that the data that you are sharing, the websites you are visiting, as well as the IP address are not in any way linked to your device when you are accessing them through the VPN.
Basically, a VPN allows you to keep your digital information safe from the prying eyes of online trackers. It also helps you access sites that may not be accessible in your country. VPN handles passwords and certificates authentication methods, so users can have secure access to the network.
In short, using a VPN allows you to:
- Stop rogue advertisers from tracking you and collecting data about your internet activity.
- Protect yourself against identity theft by using secure connections.
- Protect your passwords and personal information from unauthorized access.
- Avoid location-based restrictions and access content around the globe.
- Hide your online activity and avoid data throttling.
- Be in control of your online privacy.
However, sometimes such services can be used to spread malware instead of protecting you from it. Hackers commonly target VPN accounts by hijacking official pages of VPN software providers or by creating malicious copies of legitimate sites.
VPN and online security
VPN software relies on advanced encryption methods to ensure that no malicious actors can get their hands on your emails, passwords, files you store on the machine, credit card numbers, or online banking credentials. But even though your data and traffic is protected by this service, a VPN has no anti-virus properties and cannot protect your computer from being infected with viruses or malware. Therefore, to keep the machine safe from malicious infections, you still need qualified anti-malware tools.
VPN simply ensures that you can access different public Wi-Fi hotspots without having to worry about attackers exploiting the connection. There are various types of VPN connections that provide anonymity as part of their functionality. The most popular configurations are L2TP/IPsec, OpenVPN, IKEv2, and PPTP. Some providers only support one of these, while others employ multiple configurations.
Types of VPN Software
A built-in VPN
A built-in VPN simply means that the provider does not need additional installation since the VPN functionality is embedded within another application.
There are several open-source software applications that are available for VPN. They implement virtual private network techniques and create secure point-to-point or site-to-site connections.
Browser-based VPNs protect incoming and outbound data from the browser. Web browsers like Chrome, Firefox and others can gain VPN functionality if users install particular add-ons in them.
How to choose the VPN client that is best for your needs?
There are several important things to consider when it comes to choosing your VPN. You as a client need to have trust in the VPN provider and to receive assurance that he is not spying on you or gathering information that is personal and sensitive. In addition to choosing a trustworthy provider, you should also pay attention to the maintenance service. If the VPN software is not maintained properly, it may be running on users’ machines without being patched, which may create vulnerabilities for malicious actors to exploit.
The best VPN clients that provide maximum protection are designed to work on a single device like a desktop, laptop, smartphone, or tablet. However, if you want to protect multiple devices with the VPN, you can use the option that applies VPN to a router.
Best VPN features to look for:
- Geo-location blocks bypassing.
- Unlimited Bandwidth.
- Protection on multiple devices.
- Army-grade security features (like data encryption)
Reliable VPN should be using army-grade encryption and well-protected servers. Still, there is a chance that your personal information can get leaked and fall in the hands of hackers if you are using a shady low-quality VPN. Unfortunately, free VPN services can easily be targeted by different cyber infections due to potential insufficient security measures and vulnerabilities. Another thing to keep in mind is that many free VPN applications that claim to keep users safe from nagging ads and malware end up being malicious or poorly developed. That’s why it is best to invest a few dollars in the paid or premium version of VPN because in this way you can get reliable service and all the best features needed to protect your connections, your computer and your privacy.