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Privacy is becoming an overwhelming concern to most people today. As we move further into a world where just about everything is online and mobile, online data privacy hacks are a rising concern. The ease and convenience of having everything digital come at a high cost. We all understand the risks associated with handling business online. Let's focus on how you can protect yourself and your privacy while online, no matter if you are surfing the web or handling financial business.

What is a VPN?

Typically, when you are home and connected to the internet, you are using your Internet Service Provider (ISP). This is a service for which you pay, typically through a company like Verizon, but there are many others. When you are using your ISP, any data you send goes through a series of routers before it reaches its final destination. Most of the time, this data is not encrypted, so it is visible to anyone who is looking. Speaking of looking, your ISP has access to everything you are doing online, including anything you download. You should be aware, you have very little online data privacy.

Here is where a virtual private network (VPN) comes in to help. A VPN server creates a buffer, if you will, between you and your ISP. The data you transmit goes through the buffer and becomes scrambled, or encrypted before it ever goes to the ISP. If someone attempts to access the data, he would need the equivalent of a password to be able to unscramble it and do anything with it. A VPN is similar to a firewall, which protects the data on your computer. A VPN does the same thing for your data but across the internet.

Benefits Of A VPN

The way it really works is anything that goes from your computer to the ISP is securely encrypted. That means that no matter what you are transmitting, it is completely protected. To do this, encryption technology is used such as Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) and Transport Layer Security (TLS). This type of technology is primarily used for online retailer security but can be used by anyone. They produce a type of virtual handshake, which produces session parameters that are cryptic. The parameters often include digital certificates where two different systems trade encryption keys, then the session is authenticated, and finally, a connection that is secure is created.

Another type of encryption technology is Secure Shell (SSH), which creates a buffer and encryption together. This gives users permission to share information that is not secure and routes the data from file servers that are remote through an encrypted channel. The data is not encrypted, but the channel is encrypted. The connection is created by the client and moved to a remote server. Depending on the protocol of the VPN dictates how effective the encryption is for your data.

VPNs use a series of connections that are dedicated to protecting your information. They use specific protocols that are primarily focused on encryption and then generate person-to-person connections in a virtual environment. VPNs are typically simple to use and you do not need to have a lot of technical skill to use them properly. You can use a free VPN, but depending on your online data privacy needs, you may want to invest a little bit of money in a more robust VPN. Many of them, including Surfshark have interfaces and mobile apps that are incredibly simple to use. The company predetermines most of the setup so you do not have to. Even the most complex privacy controls are already determined, so you basically turn it on, log in, select the server and you are all set. No one knows exactly where you or the server are actually located.

When you use a VPN, you are able to be anonymous, so no one knows who you are and your data remains secure. In addition, you can trick others into thinking you are physically located somewhere other than where you are physically located. You can use a VPN virtually anywhere. Many countries do not limit the use of VPNs. Some countries, such as Russia, China, North Korea, and Iraq ban the use of VPNs in their country.

Does A VPN Do Anything Else To Protect You?

Not all, but some VPNs may keep logs of your browsing information and internet history. You have to do some homework to determine which VPN is reputable and will not sell your information. You have to set up the VPN on each device that you have. In some cases, you might need a different VPN for each device. You have to install an application on your device to be able to use the VPN service. Most VPNs support Apple and Android devices. One thing to note is using a VPN may cause your internet speed to slow down. A VPN is another connection point that your data must go through. Every connection point causes your speed to slow down. If any of those connections are faulty, it slows down your download and upload speeds. VPNs are an effective and inexpensive tool to help you maintain online data privacy.

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