VPN means Virtual Private Network. It is used for things like increasing online security, helping to stop ID theft, and unblocking websites. This article explains what VPN is, what it does, and how you should use it.
What Does VPN Do?
Since explaining what VPN is will be rather tricky, let’s first examine what it does. Here is a short list of the most common uses for VPN services as it is used by the people at TechRim.
• Making it more difficult for hackers to hack your computer or device.
• Unblocking websites that are blocked in your country or other countries.
• Downloading and uploading files without being tracked.
• Using Torrent websites and Torrent software safely and privately.
• Making it more difficult to steal your identity.
• Getting cheaper prices on dynamic websites that use location based prices.
• Stopping your Internet service provider from throttling your Internet use.
• Making it more difficult for malware to install on your computer.
• Hiding your location from websites.
• Using and/or unlocking streaming services.
What Is VPN?
VPN is a virtual private network. When you normally connect to the Internet, you connect to your Internet service provider, and they allow you to search through websites and such. When you use a VPN service, you are firstly connected to a VPN server, and then to your Internet service provider.
Imagine having your own computer, and then having a friend’s computer down the road. You want to go on a website that hosts torrent sites, but your Internet service provider has blocked that website. But your friend’s computer down the road is not blocked. VPN is like connecting to your friend’s computer remotely and connecting to the torrent website through your friend’s computer. If you are looking for more of a general understanding of VPN, then try VPNCoffee for frequent VPN news and updates.
Getting More Technical
A VPN (Virtual Private Network) is a network that uses encryption to allow IP traffic to travel over a TCP/IP network securely. A virtual private network makes use of authenticated and encrypted links. These provide routed connections and remote access between private computers and private networks.
A VPN is not limited to a local area network, it can also be used over the Internet, and across WAN connections. It can be used between servers or clients over a dial-up Internet connection if needed.
A VPN works with the use of tunneling protocols. They encrypt packet contents. It also wraps the contents in an unencrypted packet. You then reach a tunnel endpoint that is able to decrypt and encrypt packets.
A VPN is the creation of a secure association between tunnel endpoints (between at least two of them). Each endpoint becomes a virtual communication channel that is secure. This is because only the destination tunnel endpoints are able to unwrap the packets that were sent, and then decrypt them.
Oversimplifying it a Bit
Think of it as sending an encrypted message between a phone line that you and a friend set up. Only the two of you can transmit information between the phone line. Then, rather than sending a message in English, you replace every word with the name of a variety of fish. Only you know the key to the fish message, and only the person on the other end knows the key to the fish message. You can each send each other fishy messages privately., and even if people intercept them, they do not have the fish-name key, and so cannot figure out what is being said.
How to Deal With VPN
You will be asked to install an app or a piece of software on your computer. When you open up the program, it will ask you to press a button to turn on your VPN. You press the button, and then your VPN is running and your Internet is secure.
Some people like to have their VPN auto-start, but some people find this unnecessary. They may find it unnecessary because some apps will not work and will not update if VPN is running.
Let’s say you are using United Kingdom servers, but you decide you want to watch a streaming show in the USA. You can use your app to find a server in the USA. Turn it on, and the Internet now shows you the same things it would show a person in the USA, including giving access to certain streaming sites.
Are There Any Dangers?
There are three real dangers. The first is that you pick a very poor quality VPN company and they are selling you nothing but a fancy app that does nothing. Another problem is that the VPN may offer slower Internet, which can become frustrating.
The second danger is that the VPN is a corrupt company that is still selling your information. Such a company would have a hard time selling your bank details because it would have a hard time harvesting them, but it may still tell people if you are visiting certain left wing or right wing websites that it disapproves of. Such as in China where fake VPN companies are set up to catch out citizens trying to use VPN when it is illegal in China.
Finally, the third danger is that the VPN doesn’t cut your Internet when its service is interrupted. A good VPN app will cut out your Internet whenever your VPN stops working in what is often called a Kill Switch. This means your data is never exposed without your willing consent. Some VPN services do not have this function, which means their VPN may stop working, but the user keeps surfing the net, or downloading, without knowledge that he or she is now un-private/exposed.
If you avoid these dangers and pick a reputable VPN company, then you should enjoy years of safe, secure and private surfing, uploading and downloading.