June 4, 2020

Debunking Misconceptions About Using a VPN for Secure Internet Access

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Data security is a major concern that consumers should remain conscious of now more than ever. That’s why virtual private networks have become a popular service as a way of addressing the matter of cybersecurity and maintaining secure internet access. Although most consumers know what the term VPN means, there are still misconceptions about what this service can do. Take a look at these misconceptions about the digital world and VPNs:

  • Using public wi-fi
  • What VPNs do
  • Free VPN services
  • Who uses VPNs

Using Public Wi-Fi

For every positive advancement in technology, there comes a negative. Many of these negatives impact data security and secure internet access. There are more organizations than ever vying for your digital information.

One positive advancement, for example, is public wi-fi. These public networks have received praise from various groups because they offer internet access to a broader demographic. However, this praise has led to the belief that public wi-fi is entirely safe. Unfortunately, that isn’t true. Public wi-fi networks put one’s data, such as mobile device files and customer payment details, in danger. Leaks from mobile devices are more prone to data theft compared to devices that have a higher level of security, such as desktops and laptops.

As a result, the first line of defense that has emerged as a way of increasing data security is the development of VPNs. These tools were created as a response to the realization that hackers can snatch – and companies can legally download and sell – consumer browsing histories to competing organizations for use as marketing data. These companies then use the gathered data to curate marketing efforts that match customer behavior based on these findings.

What Does a VPN Do?

VPNs protect your data by creating an encrypted tunnel for your web traffic. This helps by blocking prying eyes, including your own internet service provider, from eavesdropping on your browsing activity, IP address, location, and cookies in saved forms and accounts.

However, many people make the mistake of thinking virtual private networks are the holy grail of secure internet access. VPNs don’t always offer complete protection against all the threats that the web contains. There are still plenty of risks when you access questionable websites and platforms. Though your personal browsing data is untraceable, if the platform you use experiences a data breach, your login credentials and other personal information are still vulnerable.

Because of this, it is exceedingly important to choose a reliable, credible VPN service that doesn’t log your data and offers a kill switch to halt all traffic if your connection drops.

Can I Just Use a Free VPN Service?

Consumers who normally use shortcuts in purchasing digital products on the internet are always on the lookout for free alternatives. These applications can range from simple pedometer apps to cracked games and licensed programs. Even VPN services come in free subscriptions for online users to try out. Many even believe that a free VPN is as good as a paid one. However, that’s rarely true.

The danger of choosing free-to-use VPN services is that they have operating costs that you need to pay. However, those costs might not always be transparent OR financial. For example, some free services harvest your data to sell to the highest bidder. Others plague users with ads. And some may offer you a small amount of free usage but then ask for money if you want to use the VPN for longer. Since there is no binding contract for liability in the absence of payment, users often won’t know how the service manipulates data to their benefit. Overall, using a free VPN is just as dangerous as using no VPN at all.

Who Needs to Use a VPN?

Another common misconception people have is that they don’t need to use a VPN, or that only businesses need one. They assume their data isn’t being harvested and that hackers aren’t interested in it. However, this is also untrue.

While businesses certainly have a great deal of need for tools that offer secure internet access, individuals do too. For example, if you shop on a website that uses cookies and you don’t have a VPN, that website is likely following your actions and collecting information based on your interests and IP address. In addition, if you conduct a transaction on a website without secure encryption, a third party like a hacker might be able to see that transaction, including your financial information. Overall, anyone and everyone can and should be using a VPN; your data isn’t safe otherwise.

Conclusion

VPNs are excellent tools in providing the first layer of defense against cyber threats. You can help them protect you even better by sorting through VPN fact and fiction to learn what makes a VPN service trustworthy.

If you’re looking for secure internet access to your personal and business data, HotBot VPN provides a secure and reliable service for your needs. Get in touch with us today to learn more about how a VPN can protect your digital information!

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