The following is a Plus Edition article written by and copyright by Dick Eastman.
A Virtual Private Network (VPN) is the easiest way to obtain a fast, private, and SECURE Internet connection.
Do you work online from coffee shops or hotels? Do you travel and take a laptop, tablet or smartphone with you to use online? Do you perhaps travel internationally? I often travel internationally, and I always use a VPN when traveling, whether I am in the U.S. or overseas. In fact, my computers are configured to automatically load and enable a VPN immediately after being powered on and booted up.
Actually, using a VPN while at home is also a good idea. After all, do you know if one of your neighbors is possibly monitoring all the data you send and receive? Then again, we all know that the NSA is monitoring everything we send and receive online.
Unless you are using a VPN (virtual private network), nothing you do online is private. A VPN encrypts and protects everything you do online, and can be downloaded as an app on your phone or computer.
Protect yourself from people stealing your credit card info, your Gmail login credentials, or (worst of all) getting blocked from watching the latest episode of Game of Thrones.
You need to be using a VPN if you:
• Connect to unsecured Wi-Fi networks (such as from airports, hotel rooms, or coffee shops)
• Visit sites you'd rather keep private
• Make online purchases (don't get your debit card hacked)
• Watch movies from Netflix or "Who Do You Think You Are?" UK edition or other video services from countries that are normally blocked from those sites
• Legally use bit torrent and want to keep your downloads private
• Or travel to countries with internet censorship
Don't let your web browser's incognito mode fool you. Incognito mode is a good thing, but it only offers partial security. You NEED to be using a VPN… all the time.
A VPN provides a secure connection between your computer and the VPN servers. All communications between your computer and the VPN are encrypted and sent through a secure tunnel over the Internet, preventing outsiders from spying on your web activity. You can securely connect to a VPN service and surf the web from the VPN service’s servers, using their IP addresses.
There are lots of reasons to use a VPN service, such as establishing a secure connection over an insecure network, accessing censored or region specific web content, or protecting your bank account information or credit card numbers when using them online.
NOTE: The monitoring by the USA government’s National Security Agency (NSA) may or may not be blocked by using a VPN. The NSA doesn’t describe its capabilities, so we don’t know exactly what the NSA can or cannot monitor. However, using a VPN certainly can reduce the likelihood of government monitoring.
The use of a VPN to block NSA monitoring is a long and complicated subject with many unknowns. I will ignore NSA monitoring for the remainder of this article. If you would like to learn more about NSA’s spying, I suggest you start at https://www.eff.org/nsa-spying/how-it-works.
I have used a number of VPNs over the years and can tell you there are a number of good ones available.
NOTE: With one exception, I suggest you stay away from the so-called free VPNs, however. They usually fill your computer with unwanted advertising and may even spy on you. A few of the shadiest free VPNs can actually make your computer less secure than it was before installing the free so-called VPN. See https://malwaretips.com/blogs/remove-obrona-vpn-virus/and http://www.theregister.co.uk/2015/05/29/hola_vpn_used_8chan_takedown_botnet_or_not/ and http://www.pcworld.com/article/2928340/ultra-popular-hola-vpn-extension-sold-your-bandwidth-for-use-in-a-botnet-attack.html for details.
I will describe the one free VPN that I trust later in this article.
I switched VPN vendors a few months ago.
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