The internet has given us a lot, and this can’t be stated enough. Ever since it was first created it has grown exponentially in both size and popularity, and the sheer number of tasks we are able to perform while online is astounding. We are able to talk to people on the other side of the world as if they are sitting right next to us (think social media and FaceTime, etc.), keep up with all the breaking news around the globe and use search engines for whatever may tickle our fancy.
The number of things to do is great and emphasizes everything good about the internet. However, something so popular is always bound to have a few downsides and this is no different when it comes to the internet. Over the years, the number of reported hacks and the stealing of private information has sky-rocketed.
More and more people are becoming victims of this, and that’s because there are lots of criminals out there who look to exploit people like you and me on a daily basis. Someone could be trying to hack you right now!
That’s why a number of protective measures have been created in order to stop this. No one wants to get hacked- a number of personal details, such as your address or bank codes, could be stolen and taken advantage of. You want to avoid this at all costs, and that’s why VPNs were created.
These have really risen to prominence in recent times and it’s not hard to see why. What actually are they, though? How could they help you?
Don’t worry, I’ll discuss all of this in my 2019 guide to VPNs.
So what actually is a VPN?
Well if you break down its name, it’s pretty self-explanatory; it’s short for a Virtual Private Network. It’s virtual because it takes place online and it’s actually a physical thing, it’s private because it allows you to access whatever you want without being tracked or hacked, and it’s a network because once you have a VPN, you are connected to a whole system of different online VPNs.
A lot of people are purchasing these security measures nowadays and it’s not hard to see why; VPNs are especially easy to work and to purchase- you just need to turn them on and they’ll do the rest.
So how do VPNs actually work?
Well, their main job is to change your IP address every time you sign in to the internet with your VPN turned on. Your IP address is more or less the unique key or code by which all people who access the internet see you. If the government, a hacker or an internet provider wants to look at what you’re up to online, they’ll find you by searching for your IP address and from there they can see everything you’re doing.
However, if you have a VPN you have the ability to hide your IP address from these kinds of people. Each time you log in to the internet with one of these you are provided with a fake (or more a different) IP address and it’s therefore nearly impossible to track you. You can, therefore, go about your business without the fear of being spied on.
When you’re actually connecting to a VPN, it sort of acts like a tunnel. The majority of the time, you’ll be given an IP address and connected to a Wifi system in a completely different country. Your internet connection will almost burrow it’s the way through a variety of different systems until it gets to the one it wants to connect to, and that’s when your secure connection will be established.
Once you’re there and your tunnel has been established, you can move your connections back and forth freely. Each time you connect to your VPN, a new one of these tunnels will be created.
Now, there are a variety of different types of VPNs. One of these is a No Log VPN. A lot of different VPNs keep logs of the data you access, and while this isn’t released anywhere it could always be hacked.
This means that while you are still pretty secure in general, there are still ways for you to be hacked and taken advantage of. With a No Log VPN, however, this isn’t possible. No logs are kept (as you probably guessed by the name) and there is therefore absolutely no data kept.
This means there is nothing to exploit you for you can rest easy in the knowledge that all your business is still private. If you want to check out the best logless VPN providers, follow our handy link.
So who actually uses VPNs?
Well, the truth is that anyone can use them if they want to. However, one group of people who use them a lot are people who work a lot on public Wifi systems. These public Wifis often don’t even require a password to sign in to, so you can imagine how easy they would be to hack for a skilled crook.
This is the same with your personal details if you’re using these kinds of WiFi as IP addresses are much easier to track and get into. If you have a VPN, it will be much more of a challenge for hackers to gain access to your system and details.
Another group of people that tend to use VPNs a lot are big companies with huge computer systems. It’s really important for companies like this to protect themselves against hackers and criminals as they always have a lot of private information on their systems. If these are hacked, a lot of sensitive details could be exploited and released to the public.
By using powerful VPNs, these companies arm themselves against these kinds of criminals and ensure that all their data remains as private as required.