Although 2 decades ago, most of us were amazed that it is possible to send messages with no delay to people on the other side of the world, things have changed. That’s not surprising – nowadays, we use the internet for many hours every day.
It’s not only about fun – the internet allows us to order food without having to leave your room. Unfortunately, this amazing invention can, at times, be dangerous to the users. In recent years we have started hearing more about VPNs. What are VPNs, and is it possible to be tracked even if you are using a VPN?
What is a VPN?
VPN or Virtual Private Network allows you to browse the internet using a private network. Because of that, all the data that you sent and receive is encrypted, and no one can gain access to your online history. Installing a VPN on your device has many potential benefits:
Most of the popular streaming platforms, including Hulu or Netflix, have geo-restrictions, meaning that if you log in from two different locations, you might be able to access different content.
It is possible to bypass those restrictions using a VPN that would allow you to change your IP address. It can be especially useful if you travel a lot and don’t want to take a pause from your favorite tv shows.
Some websites, f.e. online casinos sometimes ban players from certain countries. It is often done due to local laws banning online gambling. It is possible to use a VPN to change your IP address.
Still, some of such websites have software for detecting people who use VPNs, though some of the best VPNs on the market can fool even this software. If you want to learn more about VPNs, you can check out Windscribe VPN review.
Companies often use VPNs as well. Remote work in this day and age is common across all sectors. A VPN might be useful if a company wants to be able to monitor whether the employees are not leaking any confidential data.
If the employees connect with the private network, then there is no threat that the hackers will gain access to the company’s secrets. On top of that, the management can block various websites that the employees often visit to procrastinate.
Even though the chances that you’ll be attacked by hackers are not considerable, information about your browsing habits is collected by your Internet Service Provider. This data is then often sold to third parties.
Because of that, the ads that you see when you browse the internet are chosen on the basis of your online history. If you have a VPN installed on your computer or smartphone, your ISP won’t be able to collect this information.
Okay, but even if you use a reliable VPN, then is it possible that third parties, like government agencies or your ISP will learn what websites you visit? Even if nothing goes wrong, and there is no screw-up, it is possible for both your Internet Service Provider and the government agencies to see that you are using a VPN, though usually, they won’t know anything specific about your online activity.
All the data will be encrypted, and at most they might suspect that you are engaging in something illegal.
Unfortunately, if a DNS leak takes place, then your Internet Service Provider might learn what websites you visit even if you use a VPN. Instead of being encrypted, some of the information about your online activity could be sent to your ISP by mistake.
How to avoid that? You could either set up a static IP address, which could be challenging if you are not very internet-savvy. Alternatively, there’s a simpler solution – just use reliable VPNs. If you want to be sure that your data won’t be protected from your ISP only to be sold to hackers, then you should generally stay away from free VPNs.
It’s possible to find a free VPN provider with no bad intentions, but the internet connection will be of much poorer quality. It’s better to spend a couple of dollars each month on a VPN service that you can rely on, instead of worrying that your private data could stop being so private.
Anonymity & Security
It’s not true that VPNs provide 100% anonymity. A DNS leak could take place by mistake, or you could download a VPN that wouldn’t offer excellent security. Still, despite the fact that VPNs don’t offer a 100% guarantee that your online activity will remain anonymous, the risk is minimal.
Robert is a content writer whose brain demands a steady supply of fascinating topics to research – the weirder and more unpractical, the better. Avid dinosaur enthusiast, fitness lover, and crazy dancer who spends approximately ⅓ of his waking hours on air-drumming.