Why you will Still Need a VPN in 2022 by@vasiliy-ivanov

Why you will Still Need a VPN in 2022

Vasiliy Ivanov  HackerNoon profile picture

Vasiliy Ivanov

The founder and CEO of a KeepSolid, a company that builds modern security and productivity solutions

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Many recent articles push the point of view that you don’t really need a Virtual Private Network (VPN) anymore. 

These articles use different arguments, such as:

- The web is already using HTTPS. They argue  93% of all web pages launched by Firefox in the US are loaded over HTTPS. 

- VPNs create security vulnerabilities because VPN servers store your browsing data, and there’s no way to verify that a VPN service is 100% secure. 

- There are better options than VPNs. The articles advocate alternatives such as the Tor Browser which they claim is more secure, or iCloud Private relay, which is easy for Apple users to set up, and which may not slow down your connection speed as some VPNs do

However, in all of these cases, one can still benefit from the use of a VPN because:

-HTTPS only secures information transferred between web browsers and websites, while a VPN secures all communications coming from your device.

- There are credible VPN services that offer a zero-logs policy.

- Tor is only suitable for transmitting sensitive information; a VPN offers a better balance between speed, convenience, and privacy. As for Apple's Private Relay, it has limited functionality in comparison to a VPN. Private Relay is also facing significant pushback from telecoms around the world, and it's possible that it may be banned in the future.

In addition to securing your network traffic, VPNs provide additional benefits like accessing geo-blocked content, using region-specific services, and evading bandwidth caps. 

Before discussing the benefits of a VPN, let’s first understand how a VPN works to protect your anonymity on the internet. 

How Does a VPN Protect Your Anonymity

When you connect your device (smartphone, pc, laptop, or tablet) to a VPN service, all your network traffic is sent directly through a secure connection to the VPN server.

This makes your device act like it’s on the same network as the VPN server, which enables you to access local network resources even when you’re a thousand miles away from that location. 

Similarly, when you browse the web using a VPN, your PC will connect to a website through the encrypted VPN connection. The VPN forwards your request to the website, and the response from the website flows through the same secure connection.

For example, if you’re trying to use a US-based streaming service like Netflix or Hulu from a remote location outside the USA, you will need a US-based VPN so that the streaming service can recognize your connection is coming from within the USA only.

Now that we know how a VPN works, let’s discuss the advantages of a VPN service.

Advantages of Using a VPN

Even though your operating system and web browser work together to protect your computer against different security threats, there are still some network vulnerabilities that can put your personal and private data at risk.

Here’s why it makes perfect sense to use a VPN in 2021:

Hides your IP

An IP address is a system identifier in the form of a 32-bit number. It is used to define, structure, and deliver information from one network to another. Whenever you visit a website, your IP address is tied to your computer and your location, which allows third parties to  intercept the connection and retrieve your location.

A VPN tunnels your connection to a specific server and guides all your traffic through it to mask your actual IP address -- making it impossible for third parties to identify your real location.

Prevents ISP Data Tracking

Do you know your Internet Service Provider may track your data? Tracked data includes what websites you visit, how much time you spend on browsing a particular webpage, and more.

Why would they do that? 

They track subscriber data because your ISP may use your browsing history as a part of their revenue stream. Many ISPs create anonymous browsing logs and sell that to marketing companies. Moreover, the data collected by your ISP can be accessed by a government agency, or police.

A VPN encrypts your connection and protects your internet activity from your ISP.

Protection Against Data Tracking Apps and Services

Apart from your ISP, there are countless apps and internet services that track your internet activity. 

For instance, Facebook tracks both users and non-users through its website and mobile app. A recent data breach in the Facebook servers compromised the private data of more than 533 million users. 

A VPN limits the collection of location data. It also prevents apps and websites from attributing your behavior to your device’s IP address. 

Safeguards your Data on public Wi-Fi

Public Wi-Fi networks lack comprehensive security measures. That makes them vulnerable to security threats. Hackers can use unsecured connections to distribute malware and steal your confidential data.

A VPN encrypts your data so that no one can intercept it, even when you are on a public Wi-Fi network. 

Allows Access to Blocked Content

Geo-blocking involves blocking access to content on the Internet based on your location. Many websites and streaming services use geo-blocking to comply with local, state or national laws.  ISPs may also use geo-blocking as a part of their traffic shaping strategy and to manage their bandwidth. 

VPNs are a great way to access geo-blocked content. They spoof your location, making it seem as if you are browsing from another place. This allows you to access geo-blocked content from anywhere in the world. 

Additional Security for high-profile People

High-profile people like journalists, politicians, and big businessmen often exchange confidential documents, trade secrets, and sensitive information over the internet. 

Since a typical online connection is not entirely safe or encrypted, it’s important to use a VPN to ensure end-to-end encryption and protect the network against illegal data intrusions.

On a Final Note

While a VPN disguises your data traffic online and protects it from external access, it’s important to remember that it doesn’t protect your online credentials or defend your device from malware. If you are concerned about these issues, you may want to also check out other online security tools. A password manager will help secure your passwords, to make sure no one hacks your account. And, a DNS firewall will prevent malware from entering your network by filtering incoming traffic. Some companies offer bundles of such security products at a good price.

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