According to a 2019 Global Mobile VPN study, over the past year, the number of downloads of VPN services to mobile devices in the world has grown by 54%. The main driver of growth over the past year was Asian countries and Arab countries with strong government censorship. Moreover, the necessity of VPN use was caused by the acute need of Internet anonymity and privacy protection. So, it may be reasonable to choose complex antivirus solutions, like Trend Micro antivirus that includes VPN.
How does VPN work, and are these services always secure? Is it worth paying for a VPN, and what to pay attention to when choosing? What else do you need such services for? Let’s dive into the details in this article.
What is a VPN?
VPN stands for Virtual Private Network. VPN services encrypt and direct user traffic through their servers, thus hiding it from curious eyes. This makes them a universal tool for solving various network problems: from protection from intruders and censorship to viewing content that has regional restrictions.
Why is VPN safer?
As mentioned above, VPN solves many tasks, and security in its various aspects is perhaps the key today.
- Protection against Internet censorship. According to the human rights organization Freedom House, freedom on the Internet has been declining for the past 9 years in a row. VPN solves this problem.
- Real anonymity. If you use incognito mode in the browser, you are still not completely anonymous. Yes, the search is not saved in history, the cache is not working, cookies are not saved, etc. But the owners of the sites still know who came to them and why, and see their IP address. Your traffic can also be seen by the provider, network administrator, owner of a public Wi-Fi point. For example, European Internet users know that the use of torrent is immediately fixed, and they risk a fine. VPN allows you to hide your traffic from the service provider and your IP address from the resource owner.
- Protection of personal data. According to a PTSecurity study, last year personal data theft, including account and payment card data, became the main goal of cyber attackers. It accounts for about 60% of crimes on the Internet. Any device is attacked – not only laptops and smartphones, even the Internet of things devices! However, personal electronics still have more hunters. And if you use public Wi-Fi, you are at risk, since the network owner can intercept this data. Or attackers who connected to it if the owner is not too strong in technical matters. The VPN service encrypts the traffic passing through it, so that no one can steal user data.
How do I choose a VPN service?
Not every VPN service is secure. The simplest and most free can have problems encrypting traffic, or even stealing or selling user data. For example, advertisers. In addition, VPN can significantly “cut” speed, and free services will do this with a high degree of probability.
When choosing a VPN, note the following nuances:
- Reputation of the service – before using it, just look for information about it on the Internet: were there scandals and leaks associated with it, had it been on the market for a long time, had it been told on popular industry resources, etc.
- Free cheese can only be found in a mousetrap. The company spends money on the purchase and maintenance of servers; respectively, if it does not charge users for the service, it earns from them another way. It’s better not even to check how. The tariff is about $10-15 per month – adequate enough for the market for ordinary (not business) users. Often, services have a test period when their services are cheaper. At this time, you can test their quality.
- The number of servers and geography. The more servers in different countries the service has, the more, in theory, you can get, for example, specific content that is available only for this market.
- Free services hardly have their own good channels for quick access and the motivation to compete for such a parameter. A good VPN service will definitely tell you what the user receives for the money he pays since it is a competitive advantage.
- Support for different devices and platforms and a single account. Today, not only desktop solutions need protection, but also mobile ones. Therefore, in the process of choosing a service, pay attention to cross-platform and the possibility of working under the same account from different gadgets so as not to overpay.