Whilst many people use Virtual Private Networks (VPNs) to access geographically-restricted content such as that offered by streaming services in different countries, there are many other convincing reasons to start using a virtual private network. A great deal of people using VPNs do so because they have substantial worries about their privacy and security.

In the US, Congress recently announced plans to allow ISPs sell personal data, including information about online activity, which means more and more people are expressing concerns about companies benefitting from reduced privacy levels. VPNs can boost our privacy levels in a number of ways and can offer heightened encryption and security when personal data is transferred.

Virtual private network protection

Staying one step ahead of the hackers

A growing number of countries are becoming more vigilant about the online activities of their citizens and expressing disapproval about VPNs. However, the use of VPNs remains legal in most countries. One good reason for using a Virtual Private Network is to protect yourself from hackers when using the kind of public networks found in cafes, airports and restaurants to give a few examples. These networks tend to have very weak security, so it can make sense to take extra steps to protect yourself. When you use a VPN, your online activities are hidden by your VPN so the ISP cannot see them. Your traffic is encrypted so hackers cannot access it.

Virtual Private Networks and cloud services

VPNs can also be useful if you use online cloud storage services. Though these companies are generally impressive when it comes to security, things aren’t so tight when files are in transit. This is where a VPN can be useful, encrypting uploads and downloads. If you’re a user of torrent services, you may also wish to use a VPN. Many people use VPNs for legitimate reasons and don’t download copyrighted content. However, many ISPs struggle to distinguish between legal and illegal torrent use and therefore block it. A VPN may be the ideal solution if you do wish to use torrents but your ISP are making it tough to do so.

VPNs for journalism and research

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You may also wish to start using a VPN if you are an online gamer and play MMORPG games. When you use a VPN, the experience can become much quicker and smoother as there will be less data from fellow players. You can also expect to enjoy a more secure connection between yourself and those you are playing with. Many journalists and researchers opt to use VPNs to prevent sensitive information from falling into the wrong hands and make sensitive e-mails much harder to intercept. They can even mask your location and therefore make you safer if the stories you are covering are likely to lead you to harm.

Are you being tracked?

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There are also good reasons for using VPNs if you communicate via VOIP services such as FaceTime and Skype. VPNs can make your chats more secure so the threat of interception is reduced substantially. If you’re eager to prevent online retailers and similar services from tracking you and targeting you with ads, a VPN could come in very useful. This is because you’ll be using a different IP every time you go online. FCC rules that prevented ISPs from handing over your information to third parties without permission came into law in April 2017 in the US. Though this kind of information is unlikely to be used in a malicious manner, many people remain unhappy about so much of their personal data being sold for commercial purposes.

An increasingly popular option

Since this change, a new wave of individuals have been looking for ways to encrypt their traffic and therefore making use of VPNs. Without a VPN, sites can still track your behaviour even after you have clicked off them via cookies. VPNs can slow your speed to some degree but you can avoid being met with vastly reduced performance by using remote servers based near your geographical location. Though more countries may decide to crack down on VPNs in future, there remains a huge appetite for protecting privacy and heightening security whilst surfing the net, which means the popularity of VPNs is growing all the time.