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How secure is a VPN? What makes a VPN secure?

How secure is a VPN? What makes a VPN secure?


Browsing the web can be risky. If you’re on public Wi-Fi, anyone with a password and a bit of technical know-how can eavesdrop on your online activity. VPNs or Virtual Private Networks come in handy by masking your online activity and location, and routing the data you send and receive through a secure virtual tunnel between your computer and the VPN server.

Although VPNs keep your information away from the outside, some are skeptical about VPNs themselves. After all, can’t they simply track your information? Here’s how to make sure you choose a secure VPN.

How secure is a VPN?

VPNs secure your public Internet connection by encrypting your information and protecting your online activity from cybercriminals and even your Internet Service Provider, or ISP. In terms of online privacy, safer VPNs will also likely be transparent about their privacy policies, take steps to fix leaks, and won’t keep records of your browsing history.

Here’s how an internet connection works without a VPN. When you type a website address into a browser, your Internet service provider presses your router — that device in your living room with a hard-to-remember password — to redirect your internet traffic to that site. The ISP also assigns a unique number called an Internet Protocol (IP) address to the router and to each computer or phone connected to that router. Some websites, ad networks, and platforms – such as Google, for example – use your IP address to track your location information for marketing purposes.

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When you use VPN software, your device connects to the VPN provider’s servers. Your internet traffic goes through a VPN’s internet connection, which means that your private information is hidden from your ISP and websites so that they can’t log your web browsing. Since the VPN server mixes your web traffic with others on the server, it appears that your IP address matches the one associated with the VPN. These steps make it difficult for others to monitor and gather information about where you go and what you’re doing online.

Online Privacy Solution: Virtual Private Networks

Concerns about internet privacy have grown in recent years, from talk of government eavesdropping and Facebook data leaks to the emergence of laws that control data mining. Usually people use VPNs to protect against cyber intrusion, but this software can also be useful when people want to access blocked web pages or hide their identity and location online.

With the end of net neutrality, ISPs are allowed to track your IP address to monitor and sell your browsing history, potentially throttling your connection as they see fit. VPNs are one answer to the question of how to protect your privacy online because they can provide anonymity and prevent ISPs from tracking your activity.

What factors create a secure VPN?

Not all VPNs offer the same features, and each has its own advantages and disadvantages. The first step in finding the right VPN for your needs is to consider the price. Maintaining the infrastructure to run a VPN service costs money. If VPN providers do not charge the user, they may pay costs through advertising or from collecting and selling your data to third parties.

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Simply put, choosing the right VPN for you could mean paying for one, if you value your online privacy. On average, monthly prices for a VPN software can range from $3 to $10, and some providers offer annual rates at a discount. Next, check out some of the must-have features that will ensure that you are using a truly safe and secure VPN. Here’s what you’re looking for.

There are no IP address leaks

VPNs are meant to mask or mask your IP address and prevent others from tracking your online activities. Unfortunately, even with a VPN, vulnerabilities can sometimes reveal your IP location. But you can look for a VPN that specifically works to prevent leaks. And check online reviews to see if the provider has a history of the leak (and what they did to correct it).

no records

A no-log VPN means that the network does not collect or “log” any information that is transmitted over the network. It does not save your personal data, where you connect to the Internet, what you download, or your search history. This ensures that your online privacy and anonymity are protected from everyone – even your VPN provider. So, if a cybercriminal hacks a VPN with no history, there won’t be much to find.

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Before signing up for a VPN, check the company’s terms of service to see if they log your online activities, whether they keep logs but purge them periodically, or whether the provider will disclose user information in any scenario.

kill switch

If your VPN connection drops, your internet access drops to a regular connection. The VPN kill switch will automatically terminate pre-set programs if your connection becomes unstable, reducing the chance of data leakage from sensitive programs.

Multifactor authentication

This security method prompts users to verify their identity in more than one way before logging into the program — in this case, your VPN account. For example, you might type in a password and then a four-digit code that is sent via text message. Additional authentication helps ensure that only the right people have access to your VPN and makes it difficult for anyone to hack it.

Norton Secure VPN provides privacy and security on the Internet

Norton Secure VPN protects personal information such as your passwords, bank details, and credit card numbers when using public Wi-Fi, whether on a PC, Mac, or mobile device. Using the same encryption technologies as leading banks, Norton Secure VPN helps hide your online activities and location with a no-log VPN – so you can be sure no one is monitoring your data from the inside or the outside.

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