It is one of the most important basics of cybersecurity. The use of a VPN provides the crucial first step in protecting devices accessing the web. Significant protection is provided by masking the user’s IP address provided by Internet Service Providers.
The Best Defense is a Proactive Offense
The protection found with a VPN can be easily obtained by downloading an app such as Surfshark found here. Once installed, all online transactions will show an anonymous IP address that cannot be traced back to the user.
Taking this proactive step is essential to mitigate the many and growing risks and vulnerabilities faced by online users. If a user browses or engages in online activity with a naked IP address, they are allowing their ISP, websites, and multiple third parties to:
- Log every transaction, including all web sites visited, videos and media accessed, and online conversations and communications
- Track transaction and correlate personal information such as phone numbers and accounts collected from multiple sources
- Identify their physical location
- Collect information that makes it much easier to breach and hack personal online devices.
Every device that accesses the web is assigned its own IP address by the ISP. This allows the creation of a detailed profile of what that device does on the Internet. The use of a static IP makes this process more likely to expose personal information. The ISP is then able to sell that data to third parties with little control over its final use.
The VPN stops this collecting of personal data by providing a digital tunnel from the ISP to the VPN servers. There, the IP address is masked. Access to the web is then gained with an encrypted address. The best VPN providers provide a multi-hop process between servers in multiple countries. Any data or information retrieved is then decrypted and sent back to the user. This process provides anonymity to the user and avoids the monitoring that happens otherwise.
Selecting the VPN that Gets the Job Done Effectively and Fast
The process of communicating with a remote server and then having transmissions encrypted and decrypted is resource intensive. This makes the connection speed of many VPN providers slow and clunky. The added security makes the VPN worth the trouble of installing. It is not necessary, however, to accept slow speeds as the price of this protection.
The rapid movement to remote working and reliance on multiple online devices has strained the capability of many VPN providers. Fortunately, there are state-of-the-art providers that do not require compromises in speed or other functional capabilities. Users seeking to add the safety of an effective VPN should demand the following capabilities:
- Ability to connect to multiple devices on every platform
- Connection with the host keeping on logs of activity
- A Kill Switch to disconnect from the web when and if the VPN connection is lost
- Full access to geo-blocked content
- Access to either UDP or TCP protocols
- Whitelisting to ease the use of specific apps and sites
- Masking of IP address and encryption of online activity and transmissions
Seen and Unseen Benefits
One of the most nefarious aspects of Internet security risks is the Man in the Middle form of attack. Many unscrupulous third parties work hard to intercept online transmissions en route to intended sites and platforms. The MitM attack can occur with no obvious existence of a threat or theft of information. With a naked IP address, the purloined data can be used in multiple ways. This includes the ability to create breaches, install malware, or allow ongoing monitoring of all transactions and data transmissions.
The prevalence of hotspots creates added risks for users not accessing the web through their VPN. WiFi packet sniffers and “evil twin” spoof hotspots are frequently used methods to capture personal IP addresses and information.
Websites are increasingly creative and sneaky in the ways they seek to capture and manipulate personal information. From browser fingerprinting to zombie cookies, these sites are constantly harvesting IP addresses for their use and to sell to others.
The VPN is the first step in protecting from these methods by eliminating the user’s IP address from the equation. The risk to the user is eliminated by using the masked address and encrypted transmissions. Those with nefarious intentions collect information that is useless in identifying the user or their true IP address.
The added security provides comfort and protection while online. Attacks and thefts that could have resulted in significant breaches and losses are automatically stopped or made ineffective.
No Need to Compromise
Robust protection from a sophisticated VPN is a must today. This security should come without any compromise in connection speeds or ease of access. In addition to the added security, the VPN will provide broader access to the web without geographic or political border restrictions.
Achieving this speed with maximum security requires a provider with a large base of servers in a wide network of countries. Properly configured with private DNS and camouflage modes on each server, servers will accommodate users with fast and reliable connections.