Smartphones have changed the world! They’ve changed to way we interact, how we learn, and how we organise ourselves; plus they’ve opened up a world of infinite possibility! Now we can do almost anything from our phone; no matter where in the world we are or what we are trying to achieve, we can almost guarantee that there’s an app to help us on our way. We’re constantly being flooded with “the next,” “the best,” “the most convenient” and the constant improvements that these things bring to our lives. However, there is one sort of app that is less known and less used than it should be: the VPN.
What is a VPN?
Smartphones may have revolutionized our communications, but along with this, they have also changed the dangers we face. As online security is becoming an ever-growing threat, the amount of personal information, sentimental value, and reliance we have on our phones is putting us at greater risk. Now we don’t just have to worry about our phone being physically stolen; we also have to consider the risks of what could be stolen from the inside. However, by simply using a Virtual Personal Network (VPN), we can protect ourselves from many of the numerous online security threats that face us. There are many VPN providers out there, but some are better and have more features than others. Do a little research to find the best plan for you.
One of the greatest benefits a VPN has is protecting your data. A VPN works by creating a private network for any traffic to and from your device, scrambling your data to anyone who may be trying to look. Through this encryption process, hackers are unable to access any personal details that may be stored or used on your phone. This is a particularly significant benefit when using your phone on the go. Connecting to unsecure public WiFi networks can make you very vulnerable to hackers and, subsequently, identity theft. Similarly, our ability to access our bank and make financial transactions using our phone when on the go can be massively beneficial and time saving; however, it can also leave your accounts very open. Using a VPN can prevent potentially life-destroying theft and allows you to confidently make or receive payments wherever you are.
However, the risks to our online privacy don’t just come from criminals trying to steal our money and details. The ever-controversial revelations about the storage of our data by governments and security organizations are becoming an ever-growing concern. Even website providers are being accused of stockpiling information and handing it over to whoever may ask. Although so much of this is accusation and hearsay, it’s becoming clear that our privacy is being threatened without our knowledge. Luckily, by using a VPN, we can protect ourselves from this as well! Alongside encrypting our data, a VPN provides you with an anonymous, untraceable IP address that can guarantee you complete privacy from any potential prying eyes.
Online security risks are not only about what people can take out of your network, it’s also about what they can put it. Cyberattacks are becoming an increasing problem as we are starting to store more of our lives on our phones. Cyberattacks may seem ludicrous to the average Joe, but they are becoming too increasingly frequent to take the ‘it won’t happen to me’ approach. A cyberattack can completely take down any computer system, which could mean disaster for anyone who heavily relies on their phone to run a business, store important details, or just to organize their everyday lives. By using a VPN, you can protect yourself from the worst and be better safe than sorry!
Another massive advantage a VPN can give you is when using torrents. The freedom of data is an incredible benefit of the digital age, and torrenting is something that more of us are relying on. However, even though we know the risks of using torrents, as it becomes an increasingly common practice, it’s easy to forget the potential implications of being caught. The anonymity that using a VPN creates allows us to immediately combat this problem and gives us the freedom to file-share without having to worry about any repercussions.
Finally, using a VPN is not all about the doom and gloom and internet security. There are other ways it can massively benefit us in the way we use our smart phones. Geo-blocking is the annoying little restriction that happens when we go abroad; it prevents us from accessing certain sites that are blocked in that country for whatever reason. A good example of this are sites such as Netflix or YouTube, which only allow you to access to certain content depending on the country you are in. With the use of a VPN, you can falsify your location and access any site from anywhere in the world!
Overall, the benefits of using a VPN on your smartphone are undeniable. In the digitized modern age, the question is no longer whether we want to use a VPN, but rather whether we can afford not to. The online security threat is becoming a bigger risk to our personal safety and, as we start to hold more personal information in our phones and the potential risk gets greater, protecting ourselves online is becoming as essential as locking the door to our houses or using a pin-code to access our bank accounts. So, if you’re not already using a VPN, it’s time to start seriously considering it!
This was contributed by Caroline, who is a technology enthusiast for Secure Thoughts, a great resource for information on utilizing VPNs for mobile security.