How to Boost Your Data Privacy With a Virtual Private Network

“Data privacy matters, and we all deserve respect and consideration from those we visit on the internet. As shown by the numerous data breaches that have affected companies and individual users around the world, individuals and governments, however, we must also look out for our own personal data and privacy. Using a VPN to obfuscate your location and encrypt data is a powerful way to prevent the tracking, stalking and theft of personal and private data.”

—Eric Jeffrey, “How to Boost Your Data Privacy With a Virtual Private Network.” Security Intelligence. November 2, 2018.

A layman’s explanation of VPNs and why you should be using them. I’ve mentioned VPNs before. If interested in using one, check this website for a comparison of different services.

WireGuard VPN review: A new type of VPN offers serious advantages | Ars Technica

“WireGuard is a new type of VPN that aims to be simpler to set up and maintain than current VPNs and to offer a higher degree of security. The software is free and open source—it’s licensed GPLv2, the same license as the Linux kernel—which is always a big plus in my book. It’s also designed to be easily portable between operating systems. All of that might lead you to ask: in a world that already has IPSEC, PPTP, L2TP, OpenVPN, and a bewildering array of proprietary SSL VPNs, do we need yet another type of VPN?”

—Jim Salter. “WireGuard VPN review: A new type of VPN offers serious advantages.” Ars Technica. August 26, 2018.

Do we need yet another type of VPN? Why, yes. Yes, we do.

Virtual Private Networks (VPNs)

What is a VPN? Should you use one?

“…in a nutshell VPNs rely on specialized software that you download and install on your computer. Some VPN providers will supply customers with their own custom brand of VPN software, while others may simply assign customers a set user credentials and allow users to connect to the service via open-source VPN software like OpenVPN.

Either way, the software creates an encrypted tunnel between your computer and the VPN provider, effectively blocking your ISP or anyone else on the network (aside from you and the VPN provider) from being able to tell which sites you are visiting or viewing the contents of your communications. A VPN service allows a customer in, say, New York City, to tunnel his traffic through one of several servers around the world, making it appear to any Web sites that his connection is coming from those servers, not from his ISP in New York.

If you just want a VPN provider that will keep your ISP from snooping on your everyday browsing, virtually any provider can do that for you. But if you care about choosing from among VPN providers with integrity and those that provide reliable, comprehensive, trustworthy and affordable offerings, you’re going to want to do your homework before making a selection. And there are plenty of factors to consider.”

—Krebs, Brian. “Post-FCC Privacy Rules, Should You VPN?KrebsonSecurity.com. March 17, 2017.

Luckily, there is a website that provides side-by-side comparisons that can help you choose a VPN provider according to factors that matter to you.

A VPN can help you present less of a target to criminals online, and it is an especially important piece of security for people that use open WiFi networks. Everyone should use one. You can expect to pay somewhere in the range of US$50-100 a year for a good VPN provider.