By: Susana Martin Valdivia

Everyday people all around the world are surfing the net without realizing who are they giving away their personal data to and the consequences of this. Data security is becoming more important as new forms of using this information emerge, either with the purpose of getting to know customers better and sell them more, or with illegal motives such as identity theft.

A VPN or Virtual Private Network serves as a filter to assure none of these data are exposed to the world. VPNs establish an encrypted connection to secure a greater level of privacy, even when the user is connected to the web.

How does it work?

Internet service providers and web browsers can track almost everything you do on the internet and even sell this information.

A VPN uses encryption to disarrange or scramble data to make it unreadable and therefore, more secure. It serves as a filter where the information is hidden from eavesdroppers and is made untraceable.

When using a public Wi-Fi network, data security is especially important as anyone using the same web can spy on your actions, your browser history and more. Creating an encrypted tunnel assures that even when you are online, all data you are creating and pouring into the web remains private.

How can our own data be used against us?

All the activities people carry out on their computer that can be gathered by different organizations, are actually a valuable asset nowadays. This information is normally sold to interested companies so they can learn about your preferences, transactions, and shopping habits in order to identify the better way to sell whatever they want people to buy.

Companies gather this information and, along with a dynamic price strategy based on real time demand, they are able to change prices based on consumer web behavior.

To some, this sounds harmless, but as easy as this information can be sold and used by organizations that only want to sell more, it can also be found and used by criminals that could steal people’s money or even worse, their identity. Hiding an IP address becomes a necessary action to maintain individual’s safety.

When connecting to a free Wi-Fi hotspot without a VPN, the user is completely exposed to data recollection and use, sometimes without even noticing. Certain establishments use this technique to learn about consumer behavior or to sell this information to other companies. But some other, use this for criminal acts.

What does a VPN hide?

  • An IP address.
  • Web browsers that track a search story and link it to an IP address.
  • A location used to browse through the web.
  • A streaming location. Some streaming services use the customers location and can block the content based on the location. Using a VPN, this location can be changed using a different IP address to unlock certain platforms or services.
  • It hides the information generating from other devices to prevent the access to cybercriminals.
  • The customer’s web activity, shopping habits and preferences, therefore, they can obtain better prices on e-commerce.
  • An identity so people may be able to use their freedom of speech without tracing it to an IP address. In some countries, people who express their beliefs or political thoughts can be punished.
  • Also, it makes it safer to connect to a free Wi-Fi hotspot when you are traveling so your data is protected.
  • A VPN can help safeguard the information people send from and receive on their devices to help prevent identity theft. This is especially important as thieves can use this information to commit crimes in another person’s name.

VPN and cryptocurrency

Cryptocurrency is a new form of digital money that relies on a technology called blockchain, which is decentralized meaning that, unlike common banks and money, no single entity is in charge of it. It was introduced with Bitcoin in 2008 and nowadays there are more than 2,000 cryptocurrencies available.

By using this type of payment, a person can assure that the transactions made remain protected and anonymous. There are VPN for buying bitcoin or VPN services that accept crypto payment and thus, users can achieve a higher level of privacy.

There are many options when searching for a VPN service provider as the market grows. Some of the aspects to be considered when searching for one are internet usage, bandwidth, customer’s location, number of devices and budget.

Regardless of which provider is choosen, a good VPN will provide more security and privacy online than a public Wi-Fi hotspot can. Finally, it will achieve a higher level of anonymity if is obtained using cryptocurrency.

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