The internet connects more people today than any other time since it was introduced. As of stats from 2019, almost 4.13 billion of the world's 7.7 billion people have access to the internet. This extensive reach brings accessibility, feasibility and convenience to a lot of people but as times progress, the number of threats on the World Wide Web are growing substantially. In 2019 alone, more than $5 trillion were lost to cybercrime activities across the globe.
This number, however, doesn't include the amount of threats that user data faces because it has risen to become one of the most sought-after commodities with organizations and brands sometimes going overboard in their quest to gather relevant information about consumers or people in general. These are just a couple of reasons which make it imperative for users to hide their identity while online. Here we discuss online privacy issues and how a VPN for Windows can help resolve them.
Privacy threats on the internet
There is a diverse range of threats on the internet these days. Different organizations, businesses and people have various agendas that they want to fulfill. They employ multiple ways to achieve this and at the end of the day, the victims are normal internet users. Over the years, cybercriminals have become exceptionally active and the way they target individuals and businesses is constantly evolving. Some of the challenges that users face online include:
The activity gets its name from regular fishing because cybercriminals use bait to lure unsuspecting victims into their trap. Phishing can happen over calls, text messages, emails, social media platforms or just simply while you are browsing the internet too. Random links, email attachments or calls asking for sensitive information with the person on the other end posing like the representative of a bank can trick people into giving out some of their private information.
Social media has made it easier to connect with almost anyone around the world but it has also put a lot of our personal information online. Hackers can use this information to study a potential victim. Then, they act like a boss, colleague, friend, family member or some other social contact with the intention of making the victim give out personal information. This technique is growing in usage quite fast and many people are falling for it.
This includes a host of viruses, bug and other elements that may infect a user's device. There is a host of malware that has been detected and new ones are being discovered regularly. Trojans, spyware, adware, ransomware, bots, bugs are all different forms of malware. Each one has their own unique characteristics and functions. They can live within a system for extended durations without the user noticing their existence.
These threats don't include internet service providers or brands monitoring data traffic through the use of IP addresses. Together, these activities necessitate the use of a VPN for Windows.
How a VPN for Windows keeps you anonymous
Many of you may be wondering why a VPN? A VPN is one of the most effective tools to hide IP address of users by rerouting normal internet data traffic. An IP address is like the virtual location of a system when it is connected to the internet and by default, it is public. Anyone with the right tools can easily find out what the IP address of a particular device is. This can open a window of opportunities that can cause an array of damages to the other person.
A VPN offers features that can help eliminate many of these vulnerabilities that exist in the network. A few of these include:
In a normal internet connection, data packets are first sent to the internet service provider and then to the website which a user is trying to access. The ISPs usually monitor and keep logs of all the traffic that goes through them. A VPN helps eliminate this by sending all the data to their own secure servers first and then towards the website. This plugs a critical loophole in the system which exposes user data while they are online.
Another problem is the protection of data while it is being sent to various website servers. Hackers these days have the ability to intercept the flow of information and siphon it according to their own convenience. VPNs offer state-of-the-art encryption protocols to prevent data from being stolen while in transit. Leading VPN services have AES 256-bit encryption protocols which are the most secure and highest level commercially available so far.
Advanced threat detection and prevention
Besides protecting the outgoing data against potential threats, the top VPN services also offer detection and prevention for malware that may be incoming. There are various features that help warn users about spam emails or dangerous viruses that are directed towards and trying to make their way into the system of a user.
Using features like secure servers and encryption protocols, VPNs make sure that users remain anonymous while they are online because no one knows their location or identity whatsoever.
Other benefits of a VPN
The anonymity that a VPN offers can come in handy for more than just protecting against data breaches. Many websites on the internet resort to content restrictions because of various reasons. This can become a huge nuisance at times because it hinders easy and free access to the internet for many normal users.
Netflix, Amazon Prime, Disney+ and other streaming platforms are gaining immense popularity these days. Unfortunately, the content they offer varies. For instance, a show that may be available in the US library can be taken off the UK list etc. This can mean that a US user misses out on their favorite shows in case they are travelling and people living in other countries can't have that particular show either. With a VPN, this issue can be eliminated easily.
Bypassing geographic restrictions
The secure servers of a VPN are spread evenly across the world meaning that users can connect to and enjoy content without any restrictions. This internet freedom allows not just open streaming but also accessing general information online because many business websites also limit access to users in a particular region.
Scott is a cyber-security professional. He's been writing in the internet privacy niche for a while now and has churned variety of informational pieces to educate his audience. Connect with him on Twitter.