In our "How to securely" series, we asked our followers what tools they would like a simple guide to help them stay secure online. There seemed to be a lot of confusion as to what a VPN is and why you should or should not use one. So we asked Peter to help.
Why are you using a VPN?
The very first question to ask is, why are you using a VPN? There are a lot of misconceptions as to what a VPN offers in the way of safety and security. Here are two myths I hear bounded about all the time.
Myth 1: A VPN secures my traffic
A VPN provides a secure tunnel for traffic from your device. It secures only the traffic from you to the VPN server. From the VPN server onwards, your traffic is dependant on the protocols your traffic is using.
Myth2: A VPN anonymises my traffic
No. False, and very dangerous. The vast majority of VPN providers will immediately hand over your source IP address to any government agency asking for it if there is a good cause. If an ISP provides an abuse complaint to the VPN provider, you can bet on that abuse complaint finding its way to your inbox. We do, however, have three recommendations for "no log" VPN providers below.
So what does a VPN do?
Very simply, a VPN will protect your connection to the internet from your device to the VPN service. It is excellent if you are using it to connect to your business. You are then creating a secure connection into your business and joining that network. It is very effective at protecting you when on the move and connecting to the internet via third-party hotspots. It is the perfect defence from eavesdropping attacks and poisoned or malicious wireless hotspots.
Which VPN Provider?
Let us start with what we use at Hedgehog. Our VPN to our office is OpenVPN. It is cheap, easy to administer and maintain and does the job. When we are on the road, we use ProtonVPN. We use ProtonMail for our email because we love PGP encryption, so ProtonVPN makes a lot of sense us. Of course, there are other options.
PrivateVPN is a Swedish business with a raved-about service. It may be smaller and younger service than the other providers, but it continually impresses users. PrivateVPN has a zero-logs policy. That means it can be trusted to keep your data trail clear. The Windows client features a killswitch but at this time it not on on the other apps. PrivateVPN is better for Windows users who need healthy levels of privacy, but I wouldn't use it on other platforms.
VyprVPN is, like ProtonVPN, Swiss-based; a location that is generally agreed to be great for privacy services. Like the two provides above, VyprVPN has a zero logs policy. It has all the critical features you would expect to get from a premium VPN service. A killswitch, stealth mode, DNS leak protection, and OpenVPN encryption is available with this provider. And, it has easy to use apps for all platforms. This VPN has servers located in over 70 countries, and it is worth giving a test run using its 30-day money-back guarantee.
But I want more Anonymity
Check out our How to Tor and How to be Anonymous guides. They will be on our blog in the next couple of weeks. Until then, surf safe.