You have probably gone to a number of cafes or restaurants and used their public network on your smartphone to access the Internet. Sure, it allowed you to update your friends or loved ones on social media, but you definitely did not know that it was a bad idea. That is because a public network is not really secure.
It is a golden ticket for hackers to steal your data. And someone accessing or using your data is the very last thing you want here on earth. These low-life individuals will get their hands on your bank account credentials, login details, and personal information, among many others.
This is where a VPN or Virtual Private Network can really help you big time. By keeping your information encrypted from all prying eyes, you get to keep your data away from potential hackers.
What Is a VPN?
According to Best Online Reviews, a VPN enables you to connect your smartphone or tablet up to a more safe connection over the Internet. It does a lot of things, too. This includes hiding your browsing activity, keeping your data secured, and letting you access region-locked sites.
Technically speaking, when your device is connected to a VPN, your browsing is directly routed through different servers across the globe. This provides you with a proxy I.P. address. For instance, you are connected to a server based in Australia. All of your Internet traffic is directly routed to that particular server and, in return, gives you a proxy I.P. address. Meaning, if you are in the United States surfing the web, sites will not be able to see a U.S.-based I.P. address. They would rather see an Australian one.
And to make things even clearer for you, let’s use YouTube as an example. If you are not using a VPN, pointing your browser towards the platform’s URL (www.youtube.com) will show a U.S. I.P. address. But once you are connected to a VPN, it will no longer appear to be from the United States but from Australia.
Why the Need for VPN?
It is really simple: no data is secured once it enters a public network. If you are banking, sending confidential documents, or just doing anything you do not want others to see, a VPN will make sure that all data involved is secured. This is your primary reason why you need to use a VPN.
In addition, there are times that you want to access region-locked sites. Say, you are in the United States but you cannot access a certain site. That is because it is locked to that particular region(s) only. By connecting to the Internet and firing up a VPN, you can trick the website into thinking that you are connecting from an allowed region. At that point, you will be able to access the site in question.
As already mentioned above, using a VPN means that your data is encrypted. This encrypted form goes straight to your ISP and then to the VPN server. The latter is basically the third party that connects to the web on your behalf. These processes altogether solve the privacy and security issues for you in a number of ways, such as the following:
- The destination site only sees the VPN server as the origin of traffic, not you.
- No one can easily identify either you or your computer as the primary source of the data. The same thing with what you are doing, the websites you are visiting, and the data you are transferring, just to name a few.
- Since your data is encrypted, an individual or entity looking at what you are sending will only see the encrypted data and not the raw one.
With all things considered, it is safe to say that the scenario becomes much safer than using the traditional way of connecting to the web. Another question you might have in mind is this: Just how secure VPN is exactly?
How Secure Is a VPN?
It holds true that the security a VPN provides has caused a debate among IT experts and others in the industry. And it surely does not help that even two services are not identical in terms of offerings and security. There are two main factors worth noting, though:
- The limitations of the type of VPN technology used and/or created by a provider.
- Legal and policy limitations that affect what can be done with this kind of technology. Basically, this refers to the laws of a country where the server, as well as the company providing the service, are situated.
- The policies of the company affect how it implements the technology in their service.
How to Install a VPN App on Android
There is no need to worry here – it is really easy. Besides, most, if not all, VPN providers offer custom Android apps to their user.
- Sign up for a VPN account first through the provider’s official website. Once done, you are likely to receive a Welcome or confirmation email with a download link to the Google Play Store.
- Or, you can choose to download the app directly from the Google Play Store and sign-up via the provider’s in-app purchase (happens when the free trial expires). Just make sure that you only download apps from providers that are legit and reputable. There are many fake and/or malicious VPN apps out there, so be cautious.
- Check users’ comments in order to know if the app is indeed legitimate. If you are satisfied, click “Install” to start.
- Read the Permissions the app requires on your mobile device and make sure that you are happy. Note that in-app purchases are required in order to purchase a subscription from within the app, and every VPN app will need access to your personal Wi-Fi settings. Click “Accept” when ready to continue.
- The app will automatically be downloaded and installed on your Android device.
There is no doubt that VPNs are great. While free solutions could look even better than paid services, it would still be wise to veer away from them. Most free VPNs offer a little bit of security, but it is not as much as paid or subscription-based service. In any case, there is really no reason not to use a VPN. It takes online security and privacy very seriously, which are two important things you need in today’s Internet technology.