April 5, 2017
Have you heard? Internet service providers want to sell your data and a virtual private network (VPN) is the best way to tell them to shove off. There’s a problem though. VPNs are notoriously shady, are more complicated than they look, they’re unregulated, and can be more of a security risk than they’re worth if you don’t set them up correctly.
We’ve talked about what a VPN is plenty of times before, but let’s take a second for a quick refresher. A VPN encrypts your data before it leaves your device, and that data stays encrypted while it travels through your local network and internet service provider (ISP) until it reaches the VPN provider’s servers. This process is referred to as “tunneling.” When the traffic reaches the VPN’s servers, it’s decrypted and sent off to the internet at large. This is generally useful if you’re using the internet in a public place, like a coffee shop Wi-Fi network where someone might be trying to spy on your traffic. It’s also useful if you want to hide your traffic from your ISP or get around a government firewall, since they won’t be able to see what websites you visit.