Most of us use the web with an expectancy that the majority of our activity is pretty much confidential. However the reality is actually a long way from the truth, much of what we do online is pretty much open to anyone who wants to eavesdrop. The main issue is that there is little built in security online indeed the vast majority of our traffic travels in clear text. In addition your identity and location can be determined by simply looking up your IP address which is also visible to any web site you visit. There is one solution, which many users take advantage of and that is to use something called a VPN connection when they are online.
For many people there is a pervasive image of a VPN user, it’s something similar to a youngster sporting a hoodie, huddled up in a coffee shop with their laptop computer. They’re possibly trying to hack right into some government computer systems and are on the run from the authorities. As a VPN disguises your specific location and your web traffic there’s a natural idea that the person is up to no good and without a doubt has something to conceal.
The reality is actually a very long way from this assumption and although many hackers do certainly use VPNs consistently so do an awful number of ordinary individuals. Indeed the majority of large organizations have been actually using VPNs for many years to support inbound connections from remote users. If a salesman needs access to the product database on the company’s network it’s much simpler to allow them to connect through the internet and view the latest version. This is much more secure than travelling around with DVDs and of course ensures that he or she has the most recent versions.
If you make any kind of normal connection over the internet, all your traffic is pretty much viewable, i.e anybody with a mind can intercept and read it. In the event that you’re logging and connecting to a protected share then this would certainly consist of usernames and passwords. So if you want to protect these connections, you might generally install a VPN client on the laptop and ensure it’s utilized to encrypt the connection back to the company network. It is actually completely genuine and indeed smart business practice.
Regular home users will use VPNs for very similar reasons and indeed some will expand on this and even utilize rotating residential proxies. Essentially the internet is insecure and there is minimal provision for security integrated in automatically. Absolutely you can access secure sites through things like SSL when you need to enter a credit card or payment information. This is the exception not the rule and most sites are not secure and the vast majority of data flies across the wires in clear text.
In addition to the basic insecurity of the internet, there’s the other issue of personal privacy. Your surfing data is easily available via a variety of sources. For a start, there’s a comprehensive list in your ISP of every little thing you do online and depending upon where you reside this could be routinely and quickly accessed. Using a VPN stops this, turning your web activity into an encrypted list which is unreadable without your permission. Are they used by cyber criminals and terrorists? Sure but also by millions of people who think that what they do online shouldn’t be part of public records.
The VPN systems are becoming more and more sophisticated simply driven by need and the risks of discovery. There are all sorts of variations including enabling different setups and ports to dodge discovery. You can even get them to use home based IP addresses through certain residential IP providers –
In most countries VPNs are not actually illegal but just a straightforward business and personal security tool. However in a few countries this is not actually the situation and you can get into trouble if caught using them. Countries that actually ban the use of VPN include places like China, Iraq, Belarus and Turkey. Various other countries only allow approved services which typically indicate those that can be compromised if required. People still use VPNs in the majority of these countries indeed in Turkey nearly all expats use one to view things like British and American TV on-line. Fortunately it’s literally quite difficult to detect a VPN being used however that does not stop it theoretically being unlawful in those locations.