VPN is Coming in from the Cloud
mobilesecurity.com [London, UK] So, it's clear that there are many positive reasons to use a VPN whenever you go online (for your privacy and security, to access to remote drives and pick-up work email, etc.). However, there is potentially one unwelcome side-effect of accessing the internet via VPNs.
For example, someone based in the UK who uses a VPN service that doesn't offer the UK as an 'exit' country, would struggle to watch BBC iPlayer content. They would need to log off the VPN – because the BBC prohibits non-UK residents from watching their livecontent (or downloading previously-aired shows when outside the UK) - meaning they're potentially exposed to security concerns while watching the latest BBC content.
The counterpoint to this argument is that many VPN services offer a selection of different regional servers to choose from, and so there's potential to watch Irish, Singaporean or Japanese TV shows online whenever the appropriate network is selected! VPNs also provide a level of anonymity for users, so by spoofing your location, downloading movies or software at a cheaper price and avoiding local sales taxes and price hikes becomes a very real possibility.
So – there are a selection of different scenarios that make using a VPN a common-sense choice for any internet user who’s reluctant to become a target for the bad guys:
1. Maintaining security on a closed network: it’s likely that you’ll already be using a VPN service if you regularly need to log in to access shared drives at your workplace or university
2. Ensuring your privacy: whether you’re downloading content that’s restricted to another country or just trying to save a few dollars by taking advantage pricing inconsistencies, a VPN service could pay for itself within a matter of days
3. An extra level of personal security: you maintain up-to-date antivirus software, your PC sits behind a firewall, you boot your PC into a virtual machine whenever you go online and you *never* visit dubious websites. There’s not much more you could do to ensure you’re safe – but there’s no harm in using a VPN.
If you fit into the final group, you might also consider wearing gloves whenever you go near the keyboard – it’s less painful than using acid to remove any prints from your fingertips.
Let’s not lose sight of the serious message behind using a VPN. We’re all becoming increasingly comfortable accessing the internet via public WiFi networks – your local coffee shop, library, airport departure lounge. That’s great – it’s super-convenient and relatively inexpensive (and free in many cases). However, it’s possible that undesirables are sniffing these networks – meaning they’re looking to find unsecured devices that are logged into the WiFi, and then attempting to access personal information on those laptops, smartphones and tablets. By using a VPN when logging into these access points, you’re putting an extra barrier between your device and the bad guys.
There are numerous options out there – offering similar features with numerous download limits and price points, with options varying from single sign-on or one-day options, to monthly and annual subscriptions. At mobilesecurity.com we encourage our visitors to check out online reviews before making a decision on where to spend your money (and put your trust). There are many highly-regarded technology review sites out there, including PCMag.com and pcadvisor.co.uk – as with any important buying decision, do your research to learn what the experts say before opening your wallet.