What is a VPN and How Does it Boost Online Security?
The VPN global market only seems to increase as time goes by. What do VPNs provide that make them so attractive? In this article, we share how to choose VPNs and how to secure them.
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The number of VPN users has grown considerably over the past few years. According to the report of Go-Globe, 25% of netizens worldwide have used a VPN at least once in the last 30 days. Recently, VPN usage has surged in many countries and its popularity may see VPN usage surpass the estimated profit of USD$27.10 billion by the end of 2020. The VPN global market only seems to increase as time goes by. So, why is that? What do VPNs provide that make them so attractive?
What is a VPN?
A VPN, or a Virtual Private Network, creates a secure communication “tunnel” from your computer to the internet. It encrypts your connection and prevents others from seeing the data you’re transferring. This keeps your data secure from any spying attempts—including from home over your wired connection, but particularly on public Wi-Fi networks, when you’re out and about in places such as coffee shops, restaurants, airports and hotels. It helps ensure that no one can steal your personal details, passwords, or credit card information.
How does a VPN work and why you need a VPN service?
Among other things, a VPN can conceal your IP address to make your online actions virtually untraceable and anonymous, providing greater privacy for everything you do. In fact, there are so many ways a VPN can protect your privacy and security, we need to take a deeper look at what other benefits a VPN can provide.
1. Safeguard personal information
This is the era of mobility and most transactions are being done by people on-the-go using their mobile devices to exchange data over public networks. From online shopping, to mobile banking or simply checking emails and social media accounts, these activities can expose your personal information and sensitive data to hackers and cybercriminals. This particularly applies to users relying on public Wi-Fi. Using a VPN will help to mitigate unwanted leakage or theft by securing data in transit to and from the systems that typically try to collect and store your private data.
2. Access better streaming contents from other locations
One of the main drivers for using a VPN is to access better streaming content and restricted websites from the region you’re accessing the internet from. This may be true in your own country, but when traveling abroad, there are also chances that you cannot visit a popular website or a social media platform from the country you’re visiting. While using a VPN, you can connect to an IP address in your country and have full access to your favorite media contents and avoid wasting membership fees that you will likely pay for this streaming service.
3. Enhance browsing privacy
Some retail apps, social media platforms, and search engines continuously collect and analyze results of your search history. They keep track of all your browsing activities such as items you viewed, contents you liked, and things you tapped and clicked, so they can provide you with more targeted contents and monetize these by showing the same information in your feed through ads.
Note that, simply clearing your browsing history does not completely remove traces of these searches, and targeted ads can get annoying. This is where a VPN can help enhance your browsing privacy. The VPN hides your browser cached data and location from advertisers, which prevents them from serving up content based on your searches and location.
4. Save cost on communicating with family and friends abroad
Another motivating factor for the use of a VPN is to save on the cost of communicating with families and friends abroad. There are countries implementing restrictions on the use of certain messaging apps, banning their services. If you are planning to visit a country with such a restriction, a VPN can bypass this constraint, which allows you to make use of your trusted messaging app, eliminate the cost of long-distance calls to family and friends while abroad—and at the same time, maintain the level of security and encryption the messaging app provides.
5. Escape content-based bandwidth-throttling
The internet has evolved into streaming more content—videos, music, and more—and ISPs have responded by making higher data usage and higher throughput (bandwidth) pay-as-you-use-more services. But content is still at issue, particularly after the December 2017 FCC ruling. Potential ISP throttling based on content type, source, or destination (e.g., BitTorrent traffic), which could give priority to business over personal usage, is one of the reasons why everyday people are using VPN services, because a VPN provides more usage anonymity, preventing ISPs from potentially tracking your activities and limiting your bandwidth usage accordingly.
Choosing the right VPN for you
Now that you have some understanding of what a VPN is, and what benefits it can give you, it is also important to choose the right VPN for you.
Due to regulatory requirements and laws governing data privacy and securing personal information online, the demand for VPNs is growing. In response, there are a large number of VPN providers in the market today. So how do you choose a reliable VPN? Here are some criteria to help you pick one that best suits your needs:
- Faster and more data is better. Using a VPN can often decrease the speed of your internet connection, so you should pick a provider that has a good number of servers and locations and doesn’t pre-throttle your bandwidth. Some also have data limits, so you should opt for those with a higher data limit per month
- Provides the best encryption. Look for a VPN providing sophisticated ciphers such as 256-bit AES end-to-end encryption.
- Ensures safe browsing. Look for VPN that can filter and block malicious websites, online fraud, and internet scams and automatically safeguard your internet connection.
- Supports simultaneous devices. Select a VPN that is compatible with your devices and operating systems and can provide you a good number of simultaneous connections on your devices.
- Cost versus use case. Heavier business users should be contrasted with everyday consumer use. To pay less for the service (VPNs typically cost from $5 to $12 per month per device, though multi-device bundles are less), you might accept some data limits, if your use case is lighter; sacrifice some speed, if you’re not streaming movies when you’re out and about, (unlikely during the coronavirus lockdown); or some cross-regional server-selection capability, if you’re not travelling in content-restricted regions (since out-of-country travel is also being hampered by the pandemic).
Trend Micro’s Home Division provides two low-cost, safety-focused VPN solutions for everyday users: Trend Micro VPN Proxy One and Trend Micro Wi-Fi Protection, both of which can address light-to-medium VPN needs and meet most of the checklist criteria above.
Trend Micro VPN Proxy One offers fast, secure, stable and anonymous proxy connections for you to access various websites and applications. It connects to the best Trend Micro VPN server intelligently, without you having to do it, and does not limit bandwidth consumption. Trend Micro VPNs do not track your online activities, ensuring you a secure digital life and protecting your online privacy. Trend Micro VPN Proxy One is targeted to Mac and iOS devices.
Trend Micro Wi-Fi Protection turns any public hotspot into a secure Wi-Fi network and VPN with bank-grade data encryption to keep your information safe from hackers. While your VPN is active, Trend Micro Wi-Fi Protection provides exceptional web threat protection and checks websites you visit to safeguard your browsing from online fraud and internet scam. The VPN automatically kicks in when connecting to a Wi-Fi network with low security, such as one with no encryption. Trend Micro Wi-Fi Protection is available for all platforms (PC, Mac, Android, and iOS). Bundles can be purchased for multiple devices and platforms and some bundles can include other Trend Micro products, depending on the region.
Or visit Trend Micro Wi-Fi Protection for more information, or to buy the multi-platform solution.