Do You Need a Virtual Private Network?

Do You Need a Virtual Private Network?

As beneficial as the internet can be to empowering individuals and enriching lives, there are negative aspects to being online.  

Privacy concerns, disclosed personal information and data, hacking and security breaches, and computer viruses still plague this internet.

FPUAnet Communications does far more than provide fast, reliable fiber internet.

We work tirelessly to deliver your high-speed internet service as safely and securely as possible. However, you still need to take steps to ensure your privacy and online security, too.

One of the most frequently cited recommendations to protect your privacy online is to use a Virtual Private Network (VPN).        

But what exactly is a VPN, and how does it work? And do you really need a VPN?

Below we explain what a VPN is and discuss how it works, so you can make a more informed decision about whether to employ a VPN yourself.

What is a VPN?

A VPN is a private network that, once established and enabled, creates a secure “tunnel.” Through the tunnel, data sent and received by your devices online is transmitted to a private server, where the data is encrypted before moving throughout the internet.

In essence, then, through this process, your data is more protected and secure while you’re online.

How do VPNs work?

VPNs utilize applications to transmit and relay online data (emails, browser searches, messages, photos, videos, etc.), to secure servers via the encrypted data tunnels.

Once encrypted data arrives at these secure servers, it gets routed to its final destination, such as a website, email server, or social media app.

The VPN’s encryption process shields your I.P. address (your location online) and other sensitive personal data.

For example, instead of revealing your I.P. address, the VPN’s server’s I.P. address “becomes” your I.P. address, concealing who you are and providing extra protection.

Similarly, by using a VPN, the internet traffic you receive has gone through the same more protected process before reaching your devices.

This sounds helpful—but do I need a VPN?

A VPN is a solid online privacy and security measure.

While some cybersecurity experts still recommend them, technically, you do not need one.

Until recently, VPNs were more necessary than they are today. But technology and online security have improved markedly over the years, with many websites and apps employing strong data encryption, helping enhance online privacy.

People who regularly use public Wi-Fi, such as in coffee shops or airports, are more vulnerable to hacking and cyber-attacks.

VPNs can help protect your devices (and online privacy) in those situations. But you can employ other security and privacy protections that can safeguard your data and internet traffic without using a VPN.

Whether you use a VPN or not, please don’t forget other essential protections, like password managers, anti-virus software, and ad blockers. They can protect your identity and prevent your online activity from being tracked.

Of course, should you have more questions about online security and privacy, FPUAnet Communications can always help.

And to learn more about navigating the web more securely and staying safe online, follow Fort Pierce Utilities Authority‘s social pages.