TechnologyThe Ultimate Guide to VPNs: From Protecting Information to Buying Cheap Tickets

    The Ultimate Guide to VPNs: From Protecting Information to Buying Cheap Tickets

    It is likely that, when hearing about VPNs (virtual private networks), many users come to mind a hacker wearing a hoodie in a dark room while accessing the dark web (dark internet) on your computer. However, these tools are useful for any Internet user, since they guarantee privacy in the connections that our device establishes with web pages or other services.

    Before starting to use a VPN, it is important to bear in mind that privacy is not synonymous with security and, as Josep Albors, director of research and awareness of the information security company ESET in Spain, explains to this newspaper, “VPNs do not prevent that you access a web page, download a virus and install it on the device, because it is not its function”, despite the fact that they are often offered as security systems.

    “What a VPN does is generate a tunnel in which an encrypted communication is carried out between your connection on your device and a web page or a service that you want to access, and you do not want anyone to be able to see the data that is being transmitted over that private tunnel”, he adds. In addition to offering privacy, VPNs have other uses, such as allowing the user to watch a movie that is not available in their country or find cheaper prices on some products.

    Connect privately to Wi-Fi networks while traveling

    In recent years, awareness of the dangers of connecting to a public Wi-Fi network has increased. We already know that, as tempting as it may be to find free Wi-Fi on the street, in a shopping center or even on the beach, there may be a cybercriminal on the other side ready to steal information from users who connect. Having a VPN guarantees that, if we connect to a public Wi-Fi network, whether on the street or in a hotel, the communications that are established are carried out privately, although that does not mean that we must continue to maintain the same precautions when access web pages or download applications or files. “This prevents someone who is spying on that Wi-Fi from knowing where we are accessing or what information we are sharing,” explains Albors.

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    Buy cheaper plane tickets or get more affordable subscriptions

    As Josep Albors recalls, there are users who use VPNs to obtain lower prices when buying plane tickets. “Depending on the country you buy them from, the price can vary by a certain amount depending on the purchasing power that people living in that country are assumed to have. If you buy a plane ticket from the Philippines, it is likely that with a VPN you will save a certain amount of money ”, he explains.

    However, in an article published in the newspaper US Today, the journalist Nathan Diller states that he has verified that the differences between prices are not usually significant, for example, in plane tickets between the United States and Mexico. In fact, when using a VPN with a server in the United Kingdom, one of the hotel reservations he searched for was more expensive than if he requested it directly from his country. Even so, it depends on the specific case and there are users who claim to find lower prices by changing their location to countries with less purchasing power.

    When it comes to price discrimination based on device IP address, changing location with a VPN and clearing cookies and cache could also lead to better prices for online shopping in general. There are users who use these tools to buy video games at the price of countries on the other side of the world or to get a subscription, for example, to a music platform, so that it is more profitable without too much effort.

    See movies or series that have not reached Spain

    How many times have you searched for the title of a series or movie on Netflix, Amazon Prime and other streaming platforms? streaming and a message has appeared regretting that it is not available in your country? The alternative is usually to see said content on an illegal web page where dozens of ads appear, so that you end up assuming the risk of finding a virus on your computer sooner or later and, furthermore, contributing to a website that carries out an illegal activity. With a VPN, the user can more securely access content that is not available in their country, since they would not have to resort to said web pages, but simply access their Netflix account (or any platform they have contracted) with normal. As if he had traveled to another country. It is enough that through the VPN you choose the place where you want to establish the connection with a server, be it the United States, Colombia or Japan. Not all VPNs offer servers in all countries and regions, so often the choice of one or the other is based on the offer. Some have servers in 90 countries, others in 50, etc.

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    Keep your identity hidden when sailing in countries with authoritarian governments

    VPNs are not just useful for entertainment or consumption; In countries where certain websites are inaccessible, censored and even risk jail time for users who share or search for certain content, these networks can be instrumental in helping users keep their identity and information hidden.

    However, not all VPNs shield user information in the same way. In the case of free networks, Albors explains that they usually store some information: “They prevent them from spying on what you are visiting or the communication you are making, but those VPNs, on their servers, can save some information to later sell you. other products. And that’s a problem because if someone later requires that information in a country with oppressive legislation, it can expose people trying to access content that can’t be reached from their country and is considered illegal, for what can be condemned for it”.

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    Keeping the information hidden can be essential for activists, human rights defenders or people who belong to the LGTBI collective. “These types of people would be at risk if they use a VPN that can transfer the data when requested by the authorities of that country. For this reason, it is important to hire only those that offer guarantees and that have been audited (and they are in charge of promoting it), that do not keep any type of record and that, if they try to intervene in the information of their clients, they cannot provide anything. That is the essential and free VPNs usually do not do it ”, adds the expert.

    For teleworking it is also recommended to use them

    Albors insists that it is recommended that all companies use VPN because “when you use remote access to a computer belonging to your company or to any of its online platforms and you handle confidential information, the logical thing is that you can only access it properly from the internal network of the company, either from a tunnel that you generate from your home or from where you are working and that this encrypted communication is carried out so that no one can spy on or steal credentials. That way, even if someone gets the credentials, they can’t access the platform because they are not connecting through the VPN that is supported by the company.”

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    Source: EL PAIS

    This post is posted by Awutar staff members. Awutar is a global multimedia website. Our Email: [email protected]


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