VPN usage -or if we expand the term to its full length: Virtual Private Network- has skyrocketed over the past few years becoming more and more commercialized in the process. VPNs, now a household name not just for hardcore techies but regular users, are an indispensable cybersecurity tool.
VPN companies are making hundreds of millions of dollars and have become serious sponsors in the media and internet industry. Controversial as VPNs still are, like the fact that using a VPN is illegal in some countries, they are an intelligent choice when it comes to protecting oneself and one’s identity online. Cybercrime is at every doorstep, and simply put the internet is not a place you want to venture without a good firewall and a VPN activated, at the very least. Without the most basic cybersecurity measures in place, you are risking identity theft, data breaches leading to financial loss, and even personal danger. Malware (malicious software) and cybercrime have unfortunately penetrated deep into every possible corner of the internet, which is why even the most innocent internet user is automatically at risk once connected to the World Wide Web.
But, let’s go one step further and show you how to make full use of your VPN in combination with some lesser-known advanced techniques so that you can be a notch above the rest when it comes to staying secure online. Why not future-proof your cybersecurity right now?
What is a VPN?
A VPN is a readily available software of the cybersecurity domain that operates at the source of all online risks, which is at the internet connection level. A Virtual Private Network is, basically, a middleman server that the software allows you to select and connect to specialist servers, cloaking your data transmissions. A good premium VPN (not a free or web-browser-based one) will successfully obfuscate, reroute and encrypt your internet connection. For example, a premium VPN will give you dozens of servers to connect to in a selection of countries that are set up for this exact purpose. This is like throwing an invisibility blanket over yourself before you connect to the internet. Your ISP and the government, not to mention cybercriminals, will have a difficult time tracking you online. Connecting to the internet in a ‘naked’ fashion -without VPNs and firewalls- is not recommended these days, no matter what machine, router, or operating system you are running.
Going Beyond The Default Security Levels With Advanced Cybersecurity Tips
Using just a VPN and default first-aids like a simple firewall on your OS should suffice for most. However, why not go with fully-fledged security that you can set up for free right now? If you value your privacy and data security, then you definitely should. For example, people often forget that a web browser gives away a lot of information, which should be rather obvious as it is the gateway to the internet. Nevertheless, it is simple to forget this fact. Most users also will not venture into other operating system settings as well as the advanced features the VPN software itself offers. Let’s note some of these aspects now and look to apply them in the future for top-notch peace of mind cybersecurity;
- Using a more secure browser
- Adjusting advanced VPN settings
- Adjusting operating system settings
- General internet best practices
Using a More Secure Browser
The default web browsers that come with your operating system should be discarded. Not that they are not good, but a specialist browser like Brave browser offers so much more; digital fingerprinting options, cookie blocking, web protection, and a variety of other protective shields.
Adjusting Advanced VPN Settings
VPN settings such as kill switches, the configuration of how a VPN treats untrusted networks, using specialty servers, cybersec options and auto-connect configurations are important components to understand when using a VPN.
Adjusting System Settings
Even if you use a VPN, a web browser will steal other information about your computer (the make and model, location and operating system.) Adjusting the time zone in your operating system to an identical time zone in a different country will further throw off your location.
General Internet Best Practices
With the above tips in mind, the last step is to apply the following best practices; never share sensitive information online with an untrustworthy website or individual (especially on social media), use multi-factor authentication (MFA or 2FA) wherever you see the option, never connect to public WiFi instead opt for mobile data (if you must check if the public WiFi is secure) and always use a premium paid VPN (avoid free VPNs.) These tips should put you miles above your previous online safety levels.
Image source : DenPhotos/Shutterstock.com
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