VPN explained: A privacy primer -- with robots and race carsConfused about virtual private networks? Looking for more privacy online? CNET's Bridget Carey offers a simple guide to help you understand how they work and what you need to consider before using one.
These days it can be hard to find a little privacy online. Your every move is tracked and sold by advertisers. Even the company that you pay to give you internet service can sell your web browsing history. Not to mention that there's the treat of hackers spying on you. So, if you're tired of feeling like strangers are watching your every move, you might be interested in VPN. It stands for Virtual Private Network, and it routes all of your online activity through an encrypted server, so you can't be spied on by others. If the Internet is an information super highway, let's say you're this car on the road. And this big guy is the company that gives you the Internet. That could be free WiFi at the airport, or the Internet service you Price you pay for at home. The Internet provider watches over and tracks where everyone is going but when you use a VPN, you're travelling through a secret portal. Your connection might be a little slower but the beast cannot see your destination, it can only see that you're in a VPN. And I should mention, you will not be able to do everything through a VPN. Netflix is known to block it. Someone without a VPN leaves a record of every site they've been to, the apps they use, what devices they own and what time of day they visited. But with a VPN, all someone can see is that the person has VPN. Now if you use a VPN, you need to be careful which you choose. VPN companies can see all your secrets. So you need to find one that you can trust. A cheap service may not deliver on the security they promise, and turn around and sell your information behind your back. We're all looking for a little more security in our lives, but when it comes to using a VPN, it matters to find the right one.