Why don’t you need VPN encryption? – IT News Africa
There is an army of cronies on the internet spreading endless content claiming that with the simple click of a button you will be completely untraceable online. All your online privacy issues will be solved instantly, like magic.
VPNs are not the one-click solution to internet security. In fact, if you don’t choose a reputable provider, a VPN will do more harm than good.
Of course, there are reasons to use a VPN: To access blocked sites, hide your IP address from sites you visit, and hide your browsing activities from your internet service provider.
All of this is fine. Where claims start to get a little misleading is when vendors talk about security. Recently there have even been lawsuits and suppliers in the UK have been taken to court for overselling and leaking customer data.
In this article, we’ll cover some of the most common vendor claims.
Can a VPN protect you on public WiFi?
The problem with this claim of public WiFi is that the majority of the internet has been encrypted for a long time. Because it’s not 2006 anymore, almost every time you open a web browser, you’ll notice a padlock in the URL bar.
This padlock indicates that all your traffic is secured over HTTPS. This encryption takes place before it leaves the computer. It’s possible that someone breached HTTPS with a sophisticated man-in-the-middle attack, but that’s pretty unlikely. Extremely unlikely in fact.
If you notice the padlock before the URL, you’re probably safe. 80% of the Internet is already encrypted. It is redundant to use VPN technology and expect additional security on public WiFi.
When you are on an http:// site, beware! Anything you send to an HTTP website is in plain text format. Anyone using the network in your local cafe, library, or shared home can read all of your passwords and see all of your photos because they’re all plain text.
Why then do so many people use VPNs?
The most common use of Virtual Private Networks is to watch TV shows, movies, and access websites that are banned in their region of the world.
There are certainly authoritarian governments in the United Arab Emirates, China, Vietnam and other countries that censor websites. However, even in freedom-loving countries, restrictive broadcasting laws limit what you can watch. US Netflix has hundreds of titles that you can’t get on Canadian Netflix or UK Netflix, and vice versa. The Pirate Bay, Hulu, Sky Sports and other geo-restricted sites and programs can all be viewed with a VPN.
Privacy and Hiding Your ISP’s Browsing History
A Virtual Private Network (VPN) is a technology that hides the page you are visiting from your Internet Service Provider (ISP). Even with HTTPS, the company selling you the internet can see the entire domain address: youtube.com/the-name-of-the-video or amazon.com/the-item-you-looked-at. Your passwords are safe and you’re safe, but it’s not private.
A Virtual Private Network (VPN) will protect your internet history from your school or employer. If you study at a conservative institution, you may not want the system administrator to know what sites you visit. ISPs in several countries have the ability to sell the data they collect about you to marketers, limit traffic to specific websites, or create a profile about you.
Notice of Torrenting and Cease and Desist
Because torrent traffic clogs their networks, some third-world ISPs throttle it. In South Asia, Quora reports, this is common practice, but ISPs with adequate network capacity in competitive areas are not affected. They wouldn’t risk losing customers. If your ISP is throttling your torrent traffic, you can simply look for another provider.
The most serious risk when torrenting is that your IP address is revealed on the tracker. Several companies do this and acquire your IP address, perform a reverse lookup, and send you a DCMA complaint through your ISP. Your ISP will need to recheck the IP address to determine if it belongs to a customer; if that is the case
If you respond to these content rights holders, they may threaten you with legal action or try to persuade you to pay for the material in some other way. You can use a VPN to conceal your identity. Since the VPN’s IP address is used for the download, no link returns you.
Let’s sum it up
A Virtual Private Network (VPN) is a technology that allows users to access material on the Internet from locations outside of their home country. A VPN also keeps you safe while downloading, as rights holders may not be able to identify your public IP address if they can’t find it. VPN encryption exists but it’s only useful on sites that don’t use HTTPS, and the vast majority of sites do. If you are interested, click here to find out more.