A virtual private network, or VPN, is a type of network computer connection that creates a private encrypted communications channel, commonly called a “tunnel,” when using insecure networks, such as in hotels and coffee shops, or when communicating over the Internet. Many businesses provide a VPN connection for their mobile and traveling employees. This means that when out of the office, a worker can open the VPN and be connected to the home office network, and enjoy all of the services and security provided by that network.
I have recently begun advocating for “encryption everywhere.” One of the easiest way to make yourself an unattractive target for cyber-criminals is to use encryption as much as possible.
For people who do not have an employer to provide a VPN, there are independent VPN service providers. We have provided links below to a pair of reviews on PCWorld and Torrent Freak if you need more specific information to help you select a reliable VPN service. There are service providers working out of the US, Nevis, Gibraltar, Sweden, Panama, and Malaysia. The three that were recommended by both reviews are:
- NordVPN (Panama)
- Private Internet Access (US)
- TorGuard (US)
Most of these services to not log any sessions, and store no customer information on their servers, and many provide some anonymity in their payment system as well. This provides some level of privacy from governmental or legal orders for information, although the European based VPN services are having to deal with new EU regulations requiring them to keep IP and location information. Interestingly enough, the US does not require logging at this time, so using a US based service is not less secure than a foreign one.
So this is another arrow to consider for your security, privacy, and anonymity quiver in 2016. Remember, it is not that you have nothing to hide, it is that they have no right to look in the first place. And you do need to protect yourself from the clutches of cyber-criminal groups. So adding a VPN to your arsenal is a good idea.