1. What is a VPN?
A virtual private network (VPN) creates a private network from a public internet connection, giving you online privacy and anonymity. Your internet protocol (IP) address is hidden behind a VPN, making your online activities virtually untraceable. Most importantly, VPN services create safe and encrypted connections that can provide more privacy.
The VPN can obfuscate the following activities of the users:
- Browser activities
- Your web activity
- Your devices when connected to public Wi-Fi.
- Your IP address and location.
- Not all the devices in your network or home are all protected. The protected devices are only those where the software is installed.
- Viruses and malware remain a hazard — Most VPNs do not provide virus or malware protection. You should still be cautious about downloading dubious files, especially from torrent sites or other websites. And no, it doesn’t protect you from Hackers getting your Data!
- Speed difficulties – Depending on the VPN provider you use, your connection speed could be slowed.
3. Is it illegal to use a VPN?
While using a VPN is rarely prohibited, many internet behaviors are still illegal even when utilizing a VPN. These may include the following:
- Hacking: It is prohibited to gain unauthorized access to other devices or networks to disrupt activity, commit fraud, or steal data.
- Using dark web / darknet to buy, sell or download illegal contents.
- Cyber Stalking: Covering your tracks to stalk someone over the internet using VPN is illegal.
- Illegal File Download: Users download and upload copyright-protected content (such as music, movies, and games) to each other via the internet is illegal.
4. Misconceptions of Using a VPN- Things That VPN cannot Do!
- A VPN does not offer complete anonymity.
- A VPN cannot protect you from phishing or credential thefts where hackers send malicious emails or links to steal your password or compromise your devices.
- VPN is not an internet connection. You need an internet connection to connect to a VPN.
- A VPN cannot protect you if you have weak passwords or if your password is stored on the browser.
- VPNs can also be used by normal people who want to be anonymous on the internet and want their data to be encrypted. Some people have the misconception that VPNs are only used by hackers or criminals.
- A VPN does not protect you from viruses and malware.
- VPNs cannot be used for performing illegal activities as VPN companies store users’ logs.
5. Risks Associated with VPN
- Logging Policies: Your information is not anonymous and is tracked. The VPN company can log your IP address and other details as per their policy.
- Sensitive Data Leak: Suppose your VPN provider`s infrastructure is compromised by the threat actors they can leak sensitive information like your personal information, your IP address location and other information.
- Weak/Poor Encryption: Threat actors could try to decipher the traffic and steal your personal and sensitive information if the VPN provider’s encryption is weak.
- Malicious VPN Software’s: If you are not careful enough, you might end up dealing with serious VPN risks – like malware being injected into your device when you download a fake/malicious VPN client, which could start spying on your activities, spamming you with malicious ads, and stealing your personal and financial details.