VPNs: How do they work and things to consider

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Dan Shimkus September 10, 2019

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What’s a VPN?

Virtual private networks, or VPNs, are a “connection method used to add security and privacy to private and public networks.” These have been a popular topic among data privacy discussions the past few years. VPN services are available for both your computer and your phone. If you’re considering using a VPN, it’s important to know how it works and what it does to protect your privacy.

How does it work?

A VPN encodes your data before it leaves your computer or phone, preventing it from being read until it’s decoded at a VPN server. You can then access websites securely, while keeping your browsing private from your internet service provider (ISP). This also prevents people on the same network from stealing your personal information. Using a VPN is a safer way to browse on an unsecure network, such as a public Starbucks wi-fi; however, it does not stop trackers from gathering browsing information on you. Trackers gather information using things other than your location or ISP, and could still identify you based on your browsing habits.

Things to Consider

When choosing to use a VPN, pay attention to how they store their data. Some store and sell your browsing information, much like ISPs have been charged with doing in the past. A VPN may also leak your information, instead of protecting it, if it is installed incorrectly. Overall, VPNs are a very useful tool; however, you should do your own research before investing and trusting in a specific one. To make your browsing even more secure, consider installing a tracker blocker as well. Ghostery’s large tracker database, as well as our powerful AI features, provide even more privacy to your daily browsing. Try the Ghostery Browser Extension today to see how much faster and more secure your internet surfing can be.

Coming Soon

Ghostery’s latest privacy suite, Ghostery Midnight, will include a VPN and the same leading tracker protection technology you’ve come to know and love. Don’t sacrifice privacy to stay connected – take control of trackers at the device level. Learn more here.