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VPN: What It Is, Why It Is Important

This video explains what a virtual private network (VPN) is and how it protects the privacy of users' data.
In this video, we’re going to be talking about VPNs.
Now if you’re not familiar with what a VPN is, your standard internet connection typically works like this. Your home internet connection runs through your ISP for your DNS, or Domain Name Server. It resolves whatever address or location we’re trying to get to on the internet, and then it goes to where our destination, the website server whatnot, and then comes back through to our home system.
Now the problem with this is, your ISP or anyone else, if they’re sitting in the middle, can potentially collect that traffic and start logging where you’re going, passwords, any other information that’s being transmitted to and from. This also means a malicious hacker could also be doing this, essentially setting up a man in the middle attack, going from your computer, standing in the middle of the connection, collecting the information, and then off to wherever it’s going and then back again. Depending on what country you live in, there also may be a firewall in place, meaning they’re blocking you from getting to certain locations.
And this is a potential issue for journalists and different advocates where they’re not able to get to, say, a publishers’ story because that particular country is blocking that access.
So this is where a VPN comes in. A VPN, or Virtual Private Network connection, is essentially a secure encrypted connection out to the internet.
Now with a VPN, it could either be a hardware or software solution. Most typically people run a software solution. Hardware tends to be a little bit more secure. And also certain routers will actually have a firewall built into it they could potentially use. Now there’s also paid versions for VPNs and also open source VPNs to use. But with a VPN, a VPN sits on your side, essentially. It’s on your device, your computer, your smartphone, your tablet, or, again, it’s a hardware device that’s going to sit there on your network. And then it goes from the VPN out through your ISP into the destination. So are there are a lot of VPNs out there?
There actually are quite a few VPNs out there. And these are some of the more popular ones. These essentially are paid ones. There’s some free versions for proton VPN or TunnelBear. But again, there’s certainly no shortage of VPNs out there that you could use. Again, open source, hardware, software, and there is VPN for computers, Windows, Linux, OSX, iPads, Android, Chrome. You name it, there’s a VPN for it in some form. Now VPNs don’t all work the same on different devices. Some VPNs will have servers in different countries. And depending on your use case that may or may not be important. Some VPN providers will be more compliant with law enforcement. Some VPN providers will not encrypt their traffic properly.
And we saw this a couple of years back where some of the more popular VPNs for Facebook and mobile devices weren’t encrypting the traffic at all, which is a huge problem. All the transmissions were done in plain text, which is pretty pointless if you’re running VPN, because the point of VPN is that traffic is supposed to be encrypted. Costs and subscriptions will vary. So VPNs are not a particularly cheap thing to run. It does require a lot of servers, a lot of bandwidth. So in general they are going to charge you for this. So in general, be wary of free VPNs.
So again, it is expensive to run a proper VPN service, so they’re going to have to monetize it in some way. So a lot of times what we see is your data is actually being sold off, some information about you depending on how much information about you that’s being sold off, it’s going to vary, places you’re going and things like that. So it’s always recommended to research a VPN before you buy or start using a VPN.

This video explains what a virtual private network (VPN) is and how it protects the privacy of users’ data.

A VPN can protect your network by providing a secure, encrypted connection to the internet. In this video you will learn how a VPN protects data moving from your network to the ISP and how to decide which VPN to use for your network.

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