Have you ever heard the term virtual private network (VPN) before? For those that aren’t familiar with the term, a VPN service is a program that uses encrypted technology to traffic your data to a private network, providing you with unmatched anonymity and protection.
You’d be surprised how many groups want to get their hands on your data; these groups range from common cybercriminals to the government. Thankfully, modern VPNs, allow you to hide a number of aspects of your online activity and personal data. These aspects include (but aren’t limited to):
· Search history
· IP address
· Torrenting activity
Despite what many people think, your search history provides third parties with invaluable data. Your search history acts as a path of “digital footprints,” making it easier for these groups to identify your previous activities and searches. Additionally, it’s worth noting that even if you delete your search history regularly, there’s a good chance that your internet service provider (ISP) has an updated list of the websites you’ve recently visited.
When you download a VPN, you’re not just protecting your search history; you’re also stopping third parties from viewing your:
· Search terms
· Links clicked
· Previously visited websites
Your internal protocol address (IP address) is a code that has two primary functions: interface identification and location addressing. Simply put, the IP address makes a system recognizable to other systems on the web.
If one of these third parties access your IP address, they’re able to learn several pieces of personal information about your physical location, including your:
· Town or city
· State or province
What’s more, third parties can use your IP address to find your ISP, which grants them access to even more valuable personal information, like your name and age.
Thankfully, you can avoid this by downloading a quality VPN from a trusted source.
If you’ve ever downloaded games, movies, music, or any other type of long-form media off of the internet, you’re most likely familiar with the practice of torrenting.
For those who aren’t, torrenting is the sharing of metadata files between groups of users on a peer-to-peer (P2P) network.
The act of torrenting is technically legal; however, this doesn’t mean that you can torrent anything you want. Downloading and torrenting copyrighted media is illegal in North America and can lead to a warning or fine.
If you don’t feel comfortable sharing this type of information with third parties, you should download a VPN before torrenting any more content. Doing this will make it nearly impossible for third parties to verify what or when you’ve been torrenting.
You should always torrent your media from a reliable source. Many torrenting sites are hosts for malware that can corrupt your files and programs.
If you’re not fond of the idea of third parties snooping around your software, you can protect your data by downloading a VPN. Not only will a VPN stop third parties from viewing your search history, but it also makes it nearly impossible for them to identify your IP address or view your torrenting history.