A VPN is a private virtual network and more and more people are using these networks to move around the internet safely and anonymously. But is a VPN really necessary? Find out here whether you need a VPN for your Mac or Windows computer.
What VPNs can’t do
It is important to also know the limitations of VPNs before you decide to download one. The main function is to protect your internet traffic. This is to make it harder for observers to trace your online activity back to you.
But even with a VPN, advertisers can still collect data about you. If you want to avoid this, you should install a tracker blocker. Also, make sure you use good anti-virus software on your devices. Other protective measures include multi-factor authentication and using a password manager. Remember that a VPN for Mac cannot replace these programmes. But then, what do you need it for? Find out below:
Public network threats
Outside your own home – in cafés, for example – it’s hard to tell which networks are secure. Hackers set up networks with familiar names, enticing many people to connect. Once your phone or computer is connected, the hacker can access your data.
Especially if you often work in cafés etc., you should therefore consider a VPN, as you will probably have a lot of confidential data on your device. A VPN works like an encrypted tunnel that prevents other people on the same network from seeing what you are doing. This even includes the person who manages the network.
Threats in your own home
As a rule, we can be relatively sure that our home WLAN is secure. After all, hackers would first have to get to your router. They also usually pick places where they can gather as much information from as many victims as possible. These are, for example, train stations, airports, shopping centres, cafés, etc.
But there are still threats in your home as well. The biggest threat is the company that provides you with internet access. This is because they can collect and resell data about their users and their online activities. These are supposedly anonymised, but the thought is still disturbing.
With a VPN, it is much harder for outsiders to link your online activities to you. However, you should not forget that there are numerous other ways to be tracked online. A VPN does not protect you from all these situations. Therefore, you should not underestimate anti-virus software, strong passwords and protective measures such as multi-factor authentication.
VPNs are also for entertainment
At least half of all VPN users do not use the service exclusively for their personal protection. VPNs have become especially popular with fans of streaming services like Netflix. This may seem strange at first, since a VPN can affect upload and download speeds. However, it makes perfect sense.
After all, not all streaming video content is available everywhere. Every streaming service has a contract to stream movies, series and music, which are usually also restricted to certain areas. So it may be that your favourite series is not available on Netflix in Germany and is only offered on the US version of the streaming service. You can solve this problem with a VPN. You can use your VPN to access content that is restricted in your country via a remote server.