In today’s world availability of the internet is the next important thing we humans look for no matter where we are. With the advent of smartphones, tablets, laptops, and event IoT-based devices, we are completely dependent on the Internet.
Except for a few countries, it is safe to say that the internet is more affordable than ever. Whether it’s mobile data or a broadband connection in your home or office or free Wi-Fi in the airport, shopping mall, hotels, restaurants, etc, we have various options that we can leverage to get ourselves online and remain active almost 24/7 to make our online presence felt. This is the same across all age groups and it’s easy (sometimes important) for even young kids to have access to the internet for their studies and research work. In the pre-pandemic era, many parents were avoiding giving their kids a smart computing device but COVID-19 changed everything and what was an optional item became a mandatory thing as it was being pushed by the educational institutions to facilitate home-based learning. Elder students and Adults already were equipped with smart computing devices, So nothing new happened to them. However, like anything we have advantages and then disadvantages. It then becomes important to make ourselves aware of those disadvantages and in what form it exists to ensure that we have a mitigation plan so we can at least reduce the harmful impact of it if not completely eradicate it.
Have you asked some or all of the following questions to yourself?
- Is my online presence secured? Can someone snoop & steal information without my knowledge?
- Are that free Wi-Fi in the restaurant and any public place safe enough?
Let me guess what could be the possible response some of you may have.
- I have the latest operating system and an anti-virus, spyware, and ransomware protection software that I am maintaining as a monthly subscription. So I am safe.
- I always use secured Wi-Fi. The one that comes with the password. Even better I dont even use Wi-Fi most of the time outside my home or office. I have a better mobile data plan that comes with good data size and I enable the hotspot and use it with my device that does not have a cellular option e.g. laptop and a non-cellular enabled tablet device.
If you are one of those who would give response #1 then I have huge respect for your cybersecurity knowledge already. However, that along with response #2 is not everything that secures you. Let me explain to you in simple terms without much tech mumbo-jumbo. There are two types of basic security elements among various other advanced ones that you should be aware of. Which are Data-at-Rest and Data-In-Transit. For the people who come up with response #1, they are in a way in control already on the Data-at-Rest topic. We will keep the disk encryption topic away from that for this article.
However, regardless of whatever your response is on item #2, you are not fully protected on Data-In-Transit and this is the hacker’s paradise because they can intercept information regardless of how secure your device the moment information leaves your device and goes into the wire (or wireless). When you are in cellular connection, It is a bit better however when you are connected to Wi-Fi then you are at a higher risk. In other words, it is called Man-In-Middle (MIM) attack.
So what is the solution?
Sometimes the solution to complex problems is really simple. You cannot influence the Wi-Fi providers in public places or teach them how they can supply a secured Wi-Fi connection nor can you prevent your cellular operator to track what you are browsing on the internet. So you need a combination of online protection coupled with anonymity. Wouldn’t it be great if you can fearlessly browse the internet no matter where you are and at the same time remain anonymous to the network providers?
Enter personal VPN (Virtual Private Network) service. Now chances are that you might have heard about this already but are you using it? If not, then the rest of the article is for you.
When you hear about VPN then you may think that it’s more of a corporate thing that is used to connect offices. You are right, but it’s not just limited to business. You as an individual can use that service unless you are living in a country where it’s prohibited by the local government policies.
But in the name of security and anonymity, there should not be a compromise on the bandwidth which is very precious for most of the demanding online platform requirements. So you dont want to lose on that especially if your actual subscribed bandwidth itself is very less. This is why you should choose the VPN service provider that gives you protection without speed compromise. There are various other advantages of using a VPN service but those are out of the scope of this article.
For e.g. From NordVPN on a Mac OS the internet bandwidth changes when you enable the VPN. However, you can see from the speed test result below the difference is not much in the case of NordVPN but the same is not the case with other personal VPN service providers. You can refer to a full comparison report from here.
With Nord VPN
Another important aspect that needs to be factored in is that that the internet bandwidth will reduce further if you select a far-off region. In the example below you can see that if the United States is selected as a region from the actual location Singapore then bandwidth is drastically reduced. This is normally not required to be done unless region-specific content is desired.
While it’s up to you to select the personal VPN service that suits your need and budget. However, based on my own test & experience below are the ratings for NordVPN’s plan. At the end of the article you can find the product purchase links should you decide to choose NordVPN as a preferred option.