Private Browsing: Should you browse privately?

The threat to personal data has never been so real. Companies and organizations have fallen victim to online fraud and attacks perpetrated by hackers. Individual internet users are neither immune to cybercrime. If you carelessly access the internet, you could be next in line for a swipe by the ill-intentioned black hat hackers. However, the question you could be asking yourself is; do hackers have a specific target or do random attacks? Whether targeted or random, your online account could be hacked for various reasons only known to hackers themselves.

It’s your responsibility to ensure your safety online. One way to keep safe online is using a private browser. Find a VPN service that guarantees you security and privacy. If clueless on where to start, here is a beginner’s guide to VPNs.

Let’s get to the ins and outs of a private browser and why you need one.

  • Overrides security networks at work or school

A VPN connection helps you bypass restrictive networks at school or your place of work. Many organizations have restricted access to social sites and YouTube. While this terms of internet use by your organization could be justified, you may have reasons why you should have access to such sites. A Virtual Private Network gives you the advantage of breaking free from such restrictive networks. It encrypts your data and makes it unreadable. Sites you access and your activities online won’t be traced by your workplace network administrator.

This also applies to universities that have restricted networks preventing students from accessing their sites of choice. However, you want to make sure that you are not violating your University’s regulations and code of conduct which could land you in trouble.

  • Safe use of Public Wi-Fi

Most public Wi-Fi utilities are free, no wonder their popularity. Unknown to many of its users, the free connectivity could come at a cost. It is unsecured and open to prying eyes online. Public Wi-Fi hotspots have no any kind of encryption on their data. That means not only hackers but any techno-savvy kid using the right plug-ins can intercept your unsecured Wi-Fi signal and get access to your phone.

Using a VPN keeps your data secure by encrypting it. This makes it anonymous against hackers and individuals trying to snoop on your data. A VPN will keep you safe while travelling and have the need to access a public Wi-Fi nearby.

  • Use of Netflix and other streaming services from many parts of the world

Netflix content now streams in over 130 countries. However, not all content aired in the US can be aired in other parts of the world. Netflix users in Asia and Europe are some victims of such-like copyright agreements. When you log into Netflix from Asia, Netflix is able to detect your location using your IP address. Given your location, your access becomes restricted to Netflix content that can only air in a country in Asia. If you are a traveller from the US and happen to be restricted from watching your favorite show because of your current location; a VPN can help you overcome such barriers. A Virtual Private Network makes your streaming activity anonymous. It could also make you appear to be streaming from the US when you are actually in China. This gives you unrestricted access to Netflix programmes airing in the US.

  • You can say bye to your country’s web censorship and surveillance

Most countries in the Middle East such as China, Turkey, Iraq and Iran to name a few have banned the use of some sites such as Facebook, YouTube and Google. At some point, the Iraq government put in place draconian rules switching of the entire internet in the country. To fight ISIS –the Islamic State of Iraq and Levant from spreading propaganda, the Iraq government banned Facebook, Google, Twitter and YouTube.

Other governments are known to do surveillance on their citizens. Governments such as the Sultanate of Oman have banned the use of VPNs. If you happen to visit, use VPNs at your own risk as you will be given a fine of over a thousand dollars. All these said, a VPN is the sure way to jump off the government surveillance loop and web censorship. It masks your IP giving you a different location that is out of the web censorship jurisdiction. Your pages’ activity online is also hidden barring the government from monitoring your activities. The downside to using a VPN is that the encryption reduces your internet speed.

  • Blocks search engines from cataloguing your searches

Unfortunately for you, your most trusted search engine could keep track of your searches and the sites you visit often. The record of your online searches is then attached to your IP. That means web advertisers will be able to send you targeted ads based on your searches. Search engines could also use cataloguing to embarrass you depending on what you search online.  Use a VPN to mask your IP preventing IPs from cataloguing your site.

  • Avoids the government cracking down on you because of sensitive research

Journalists and activists may find themselves at cross-hairs with the government if they go in search of information that is sensitive. Information such as child trafficking, gender violence and mass murders could rattle the government the wrong way causing it to crackdown on researchers looking into them. You are better off keeping yourself anonymous with the use of a VPN. With it, you become a faceless researcher online the government cannot trace.

Conclusion

No one could be concerned about your digital data. However, that should not give you a reason not to keep safe online. That said, one of the ways to ensure your data is protected is by browsing privately. A VPN is the software that helps you browse the internet privately. There are many benefits that come with private data browsing. You won’t have to worry about search engines tracking your browsing activity. With a VPN, you can also use public Wi-Fi without having to worry about someone prying on you. Keep safe from real threats facing digital data.

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Emily Brantly

About the Author: Emily Brantly

Emily Brantly is a freelance writer and blogger who is passionate about music, movies and books. She enjoys writing reviews and covering stories related to the entertainment industry. Email: [email protected]

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