Do you use a VPN to protect your data when you are online? Anyone who uses the internet on a laptop, phone or tablet is at risk of being hacked. I travel a lot, but even in the UK, I am aware of the potential dangers and protect myself. Switching on VPN allows me to surf the Internet and still stay safe online anywhere in the world.
Sitting in a busy coffee shop in Heathrow, enjoying my hot chocolate while checking out my social media feeds, I became aware of how many other people were on their devices. Everyone scrolling, texting, viewing websites, bank details, phone numbers, using passwords, all kinds of stuff on their screens. Pretty normal nowadays, but then I saw the lady on her laptop.
Now I am sure this lady was perfectly innocent but it reminded me that I was in a public place. I was leaving myself open to anyone wanting to hack my phone. Time to switch on my VPN.
So what is a VPN?
When you connect your device to a VPN (Virtual Private Network) it passes all the data you either send or receive on the internet through a secure encrypted tunnel which scrambles it allowing you to remain safe and anonymous while on the Internet. This makes it almost impossible for your computer or device to be hacked.
- A VPN will protect you by masking and encrypting your data, and keeps prying eyes from ISPs, hackers, and other organizations;
- A VPN alters your IP address so it looks like you’re accessing the internet from another location, eg it makes it look like you are in the UK when you are really in the USA.
If you are abroad it may also allow you to log into your home country to access films, Netflix, your bank and other country-specific websites and social media while using a different IP address.
IP? What is an IP?
An IP address is a numerical combination separated by full stops, e.g. 184.108.40.206. This identifies every computer using the Internet and shows your city, region, country, Internet Service Provider on a map.
Why should you always use a VPN?
Cybercrime is on the increase, people looking to access your data, steal your passwords or images. If you use public networks, free wifi, 3G or 4G when you are abroad or even in your home country it opens you up to having your personal data potentially misused or harvested by a hacker.
VPN software allows you to surf anonymously and masks your IP address and therefore your location online. A VPN also makes all your data unrecognisable by scrambling it and makes sure that the websites you visit and the files you download are invisible to anyone else.
This is not so you can do bad things on the Web, but so that you can protect yourself.
So why did I choose NordVPN??
Years ago, I tried to use a VPN, but it had to be routed through a physical computer in the UK and really it was a faff, so I sidelined it.
In 2017 when I was in Honduras, I was recommended NordVPN.
I checked it out and compared it to other VPNs on offer. NordVPN came out on top and then it was quick and easy to sign up. I installed it on my laptop and downloaded the app for my phone and iPad. I have not had any issues since. My surfing speeds have not been affected and life goes on as usual, except I know I am protected.
It has now kept me safe online in Honduras, USA, France, Italy, China, India, Bali, Botswana, Monaco, Zimbabwe, Holland, Belgium, the Cayman Islands and, of course, the UK.
Here are 9 of the main features of NordVPN:
- Data Encryption – With NordVPN, all the data you send and receive online is encrypted. Your private information is safe and protected from hackers.
- Global Connectivity – There are over 5085 servers in 62 countries, so you can pick and choose where you want to be seen to be located.
- Connect 6 devices – It can make up to 6 devices secure on one account, including a smart TV and router. Between us, Alan and I travel with 2 laptops, 2 iPhones and 2 iPads, so everything is covered.
- Covers all popular platforms – Whether you use Windows, macOS, Linux, Android and iOS, NordVPN works on all of them, so whatever devices we have or get in the future, we know can use we will be safe.
- Access country-specific websites – Access Netflix and your other favourite streaming websites that are normally blocked when your IP address is showing as out of your home country. We just make sure we connect to a UK server and lo and behold, it is as if we are at home.
- Easy to install – Choose a plan, sign up, pay then download the App on your phone, tablet and computer and log in to start using it.
- No Logs Policy – NordVPN does not track, collect or even reveal any of your private data or pass it to any 3rd parties.
- Kill Switch – if your internet connection drops, NordVPN will automatically stop selected programs from accessing the web so that sensitive information is not revealed.
- 24/7 support – the lovely support team at NordVPN are on call 24/7 to help you with any issues.
To sum it up
Too many people still aren’t using a VPN, they are easy to set up and use and protect you whether you are at home or abroad. Cyber threats to your security and privacy are increasing every day, ISPs are selling user data without your permission to 3rd parties and there is no reason not to use one.
It cost about 10p per day to keep yourself protected, and the peace of mind is more than worth it. Do check out NordVPN. It has monthly plans starting at just £3.04 ()/month. It comes with a 30-day money back guarantee, so you can set it up now and not worry about it later.
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Larch has had wanderlust all her life, travelling as much as she can whenever she can. Now in her 50’s, she writes about her adventures on her travel blog The Silver Nomad to encourage travellers of all ages to look at different destinations. In early 2019, she qualified as a CAA PfCO Drone Pilot and now travels with her DJI Mavic Pro and Mavic Mini to capture aerial videos and photos to enhance her work.