Internet connectivity has become a necessity of life, but with the growth of cyber attacks, the dangers of using it have increased. Not long ago, the familiar risks of connecting to the Internet were viruses and malware, now there are other risks that cannot be underestimated, the most important of which is hacking your Internet connection and stealing your data.
Using VPN software is the genius technical solution to secure your connection on the Internet and protect your data, VPN software also provides you with other advantages such as helping you to access blocked websites in your country.
In this article, we explain to you what a VPN is and how it works, as well as the advantages and different types of its use.
What is a VPN?
VPN is an abbreviation of Virtual Private Network or Virtual Private Network. VPNs are used to create a secure connection when using public networks, as they mask your identity on the Internet, and encrypt your data traffic between the apps and websites you use.
The process of data encryption makes it difficult to hack your connection and steal your data or even know the tasks you are doing on the Internet, the process takes place as soon as you start your connection to one of the servers (server) of the VPN program you are using.
In other words, if you use a VPN while browsing, you will receive site data through this program, and this prevents the Internet service provider you rely on or anyone else from seeing the sites you visit.
These programs also block the data that you receive and send over the Internet.
It is important to know that the possibility of tracking or intercepting your data while using a VPN is a possibility, but in the event that it occurs, your data will appear in an encrypted or incomprehensible form to the person or entity you are trying to access.
The job of a VPN is to provide a secure connection between you and the sites you visit on the Internet, by hiding your Internet Protocol Address (IP address).
The process of masking is by redirecting your IP to a private host located on a VPN server that is geographically far from you.
Does VPN software protect against viruses and malware?
It is important to know that VPN programs provide different levels of protection and encryption for communication only, but they do not act as antivirus programs, meaning that you must be careful while browsing even if you are using one of these programs, because although most VPN programs contain firewalls, only It does not prevent viruses or malware from reaching your device.
What are the benefits of using VPN software
Using a VPN program gives you a large number of benefits and advantages, the most important of which are:
1. Hide your device's IP address on the Internet
Your Internet connection address or IP address is like your home address, and although knowing the latter to the public may not pose a great risk, knowing your IP on the Internet may result in catastrophic risks.
To properly understand the risks of leaking your internet address, let's review a specific part of how VPN software works. The strength of VPNs is their ability to mislead anyone who has tracked your connection, by masking your IP and replacing it with another.
As an example, suppose that this is your internet connection address 188.8.131.52, this address you get automatically from your router, and you can set it yourself if you want to install a specific IP number for each device connected to the network in your home, for example.
This address is linked to your geographic location like your home address. Accessing your IP address will lead to knowing the location of your device and all your internet connection data.
The VPN program changes your Internet connection address and replaces it with several addresses of servers owned by the company that developed it, and therefore when anyone tries to follow your Internet connection or know your IP, they will encounter a large number of different addresses.
As a complement to the previous example, if anyone wants to know your IP, the VPN program you are using will show him another number. Instead of showing him your IP number, which is 184.108.40.206, another number will appear to him such as 220.127.116.11 for example. It has a different address each time it tries to trace your connection which makes it almost impossible to track you.
The danger of knowing your primary address may not be obvious, but we can highlight it as follows:
Your connection address on the Internet can be used in the same way as a VPN, but in a suspicious manner, as a cybercriminal or hacker who knows your connection address can use it to mislead the authorities and make them believe that his address is your address, which could get you into huge problems.
The criminal misleads those who want to know his internet connection address in the same way the VPN program works, and this method also enables him to hide his true geographical location by navigating between several different connection addresses.
If the hacker knows your IP address, he may not always use it instead of his final address, but he will certainly use it to appear among the addresses of the places he uses to access the Internet, which may cause you problems with the authorities that track his activity on the Internet.
The risk of knowing your IP address is not limited to what we mentioned in the previous lines, because by knowing this address, you can access your browsing and download history through the browser and know everything you do on the Internet, which may result in the theft of your data.
Having your data on the Internet publicly exposes it to use for many purposes, these purposes can be legitimate such as marketing and advertising purposes, and it can be criminal as impersonating you to carry out cyber crimes such as what happens when they fall into the hands of hackers.
Other than that it becomes more dangerous if you are shopping online, it is possible for the hacker to gain access to your bank account data or the data of the cards that you use to buy and shop from online stores, which may result in the theft of all or part of your money.
2. Change your location
VPN programs change your geographical location when they give you your connection address. This is an important feature for several reasons:
Help you to access blocked websites in your country.
It helps you to subscribe to live broadcasting platforms that are not available in your country or only available in certain countries.
Allows you to open links intended for residents of a specific country.
It enables you to watch YouTube videos directed to the residents of a particular country.
3. Encrypt your data
Let's say that your connection to the Internet through the VPN has been hacked, in theory this means that the hacker may be able to access your connection data and the data that you upload and download.
But do not worry because even if this happens, the hacker will not be able to take advantage of this data due to the ability of the VPN programs to encrypt your data strongly.
VPN programs encrypt your connection through several ways and through different levels of encryption and protection protocols, in addition to the fact that the decryption itself requires a private key that cannot be accessed, and the latter is secured with the highest levels of protection and is available only to you, thus so that the hacker can decrypt this encryption And accessing your data may take literally years.
The most important feature of encryption is that it does not require your intervention, for example, you do not need to turn encryption on or off or perform any complex technical operations.
It is true that most VPN programs give you the ability to change the way your connection is protected and protected, but in general most of these programs default to the best encryption and connection settings.
Types of VPN software
VPN software comes in different shapes and sizes, each shape designed to meet the needs of a specific group of users.
The most important of these forms are:
1. Dedicated VPN Software for PC
VPN programs for computers and laptops are the most common in the field of VPN programs, these programs provide the basic functions that VPN programs generally provide. This is in addition to a large number of different features and features such as blocking certain applications from connecting to the Internet or changing your connection country to another.
The installation of VPN programs for computers is easy and fast and does not require much technical knowledge, and their number is very large, whether they are free or paid, some of these programs are developed by giant technology companies such as Avira, the developer of antivirus programs.
The free VPN software lacks many features, but it is still a good option for users who do not need these programs primarily.
As for the paid VPN programs, they are dedicated to dealing with the intense and periodic use of the Internet. These programs provide a large number of connection servers with unlimited use for downloading and uploading.
2. VPN software for phones and smart devices
VPNs for phones and smart devices are VPN programs designed to work on IOS and Android mobile phones and tablets. These programs are often from the same companies that developed VPN programs for computers and laptops.
VPN programs for phones may not offer the same features as VPN programs for computers, but this is mostly because the tasks that require securing the connection to the Internet are more numerous on the computer than those that are done on phones, but this does not eliminate the possibility of relying on these programs to perform functions The basic VPN is fine.
We recommend that you install the VPN software on your phone if you connect to the Internet through public networks. Public networks such as those in coffee shops or shared workspaces may not be well secured against hacking, putting their users at risk of having their connection hacked or their data stolen.
3. VPN software for smart devices
With the development of home appliances, many of them have a smart operating system based on the Internet of Things, the most important of these devices is the Smart TV.
Smart TV is almost the most device that needs a VPN program, because it connects to the Internet to perform many of its tasks, which often aim to entertain the user with a large number of programs and entertainment materials, most of these materials can be accessed through different applications, the most important of which are applications of direct broadcasting platforms such as the Netflix application.
However, some entertainment program applications do not work in certain countries, the global music platform Spotify, for example, was not available in Egypt until 2018, there are live broadcasting platforms such as Disney + that are not available in the Arab world until now.
Installing a VPN software on a smart TV gives you access to exclusive platforms and content that may only be available in certain countries.
Smart Home protection and control systems work on the Internet of Things as well, and it is preferable to use a VPN when using it to secure your connection, since these systems enable you to control your home from a distance, meaning that hacking your connection may put your home at risk.
4. VPN software that is installed on the router
Installing the VPN software on every device connected to the Internet is a common and sound thing, but it can be cumbersome, and there are easier solutions to implement it, you can install the VPN software directly on the router to protect all the devices connected to it at the same time.
The process of installing the VPN software on the router may be a cumbersome and difficult process, but it is very useful if you have several devices that connect to the Internet, but the VPN programs cannot be installed on them.
Some types of smart TVs do not allow the installation of VPN software, and installing the VPN software on home gaming devices such as PlayStation Xbox is impossible, although it is sometimes necessary.
We do not recommend installing VPN software on any router that does not have a clear and easy-to-use user interface, as this can make the process of controlling it difficult and may eventually block basic connections to certain devices connected to the router.
5. Browsers VPN (Browser Add-ons)
Despite the enormous capabilities of VPN programs, they may be greater than what some users need sometimes. There are users whose goal is to access blocked sites in their countries only, and others only need to open links dedicated to certain countries, and because there is no periodic need to use a VPN program, the dependence may be The VPN browser add-ons are the perfect solution for them.
Most of the paid and free VPN programs provide browser add-ons, but these add-ons often need to register on the sites of these programs and create an account to get them even in free programs, but there are add-ons that can be installed directly to work as a VPN program on the browser only.
There are Internet browsers such as Opera Browser that have their own VPN add-on and you do not need to install any external add-ons.
These browsers are the perfect choice for users who want to browse some blocked sites, because they enable them to access these sites by activating the VPN extension in the browser directly without the need to download and install a special VPN program.
But note, of course, that using these add-ons or browsers does not protect your connection on the Internet as a whole, it does it only on the browser, and it may not be as powerful and efficient as independent programs.
We do not recommend relying on VPN add-ons that are installed on the browser to protect your connection while browsing sites that require adding personal or financial data, because these add-ons are not the strongest in the field of encryption and connection protection because they use primitive and simple encryption protocols.
6. Corporate VPNs
Major companies use their own VPN software, where the technical department designs a special VPN software that suits the requirements of the company and the way its employees connect on the Internet.
Control of the VPN program is through the technical section only, as for users, they cannot see the options or features of the connection, and often all connections are monitored through the technical section.
People who allow companies to work from home can use their company’s VPN remotely, the connection must be made first to the company’s server through which it can connect to its VPN and then work through it.
The goal of corporate VPN programs is to provide a secure connection for their employees and prevent any attempts to hack into the company's servers.
In this article, we tried to highlight what a VPN is and its importance. Using VPN programs is the easiest thing to be, most of these programs work literally with the click of a button and you may even control them to work automatically without your intervention, but we always advise you to follow them while you are using the Internet.
Share your opinion about VPN programs and the advantages they provide to users in the comments.