If you’re online you’re under attack. And it’s not just a single attacker trying to hack into your Mac, iPhone, or iPad. Every moment you’re connected to the internet your device and network is under attack by thousands of bots which scour IP addresses looking for device vulnerabilities, and those who would compromise your personal information; illegally, of course, but legally, yes (think Google and Amazon tracking).
Apple does not make it easy to see your device’s system logs but suffice it to say that if your device is connected in any way to the internet, it’s under assault; from without and from within.
What can you do to protect yourself?
There are basics, of course, stronger passwords, do not download and open email attachments unless you know the sender and they’ve told you the file is coming, use a VPN at home and one the road, don’t use anything Android or Windows as both are toxic hellstews of malware.
Wait. What? VPN?
The virtual private network is not an end-all be-all solution to malware and attacks but it can help with some issues and VPN’s are growing in popularity and usage.
A virtual private network (VPN) extends a private network across a public network, and enables users to send and receive data across shared or public networks as if their computing devices were directly connected to the private network. Applications running across the VPN may therefore benefit from the functionality, security, and management of the private network.
Using a VPN means your local ISP cannot capture your web browsing history and turn it over to the feds when asked (though some VPN’s may have the same issues). What it does mean is you’re less likely to have a local attack of any kind while using a VPN.
VPNs may allow employees to securely access a corporate intranet while located outside the office. They are used to securely connect geographically separated offices of an organization, creating one cohesive network. Individual Internet users may secure their wireless transactions with a VPN, to circumvent geo-restrictions and censorship, or to connect to proxy servers for the purpose of protecting personal identity and location.
In other words, a VPN won’t hurt you, might help you, and probably is worth the money, especially if you suffer from a little technology paranoia (which is a good thing to have when everyone it out to get you while you’re online).
Last week I read an article which highlighted a report on VPN usage.
65% of U.S. tech sector workers now use a virtual private network (VPN) on either work devices, personal ones or both
That means two out of every three workers in technology use a VPN; likely at work all the time, and often on personal devices.
What does that tell you?
The government is considering abandoning net neutrality rules, meaning ISPs and carriers could effectively create a two-speed Internet. Companies paying a premium would have traffic to their sites prioritized, while we’d get slower connections to the rest of the Internet. We’ve already seen mobile carriers throttling video streams.
Yep, no 1080p videos for customers of major U.S. cellphone carriers. Is there a solution for such problems?
I don’t think it’s as easy as this but you can see the advantage right away.
Using a VPN solves both problems as it makes it impossible for an ISP or carrier to see which sites you are visiting or what you are doing there.
Privacy rules under the Obama administration were increased, and they’re being torn down under the Trump administration.
Regardless of your politics, religion, education, or platform of choice, personal online privacy is an issue that major players want to deny online users. That’s wrong. One way to combat such efforts is to use a VPN. There’s a reason the Chinese government banned VPN apps from the App Store in China.
Big Brother may not be a single entity watching our every move, but there are kin who want to, and want to stop or curtail such freedoms.