Why You Need a VPN for Your Smartphone
I rocked a flip phone for about a year after I returned to the US, and very quickly realized that my connection to the world on the internet was crippled by not having a smartphone. So I finally broke down and bought an iPhone 5c, (yeah, the poor man's iPhone).
There's a VPN feature for any smartphone nowadays that you should really know how to use. Most people just ignore it, but VPNs can be used for some fun stuff as well as some anti-creep stuff.
If you travel a lot, you are already aware that not all websites work in all countries the same way. Some are blocked, and some are slow. Though the US has access to pretty much everything, there are a select few sites that are not available in the US.
VPNs are able to change your IP. They essentially make it look like you are in another location. By rerouting your internet connection via “VPN Servers”, you can tunnel your data through another place. This can be used to access movies, TV, games, and websites that are blocked in your country.
Most people don't need this.
What's actually more important about VPNs is the privacy and security they offer. It's pretty easy for someone to spy on your activity while you are connected to a shared internet connection. Never happened to you? How do you know?
When you connect to Wifi at Starbucks, Home Depot, or your school's network, you are sharing a connection with other people. There are types of software that are meant to MONITOR the network (ie keep is safe), but you can use that same software to monitor other people.
Like the example above where you can change your IP to look like you are in a different place, at the same time, you are not seen on the shared network. Even if you are seen, your data is encrypted, so it's useless to anything that would be interested.
Remember that fiasco with Target getting hacked and losing a bunch of customer data?
If they had properly encrypted their data, getting hacked wouldn't have been such a big problem.
So let's face it, most of the time you are using the wifi connection on your smartphone is going to be away from home, on a shared network. It makes sense to protect your private info.
The main things that might stop you from using a VPN are
2) Knowing how to use it
A VPN will cost you about $80-$100 per year, so about $0.30 or less per day to secure your smartphone from getting hacked. I pay about $2.00 per day for ADT to protect my home from getting robbed.
If you find a VPN company with great apps for your phone, then you don't need to worry about how to use it. Just start the app. Again, I have no idea how my alarm system works, but I still trust that it's doing its job.
Take a look at my top rated VPN services and see if there's one that fits into your budget and supports your type of smartphone.
photo credit: johanl