Sydney‘s venerable newspaper The Daily Telegraph has always been on the cutting edge of technology and stridently in favour of civil liberties, so it’s absolutely no surprise that their take on the use of VPNs is nuanced and thoughtful.
A VPN is a private server run by a third-party provider. When you connect to a VPN, you select from the list of servers provided by that company, which can be based anywhere in the world. Once connected, it sets up an encrypted connection between your computer and the private server. It’s only from there, remote of your PC, that the data is forwarded onto its destination.As such, any undesirable eyes cannot see what is going to or from your computer, they can only see the VPN’s server – the window into your device is locked shut. Further to that, the information you are sending is made to look like it’s coming from a destination other than your own, either somewhere else in your city or, possibly, anywhere in the world.A VPN is therefore much like a personal security guard. When someone comes knocking, the VPN can provide misinformation about who you are and where you are, and then doesn’t let them past to see what’s inside. To a hacker, that’s a big stop sign.
Some argue that a VPN should always be active to ensure maximum protection. For many experiences, though, there is not necessarily a need to potentially hamstring your internet speed to block out your activities.For example, if you are streaming Netflix – a service that has a high demand on internet bandwidth – is there much for unwanted eyes to see? Netflix takes responsibility for securing your payment and personal information, so the worst that might happen is that those potentially prying eyes can see you are watching Stranger Things.When entering personal information, sending sensitive files or doing any number of personal tasks you might want to keep private – this is when many users might activate a VPN.
This is all just fact. There are myriad legitimate uses for a VPN beyond pirating Game of Thrones, accessing illegal pornography and joining ISIS, which may come as a shock to the Daily Telegraph. It may also come as a shock that literally millions of businesses use VPNs as an absolutely integral part of their digital security processes! What the!