Our Internet world seems like an open-ended place of freedom to access whatever we want from the comfort of our homes. We can open up a web browser, check our email, peruse through Facebook, and play online games with the click of an icon.

But the reality is, not all of our online activity is open-ended and secured. In fact, in the United States, hundreds of millions of customers are affected by cyber criminals and hackers, from both small and large-scale attacks. A cyber-attack can range from implanting a small virus onto your personal computer through tainted ads to attacking government websites. Either way, you are left feeling vulnerable, violated, and worried about compromised personal information.

Fortunately, there are ways to bump up security while online. A VPN provides protection and anonymity while you surf the web. In addition, a VPN helps you bypass geo-restrictions that prevent you from accessing content and services due to your location.

What is a VPN?

A Virtual Private Network (VPN) is software you install onto your device that creates a tunnel for your data to flow through. When you use a device like a computer, it sends data to and from the connected network to obtain an internet connection. However, as this data travels, it is available to anyone who wants access to it. But the tunnel from a VPN masks and encrypts all the data, which secures it from anyone attempting to access it (hackers, cyber criminals, and governments, for example).

Are VPNs Legal in the United States?

In general, using a VPN is legal in America, but it all depends on what you use it for. If your primary use is to keep your data secure while connecting to networks, then the use of a VPN is perfectly legal. In their efforts to ensure that all the data stored in their system remains protected, organizations frequently utilize a VPN when employees connect to the company’s network while working from home or traveling. This, too, is legal.

A VPN also helps you sidestep geo-restrictions. When you try to access a website or service provider but get denied access because of your location, that is a geo-restriction. Your IP (Internet protocol) address reveals where you are using your device. If it locates you in a region that is outside the allowed location for an online service, the network will deny access. A VPN can mask, or even change, your IP address to make it look like you are in a different location. Again, using a VPN for this purpose is legal.

 

Guest post provided by Jordan Choo