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You may be doing all you can to secure your personal data online. You may even have a personal VPN service. But the people you connect with may not be as careful. Your contacts may be unknowingly leaking your information. To keep safe, your friends need to get a VPN connection too.
A VPN works to secure your traffic flowing to where you send it. But vulnerabilities on the other end aren’t covered. If the person you are communicating with is vulnerable, your personal data can be stolen from their end. People that you communicate with often pose the greatest danger to you. You are more likely to share sensitive information with them. Hackers and snoopers are also more likely to catch something from a frequent data stream.
There has been a lot of news lately about cyber criminals being at the top of their game. And with the latest in snooping by the NSA, you can’t be too careful. Many people have started using VPN services to keep their personal data safe from prying eyes. Here are some typical scenarios that teach us why our friends need a VPN service, too.
Many of us use public or open WiFi hotspots to connect to the Internet. These free services are the least secure of all Internet connections. Those who use VPNs to hide their IPs and encrypt their personal data and traffic are safe. That is, the personal data they send is protected all the way to its destination. But as soon as it reaches the other end, security is out of the VPN’s reach. Your data security now depends on what is set up on that end to protect it. Without a VPN, your friend may be leaving your personal data open to third parties.
Compromised Business Networks
Many businesses, big and small, have fallen victim to hacks. A lot of personal data is stolen from business network traffic and databases. You may communicate or transact with people who are on compromised networks. Many people use their lunch hour to catch up on personal communications. If hackers are snooping on your friend’s work connection, they can see your information. If you are doing business with a contact on a compromised email channel, your personal data is at risk. And we don’t know who else is monitoring those networks. If your contacts are secured by VPNs, the data flows through the secure tunnel all the way to the other side. It stays encrypted until it reaches its destination and cannot be picked out of the recipient’s computer.
School and Other Networks
Schools and other organizations often provide Internet connections for members. They are usually password-protected. But these are shared passwords that are not often updated. These types of connections are easily cracked by hackers. If they don’t catch the codes from a careless user’s email or Facebook message, all they need is a little time to execute a brute force attack. And again, these connections are most probably monitored to some degree. The people monitoring the traffic are probably not concerned about your security. Data leaks from IT happen all the time. IT for these establishments has a set of tasks to perform, mostly concerning bandwidth use and accessing restricted content. Your security is not their concern. If your communications or surfing history ends up on an IT server, it sits there waiting for a hacker to pick it up. With a VPN connection, you are protecting your personal data. Getting your friend secured by VPN encryption as well makes doubly sure no snoopers can see it.
Your sensitive information is only as secure as the computers you send it from and to. Connect to the Internet through your VPN service at all times. Make sure your contacts are secured as well. You wouldn’t want to go through all the trouble of having all the right tools to find out that you got scammed because your friend was less protected.