If you have ever seen an ad for a VPN on the internet, you may think that they are the perfect tools for your privacy. The reality is very different from what VPN owners would like to believe. Below we will see some things you should know.
Myth: VPNs protect you 100%
No matter what your VPN provider tells you on their homepage, no VPN can guarantee your complete anonymity online. The point is, VPNs do only one thing: They change your IP address.
In short, a VPN reconfigures your Internet traffic through one of the VPN Servers and encrypts the new connection. This keeps you safe from anyone trying to figure out who you are by locating your IP address.
Fact: VPNs are just one part of a larger privacy toolkit
If you use a VPN as a privacy tool, you should also consistently use incognito browsing and log out of Facebook, Google, and other online accounts each time. Use all of these programs together to surf the web with minimal trace.
Myth: VPNs do not collect data
Here's another big issue: Most VPNs promise they will never keep your logs on their site. "Logs" in this case means any page you visit using the VPN. It is important that VPNs do not keep logs as it is the only thing that connects you to what you did on the internet.
If the logs are maintained, then this means that anyone who wants to know where you came in can check your logs, as long as they have the consent of the VPN provider or the approval of the authorities. If the VPN does not maintain logs, then you are safe.
Fact: VPNs keep logs
In fact, it is difficult to keep logs as the internet does not work that way. There must be some registration somewhere to connect. Instead, what most VPNs do is delete the logs in no time.
There is no way to check if your logs are actually preserved. Subscribe to a VPN believing that they will not keep your logs. So before you make any subscription to a VPN service, you should check if they keep logs, according to their policy.
Myth: VPNs will protect you from hackers
The next myth we want to tackle is fortunately the simplest. Using a VPN will not protect you from hackers, no matter what some unreliable VPNs or VPN advertising sites claim. Whether or not your credit card information, physical address and other information is stolen does not depend on whether or not you use a VPN.
This is because this type of information is usually sent over an HTTPS connection, the lock symbol that you can probably see to the left of your address bar right now. This means that the information you send to a website through your browser is secure and you are not at risk.
Fact: VPNs will protect you when navigating public Wi-Fi
A public network is always at risk, as we do not know who is connected to it and what it is able to do. In very specific cases, a VPN will protect you from people trying to compromise your connection. They will only see the VPN connection and nothing beyond that.
Myth: VPNs can overcome geographical constraints
The latest myth is related to overcoming geographical constraints, especially those related to streaming services such as Netflix, Hulu, Amazon Prime and others. Most VPN services will make you believe that all you need to do is give them some money and you will have access to services in other countries, unlocking more content than what is available in your country.
Fact: Netflix and other streaming services can be a step ahead
This is highly untrue. Streaming services have a legitimate interest in ensuring that people do not cross their "borders" with their VPNs. Most will have set up agreements with distributors to ensure that certain content is restricted to specific areas and have therefore developed some fairly high quality VPN tracking software.
If you want to use a VPN with Netflix, you can still do it, but do not expect it to work forever. Therefore, do not be surprised if at some point this method of deception stops working, thanks to the advanced technology of streaming platforms.