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A dog's eye view of the modern world and the technology that surrounds us.

Just what is a VPN anyway and do I need it?

For weeks now, I have been hearing advertisements for

For weeks now, I have been hearing different advertisements about VPNs on the radio and I started wondering how many people actually understand what they are trying to sell.  So, without further ado, here is a little primer on what a VPN is and how it can help you. 

Let’s imagine you decided that you wanted to take a break from your day of shopping through the mall and take a seat for a bit in the Food Court and check how much you had spent in total.  So, you pull out your trusty smart phone, connect to the free wireless (the cell coverage inside is just horrible) and log into your banking app.   You are pretty confident as your banking app is secure.  Of course, the gentleman sitting three tables down has been waiting for that.  As you surf the free wireless, he is watching your non-secure traffic and downloading anything he can from your phone.  Even in today’s day and age, too many websites are using unsecure sites and passing traffic in plain text…meaning that anyone with a network scanner can see your usernames and passwords.

This is where a VPN comes in handy.  A VPN is a software program that opens a secure tunnel to another point.  Your data is encrypted in this tunnel, making it almost impossible for someone to access it. Remember, nothing is unhackable.  The whole goal of security is to make the work involved to hack something greater than the value of the information.  The recipes and cat pictures on a person’s phone are not worth it to most hackers if it will take them weeks to get it. 

There are many types of VPNs out there.  Some will allow you to remote into your home network and work from there.  Others are services where you remote into their servers and they anonymize your information on the Internet.  This is usually done through a subscription service, both monthly and yearly.  With current broadband technology and better encryptions (variable length encryption keys and multi-layer algorithms), the speed is getting better all the time.  This relatively low-cost protection for your information is a must have in today’s mobile world.  Without it, it is just a matter of time before you are a target of identity theft, email hacking or your pictures (yes, THOSE pictures) wind up on a site for everyone to see.

Be safe, and look into some VPN alternatives.  If you want help, drop us a line and we will send you a list that best fits your needs.  Email info@2dogdigital.com for more information.

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