International VPN day, there’s a day for everything! It was August 19, which is still today in the Northern Hemisphere, but first, what is a VPN?
It is a “virtual private network”, and it is set up by companies to funnel your traffic through their servers and onto your designation.
This hides your Internet traffic from your Internet provider, from your phone company, the government and also hackers who could be monitoring traffic on public Wi-Fi at shopping centres, supermarkets, hardware stores and everywhere else that offers free Wi-Fi.
Of course, you need to trust the VPN provider that THEY aren’t spying on your activity, and VPN companies have gone to great lengths to have audits, be headquartered in so-called neutral countries and more to assure you they aren’t spying on your traffic.
VPNs are also used to seem as though you are in another country, which can be helpful when you are trying to watch streaming TV services from those countries which are otherwise geo-blocked.
An example is when I am overseas, I connect to a VPN with an end-point in Australia, so that a paid streaming service I use which is available in Australia-only is available to me to watch.
Some Internet security suites now come with a VPN built-in, and there are a range of others that can be easily found online. There are plenty of guides online to tell you which those sites think are the best ones.
International VPN Day (August 19th) was suggested by NordVPN to remind people about the importance of cybersecurity education. The company educates its users every day by doing cybersecurity research as the findings remain worrying:
1) 9 in 10 people know at least one person who had their social media account hacked
2) Payment card details cost US $10 on average on the dark web
3) Criminals have earned US $17.3M on a single dark web market
4) 85% worry they will be hacked while traveling
5) Two-thirds of people are worried cybercriminals track them
6) 40% don’t know how to remove their data from the internet
7) 87% of people are concerned about privacy issues related to the metaverse
8) Bad online habits help hackers
9) On average, people spend a third of their lives online
10) More than two-thirds use their phone while on the toilet