What a VPN Does and Doesn’t Hide
While you may be well aware of the potential benefits of a VPN, you may now know what it does and doesn’t hide. There is a common misconception that a VPN does everything, including obscuring everything a user does online. If you want to find out more about it to utilize your VPN better, you are at the right place. Let’s look at what a VPN does and doesn’t hide.
What a VPN Hides
First, let’s understand what a VPN hides to know what you can expect whenever you go online while connected to a VPN server.
1. IP Address
When you surf the web without a VPN, everyone can see your IP address, this includes entities like surveillance agencies, hackers, websites, and third parties. The list could go on and on.
What you look at on the internet isn’t simply between you and your device. Your IP address may be linked to your online choices by almost anybody.
Online marketers, for example, may notice that your IP often talks with sites that offer gadgets or Christmas decorations. As a result, they’ll begin bombarding you with tailored adverts regarding such topics. Because the websites you visit are aware of your IP address, they may provide you with relevant advertisements. This will not be an issue if you use a VPN, such as a VPN for Windows. The service masks your IP address by routing your connection via a VPN server.
You’ll interact with the internet using the VPN’s IP address. As a result, every website you visit will only see the IP address of the VPN.
It is also worth noting VPNs allow you to bypass firewalls by masking your IP address. This way, you will not view the web via an IP with firewall limitations associated with it.
When websites see your IP address, they don’t only have a method to monitor you online and link your online preferences with you; they also have a way to associate your online preferences with you. They can also figure out where you are located.
If you didn’t know, your IP discloses a lot of information about you, such as:
- Your location
- Your postal code
- Your ISP
This information may not seem that important, but it can be used against you in the following ways:
- To prevent you from engaging with certain types of material, such as accessing exclusive content in different regions on platforms like Netflix, Hulu, etc.
- Enforce price discrimination to show you different costs depending on where you are. If you’re from the United States, you will get higher pricing than if you’re from India or Poland.
Fortunately, nobody will be able to see your geo-location since VPNs disguise your IP address. Any website you visit will believe your location matches the VPN’s IP address’s geographical area. If you utilize a US VPN server, it will seem like you are in the US.
3. Internet Traffic
Your ISP and hackers may spy on your Internet traffic regardless of what network you are connected to. They’ll be able to monitor your internet activity this way. Hackers may use that information to launch MITM attacks against you, while your ISP may use this information to limit your broadband selectively.
So, how can a VPN help in this regard?
A VPN service encrypts all of your traffic from the beginning to the end. That’s simply a fancy way of stating that no one will be able to track your online activity.
What a VPN doesn’t Hide
1. Account Activity
A VPN connection won’t prevent platforms from viewing your account activity when you’re signed into an account on an online service, website, or app. Platforms can detect that you have a different IP address and that you’ve spoofed your location, but this workaround can only go so far. Keep this in mind as you go about your daily activities online and how much personal information you publish on the internet.
2. Online Threats
Another widespread misunderstanding is that a VPN protects you from cyber threats. A VPN may help you remain anonymous and hidden, but it can’t protect you from online threats like viruses, spyware, phishing attacks, and ransomware. The only way you can effectively deal with such threats is by installing a premium antivirus program.
3. Online Identity
Remaining anonymous online is a faraway dream because intelligence agencies and cybercriminals use complex methodologies to access your private and confidential information. They can use measures like background scripts and browser fingerprinting to make this happen, and there is nothing you can do about it.
What you share online and how much you share also plays a vital role because a VPN can never revert the amount of information you post online.
The Bottom Line
If you want to stay safe and secure online, you should use a reliable VPN, such as a VPN Chrome Extension, especially when accessing blocked content in different regions. A VPN can also be beneficial in securing private networks and protecting yourself while connected to public Wi-Fi networks. The possibilities are endless, but you must understand that a VPN can only take you so far. If you are reckless about the sites you visit, providing excessive information online, and so on, then a VPN will not be able to keep you anonymous online. However, if you use a VPN by keeping a low profile, you will benefit from it in more ways than you can imagine!