If you've heard of VPN services before, there's a good chance that you heard of them being used by businesses. They also have a great deal of potential for home users. The service that home users generally appreciate that they get with a VPN is the anonymizing service. There are plenty of uses for a VPN service and, when you take a look at them, you'll find that you may very well want one of these services to help protect your anonymity online.
Some Internet sites exist only to harvest the IP addresses of visitors. Others are loaded with drive-by download technology that attempts to install unwanted software on your computer. One of the best ways to avoid becoming a victim of such sites is to use a VPN. A VPN camouflages your network address. This means that, if the site owner is going through the server logs trying to find IP addresses to launch attacks against, they won't find your real one anywhere in those logs. This increases your degree of safety online substantially.
A VPN connection also encrypts everything you send online. This isn't limited to your Internet surfing. For an example of how useful this can be, imagine that you do some of your work at home. When you are sending e-mails to your workplace that have sensitive information attached to them - such as financial data, human resources records and so forth - it's a good idea to make certain that they are as secure as possible. Remember, e-mails can be intercepted in transit and anybody who has a fair degree of hacking skill can take a look at what's in them. A VPN makes this virtually impossible.
If you send an e-mail to your workplace using a VPN connection, none of the information that you send will be readable by human beings. This is a tremendous safety feature. If you happen to use a wireless network in your home, it adds a significant degree of safety. There are programs that make it very easy for people to hack into wireless networks and, unless you have a list of the computers attached to your network on your screen at all times, it's easy for people to hook up to your network without your knowing it. Having a VPN connection essentially makes it completely useless for them to hook up to your network and to attempt to intercept your traffic.
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