With online privacy hitting major headlines, thanks to media events like Mr. Robot and the US presidential election, many people are considering getting VPNs without really knowing why. This leads to many people almost getting the online privacy that they deserve on their mobile devices, but not actually following through on choosing a VPN.
This article is going to give you 5 solid reasons why you need a VPN on your smartphone or tablet. We’re going to go beyond just your online privacy and look at ways that you can defeat censorship, and protect your data.
Public Wi-Fi Is Full Of Hackers
Taking our mobile devices to the local coffee shop and surfing around is something that pretty much everyone on earth does. You can watch people come in, order their drink, and then pull out their phone looking for the free Wi-Fi.
Sometimes they find that free Wi-Fi and it is the correct one to choose. Other times it is a fake wireless access point setup by hackers to eavesdrop on your conversations. This hack is one of the biggest threats to your online security around. It allows a hacker to see everything you’re doing, including your passwords, in real-time. Don’t believe me?
Connecting to your VPN as soon as you connect to free public Wi-Fi is an absolute necessity. A VPN will encrypt your traffic so that the hacker cannot eavesdrop. I cannot stress how important this is enough.
As A Workaround For Blocks At Work Or School
How many people here have gone for lunch while at school or work, connected to the Wi-Fi there, and been blocked from watching a YouTube video. Or been blocked from Twitter. Or even Reddit. Most of the times these blocks are being put up for productivity reasons, but you’re on your break. Isn’t it time you actually caught a break? It can even interfere with actual work you need to do:
Working as a developer but @github is blocked at work…
— Nabil Makhout (@NabilMakhout) December 15, 2016
The VPN on your mobile device will allow you to get around these blocks at work and school. How they will do it is by encrypting the websites which you are connecting to, this makes it so that you cannot be found out for what you’re visiting.
Just be aware that there is no VPN for people looking over your shoulder. If your system admin gets annoyed enough with the VPN traffic they could go out looking for you.
Defeating Location Based Geoblocks
Are you outside of the UK right now? Try to watch something on the BBC’s iPlayer right now. Did you try it yet? You were blocked, weren’t you? That’s because this tool is only available for use by those within the UK, those outside the UK are blocked.
These blocks are put in place thanks to your mobile device’s IP address. Any website which practices location-based geo-blocking will simply read your IP address, see that you are outside of the area that they will allow you to see the information, and block you.
So what are you to do if all you want to do is catch up on the latest episode of David Attenborough’s Planet Earth 2 while on your phone at work? You can use your VPN app to connect to a server within the UK. This will give you an IP address within the UK, and defeat the location-based geo-block.
Keeping Your Research Activities Your Business
Some of the reasons we’ve looked at above are a little bit iffy on the moral scale. But there is one thing that we can all agree on, and that is that your private businesses is your private business.
This is a specially true for:
- Journalists who are doing any sort of research on their mobile devices. Especially when this research is around hot button topics.
- Bloggers who are doing any sort of research that their competition would want to know about.
- Anyone who is feeling a bit ill and pokes around on WebMD to see what is wrong with them.
- Higher ranking members of companies that are doing research on the competition.
The reasons above are all perfectly valid for getting a VPN on your mobile device. Simply be cautious when you’re doing things which can be exploited. For a little bit of extra protection, don’t forget to set your browser to private.
Encrypt Your VOIP and Skype Calls
Making VOIP or Skype calls over any public Wi-Fi network can be risky. A number of these apps are not even encrypted in anyway. This means that people can easily hack into your conversation and hear everything that you’re saying.
Using a VPN for your voice or Skype calls will encrypt them. Not only will that protect you against people snooping on your network, but it can also protect against police sweeps using drones. The Police are starting to go into neighborhoods which they deemed a problem, and seeing what sort of information they can intercept using snooper equipped drones. Sounds pretty scary, don’t you think? Aren’t you glad you read all the way through now?
Online Privacy and Security on Your Mobile Devices
The five reasons that we just looked at should’ve been enough to convince you that you need a VPN on your laptop, your tablet, and your smartphone.
VPNs are going to help you:
- Encrypt all of the traffic you send over the VPN connection.
- Hide your IP address see you can get around geo-blocking.
These two points may seem small, but as you can read from the five things we discussed above they are not. It is time to stop thinking about protecting yourself on your mobile device, and it is time to take action.
Guest Author: Marcus is the online and digital security writer for Best VPN Provider.co. His blog there has been going strong for years, and offers lots of additional information on how you can better secure your digitally stored data, use VPNs, and beat location based censorship. Stop by every wednesday to read the latest, or follow @BestVPNs on Twitter for updates all day long.