Connect with us

Tutorials

Virtual Private Network (VPN): Everything You Need to Know

Published

on

To put it simply, a Virtual Private Network (VPN) is a service or program that allows a device to connect to a secure offsite server over a network using an encrypted, “tunnel-like” connection. It allows the user’s IP address to be masked, providing a layer of all-important privacy and anonymity. Besides, the encryption of the connection is generally of such a high-grade that any data transmitted can be considered perfectly safe. Originally used for businesses, companies offering VPN services to consumers started to form, realizing the immense security benefits that users can reap from the service.

They are used by everyone from families at home who want to make sure no one can track their online habits to a journalist who doesn’t want people or governments to know where they are. Travelers love them in particular due to the safety they grant one on unknown networks. The underlying thread is protection, and running a quality VPN on your computer is a surefire way to make yourself safer and protect your personal information.

Original Business Applications

If you are wondering where the concept of consumer VPNs came from, or why they’re often referred to as “consumer” VPNs, then you should know that they originally were used for business purposes. Companies needed a secure way to allow remote workers and executives to access office data, and a VPN was a much cheaper alternative than a leased line connection. After the first wave had been installed, businesses realized the levels of security and connectivity VPNs gave remote employees. They only grew in popularity from there.

Many businesses today still use Virtual Private Networks or technology based off of VPNs, and business owners and decision makers at businesses should read more about the subject if they aren’t already knowledgeable about the matter. You would want an IT professional to set one up, but you can learn a lot from reading up on the subject and examining your options. It could be your best line of defense against corporate espionage or a data leak like the ones you see in the news.

The Main Threats: Empowering Yourself against Cybercriminals

Public Networks

free wifi hotspot public network

Think twice before connecting to free WiFi hotspots.

One of the main tips that the Stop. Think. Connect. Campaign espouses is to be wary of WiFi hotspots. This is with good reason, as there is a particular type of hacker on these networks that you need to watch out for. They will lurk on public networks, usually in cafes or public offices, and they will use “sniffer software” or set up a fake network with a name designed to trick you. It is estimated that identity theft happens to 5 percent of people each year, and you have the ability to prevent becoming one of those people.

Of course, your main defense and tool remain your routines and caution. If you see a suspicious network in a restaurant, ask an employee about it to see if it is legitimate. Check to see if a network is encrypted. You should only seriously consider using a public network without other protections in place if the network has WPA2 protection on it. Finally, err on the side of caution. Your data plan has a purpose, and many activities can wait until you are safely home.

In addition to caution, however, a VPN is the best and sometimes the only way that you can protect yourself against this particular threat. The encryption and “tunnel” that the VPN uses makes it so that any hacker using a specialized setup will see nothing concerning your data use. The most that they would ever see is information that says you are using a VPN. At that point nearly any hacker will move on to a different target, and those without any sense would need years before they cracked the encryption.

IP Tracking

ip address

IP addresses can be used to track down your location and identity.

Online security and online privacy go hand in hand. Hackers cannot take what they cannot find. A VPN will mask your IP address by having all traffic routed through the VPN server, making it appear that the address is that of the server you are using. As an IP address can be used to track down your physical location, a VPN will help you stay anonymous. In some cases, more details can be found from the IP address, but the city in which you live is enough information to make many people nervous. You can protect yourself by scrambling your location with a VPN.

Hackers can also log information and habits tracking data usage via IP address. Many websites or hackers will record your IP address and log it to take note of your browsing habits. Malicious organizations might do the same. Privacy is the best form of security in these instances, and its best to just let these organizations think you’re browsing the internet in Qatar.

Finally, some hackers or cybercriminals with a grudge might attempt to launch a DDoS attack on you, effectively knocking out your system (or website if you are a website owner). This is done via targeting an IP address, and so a DDoS attack will just be routed to the VPN server you are using, keeping your system safe from any IP address related issues.

Aspects of a VPN Service

A VPN is a complex tool with many different parts to it. You need to know what other people are using and what different numbers, features, and statistics are important when judging them. Here are the most important factors that you will need to check out when procuring a VPN:

Security

The security settings and the level of encryption are the first things you should take a look at when inspecting a VPN service. While any VPN service will help protect you from cybercriminals and other online threats more than not having one at all, there are vast differences between VPNs that you should know about.

The minimum standard that any good VPN should have today is Advanced Encryption Standard 256-bit encryption, which is currently the standard used by governments to protect classified information. It will protect you from just about anything cybercriminals can think of. Anything less could be vulnerable to an attack with enough power behind it. Anything more could be sluggish and difficult to use unless you have a specific need for it.

You will also want to keep in mind the tunneling protocol(s) used by the VPN to keep you safe. The tunneling protocol makes up much of what keeps you anonymous while using the service. While the science and details behind it can get complicated, you just need to know that for the sake of security that PPTP still has some security weaknesses and that L2TP (a great tunneling protocol) paired with IPsec (which encrypts the data) is a great option for any service. SSTP is also a great option, but is only available for Windows users.

Server Quantity and Locations

security locationsAny good service will have a high number of servers available for you to use whenever you need them. A good service provider will never find itself running slowly, and while there is no magic number, there should be a sufficient number of servers to support its user base. Check to see if a service has any expansion plans and how other customers react to a service.

The number of countries and regions that are available for you to connect to are important as well. If a user chooses a country too far away, they risk losing connection speed, and different laws and restrictions regarding internet use in different countries may require you to switch to a different region in order to stay safe or use the internet normally. Never use a VPN that doesn’t have a server in your home country. Additionally, you can easily find a VPN with servers in at least 50 other countries. VPN providers are usually quick to advertise this information, so don’t worry about searching it out.

Connection Speeds

A slow VPN is unusable, forcing you into either taking a security risk by not using it or simply not using the internet (which isn’t always an option). Only you know the speeds that are acceptable to you, but keep in mind that you need to protect yourself at all times. You can use this guide by the Federal Communications Commission to help you determine what you might need.

Under no circumstances do you want to deal with a VPN that will throttle your connection or otherwise place a limit on your connection. There are already enough issues pressing on your speed already, such as the limit of the network you are using and any server delay caused by the VPN. Some VPNs might be more expensive, but just remember that your time and your security are valuable as well.

Choosing a Service

Picking the best service provider is an important decision for both your long-term data security and for the value you can get out of your device. A service that has the minimum standard of encryption, offers a high number of servers, and runs at acceptable connection speeds is the best place to start, but you will also want to look at VPN reviews to make sure that every last one of your security needs are met.

Secure Thoughts: ExpressVPN the VPN for you? Our Review.

Setting One Up for Personal Use

If you have just signed up to a Virtual Private Network service and are wondering how to get started, you will want to take the following steps:

  1. Check to see if there are any instructions that the VPN service provider gives you. Many have some sort of application that you download to your computer and activate. You may need to login, but the app will take you from there.
  2. If there is no application, the VPN might be extension or website-based, in which case you will want to follow the instructions on the website or app store page. Be sure that you know how to uninstall or delete it if you find it unsatisfactory (these kinds of VPNs often have the most problems or are the most questionable).
  3. In rare circumstances, you may need to access or set up a VPN connection manually through the network settings on your computer or smartphone. It is a simple process, and all you will generally need are any login details and other information that your VPN provider will certainly give you.
  4. Once you have a VPN set up on your computer, you are going to want to test it out to see how it is working and whether it meets your expectations. Try to stream a movie or watch a video online to see if your connection can keep up, as with quality VPNs you shouldn’t have a problem. Also, visit a website that will tell you what your IP address is, so you can make a comparison to when you did not have one.

Conclusion

Virtual Private Networks are a fantastic tool that you can use in conjunction with other programs and habits to keep yourself safe online. There are variations, and you should educate yourself on them before making any decision regarding if you should use one and which one you should use. You can look into it right now and expand your options right now if you wish to. It is entirely up to you.

Images from Shutterstock.

Important: Never invest (trade with) money you can't afford to comfortably lose. Always do your own research and due diligence before placing a trade. Read our Terms & Conditions here. Trade recommendations and analysis are written by our analysts which might have different opinions. Read my 6 Golden Steps to Financial Freedom here. Best regards, Jonas Borchgrevink.

Rate this post:

Important for improving the service. Please add a comment in the comment field below explaining what you rated and why you gave it that rate. Failed Trade Recommendations should not be rated as that is considered a failure either way.
0 votes, average: 0.00 out of 50 votes, average: 0.00 out of 50 votes, average: 0.00 out of 50 votes, average: 0.00 out of 50 votes, average: 0.00 out of 5 (0 votes, average: 0.00 out of 5)
You need to be a registered member to rate this.
Loading...





Feedback or Requests?

13 Comments

13 Comments

  1. Boobven

    December 17, 2015 at 12:13 pm

    Thanks for you sharing. It is very important to pick one VPN to secure network. BTW I am living in China, most of VPNs are not working here. Fortunately, I can get connected to FlyVPN to protect my privacy and unlock some websites.

    • Jess S

      January 4, 2016 at 9:01 am

      China is very tough, I was there a while ago. Thankfully I knew before I went and got a VPN that worked. A little research is well worth the investment of time before you go!

      • Adil Malick

        January 14, 2016 at 5:13 pm

        but what VPN you selected. i have used ipvanish and purevpn and found them good especially there services were perfect so i will suggest you best vpn service. You can brows bellow link and explore more.
        http://www.vpnranks.com/ , i know it will work in all cities of china.

      • Burnt Eloi

        January 16, 2016 at 11:20 am

        what about lantern?

    • saraboulos

      June 29, 2016 at 6:47 am

      Flyvpn servers almost went down, especially the Koreans. I`d live in china and pretty much satisfied with expresspvn. Rated as top 3 china vpn.

  2. Mike Columbia

    December 18, 2015 at 10:43 pm

    If you are using a VPN, I would suggest using it with a router. If you have a VPN router, all connected devices will be going through the VPN. In this setup, a device like an AppleTV, which has no native VPN support, can be encrypted by a VPN. You will need to flash a router with DD-WRT or Tomato firmware. The process can be a bit complicated, so the option to buy one online from a manufacturer like FlashRouters certainly exists.

    • Tiffany J. Francis

      March 9, 2016 at 2:15 pm

      Try PureVPN

      I have signed up with them for six months or more. I found their server speed is pretty good and they are located in Hong Kong.

  3. frankbilson

    June 6, 2016 at 11:55 am

    I am satisfied with the service of Ivacy VPN it has recently launched Kodi addon which is really working good. I would suggest other internet users to Ivacy it is just for 1.66/month.

    • Finn Joe

      October 9, 2016 at 2:45 pm

      and what about encryption?

  4. Thomas Smith

    July 18, 2016 at 11:16 am

    I completely agree that you should choose Express VPN because it has great speed and it it is very easy to setup or use. I have also read a great review for Express VPN and I am satisfied with its performance.

  5. peter ehrsam

    July 19, 2016 at 1:17 pm

    How do you know if the company that runs a vpn service isn’t actually owned by the people you are trying to prevent invading your privacy? If I wanted to know what somebody is up to – a vnp is muuuuch more efficient than hacking…

    • Elizabeth Olsen

      September 18, 2016 at 10:21 am

      That’s the good question 🙂

    • Lisa Levine

      September 23, 2016 at 12:54 pm

      Every decent well reputed VPN service provider has its disclosure of policy and lets you know about how they treat customers data and what’s their policy regarding collecting customers data. Now its obvious that they won’t throw away their bread and butter (source of earning) so there’s a very small probability that they would abuse your privacy.

You must be logged in to post a comment Login

Leave a Reply

Altcoins

Cryptocurrency Investing: What is a Healthy Portfolio and Where Does Bitcoin Stand

Published

on

Over the past 12 months, year-to-date, bitcoin has fallen behind Ripple, Litecoin, and Ethereum in terms of price growth.

Bitcoin’s Year-to-Date Return

Bitcoin still has recorded a massive price increase of 14-fold, from $1,000 to $14,000. But, other cryptocurrencies in the market such as Ripple have recorded a staggering 163.5-fold increase in value. Merely a $1,000 dollar investment in Ripple in the beginning of 2017 would have led to a profit of $162,500, while an investment in bitcoin would have led to $14,000.

Yearly bitcoin price growth provided by Coinbase

The top three cryptocurrencies in the market bitcoin, Ethereum, and Bitcoin Cash have less potential to increase by large margins in comparison to cryptocurrencies with market valuations of less than $10 billion. Unless the entire cryptocurrency market surges exponentially and the valuation of the market grows to many trillions of dollars by the end of 2018, in the short-term, it is unlikely that leading cryptocurrencies including bitcoin, Ethereum, and Bitcoin Cash will record an astronomical surge in value, by more than 100-fold.

Billionaire hedge fund investor Mike Novogratz, Fundstrat’s Tom Lee, and highly respected financial analyst Max Keiser have established an interim price target of bitcoin at around $50,000, which would place the market valuation of bitcoin at $1 billion. Solely in terms of price growth, a $50,000 target would be a 3.5-fold increase in value over a 12-month period.

Consequently, many investors in the market have started to diversify their investments into other cryptocurrencies, and the trend has been evident in the decline of the dominance index of bitcoin. Three cryptocurrencies at the top of the market are considered as reserve assets or safe haven assets. They have low risk but low returns. That is, a low return relative to other cryptocurrencies in the market. Bitcoin, Bitcoin Cash, and Ethereum have drastically outperformed all of the currencies and assets in the traditional finance sector year-to-date.

Investors like CNBC analyst Brian Kelly and cryptocurrency-focused hedge funds spread out their funds across many cryptocurrencies with strong technologies, active developer communities, solid markets, and applicability.

John McAfee for instance, has emphasized the necessity of private or anonymous cryptocurrencies like Dash, Monero, and Zcash, as in the future, more investors will seek out for cryptocurrencies that are capable of providing a high level of confidentiality.

Combination of Low-Risk and High-Risk Cryptocurrencies

A healthy portfolio of cryptocurrencies would be a certain amount of funds spread across both strong low-risk cryptocurrencies like bitcoin, Ethereum, and Bitcoin Cash, and high-risk cryptocurrencies with lower market caps like Monero, Zcash, and Dash.

Squeeze, a prominent cryptocurrency trader, noted that price is not an accurate representation of the size of a cryptocurrency. Rather, investors should consider the market valuation of a cryptocurrency to decide its potential and space to grow.

“For new investors in crypto, think in market cap. Not price per coin. Market cap gives an estimate of the potential growth. Price per coin doesn’t mean anything as the supply for each altcoin differs $0.1 per coin doesn’t mean it’s cheap $100 per coin doesn’t mean it’s expensive,” said Squeeze.

An example of a high market cap but low price cryptocurrency is Ripple. The market valuation of Ripple is at nearly $40 billion but its cryptocurrency remains at $1. Meanwhile, Dash, Litecoin, and Monero have tokens valued at more than $300. Yet, their market valuations are substantially lower than that of Ripple.

For investors and bitcoin holders that have seen significant returns over the past few years, diversifying funds across unique and potent cryptocurrencies could lead to better returns in the short-term.

Featured image courtesy of Shutterstock. 

Important: Never invest (trade with) money you can't afford to comfortably lose. Always do your own research and due diligence before placing a trade. Read our Terms & Conditions here. Trade recommendations and analysis are written by our analysts which might have different opinions. Read my 6 Golden Steps to Financial Freedom here. Best regards, Jonas Borchgrevink.

Rate this post:

Important for improving the service. Please add a comment in the comment field below explaining what you rated and why you gave it that rate. Failed Trade Recommendations should not be rated as that is considered a failure either way.
0 votes, average: 0.00 out of 50 votes, average: 0.00 out of 50 votes, average: 0.00 out of 50 votes, average: 0.00 out of 50 votes, average: 0.00 out of 5 (0 votes, average: 0.00 out of 5)
You need to be a registered member to rate this.
Loading...

3.4 stars on average, based on 3 rated postsJoseph Young is a finance and tech journalist based in Hong Kong. He has worked with leading media and news agencies in the technology and finance industries, offering exclusive content, interviews, insights and analysis of cryptocurrencies, innovative and futuristic technologies.




Feedback or Requests?

Continue Reading

Analysis

On Speculative Bubbles, Strategies, FOMO, and Early Exits

Published

on

In the 16 years that I have spent observing and trading the markets, there were several incredible events that changed how I look at investments. The bull market in stocks that is fuelled by free money, the Lehman-Crash, and the Dot-Com bubble were among them. To be clear, the current cycle in cryptocurrencies is not one of those, even as some of the coins routinely double daily.

Why is that? Because the dynamics behind the moves are familiar; precious metals in 2011, the Chinese stock market a couple of times in the past 10 years, oil in 2008, the Dot-Com bubble, and so on. All of these trends had an eerily similar dynamic, although the exact path of price movements and the volatility of the moves differed substantially.

“History doesn’t Repeat itself but often Rhymes”

Allegedly Mark Twain observed that, and I couldn’t agree more. As a certain topic goes through boom-bust cycles with spectacular gains and higher and higher bottoms, it naturally draws in new investors that are standing on the sidelines waiting for confirmation of some sorts.

After a while, as publicity rises, the success stories go mainstream, and the number of participating investors multiplies, the market reaches an inflection point where the influx of capital won’t be enough to hold the marginal selling by the already invested public. To be precise, this inflection “point” is sometimes a longer period of grinding gains, one blow-off advance, or another topping pattern such as a double top for instance.

Tha Nasdaq Bubble and the Aftermath

Here is the catch though; in advance, you never know when this point arrives, as the pool of potential investors, the willingness of the previously entered investors to hold, and several other factors are unknown. That said, as the market matures, it will be harder and harder to sustain the gains that drove the valuations far from reality already, and the market will be more and more similar to an old-fashioned pyramid scheme, where the last entrants lose almost everything.There were several potential tops along the way, just as it has been the case with BTC, and the majority of the most successful long-term investors sold very early, in line with their tested strategies.

The Crypto-Boom is Legit, But…

(more…)

Important: Never invest (trade with) money you can't afford to comfortably lose. Always do your own research and due diligence before placing a trade. Read our Terms & Conditions here. Trade recommendations and analysis are written by our analysts which might have different opinions. Read my 6 Golden Steps to Financial Freedom here. Best regards, Jonas Borchgrevink.

Rate this post:

Important for improving the service. Please add a comment in the comment field below explaining what you rated and why you gave it that rate. Failed Trade Recommendations should not be rated as that is considered a failure either way.
6 votes, average: 5.00 out of 56 votes, average: 5.00 out of 56 votes, average: 5.00 out of 56 votes, average: 5.00 out of 56 votes, average: 5.00 out of 5 (6 votes, average: 5.00 out of 5)
You need to be a registered member to rate this.
Loading...

4.6 stars on average, based on 347 rated postsTrader and financial analyst, with 10 years of experience in the field. An expert in technical analysis and risk management, but also an avid practitioner of value investment and passive strategies, with a passion towards anything that is connected to the market.




Feedback or Requests?

Continue Reading

Trading 101

Trading 101: Moving Averages and Moving Average Strategies

Published

on

What are Moving Averages?

Moving Averages are among the most popular trend indicators in Technical Analysis. They provide a simple, yet powerful visualization of the ongoing trends in an asset. They are used for a wide variety of reasons, primarily for trend following and reversal strategies.

Simply put moving averages are connected points calculated for every day (or whatever the timeframe is). The calculation itself is simple; you take a given number of previous days and calculate their average. Of course, you don’t have to do the calculations yourself. All basic charting software and trading platforms do the math for you and plot the moving average (or up to dozens of averages for that matter) on the chart of the asset.

How to Interpret Moving Averages?

(more…)

Important: Never invest (trade with) money you can't afford to comfortably lose. Always do your own research and due diligence before placing a trade. Read our Terms & Conditions here. Trade recommendations and analysis are written by our analysts which might have different opinions. Read my 6 Golden Steps to Financial Freedom here. Best regards, Jonas Borchgrevink.

Rate this post:

Important for improving the service. Please add a comment in the comment field below explaining what you rated and why you gave it that rate. Failed Trade Recommendations should not be rated as that is considered a failure either way.
0 votes, average: 0.00 out of 50 votes, average: 0.00 out of 50 votes, average: 0.00 out of 50 votes, average: 0.00 out of 50 votes, average: 0.00 out of 5 (0 votes, average: 0.00 out of 5)
You need to be a registered member to rate this.
Loading...

4.6 stars on average, based on 347 rated postsTrader and financial analyst, with 10 years of experience in the field. An expert in technical analysis and risk management, but also an avid practitioner of value investment and passive strategies, with a passion towards anything that is connected to the market.




Feedback or Requests?

Continue Reading

Recent Comments

Recent Posts

A part of CCN

Hacked.com is Neutral and Unbiased

Hacked.com and its team members have pledged to reject any form of advertisement or sponsorships from 3rd parties. We will always be neutral and we strive towards a fully unbiased view on all topics. Whenever an author has a conflicting interest, that should be clearly stated in the post itself with a disclaimer. If you suspect that one of our team members are biased, please notify me immediately at jonas.borchgrevink(at)hacked.com.

Trending