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What is a Virtual Private Network (VPN) and Why Do I Need It?

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It’s very likely that you are aware or have heard of the term VPN (Virtual Private Network), although you probably don’t use one. If that is indeed the case, it might be entirely prudent to use a VPN at some point, even if you aren’t doing so right now.

Virtual Private Network Explained

World Wide Web

World Wide Web

A Virtual Private Network or VPN is essentially a group of computers working together as a private network that extends to a public network. These days, there is no bigger public network than the Internet.

A physical network of computers at a workplace or a private home usually involves the sharing of files, folders, and other resources across multiple computers. A ‘virtual’ private network could be understood as a virtual clone of a physical network. However, a VPN does a lot more than the simple task of sharing files and resources.

Any good VPN service provider offers encrypted connectivity options to the internet. Computers and mobile devices that you connect to the internet via a VPN service will in most cases create a secure and encrypted tunnel that will protect your privacy.

VPN and its Many Applications

Over a decade ago, VPNs were originally installed as servers by companies to enable employees to work from home. To this day, businesses connect to data centers via VPNs and employees can gain access to a files and resources on a network even when they aren’t on the same LAN (local area network). A VPN connection (here) works as an encrypted, secure tunnel between the employee’s computer and the company’s VPN server.

There are plenty of ways in which your computer or mobile device can be used over a secure connection, which a VPN encrypts to ensure nobody is snooping in on you. They are and by no means limited to:

Embracing Privacy

Privacy in a post-Snowden world has struck a chord in mainstream consciousness like no other event before. It’s not beyond the realm of possibility that some of your own internet habits has been tracked and monitored in the past.

Insecure public Wi-Fi networks at the airport or a café are just some of the many avenues where cyber-criminals, state surveillance, and other such operators keep a watchful eye on what you do online. However, a VPN connection takes care of your privacy and online safety by encrypting your network traffic and keeping you safe while you’re online.

Avoiding Censorship

Activists and journalists routinely use VPNs to circumvent state censorship implemented by geo-blocking. VPNs were and are to this day, hugely successful in countries with internet censorship. For instance, the infamous “great firewall” of China is routinely bypassed by users in China through the implementation of VPNs.

Safe Downloading

Those with a habit of downloading data through P2P (peer-to-peer) applications such as BitTorrent clients and other means will particularly appreciate the privacy provided by VPNs. With encrypted web traffic, inbound and outbound transfers during P2P sharing cannot be monitored by your ISP nor a trigger-happy law-firm.

Being a Global Citizen

We don’t blame you for being annoyed that popular music-streaming services aren’t available everywhere in the world. Netflix still isn’t available in Asia nor Africa, with only certain parts of Western Europe having access to the popular video-streaming service. Perhaps it’s YouTube that’s blocking certain videos, blaming your geographical location for it.

All of these hindrances and more can be circumvented altogether with a VPN connection that is routable through multiple server locations all over the world.

In many ways, all of the above factors represent a means to internet freedom.

It has to be reiterated that the most significant perk of having a VPN connection is the encryption it brings to your internet-connected devices, ensuring your privacy and security online.

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.

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4 stars on average, based on 1 rated postsSamburaj is the contributing editor at Hacked and keeps tabs on science, technology and cyber security.




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7 Comments

7 Comments

  1. Илья Найдов

    September 7, 2015 at 3:45 pm

    I bought a Virtual Private Server on DigitalOcean, installed my own Ubuntu and OpenVPN server, created a couple of keys, configured strong encryption and use it to circumvent stupid Russian censorship…

    • GT

      September 30, 2015 at 7:27 pm

      Can you do this for me please!!

      • Илья Найдов

        October 1, 2015 at 12:22 am

        The lowest tier VPS costs $5/month… You sign up on the website, pay for the first month, select Ubuntu 14.04 to be installed on your “droplet”… Then you get root password in the e-mail… You log in through SSH using those credentials… You add openvpn repository to your apt, then you apt-get install openvpn… Then you use openssl tools to generate root certificate, then you generate the key pair for the encryption and sign it with the root certificate… You copy the public key and root certificate to your machine… Then you configure the server .conf file in order to use strong encryption… Then you configure iptables to route all traffic from openvpn to the Internet and back… On the client machine you copy the key file somewhere and write the client config file in order to connect to your openvpn server with your key file…
        See… It’s easy… There are some guidelines if you google for them… I’m not a tech-support…
        I don’t want to have root access to someone’s VPS… I know, I will not install any backdoors, but you definitely should not trust random persons to install VPS for you and give them root access…

        • Gogoboz

          January 2, 2016 at 3:28 pm

          Will you be able to watch American programing offer by Hulu or Geo blocking TV prime time episodes in Russia?

  2. sumrando

    September 8, 2015 at 2:35 pm

    Feel free to download our VPN. We have free and paid plans. https://sumrando.com

  3. DeyBeSpyin

    September 16, 2015 at 2:48 pm

    I have recently found a new provider that is excellent for speed and server locations – IPVanish. They are faster than anyone else I have tried and they offer lots of discounts. I love streaming Netflix Japan 🙂

    • IPVanish

      September 16, 2015 at 3:39 pm

      Hey DeyBeSpyin-

      Glad to hear you’re with us! As a reminder, if you need any assistance you can shoot us an email at pr@ipvanish.com. Thanks for being a customer of ours!

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Altcoins

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

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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.

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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.




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Analysis

On Speculative Bubbles, Strategies, FOMO, and Early Exits

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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.

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4.6 stars on average, based on 351 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.




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Trading 101

Trading 101: Moving Averages and Moving Average Strategies

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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?

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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.

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4.6 stars on average, based on 351 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.




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