ISP and VPN: What You Can Do To Protect Your Privacy

VPNVPNs Becoming More Recommended After Legislation

With recent political legislation regarding your Internet Service Provider’s ability to sell your information freely, now might be a good time to look into getting a VPN (Virtual Private Network). A VPN gives you the ability to encrypt and hide your footprint on the Internet.

Some might ask, “Why would you need to hide your footprints?” It isn’t always as fishy as it sounds. Some people just prefer their privacy – not only for personal reasons, but when it comes to things like their address or credit card information. With the increasing number of data breaches, it’s reasonable to protect your identity through extra efforts.

First, let’s explain the role your Internet service provider plays.

What Your ISP Does

Your ISP (Internet Service Provider) – whether it is Comcast, Charter, Dish, or any other Internet provider – see all the information you put on the Internet. ISPs do this because they are your means to accessing the Internet. Only through their services are you able to hop onto the World Wide Web. It is not that ISPs purposely track you. You are jumping onto their servers, which they have to register if you are going to go anywhere.

ISPs have to transfer all your data, which means that data is processed. Therefore, it’s able to be viewed, whether it is a password, credit card, your favorite website, purchases. Everything transfers to your ISP. The only exception is if your data is encrypted while it transferred through your ISP. They still see the data, but they can’t understand it unless they can break the encryption.

Easiest Method: HTTPS

HTTPS is an encryption method supported by most sites, which more private information is protected by the encryption. (Note: you should not make purchases from a site that does not use HTTPS.) You can use HTTPS by simply typing https:// in front of the website you are accessing. Your ISP will know that you visited the site, just not know what you did specifically. For example, if you type, you have an encrypted connection that your ISP cannot immediately decipher.

For More Serious Users: VPN

A VPN is like HTTPS in that your connection is encrypted, but you only need to make one stop with the VPN server. The VPN server gathers all the information you want from the Internet and sends it back encrypted. This way, your ISP only sees that you connected to a VPN server and has no idea what is contained within the data that’s transferring because it’s encrypted.

Not all VPN’s are created equal, however. Some are better than others in hiding your computer’s information on the World Wide Web. The subject of which VPN you should use is a complicated question and really depends on what you want to do, as well as the current laws where the VPN server is located and the software the VPN server uses.

If you want to keep your privacy, you will want to use VPN or at least HTTPS wherever you go and on all your devices.

(Image Source: iCLIPART)