Did you know that Congress passed a law in 2017 that allows your Internet service provider (ISP) to sell your personal data? Your ISP can see what you do while you’re spending time online. From making purchases to looking up medical conditions, or arranging vacations and shopping online, your actions create a digital trail of data that can paint a very detailed picture of you.
ISPs see a myriad of activity-based information about you, such as searches you perform, websites you visit, articles you read, your emails, instant messages, any files that you download, and more. In addition to viewing that data, Internet service providers can also collect it, and even sell it to a third party for profit.
The best way to protect your privacy online is to use a virtual private network (VPN). VPNs give you online privacy and anonymity by creating a secured, private network from any Internet connection you access—whether your home Wi-Fi or a public Wi-Fi hotspot.
VPN software sets up an encrypted data connection between your computer and a remote server, similar to a private tunnel that blocks prying eyes from spying on the data you send and receive. Encryption is a way of protecting personal data so that it cannot be read by anyone who doesn’t have the encryption key. As a result, this blocks any unauthorized attempts by companies, hackers, or other threats that try to access that data.
In addition to using a VPN, there are other ways you can add even more layers of security to protect your online privacy:
Use HTTPS when browsing online
In addition to using a VPN to protect your online activity, always make sure you are visiting secure websites. HTTPS browsing adds an extra layer of security using encryption within the browser.
Enable private browsing
Private browsing is a mode you can use in most browsers that blocks the standard data collecting features built into most browsers. This includes things like cookies, search history, and stored account log in credentials.
The VPN helps hide all of your online information, including your location, when you access the Internet. When you use VPN, your data is encrypted so that your Internet service provider can see only the amount of traffic passing through their servers and not the encrypted data.
How much does a VPN cost?
The average VPN cost is about $10 per month. But this drops drastically if you go for a 12 month commitment with prices around $5 but with some as little as $3.33 for longer commitment times.
Lots of VPNs offer free trials and money-back guarantees so it’s worth giving one a try before you buy to see if it’s the right fit for you.