September 6, 2016
The intent to circumvent restrictions to free Internet use, or simply the desire to protect one’s privacy, surely helped to bring VPNs to the spotlight. These Virtual Private Networks are tools that channel data through a private path on the web, encrypting the data between your device and the VPN server – as the video below perfectly explains:
As explained in the video, VPNs filter and encrypt all the data coming out of the device, so all communications made via the web are controlled by the VPN. To do this, VPNs establish connections using paths that are not the most commonly used. Most of them even mask traffic as if the user was located in a different country, thus bypassing any country-related barriers or limitations.
Risks of Using a VPN
Then comes the most technical part. VPNs can negatively impact the performance of some mobile phones, especially older ones. This happens because VPNs are software that tend to demand a good deal of resources.
Free VS Paid VPN Services
Another important aspect to bear in mind has to do with free VPN services. VPNs are not maintained for free, so what motivations can a company have in order to provide such a service without charging its users? In addition, VPN owners can (hypothetically) access the traffic going through it, which is obviously not ideal for someone that values privacy.
Still, the use of paid VPN applications does not necessarily mean additional security to users. One of the biggest differences between those and their free counterparts is that, if something goes wrong, the user has the grounds to file a complaint. Other than that, paid VPN services often offer increased features, and are definitely more stable.
Using a VPN on a mobile phone has a similar degree of risk when compared to a computer. Some precautions still have to be taken, and they can impact the phone’s performance, but VPNs should definitely still be considered for mobile users, especially the ones affected by Internet restrictions and/or concerned with their privacy.
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