Tips & Advice

Keeping web browsing private from your ISP is as easy as VPN

Natasha Pearce, 8 April 2017

Just because the White House has undone FCC internet privacy legislation doesn't mean you have to let your ISP profit from watching you. A simple solution: VPN.

By now you’ve probably read that Congress passed and President Trump signed legislation undoing measures that would have prevented internet service providers (ISPs) from sharing or selling your web browsing history without your permission. That signature means companies such as Comcast, Verizon, and AT&T – who already can see your every online move – can profit from your private search data by selling it to advertisers. 

Does this mean your every Google search is now money in ISPs’ pockets? It could, if you don’t take steps to reclaim your privacy. Luckily, the solution exists, it’s simple, and it’s called a virtual private network (VPN).

What, exactly, is a VPN?

Imagine watching TV in your family room while someone standing in your shrubbery watches with you, because your curtains are open. Creepy, at best. Think of a VPN as your online drapes, effectively blocking your IP address, so no one – not even your ISP – can see what you do when you connect.

I don’t really care whether Comcast shares my browser history. Do I still need a VPN? 

Even if your ISP sells your search history to advertisers with your blessing, protection from corporations’ prying eyes is just the first of many reasons you should always connect via VPN. Why? With a VPN, you’re safe – no matter where you get online, whether from desktop or mobile – from:

  1. Hackers who want to steal your banking or credit card information while you shop
  2. Cyber criminals and mischief-makers who could take over your social media accounts
  3. Nosy folks who, like that snoop in the bushes, want a look at what you’re doing

Convinced yet? Only one step left: picking the right one.

What to know before you select a VPN 

Unfortunately, scammers know about VPNs, too. And, as the recent MySafeVPN scam shows, they’re not afraid to use people’s need for one against them, to steal money and valuable data. 

To both avoid cyber crooks and get the most for your time and money, always:

  1. Beware “too good to be true” deals or 100% free VPNs. You get what you pay for.
  2. Look for a free trial. A reputable company will let you test the product, with an option to buy and experience the full benefits of a VPN.
  3. Demand minimal effect on your computer’s performance. A good VPN offers tools to address slow internet speed or unavailable streaming websites. Fakes don’t. 

There’s really no need to compromise your online privacy when there are reliable, robust solutions available. So the next time you’re browsing the web from home, banking from your local coffee shop, or posting vacation photos to Facebook from your phone, be sure to use an encrypted network like Avast SecureLine VPN to keep your information private. After all, you have every right to.

SecureLine VPN is available for PC, Mac, Android and iOS.

Image: Matthew Henry

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