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For as ubiquitous as connectivity has become and how reliant we’ve grown on it, the Internet is still a digital jungle where hackers easily steal sensitive information from the ill-equipped and where the iron-fisted tactics of totalitarian regimes bent on controlling what their subjects can access are common. So instead of mucking around in public networks, just avoid them. Use a VPN instead.
Between Wi-Fi spoofing, Honeypot attacks, and Firesheep, public networks really are cesspools. But if you’re working remotely and need to access sensitive data on your company’s private servers, doing so from an unsecured public network like a coffee shop Wi-Fi hotspot could put that data, your company’s business, and your job at stake.
VPNs, or Virtual Private Networks, allow users to securely access a private network and share data remotely through public networks. Much like a firewall protects your data on your computer, VPNs protect it online. And while a VPN is technically a WAN (Wide Area Network), the front end retains the same functionality, security, and appearance as it would on the private network.
For this reason, VPNs are hugely popular with corporations as a means of securing sensitive data when connecting remote data centers. These networks are also becoming increasingly common among individual users—and not just torrenters. Because VPNs use a combination of dedicated connections and encryption protocols to generate virtual P2P connections, even if snoopers did manage to siphon off some of the transmitted data, they’d be unable to access it on account of the encryption. What’s more, VPNs allow individuals to spoof their physical location—the user’s actual IP address is replaced by VPN provider
Establishing one of these secure connections—say you want to log into your private corporate network remotely—is surprisingly easy. The user first connects to the public internet through an ISP, then initiates a VPN connection with the company VPN server using client software. And that’s it! The client software on the server establishes the secure connection,