How Does a VPN Protect Me?
A VPN, or Virtual Private Network, is a fully encrypted and private internet connection via a VPN provider. I'll look at what protection it offers.
So there’s a lot of talk about using a VPN to hide what we do from our ISPs, and you’ve mentioned using it when using open WiFi. So just how and what are the protections of this versus just connecting through my ISP? What limitations does this have? Can they “see” what I’m doing (like using a BitTorrent), and that is coming from my account?
A VPN, or virtual private network, is one approach to securely connect to a remote resource. Depending on the VPN, that privacy can extend from one end of the connection to the other, or it can protect you only for a certain portion.
The traditional approach to protect yourself from open WiFi sniffing is to use WPA1 encryption built into the WiFi specification.
This secures the path between your computer and the WiFi’s access point. Hopefully, it’s how your home WiFi is configured, so as to prevent nearby homes or others from connecting to your WiFi, and through it, to your network, without the appropriate encryption password.
There are problems with this approach:
-Most open hotspots at coffee shops, airports, and elsewhere don’t use encryption; the password requirement would confuse their customers more than it’s worth. That’s why these hotspots are called “open”.
-When WPA is used, it protects only the connection between your computer and the WiFi access point. Everything past that point in the diagram above remains “in the clear”.
That last point becomes important because all the traffic is visible to the hotspot’s owner, should he or she care to peek, and to the internet service provider to which that hotspot is connected.VPN download