Most travellers for business or pleasure know cybersecurity is essential. However, fewer understand the need for virtual private networks (VPNs) and how they’ll still be needed even if you have the latest antivirus software.
As Matthew Higgins, writing for NordVPN, explains, a VPN can be understood as a kind of encryption service, improving security and privacy on internet-connected devices.
“When you enable a VPN app on your device, your internet traffic is encrypted and routed through an additional server. That means not even your internet service provider (ISP) can view and log your online activity,” according to Higgins.
“VPNs can protect you from hackers and cybercriminals, as well as providing the kind of privacy that is easily lost when browsing the internet. Your ISP won’t be able to sell your data to third-party advertisers; you’ll be shielded from prying eyes.”
Additionally, IP traffic can be routed via a server in an other country, a service that can be extra-useful when travelling for work purposes or otherwise temporarily away from your own secure network.
Higgins notes that this can be beneficial for expats — people posted overseas for work long-term — too, hiding your physical location.
“Among many other uses, VPNs can let expats browse the internet of their home country, as if they had never left. After all, your IP address influences search engine results, default languages, and more,” he explains.
Whether abroad for work or to study, users may still need a connection to their home country’s online community and culture.
“When using a VPN, you could choose a server in Paris and enjoy the same internet experience as someone living in the French capital,” Higgins says. “With the click of a button you’ve got your local news, tailored search results, and French versions of websites at your fingertips.”
Of course, Higgins is promoting NordVPN in particular.
He notes that some VPNs can make browsing and streaming over the web very slow.