With the KRACK vulnerability publicized this week, anyone who uses a WiFi-enabled device, may be at risk for sharing unencrypted traffic with potential attackers who bypass WPA2 network security. The WPA2 security protocol is used by routers and devices to encrypt people’s activity. Attackers who want to exploit the newly revealed weakness could steal sensitive data passing over the network including passwords, credit card numbers, chat messages, emails, photos, spicy memes and the list goes on.
A key way to protect yourself is using a VPN. Since a virtual private network creates a tunnel that encrypts your personal information and browsing activity, anyone using a reputable VPN is safe from a Krack Attack. However, the key word here is reputable.
A VPN also safeguards against having your personal information hacked when you use public WiFi hotspots. VPNs can help you circumvent being tracked by your Internet Service Provider, your IT department at work, and even government surveillance.
Choosing a VPN can be complicated and risky. This is why it’s critical to trust your VPN provider, pay for the service and verify that your VPN doesn’t keep logs. Here’s more information about factors you should consider when selecting a VPN to protect your privacy and keep you safe from potential hacks.
1. Use a VPN that you trust.
Technically VPN providers could access your browsing activity since they create the encrypted tunnel and proxies that shield your personal data. Social proof isn’t a leading indicator for a service that works well and is trustworthy. You can’t verify a VPN is effective and reputable going on customer reviews and ratings alone. Make sure that the VPN provider you use, is one with a track record and company mandate for protecting people’s privacy. A trusted VPN provider should be straightforward about its offering.
2. Pay for your VPN.
When you pay for VPN, you lower the chances of falling victim to a sketchy VPN service run by a company with the wrong motivations. A paid service has limited incentive to track and sell your profile to third parties or worse, steal your personal information. If a company is offering free VPN, you are their business model! Free VPN providers are often reselling customer data to third parties. If your privacy and security are important to you, they are worth paying for! A stand-up VPN company should have an easy-to-understand business model and clearly state what it gets in return for allowing you to use its service.
3. Confirm your VPN doesn’t keep logs.
Your privacy’s preservation depends on whether your VPN provider keeps logs of your Internet activity. In short, they shouldn’t. Without logs, a VPN provider can’t collect, sell or expose your browsing activity because it doesn’t exist anywhere! Check that your VPN provider has no logs and your privacy is assured before you sign up to use the service.
* Note that if you’re using a VPN on your mobile device and want your activity to be anonymous, you must reset your Advertising Identifier in iPhones and the Advertising ID in Android (both use a technology akin to cookies to help advertisers monitor mobile activity). You can do this in both platforms’ Setting menus.
4. Opt for a simple, auto-connecting VPN.
VPNs can get complicated and technical quickly. If you can’t easily turn on your VPN to protect your Internet connection, it’s won’t be convenient enough to use to secure your personal data. A VPN that auto-connects when you join an unfamiliar network makes it even easier to stay protected, because you never need to remember to turn it on. Remember, a VPN is only effective at protecting you, if you actually use it. Choose a solution that’s easy to setup and turn on so you can get back to the business of being yourself.
5. Go with a fast, convenient mobile VPN.
You may be accustomed to using a VPN on your computer at work, but you can also protect the privacy of personal data and Internet activity (and even mask your location) on your primary device — your phone with a mobile VPN app.
A great VPN is fast and never slows you down. The service you choose should be virtually unnoticeable when it’s connected. You also shouldn’t have to sweat how much bandwidth you’re using or adding additional devices to your plan.
Using a VPN is a smart way to protect your device from emerging vulnerabilities like the KRACK attack and when you join a public WiFi or cellular network. VPNs need not be exclusively for the technically savvy. They should be accessible to anyone and everyone who cares about privacy and wants to stay in control, not fall victim to a breach.
The best VPN for privacy is made by a provider you trust, that doesn’t keep logs and is a service you pay for. An offering that’s easy-to-use, foolproof and convenient will guarantee that you actually use the VPN once you find one that meets your standards. You shouldn’t have to worry about remembering to turn your VPN on, adding multiple devices to your account or how much bandwidth you’re using.