For those who are hesitant to get started with a VPN, this video demonstrates basic operation and features of ProtonVPN on desktop. The service is easy to use, so don’t be intimidated. The interface is simple and straight forward, and you don’t have to be a tech person to get a lot of value from it.
This is shot on a MacOS, but the function is similar on the mobile app. I’ve used ProtonVPN for a while now and figured someone might be curious about how to get going on it or how it looks. I’d suggest taking the plunge on a VPN. I’m not affiliated with Proton in any way other than being a customer of theirs, but I’ve been happy with it.
Using a VPN
Using a VPN greatly enhances your security online, and can serve to hide your online activities from your ISP, network administrator, or potentially government agencies. It can also be used to ‘spoof’ your location to get around regional internet blockages. VPN has been used extensively in areas of the world where governments block access to the internet.
It’s also critically important to be using VPN on a shared wifi network — like what you’d find at work, in a coffee shop, or airport — in order to avoid broadcasting “in the clear”. It’s reasonably straight forward for someone to capture or monitor network traffic on shared wifi, and you want to avoid it.
Hiding your traffic is increasingly relevant for people who are active in terms of firearms, politics, free speech, 3D printing, etc.
VPN has historically been used for business people who need a secure way of sharing sensitive information like financial reports or proprietary data. But at this point using a VPN is a more common thing for everyday people.
Getting started is basically just a matter of downloading the program and pressing connect. You don’t need to be a ‘computer person’. There are a lot of companies offering VPN service, so the hardest part is picking one out.
As a rule of thumb, avoid services that offer “free” VPN or are offered by companies like Facebook. Additionally, here are also some VPN services to avoid.
ProtonVPN is made by the same folks who do ProtonMail, and so they’ve been around in the privacy game since 2014 and have some brand credibility as not being a sketchy fly-by-night company. They’re based in Switzerland and aren’t bound by US or EU jurisdiction. Do your own homework, but do yourself a favor and pay the few bucks a month for a VPN.
Avoiding Five Eyes (FVEY)
Avoid services based in the USA, Great Britain, New Zealand, Canada, and Australia. These countries are members of the “Five Eyes” agreement, where they — among other things — monitor web traffic and share the information with one another to create an international surveillance network.
The “Five Eyes” (FVEY) refers to an alliance comprising Australia, Canada, New Zealand, the United Kingdom and the United States. These countries are bound by the multilateral UKUSA Agreement for joint cooperation in signals intelligence, military intelligence, and human intelligence. In recent years, documents of the FVEY have shown that they are intentionally spying on one another’s citizens and sharing the collected information with each other in order to circumvent restrictive domestic regulations on spying.-Wikipedia / List of people under Five Eyes surveillance
Your Takeaway about VPN
Even if you’re not a techie, you should pay the few bucks a month and get a reputable VPN. It takes 10 minutes to set up and they’re almost all less than $10. This stops your boss, your cable company, and the weirdos on the other side of the coffee shop from seeing you shitposting about guns, politics, or whatever else you’re up to.
It will also probably frustrate any law enforcement efforts to surveil what you are up to, but I wouldn’t stake your freedom on it.