People are spending more time online today than ever before, and that’s not going to change anytime soon. From work and leisure to planning out daily activities, almost everything in life today can be achieved with a little cyber help. Which is why it’s so popular. However, there is a little tagalong to all that convenience, namely malicious hackers.
Hackers are becoming an ever-increasing threat, with people spending so much time online these days. Not to mention the fact that sensitive information from credit card details to passwords is shared all the time. Security software developers are trying to keep up with all the new web-based threats, but more often than not, something slips through.
Earlier this year, hackers targeted the Apple Mac computers of government officials in the Middle East. Apparently, these hackers had found a way to “bypass all native macOS security measures.” So even though Apple products are known for having a robust security system, they aren’t immune. Thus, relying on the security measures provided by manufacturers like Apple alone isn’t an option anymore. More than one layer of protection is needed. Which means it’s up to individuals themselves to make sure their personal information is being protected.
One of the most popular solutions for businesses and individuals alike are VPNs.
The What and How of VPNs
A virtual private network, or VPN for short, is a web-based service that allows people to roam the internet securely. The VPN hides any online actions by routing a person’s connection through a remote server. When people connect to the internet without a VPN, all of their data is out in the open. So anyone with motivation and technological savvy can gain access to that information. While that may not seem too concerning, at first sight, it can have severe ramifications. Especially for anyone who shares their data through actions like mobile banking or business emails. But a VPN stops all of that in its tracks.
When using a VPN, the data that would typically get sent to the open web is encrypted by the VPN. The user’s network sends the information through the VPN app, which then encrypts the data before connecting to a website.
Why should all this be important to a Mac user? Because Apple’s Mac products are so popular worldwide and widely used by all manner of people and companies. Hackers know this, too. It might take a bit more effort and time to hack into an Apple product, but the payoff is enough to make it worthwhile. Thus it’s not enough anymore to simply rely on the safety measures that come built-in with a Mac.
There are many different VPN services available out there, and it’s up to each individual or company to find one that suits their needs. Each VPN provider offers different VPN protocols that encrypt data differently. So it’s a good idea to research all the options before choosing one. The most popular protocols include PPTP, SSTP, OpenVPN, and IKEV2. Most VPN providers will let the user choose between different protocol options.
How to Choose A VPN for Mac
There are quite a few benefits to using a VPN on Mac devices. The most prominent ones include:
- Protection from malware, ransomware, and malvertising
- Protection from wily individuals who seek to identify online habits
- Protection from an unsecured network, such as public Wi-Fi
- Protection from ISPs who sell their users’ data
When choosing a VPN, some aspects need to be looked at. Firstly, there’s the location of the VPN provider. They might be located in a region where jurisdiction forces them to keep records of their clients. This is one area where personal data could be leaked. Another is payment records. It’s a good idea to find out if the provider keeps clients’ personal information in those records. Finally, it’s also important to make sure the VPN is using a secure protocol with sufficient encryption methods.
The general process for activating a VPN is the same, regardless of the service provider. After signing up for the service, the Mac user will be allowed to download the VPN app, sign in, and install it. After installing the new software, the user will get an activation code. Once that’s typed in, they can turn the VPN on and start surfing the web safely.
When it comes to the daily grind of life, there are so many other things to worry about, that computer security might fall by the wayside. Many people also think that they will never be targeted. But devious characters are finding new ways to target victims every day. And what better way than the wide open web where they have access to billions of people? A VPN doesn’t replace any security measures and won’t protect someone from specific online scams like phishing. However, it can go a long way towards offering peace of mind.