When you see movies or television shows about hackers, they are often shown as being these super geniuses. Entertainment portrays hackers as being able to get access to any device, circumnavigate any safeties, and steal information with impunity.
You would be forgiven for thinking there is nothing that you can do to protect yourself against hackers if you do not have a computer science degree. However, nothing could be farther from the truth. There are several things that you can do to protect your Android device from cyber-attacks. A little of common sense and a bit of readily available technology will go a long way.
What Is a VPN?
A VPN is one of the most powerful tools you have for protecting your Android device from hackers. When you surf the web or engage in transactions using unsecured Wi-Fi networks, your private information and browsing habits are exposed to the world.
A Clark School study at the University of Maryland showed that hackers attack every 39 seconds. The FBI reported that the number of complaints about cyberattacks since the pandemic started is about 4,000 a day, which is 400% more than what they were seeing before the pandemic. If you feel concerned about protecting yourself from hackers, a secure VPN service that guarantees no-logging policy should be high on your list for security and privacy.
Having a VPN on your Android device is especially important because it is likely that you use your Android device to read emails online, check your bank account, or even schedule visits with your doctor. You might take advantage of free Wi-Fi at a coffee shop or restaurant. Oftentimes, these Wi-Fi networks do not require a password. This means that anything you transmit while connected to the network is vulnerable to eavesdropping by people on the same network.
When you install a VPN on your Android device, you protect your online activity. A VPN keeps your browsing private and anonymous.
How Does a VPN Protect Your Android Device?
When you use a VPN on your Android device, you are creating a tunnel between yourself and a secondary location. The server you are connecting to could be on the other side of the globe. It gives the appearance that you are connecting to your favorite website or app from somewhere else. But this is just part of the protection a VPN offers.
A VPN will use encryption so that the data sent over a Wi-Fi network is scrambled. Scrambled data cannot be read. Even if someone could monitor the data you are sending, without being able to decrypt it, the information would be garbled and incoherent.
If you use your mobile data and avoid connecting to open Wi-Fi networks, you are still at risk of having your information monitored by your ISP. Your ISP can record your entire browsing history. However, if you use a VPN on your Android device, your search history is hidden.
You might think that you are not looking at anything online that you would want to hide from your ISP. However, it is amazing how seemingly innocuous information gathered from a person’s browsing history can build a profile about them that can target them for marketing, stealing their identity, or doing other harmful things.
It’s also good to remember that search engines monitor your search history. They do that by associating the information with your IP address. If you are using a VPN, they will associate your search history with an IP address that does not belong to you.
What Things Will a VPN Hide?
Your VPN hides your location and your IP address. If a person has access to your correct IP address, they will know where you are and what you have been searching. You can think of your IP address in the same way you think about your physical address. It leads to your device. However, since a VPN is using an IP address that doesn’t belong to you, you are able to maintain privacy on your Android device and search the web anonymously.
A VPN hides your browsing history. Your web browser can track everything you do online. There are several websites that also keep your browsing history. Why is this so important to remember?
Let’s say that you have a medical condition that you are researching online. You want to get information about hospitals and treatment options. If you don’t use a VPN, you may be targeted with emails and ads that pop up at the wrong time, drawing further attention to a medical condition you want to keep private.
Another example is if you use your Android device to search plane ticket prices. You check for a price and then check back a few days later. Did you know that travel sites monitor how many times you visit them? If they can tell that you are looking for the same ticket repeatedly, they might not display the cheapest rates.
And don’t forget that your ISP might gather your browsing history to sell it. Even if your browser claims to be private, they might have a different definition of private than you do.
Using a VPN to Protect against Identity Theft
A VPN protects your data, so it protects you from identity theft. It allows you to use your Android device to send private data to your doctor, your bank, your school, or any other individual or entity without cyber criminals being able to access it.
To be sure, no one can 100 percent prevent identity theft. However, using a VPN on your Android device can make it harder for cyber criminals to steal the information that they want to steal from you. They can help keep your Android device safe.
Not all VPNs are created equal. Sadly, some VPNs have been the source of data breaches that have led to people being victimized by cyber criminals. Before choosing a VPN for your Android device, investigate their logging policies. Learn how they handle your privacy and about the VPN protocols they use.
It’s also good to know where the servers you are connecting to are located. Certain servers are in countries where your privacy rights are protected. Other servers are in countries where privacy rights are not a priority.
The Internet is a powerful tool. It can allow you to access information and services with the touch of a screen or button. By using a VPN on your Android device, you can feel safer online.
EDITOR NOTE: This is a promoted post and should not be viewed as an editorial endorsement.