Is it really safe to use a VPN?

How a VPN can help hide your search history and is private browsing really safe?

Are private surfing and VPN really safe?

Whether you run a business or go online for personal use, you probably know that surfing the Internet can bring all sorts of risks to you and your organization.

When you connect to the Internet, you and your business are exposed to hackers and thieves who can steal everything from personal information to browsing history to payment information.

So when it comes to protecting yourself and your business online, you may have found out about private browsing or choosing a VPN. But which of these is right for you?

What is private surfing and how do you use it?

Private browsing is a feature built into many modern web browsers. Many of the major web browsers have it. Usually this is easily accessible from the File menu. For example:

  • Google Chrome offers the Incognito mode
  • Microsoft Edge offers InPrivate browsing
  • Safari offers private surfing
  • Firefox offers private surfing
  • Opera offers built-in private tabs

In simple terms, private browsing is a method of browsing in which the browser does not store any browsing history, search history, or local data such as cookies.

Is Private Browsing Really Private?

Even if private browsing prevents your browser from storing information on your local device or computer, it does not necessarily prevent the exchange of information between your computer and your Internet Service Provider (ISP).

It is also possible for third parties to discover traces of activities in connection with private browser sessions, which in turn can be used as an entry point into the operating system.

How safe is private surfing?

Many people believe that private surfing protects them from viruses, malware and hacker attacks and that they are safe from fraud and theft when entering financial data or passwords, for example, as no local data is stored. But unfortunately that is not true.

Since private surfing depends on an Internet protocol address (IP address) provided by your Internet service provider (ISP), it is still possible for third parties to recognize your browser session and exploit errors. Additionally, software bugs, HTML5 APIs, and even browser extensions have historically been the source of accidental leaks, allowing third parties to access search and internet history through private browsing.

The only way to really protect your search, internet browsing and history data is to use a VPN.

What is a VPN and what does the term stand for?

VPN stands for "virtual private network".

VPNs encrypt your internet traffic and identity online, making it harder for third parties to break in and steal your data.

What does a VPN hide your history from?

When you go online, your Internet Service Provider (ISP) usually connects you. It tracks you via an IP address. Your web traffic goes through your ISP's servers - so they can log and see everything you do online.

Your ISP may seem trustworthy, but they could share your browsing history with advertisers, the police or the government and other third parties. Your ISP is also vulnerable to security breaches: if hacked, your personal and private information could be compromised.

This is especially important to consider if you regularly connect to public Wi-Fi networks. You never know who is watching your traffic from the other side and what they might be stealing from you - passwords, personal information, payment information, even your entire identity.

How does a VPN work?

A VPN masks your IP address by redirecting it through a specially configured remote server operated by the VPN host. So when you surf online through a VPN, the VPN server becomes the source of your data. This makes it impossible for your Internet service provider or other third party to see which websites you are visiting or what information you are entering. A VPN works like a filter that turns all the data you send and receive into gibberish. Even if someone got their hands on this data, it would be useless.

What should a good VPN do?

You can use your VPN to accomplish one or more tasks. The VPN itself should also be secure against attacks.

These are the benefits you should expect from any comprehensive VPN solution: