In the last ten years, two things have changed  that affect virtually anybody above the age of Kindergarten.  First, cell phones have become our own “personal data assistants” meaning that everyone can receive and send email from wherever they happen to be. You can bank from your phone. You can use your credit card from your phone. You can easily search the internet from your phone. Mapping software makes your location available to applications 24 hours a day. 

The second change is the ability to hook into roaming internet services from almost any restaurant, while riding in a car, or waiting outside the doctor’s office. With this blessing comes the proverbial curse. It also means is that your mobile device is hooking into networks everywhere–often without your knowledge, giving easy access to your most private information to many unknown entities. Therefore, the need to protect your data requires a virtual private network that only you can access, but what is virtual private network? A virtual private network (VPN) has become more important for everyday use–and absolutely critical for small businesses that need to protect valuable data while travelling the globe.

What is Virtual Private Network? A virtual private network (VPN) is basically an encrypted tunnel that keeps your private information just that–private–and secure. It protects your data in Wifi hot spots from hackers. From the perspective of hackers, it’s relatively easy to hack into free wireless networks, and it’s also easy to intercept the wireless traffic involving those networks. This gives hackers access to passwords, e-mails, financial data, and whatever else you’ve done with your cell phone while they’re “watching.” . Much worse than that, however, is that some unscrupulous free wireless providers actually capture this data purposefully, themselves! They can then sell this valuable information to data miners who may use it for nefarious purposes. 

For cell phones, selecting the best VPN service might depend on whether you use a Mac or Android. Since your phone is now your own personal data assistant, selecting the applications and software that will best serve your mobile device is an important decision. PureVPN was rated as a top five VPN provider in 2018 according to CNet, and I’d put it at the top of my list for getting started in securing my personal or business data. 

Clearly, for security reasons, we should all consider installing a VPN that provides encryption between your cell phone and the broader internet so that your keystrokes aren’t available for  interception while they pass through the free wireless provider you’re accessing while innocently waiting for the doctor or while drinking your cappuccino and your favorite coffee shop. TODAY is the BEST day to take the dive. Protect your data and sleep better at night.

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