Chances are, you’ve heard the term VPN more and more lately but still can’t figure out exactly what it does or if your family needs one. You aren’t alone. The short answer is yes—you need a VPN on your family devices—and here’s why.
One of the main reasons you’re hearing more about VPNs is that cybercrime and data breaches are skyrocketing—especially since the pandemic. Cybercriminals are devising more inventive ways to grab and misuse your data. Subscribing to a VPN service is one of the most practical and powerful ways consumers can fight back.
What’s a VPN?
VPN is an acronym for Virtual Private Network. And while it sounds complicated, it’s not. A VPN is an app you install on family devices to help keep data and online activity secure while using public Wi-Fi. Pretty simple, right?
How does it work?
When you connect your computer or phone to a VPN, the service sends your network traffic through the VPN server before going to the public Wi-Fi server. Because a VPN scrambles data, should a bad actor try to access your activity, all they will see is gibberish.
A VPN encrypts internet traffic and then bounces it around until it becomes scrambled, helping block geolocation-based tracking and offering more protection than an open network. Encryption makes it harder for cyber crooks to decipher your location, data, and online activity for malicious purposes.
Benefits of a VPN
1. Reduces risk on the go.
Anytime you or another family member uses public Wi-Fi—to stream, shop, or game—it’s possible that others can see your traffic. However, a VPN will encrypt your activity so that all a potential hacker will see is gibberish.
2. Gives kids extra protection.
A VPN is a safeguard if your kids forget to turn off the Wi-Fi auto-connect feature on their phones. This can be a powerful feature if your kids connect to social networks, shopping, banking, or gaming sites throughout the day from locations outside the home.
3. Restricts data mining.
A VPN configured correctly can also keep companies from sharing your browsing habits and information with third parties.
4. Multiple device security.
If everyone in your family has two devices and you have five family members, a bad actor has up to 10 potential entry points to steal your data or instigate a scam. With cybersecurity threats on the rise, a VPN provides security for all users on multiple devices, regardless of their safety habits.
Top VPN Features
When shopping for the best VPN for your family, it’s easy to get lost in an ocean of features. Here’s a shortcut to help you with the VPN features best for your family. Look for:
1. Bank-grade encryption.
A quick search will render dozens of VPN options and not all protect consumers. Approximately 38% of Android VPN apps in the Google Play Store (some free) install malware rather than block it. Another study found that of 283 free VPN providers, 72% included trackers. Because of this standard practice, it’s essential to do your research and choose a VPN that delivers bank-grade encryption. Note: Many free VPNs make their money by sharing your data with third parties.
2. Unlimited bandwidth.
Choose a VPN that allows you to maintain a secure network connection no matter how much time you spend online.
3. Efficient speed.
With more work and school now remote, consider choosing a high-speed VPN that improves privacy without sacrificing the quality of your connection.
4. Access to virtual locations.
Consider a VPN server that shows a different location than your point of entry, a feature that enhances anonymity, location, and browsing history. For example, you may be getting online in the United States, but your VPN server might show you are connected in Italy.
What’s your digital defense?
It’s important to note that a VPN does not provide 100% protection from cyber threats. However, to date, it is one of the safest ways your family can simultaneously enjoy the convenience of the internet and reduce risk on public Wi-Fi.
McAfee Total Protection subscribers already have access to unlimited VPN usage. If you haven’t already signed up, now’s a perfect time. McAfee Total Protection provides security for all your devices while your family shops, banks, games, and browses online.