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Man has always had with one goal in mind, and that’s making the world a little smaller. Making it easier to get in touch with someone, and to communicate, and then to speed up the time it takes to reach other people. From the institutions we put in place, such as the post office through to the technology such as cars, planes, and trains that lets us reach people that much quicker, these technologies help us to stay in touch.

The internet, and now, mobile technology has hugely helped us as a species to get instant communication. VOIP, instant calls, e-mails, and more advancements into additional sensory approaches are all bringing us closer. While these technological steps forward are help us considerably, many come with a cost.

When it comes to the technology powering telephones, things can get a little risky for the user in terms of security as the Wi-Fi in a number of locations is open. Unlike your own home Wi-Fi, those open networks are just that: open to everyone including those eager to steal information. With enough know-how, hackers can easily gain access to private information about you when you use unsecured networks.

Phones hold a lot of very sensitive data about us, including log-in passwords and bank information – for those that use telephone banking. So while we like to believe that our security is guaranteed online, it is actually very possible for our personal information to be stolen.

How To Protect Data On Your Phone From Online Threats?

Fortunately, there are options available that can help with security issues, with one such choice being a Virtual Private Network (VPN). A VPN is a group of devices linked together privately within a wider public. This allows information to be exchanged among the group using the network, while remaining hidden from those who do not have secure access to it. It has been around for some time, largely for computers, predominantly where those working on a remote basis use it to share business data without the risk of it being compromised by public Wi-Fi networks.

In some ways, it operates in a similar fashion to a firewall, except that it is shielding data online rather than on an individual’s computer. The actual process of setting up a VPN is not particularly difficult, as the user merely has to deploy an ISP to connect to the internet, before using client software to make the connection with the organisation’s VPN server. Setting one up will require you to pick a networking protocol – with the choices being Point-to-Point Tunnelling, Secure Sockets Layer (SSL), Tunnelling Protocol and OpenVPN. The ones that offer strong security and easy set-up are OpenVPNs and Secure Sockets Layer VPNs – so most people will be best off with one of those.

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On the practical side, there are various benefits to VPNs. Additional encryption means increased security. As information is locked down at the VPN level, it makes it harder for hackers, and ne’er-do-wells to see what information is being sent and received. Many VPN providers also have servers in multiple locations as well. Websites that block content based on location can be circumvented with VPNs, as websites now think you’re in that geo-location.

With anonymity, and geo-blocking, VPNs have been instrumental in allowing political activists to operate in locations where significant dangers could be faced if opposition was vocalised. It even permits the possibility of getting a message to the wider world, though this doesn’t mean that VPNs are only for political activists. The level of encryption alone is a strong pull for most VPN users.

Historically, VPNs have been more available for desktop computers, and given the widespread usage of desktop and laptop computers over time, this has made sense. But now it’s the age of the mobile. The way we think about everything technology related is having to change to meet the requirements of the users, and with such an intense increase in mobile users, it’s important that technologies adapt to their new platform home.

When it comes to setting one up on your phone, the Android OS offers support for the L2TP and PPTP VPNs. What this means is that you will be able to connect to either of these two private networks without the need to download an outside app.

To do so, you just have to open Settings, find the Wireless and networks options and select More. You then pick VPN and enter the required network details. Although OpenVPNs are not supported, you can still access them on your phone by downloading the OpenVPN app.

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Other good outside apps to consider include SurfEasy, StrongVPN and TunnelBear. Services exist to help you with information to find the most suitable VPN providers for your android device. The following VPN providers are all available and provide additional safety.

Top Five Best VPN Services You Need To Know

  • Express VPN: At $8.32 a month, Express VPN is a little pricey, but does provide a guarantee of 30 days money back. Express prides itself on its customer support.
  • IP Vanish: IPVanish is based in the US, and costs $6.49 a month. With fewer complications, it is easy to use, but doesn’t provide the same level of complexity against other providers.
  • NordVPN: Quite a secure VPN, as it provides strong encryption, and a “double-hop” chaining feature. NordVPN is also based in Panama, and doesn’t keep logs of your activity. At $5.75 a month, it’s also a little cheaper than others, though it can be slow.
  • SaferVPN: Speeds will always be affected with VPNs, though SaferVPN does keep any reductions low. With records of some connection logs, it doesn’t provide as much privacy as some, but still adds to your security. At $7.50 a month it is more expensive than some.
  • PIA: Private Internet Access is US based and it doesn’t have any free trial, however it’s cheaper than other providers. There’s no logs on activity, and it provides nearly as much functionality on its mobile offering as it does on its desktop app.

Aside from letting you share work data securely when you’re away from the main office, a phone VPN will also let you access websites or apps – either for work or leisure purposes – that are not generally available from your location. One important thing to remember is that, although a VPN will keep those outside the network from seeing your data, it may be logged by the network operators. If this is a concern, be sure to check the policy of the VPN provider before signing up.

Before mobile phones, internet security was a lot simpler. Check your antivirus and your firewall. Don’t click on iffy links, or download anything you weren’t sure of and just be wary of passwords. The shift to mobile phones changes the game, with many of the old rules being forgotten or no longer being relevant. The on-the-go usage opens you up to an increased number of risks, with open Wi-Fi, and the chance of the device being stolen. There’s still the question as to whether or not antivirus is still relevant on mobile technology, or if other security methods are more effective, such as ensuring you can track a phone post theft, or ensuring that your phone locks automatically. It’s a change not only in technology, but also in the way that we interact with our devices, and a monumental shift in our thinking.