VPN

A VPN encrypts your online activity and helps protect your online privacy.  

Use a VPN to keep your browsing activity and location anonymous, block online ad trackers and encrypt the data that is sent and received whenever you’re connected to the internet.  

What is a VPN?

A Virtual Private Network (VPN) gives you privacy and anonymity when you browse the web and use mobile apps.

A VPN is a service that encrypts your online activity data and essentially puts it into a tunnel, creating a private network through your connection to the VPN servers.

It also provides security for your connection on public Wi-Fi hotspots that are shared and not secure, since your activity on that network all goes through the VPN connection

Why use a VPN? 

A major reason to use a VPN is for online privacy.

How do you connect to a VPN? 

Connecting to a VPN through a VPN service is often done with just a couple of clicks.

How to select the best VPN for you 

Selecting the best VPN for your needs starts with considering the features that are most important to you.

Public Wi-Fi may have security risks

Problem

Public Wi-Fi hotspots may be convenient, but they’re also shared. Cybercriminals may be able to access your sensitive information while using public Wi-Fi. 

Solution

Use a VPN that encrypts your online activity, helping to keep your information secure while browsing on public Wi-Fi networks. 

Do you value your privacy, especially online? 

 

Problem

You may have been hearing that many groups can track what you do online: Advertisers, websites, companies and governments. Do you value your privacy, and don’t want to be tracked all over the web?

Solution

A VPN gives you online privacy by changing your IP address and encrypting your online activity. A no-log VPN means your VPN provider doesn’t track or store your online activity or location.

Tired of seeing the same online ads?  

 

Problem

Seeing the same ads follow you around the web can feel intrusive.

Solution

Use a VPN with ad tracker blocking, so you can shop online privately.

Learn More about Secure VPNs and Public Wi-Fi 

Virtual Private Network

When you’re connected to the Internet, your online activity data gets sent and received over the network you’re using. On public Wi-Fi networks, that’s like sending everything you’re doing on a postcard, where anyone who handles that postcard can read what it says. Think of everyone using the free Wi-Fi hotspot as anyone who could possibly come into contact with your postcard and read it.

To keep your online activity private, you can use a Virtual Private Network (VPN) to encrypt it. Encryption is basically like taking your postcard, translating what’s written on it into an indecipherable language, and having someone else send it to the recipient in a secured envelope via a private route. Now it doesn’t look like your activity is coming from you in the first place—it’s coming from the messenger who delivers it, and only the recipient knows how to decipher it, because your computer is the only one with the matching encryption key.

That’s why it’s called a Virtual Private Network, because it’s like putting all of your activity securely into a private network so others on the shared network connection can’t see who it’s coming from or what it says.  

Why use a VPN?

Online Privacy

  • Helps protect your online privacy by shielding your internet data and your location from advertisers, websites and cybercriminals
  • No-log VPNs mean the VPN provider doesn’t log your online activity, giving you a private online experience.
  • Can block ad tracking technologies to avoid being tracked online by advertisers and other companies, helping to eliminate many of the targeted ads that follow you around the web. 

Security
  • Lets you check email, interact on social media and pay bills using public Wi-Fi hotspots without worrying about cybercriminals intercepting the information you send and receive on a shared network


Privacy & Security

  • Norton Secure VPN uses bank-grade encryption to help ensure the information you send and receive is secure and private


Content Access

  • Can enable global access to your favorite apps and websites while on the go, just like home

Choosing a VPN provider you can trust 

With so many VPN services on the market, how will you decide which one to use? A big part of the decision is selecting a VPN provider you trust. You want a VPN for online privacy, so you want to ask a few questions when selecting your VPN service:

  1. Do they respect your online privacy? The point of using a VPN is to protect your online privacy, so it’s crucial that your VPN provider respects your online privacy, too. They should have a no-log policy, which means that they never track or log your online activities.

  2.  Is this a Free VPN service that has in-app ads? Will they send your personal information to their advertisers as "payment" in exchange for your using their technology to pay for their "free VPN service"? A reputable VPN service has significant technology costs to ensure service levels and provide support for their users. Remember this, companies need to collect payment from someone to support their VPN service. The question is, what are they collecting and how.

  3.  Where are the server locations? Multiple server locations are important. The ability to choose your region allows you a personalized browsing experience.

Multiple Server Locations

The option to choose a VPN server in many different countries allows you to enjoy a personalized browsing experience and helps protect your online privacy. Norton Secure VPN has servers in 28 countries:  

VPNs and Public Wi-Fi Security

VPNs are valued for providing online privacy, but you can also use them to provide security for your online activity while using public Wi-Fi hotspots. Threats in this realm include different types of Man-in-the-Middle attacks.

In Man-in-the-Middle or MITM attacks, cybercriminals get in the middle of your computer or mobile device and the website you are trying to reach, intercepting your communication to eavesdrop or even potentially manipulate it. Examples of MITM attacks include:
 

Snooping and Sniffing
Software for snooping on other users on the same public Wi-Fi network is readily available on the internet. With this software, other users can see the online activity for anyone else on that network.

“Evil twin” Wi-Fi hotspots
Cybercriminals can set up malicious Wi-Fi hotspots to trick people into connecting to the wrong network. These hotspots are often called “evil twin” networks, because they are often set up to look like the real thing, such as “Coffee Shop Wi-Fi” versus “Coffee Shop WiFi” or “LA Airport Wi-Fi” versus “LAX Airport Wi-Fi.”

In these types of intrusions and attacks, cybercriminals can gain access to your online activity and valuable information that you might enter, like login credentials or credit card numbers.

This is why using a VPN when using public Wi-Fi networks is so important.

A VPN guards your activity on a Wi-Fi network, to help protect against snoops and cybercriminals from accessing your information. So even on an insecure network, you can help keep your information secure by using a VPN.

VPNs and Cybersecurity 

How much do you know about VPNs and cybersecurity?

A recent study1 of American adult internet users found that:

73% knew that public Wi-Fi, even if password protected, is not always safe for sensitive activities

However: 70% were unsure if a VPN minimizes the risk of using insecure Wi-Fi networks
 

1“What the Public Knows About Cybersecurity.” Pew Research Center, Washington, D.C. (March 22, 2017) http://www.pewinternet.org/2017/03/22/what-the-public-knows-about-cybersecurity/
2“Americans and Cybersecurity.” Pew Research Center, Washington, D.C. (January 26, 2017) http://www.pewinternet.org/2017/01/26/2-password-management-and-mobile-security/pi_01-26-cyber-02-00/  

How do a VPN and security software work together?

A VPN and security software protect two different things

VPN

A VPN protects your browsing activity, especially while using public Wi-Fi hotspots.

Cybercriminals can get into your browsing activity while on public Wi-Fi, but a VPN encrypts your information so even if they get in, they can’t see stuff, like passwords and credit card numbers.

Additionally, a VPN provides online privacy, as it associates your online activity with the VPN server’s IP address rather than your own, and it encrypts your information.  

Security Software

Security software protects your computers, tablets and smartphones from getting malware and viruses on them.

It does this by employing several integrated technologies, including antivirus, to protect in different ways.

With Norton 360, this includes blocking threats coming in from your internet connection, scanning all files and programs on your computer for threats, and additional AI and machine learning-based technologies to detect many different types of threats, even new malware.  

So, using a VPN and security software together means you can help secure your information when using your computers or mobile devices on Wi-Fi networks, public or not, and you can help protect your online privacy as well.  

Norton Secure VPN

Norton Secure VPN service:

  • Changes your IP address and encrypts your online activity, helping to give you online privacy
  • Helps protect your information while using public Wi-Fi networks, like your credit card numbers and passwords
  • Includes an ad tracker blocker to help keep your activity from being tracked by advertisers online
  • Runs on Windows, Mac, Android and iOS

This screen is for demonstration purposes and is subject to change.

Frequently Asked Questions

A major reason to use a VPN is for online privacy. When you browse around the Web, you leave a digital footprint of your activity through your IP (Internet Protocol) address. Web browsers commonly store your browsing history, and tracking cookies & pixels are used to record various aspects of your browsing and shopping behavior for later use in advertising. Additionally, if you’re using public Wi-Fi, you’re on a shared network with other users who could access the information through the shared connection.

Two key reasons to use a VPN are to increase your privacy by hiding your IP address, and to secure your online activity by encrypting the data associated with it. When you connect to a VPN, your browsing activity appears to come from the IP address of the VPN server rather than your own. Additionally, your browsing activity is encrypted, so the data sent and received in your online activity is encoded and can’t be deciphered without the key.

A VPN is a powerful tool in your online privacy and security arsenal, but it is not a means to complete online anonymity. Websites and those who advertise on them can still see what you are doing on their sites, so some VPN services will come with an ad tracker blocker option built in.  

When you use a Virtual Private Network, or VPN, it’s like having your own private network over the Internet. Your online activity is essentially hidden in a tunnel. When you connect to a VPN, you are connecting from your device to the VPN provider’s server, so your online activity is associated with that server’s IP address rather than yours. Once you connect to a VPN, it runs in the background, and you can browse the web and use apps just as you usually would.  

A VPN service is a software provider who maintains servers, often in many different countries, and provides users with VPN access, commonly in a subscription model. You sign up for the service, download the software to your PC or Mac or the app to your mobile device, and you are able to connect to the VPN as needed. VPN services that offer servers in multiple countries typically allow you to select the location to wish you which to connect, and then start the VPN and allow it to run in the background as you browse as usual.

Connecting to a VPN through a VPN service is often done with just a couple of clicks. Once you have a subscription to a VPN service and have downloaded the desktop client or mobile app, you typically click to connect to the VPN, and then it runs in the background. Some VPN services will also enable you to select the location of the server you want to use before you click to connect.  

Selecting the best VPN for your needs starts with considering the features that are most important to you. This may include factors such as speed of service, uptime or operating system compatibility. There are many VPN services available, so selecting the best one for you can be a challenge. When selecting a VPN provider, here are features to consider:

  • Encryption strength (AES-256, typically the same level that banks use)
  • Unlimited data usage
  • Server locations
  • Operating system compatibility
  • Speed of service
  • Uptime
  • Non-logging policy
  • Privacy Policy
  • Support availability
  • Ad tracker blocking
     

Downloading and setting up a VPN with a service provider is typically straightforward. On a PC or Mac, you would go to the provider’s website to purchase a subscription, create an account, and download the VPN software. On an Android or iOS device, you would download the app from the app store, and sign up for an account. Depending upon the options available, set up options may include:

  • Selecting a default primary server location
  • Choose whether to connect to the VPN automatically when an unsecured network is detected
  • Enable alerts when you’ve connected to an unsecured hotspot
  • Turn on ad tracker blocking

Once you set your preferences, you can connect to the VPN and browse as usual.  

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