The more you embrace tech into your life, the more security precautions you should take
Not a day goes by when something new in the field of technology is announced. That’s good news to some, to the sort of folks who love a new piece of software, a gadget or a gizmo. Those are the early adopters, people who probably already have smart homes where curtains can be opened by voice control or closed remotely by text message.
Nothing thrills these types more than an additional facility to add to their phones – doorbells that can be monitored from the other side of the world, or apps that can turn the temperature down on their beer fridge if Saturday afternoon’s weather forecast in Woomera predicts a heatwave.
Then again there are those who feel that tech often expands too quickly, and just for its own sake, mainly to keep technology companies themselves in business. At one end of the spectrum of tech avoiders are full-on Luddites, those who object to almost any technological progress, seeing it as an invasion of their privacy and yet another inconvenience to suffer. Then there are those who simply can’t be bothered what happens with their phone’s apps or their laptop’s updates, so long as it doesn’t get in the way of their lives and someone else deals with things when they go wrong.
Unless you’re going to live as a hermit in a Himalayan cave, nowadays everyone has to accept that there’s little we can do as individuals if the pace of technological change is moving too quickly for us. From the closure of high street banks to the removal of ticket machines from railway stations in favor of ticketing apps, there are fewer offline and analogue options nowadays for people who want to live as some did in the 1970s and 1980s. Not least, there is the online safety of every family’s children to consider. So if all the technology that surrounds us dictates how we must work and play, sleep and rise, then we must do everything we can to ensure that we control those processes, as opposed to the tech controlling us.
Just because you’re paranoid doesn’t mean they’re not after you…
One thing we can do for certain is ensure that we don’t have our safety and security compromised by hacking from internet baddies. If almost everything we rely upon now to live a normal life is only accessible online, the very least we can do is make sure that nobody can steal our identities, spend our money fraudulently and ruin our reputations and relationships by hacking into our phones and computers. The best way to keep any and all of our internet connected devices safe from intruding eyes is to use a Virtual Private Network (VPN) or VPN extension.
A VPN provides an encrypted anonymous server, which sits between our devices and our Internet Service Provider (ISP) – effectively masking our real identities, our geographical locations and our day-to-day online practices. People who are politically active, perhaps in anti-establishment groups or even trade unionists, may well be surveyed by police and government agencies. Their emails and online search history can be tracked by their ISPs – but using a VPN and only messaging via end-to-end encryption is one way to keep Big Brother from watching you.
Life at full throttle
Then there are the people who like to stream TV shows and movies via platforms like Netflix, Hulu or Disney +. Quite soon, many such internet users find their data speeds slowing down to intolerably slow rates – often because their ISP is ‘throttling’ their data – slowing it down so much that trying to watch TV or downloading music files becomes impossible. But a VPN puts paid to such data throttling techniques, because, put simply, if your ISP can’t identify your account or where you are based, it can’t throttle your account.
As we all do so much online shopping these days, let’s not forget the benefits that VPNs bring when getting the best deals on flights and hotel rooms, let alone goods we buy on Amazon and eBay. Using a VPN can help online shoppers to avoid becoming the unwary victims of ‘dynamic pricing’, where the website you’re buying from identifies your approximate location from your IP address and offers goods and services at a price the Artificial Intelligence (AI) on the selling website ‘thinks’ you can afford. So if you wish to book a flight from Sydney to Singapore, and your IP address indicates that you’re living in a trailer park in the middle of the outback, it might well display a cheaper price than if you’re located in an apartment overlooking the Sydney Opera House. Using a VPN, you can fool the target website into believing you’re based in the Philippines or even an eastern European country – then the price you’re offered might reduce considerably.
It’s curtains if you don’t pull yourselves together!
All that’s required to keep ahead of all this technology, to keep your connections private and remain safe online is to download a tiny installer file from a reputable VPN provider onto your internet connected device. Within moments, you’re safe from malware, fake Wi-Fi hotspots, tracing and identification. Your curtains will only close when you want them to, your doorbell camera will be for your eyes only, and no hacker’s going to maliciously put your tinnies up to room temperature! The best part is, it’s all free! That’s got to be a no brainer.