21% of people that use the internet have had their social media accounts or online identity compromised. This means that posts were made without their permission, or information was stolen. Protecting your online identity and your internet history is important. If a hacker knows what websites you use, and how you access them, they can build a profile on you that helps them guess passwords and impersonate you online.
If an identity thief gains access to your information, they can open credit cards and bank accounts in your name. They could also use your information to submit fake product reviews and other things to help them fraudulently earn money online, using your good name. And, their actions could hurt your credit score – making it harder to secure loans and take advantage of opportunities.
How does a VPN work?
One of the ways that I protect my online privacy is with an encrypted virtual private network (VPN). This tool encrypts your information, and then routes all of your online activity through a secure server. This ensures that any information a hacker intercepts will be unusable. And, because all of your traffic is processed through an external server, it’s much harder for websites to identify who you are, and where you’re browsing from.
Norton WiFi Privacy – Slow and Buggy with Horrible Customer Support
Norton WiFi Privacy is an easy-to-use VPN service for protecting your information when connected to public WiFi networks (coffee shops, airports, etc.). I tried it out for a couple of days to see if one of the biggest names in internet security could help me protect my privacy. They failed, miserably. I experienced what many customer reviews have pointed out:
- It’s extremely slow. I lost more than 90% of my internet speed when using Norton’s VPN app.
- Their customer support was reachable by phone, but had almost no troubleshooting skills for finding out why my internet speeds were so abysmal. Their suggestion was that I contact my ISP – a total cop out.
- The connection dropped at regular intervals – both on my home WiFi network, cellular data and public WiFi.
After a few days, I just couldn’t take it anymore. I requested a refund, which they were more than happy to process.
One other thing that bothered me was that their pricing was not transparent. On the Google Play Store, Norton advertises their app at an annual price of $29.99 for a single android device. On Norton’s website, shoppers will find information that isn’t made available to mobile app store purchasers. Their plans, only accessible from their site, are $7.99/mo or $39.99/yr for up to 5 devices.
If I had purchased their app through the Play Store, I would have been ripped off. I really don’t understand why Norton isn’t more transparent about their pricing.
Private Internet Access (PIA) – A Simple VPN Service with Faster Speed and Transparent Pricing
I knew I needed to protect my online privacy, but Norton’s offering was really disappointing. I took a closer look at PC Mag’s Best VPN Services of 2017. For my second swing of the bat, I chose Private Internet Access VPN. They appeared to have a ton of servers, which is important if you want the best connection speed possible – the closer the server is to your physical location, the faster your connection can be. I also liked that:
- They don’t log your traffic, so your internet history really is private. And their record for protecting user privacy has been battle tested in court.
- Monthly, 6 month and annual pricing is available at competitive rates.
- Their app is very light-weight and doesn’t take a degree in computer science to figure out.
- They provide encryption and VPN services for mobile and desktop users with a single plan.
Right now, I’ve purchase their monthly plan. I didn’t want to plunk down an entire year’s subscription for something I wasn’t 100% sure I’d want to commit to for a year. Over the past few weeks, all I can say is WOW. The internet speeds are much faster than Norton’s WiFi Privacy. I haven’t had to do anything more than simply install the client – it’s configured to automatically connect.
I have confirmed via my own server and website that my online identity and physical location is being masked. So, sorry advertisers and hackers, but you won’t be tracking me ever again.
The one time I do turn off the VPN service is when I’m streaming Netflix – most VPN services are blocked by Netflix. But, for all of my other online browsing, I’m shielded from prying eyes.
Have you used a VPN service before? What was your experience? And, if you’re ready to try one, but need a little bit of help, just let me know in the comments section of this article. I’ll be happy to help anyway that I can.