VPNs are becoming a must-have application on computers, tablets, and smartphones. The Virtual Private Network (VPN) helps protect your online activities from third parties. However, most people often wonder, can a VPN be tracked? This article provides the ultimate guide on how a Virtual Private Network works.
You probably use a VPN if you value privacy while browsing the interment. The VPN is essential in this day and age where data is valuable and third parties can infiltrate your internet traffic and sell it to the highest bidder. The VPN program offers a sense of data protection relief but is the VPN 100% secure? Can a VPN be Tracked? Read the article below to understand everything about VPNs and online tracking.
How does a Virtual Private Network (VPN) work?
We must first understand how a VPN works before answering the above questions. A standard internet connection has three stages that data must pass before you can transmit and receive data over the internet. The first stage is your device, known as a client. The second stage is the Internet Service Provider (ISP), whereas the last stage is the World Wide Web or the internet.
Your internet traffic is not secure if you are using the standard connection. The VPN program is an intermediary between your device, ISP, and the internet. The VPN program secures your internet traffic by performing tasks such as masking your IP address and encrypting your data while in transit between the three stages.
Benefits of a VPN service
Below are some reasons why you should always use a VPN service on your device.
- Access Geo-restricted content. – You can use a VPN to access content restricted to a geo-location. Government agencies can use their regulatory authority to gag the content citizens can access.
- Access to better prices. – You can use a VPN to get better prices on products like Xbox games. You can connect to servers like Argentinian servers to purchase Xbox games at affordable prices.
- Anonymity. – You can use a VPN to hide your IP address while using the internet. Tracking your online activity is difficult if the IP address changes every time you connect to the internet.
- Data encryption. – You can use a VPN to encrypt the data transmission from your device while using the internet.
- Access torrent/online games. – You can use a VPN to access torrent content via peer-to-peer connections. You can also use it to access restricted online games.
- Access faster download speeds. You can use a VPN to tunnel through the firewall of your ISP and bypass throttling of download speed.
Who can infiltrate your internet traffic?
The three main parties who can infiltrate our internet are the ISP, Government agencies, and cybercriminals. Your Internet Service Provider (ISP) is the gateway between you and the internet. All your internet traffic passes through your ISP, thus making your data vulnerable when surfing the internet
Government agencies regulate Internet Service Providers and can compel them to access your data records. Government agencies might want to keep track of your data records for political censorship of their citizens.
Cybercriminals aim to intercept your data and sell it to parties who use it to customize advertisements you see on the internet. Cybercriminals can also infiltrate sensitive data like your financial details and use it to empty your online financial accounts.
Is it possible to be tracked online even when using a VPN?
The constant evolution in technology makes nothing impossible, even internet tracking while using a VPN. Cookies are one of the methods internet tracking is possible, even while using a VPN on your device.
Clicking the agreement button on cookies pop-ups will download a tracking code and save it on your device. The tracking cookies save your internet request and explain why your selections on sites like e-commerce websites remain after refreshing their web pages.
A browser footprint is another reason why your internet activity is vulnerable. Browser plugins and extensions can keep a record of your internet activity. Malware and spyware attacks can expose your data, even when using a VPN. The last method your data can leak, even with a VPN, is through data-collecting websites like Facebook or Google.
Can I use a free VPN without being tracked?
A free VPN sounds enticing, but the service you are getting comes with some disadvantages. The VPN service requires funds to keep its light on, and some free VPNs sell your data to recover the cost of their service. You can use the free VPN to access restricted content or hide your IP address, but the program will keep a log of your online activities to sell to third parties.
Can your employer track your activity when using a VPN?
Connecting to your work network is risky because your employer can always install monitoring programs to check traffic passing through the office servers. The office server is your gateway to the internet, and your employer can track your online activities if you use a VPN with poor encoding/encryption. Office networks have a limited capacity, and monitoring traffic is less challenging than public ISPs.
Can your ISP track your online activities if you use a VPN?
The simple answer is yes because an ISP is your gateway to the internet, and your ISP can track your activities, even with a VPN. The best solution to avoid ISP tracking is to sign up with an ISP with a solid privacy clause in the user agreement. Your ISP can use VPN IPs, port numbers, and deep packet analysis techniques to track your activities online, even if you use a VPN program on your device.
A few tips can help protect your online activities from prying eyes. The first tip is to avoid public search engines and free VPN applications. Try to look for a VPN application that offers Obfuscated servers function, Kill Switch, Strong encryption, and DNS leak protection features to ensure you have premium services from your Virtual Private Network.