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VPN use is on the rise as people finally worry about web privacy, security

Chances are you’ve heard the term “VPN,” but have you tried one? What are they, how do they function, and why should you care?

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Keeping your biz secure

VPN use is a on the rise, and while there are certainly some clear advantages to using a VPN there are also a few drawbacks as well. If you haven’t used a VPN before, there are a few things you should know before you jump on board and give it a try for yourself. There’s also a pretty good chance you may have already used one and not be aware of it.

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Opera users may have noticed the recent launch of their free and unlimited VPN servers, but you may not know exactly what this can do for you. Here’s a little bit more about VPNs and why they’re becoming increasingly popular.

What is a VPN?

A VPN, or Virtual Private Network, is nearly essential if you travel outside of your home with your smartphone, tablet, or laptop. A VPN connects two computers securely and privately over the Internet.

Even though you may be using a public connection, the use of a VPN client on one computer will connect to a VPN server on another computer through encryption and other security measures, so no one can see what information is being exchanged.

It sounds complicated, but in essence, the VPN’s private network across the Internet so you can connect more securely.

Why are they popular?

VPNs are popular with businesses as they can use it to enable employees who travel to have access to the company network; the same type of connection you would have if you were inside the building on your desktop computer. The company network is routed through the internet from employee to company, but it is encrypted and secured, so no one else can intercept the private company information.

VPNs are a safer, more secure alternative to free hotel Wi-Fi, as they enable you to access company material, as well as keep data hidden from prying cyber eyes.

VPNs are not solely used by companies, however; many individual choose to use a VPN to protect their personal data on their private devices. Since VPNs keep everything encrypted, individuals use them to keep online banking, shopping, and web browsing private. When you’re on free Wi-Fi, the network is open so that everyone can connect to it. This is great, but it also makes data vulnerable to hackers because of the poor security. This is where VPNs can be the answer. You can use it on-the-go and keep your data safe.

Sounds good, but how does it work?

I mentioned client and host before, but let me explain that a bit more. You run the client program on your own computer, smartphone, or tablet, and it connects to a server to establish your connection and provides you with a private link. When you run your browser and visit a website, the request is sent to the VPN server rather than locally from your machine. This way the website queries the VPN server and not the computer, so the site has no way to know who you are or where you’re surfing from, as it will only detect the location of your VPN server.

Think of the VPN as a cloak of security and anonymity; you still surf just as you always have, but everything gets encrypted.

Should you try it?

If you’re not doing anything illegal, why would you need one, you have a security program, right?

Even when you’re using security software, firewalls, and the whole host of protection options, there’s still the chance that someone can get their hands on your data.

With a VPN, this data is encrypted, so the hacker will have some work ahead of them if they intend to decipher the code; whereas, traditional security programs are meant to keep people out, but should they breach your security, chances are the data is not encrypted.

Another thing to consider is whether you want a free or paid VPN options. If you’re considering getting started with one, you need to consider how much speed and time you need (you can turn them on and off as needed). Free options attract more users so they won’t be as fast. Also, does the company keep a log of what you access of it is truly anonymous?

While there are a few things to consider before jumping on the VPN boat, it’s certainly a good additional step to take if you frequently access private, financial, or other sensitive information.

#VPN

Jennifer Walpole is a Senior Staff Writer at The American Genius and holds a Master's degree in English from the University of Oklahoma. She is a science fiction fanatic and enjoys writing way more than she should. She dreams of being a screenwriter and seeing her work on the big screen in Hollywood one day.

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9 Comments

9 Comments

  1. Anastasia

    June 14, 2016 at 5:13 am

    no doubt VPN enhances the security level and safeguards your online security and privacy absolutely.

  2. Jimmy

    June 16, 2016 at 5:39 am

    It’s a common mistake, people say “If I have nothing to hide, why should I care about my data’. It’s simply a crap. Everyone has something to hide if someone religiously believe this statement then he should post his bank details in public because he has nothing to hide. Obviously, no one would do that, then he should understand that he HAS something to hide. Hence, people should use a secure VPN like Ivacy, Express etc.

  3. Noah BRODI

    June 16, 2016 at 4:59 pm

    I venture to guess that VPN use will become common before too long in order for protect to people themselves from ubiquitous online tracking and profiling. When you consider the many benefits and uses of a VPN https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cL4c_Vijv6s, you will come to realize it is well worth the modest cost of a few bucks per month.

    There are over 200+ VPN providers on the market today so there are plenty to choose from. However, so much choice can also be paralyzing so seek out reliable VPN reviews and recommendations, https://www.cogipas.com/choose-best-vpn/

    Stay safe people!

  4. Chaik

    June 16, 2016 at 10:45 pm

    Many users haven’t pay high attention to the safe of online activities. Also many online crimes happened again and again. We should take action to secure our online ID. Many guys say I don’t care my online info. But you did? Do you want someone post your ip address, Email information, Bank number, password on the internet…. I think the answer is NO NO No. So we should use get connected on VPN like FlyVPN to encrypt our network connection when we are using pubilc hotspots.

  5. Barbie

    June 23, 2016 at 10:15 am

    People really need to understand the importance of internet security especially how vpn can help securing one’s identity online. I never wanted to compromise my own online security and privacy on the web that’s why I trust Frootvpn. I was once a victim of Identity theft and I wont let that happen again to me. Now, I’m assured that no activities of mine are recorded as my frootvpn don’t keep any of my logs.

  6. Pingback: Cloudbleed: What the average person must know about Cloudflare's security crisis - The American Genius

  7. Pingback: The Senate just voted to sell your privacy - The American Genius

  8. Pingback: CUJO: the smart firewall for all of your smart devices #SMART - The American Genius

  9. Pingback: Amazon Ring exposed wifi passwords; let's talk ethics

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Microsoft’s latest HUGE investment: Self-driving car technologies

(TECH NEWS) Microsoft invests in self-driving car technology by joining other investors in a combined equity investment of $2 billion.

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Cars driving on city highway, including more than one self-driving car in the future.

Microsoft has put its money into self-driving car technology. The tech giant has partnered with General Motors and Cruise, GM’s majority-owned driverless car startup, to “accelerate the
commercialization of self-driving vehicles.”

“Our mission to bring safer, better, and more affordable transportation to everyone isn’t just a tech race – it’s also a trust race,” said Cruise CEO Dan Ammann in a press release. “Microsoft, as the gold standard in the trustworthy democratization of technology, will be a force multiplier for us as we commercialize our fleet of self-driving, all-electric, shared vehicles.”

Along with Honda and other institutional investors, the companies are investing a combined $2 billion into the autonomous car company. This new funding round brings Cruise to a post-money valuation of $30 billion.

The long-term strategic partnership between the companies will be a collaborative one and beneficial for both. To roll out its fleet of self-driving vehicles, Cruise will leverage Microsoft’s cloud and edge computing platform, Azure.

In turn, as GM’s and Cruise’s preferred cloud provider, Microsoft will use the car company’s “industry expertise to enhance its customer-driven product innovation and serve transportation companies across the globe through continued investment in Azure.”

Besides helping bring the self-driving technology out to the market quicker, the companies will also work together on other digitization initiatives. For instance, they will collaborate on artificial intelligence and machine learning capabilities. And, explore opportunities to streamline operations and increase productivity.

“Advances in digital technology are redefining every aspect of our work and life, including how we move people and goods,” said Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella. “As Cruise and GM’s preferred
cloud, we will apply the power of Azure to help them scale and make autonomous transportation mainstream.”

Cruise first announced its self-driving car service a year ago, but when it will be deployed isn’t certain yet. With Microsoft as a partner, deploying those cars will help speed things up.

“Microsoft is a great addition to the team as we drive toward a future world of zero crashes, zero emissions, and zero congestion,” said GM Chairman and CEO Mary Barra. “Microsoft will help us accelerate the commercialization of Cruise’s all-electric, self-driving vehicles and help GM realize even more benefits from cloud computing as we launch 30 new electric vehicles globally by 2025 and create new businesses and services to drive growth.”

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Tech News

Wow! This synthetic cornea gave a legally blind man his vision back!

(TECH NEWS) Another instance of “technology is amazing:” this minimally invasive eye implant has opened new doors for sight restoration surgeries for the legally blind.

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Blurry city with a single glass piece held in the middle with a clear view.

After being the first patient to receive a cutting-edge cornea implant, a legally blind 78-year-old man can see again. Directly after his surgery, the patient was able to recognize his family members and read an eye chart. The KPro implant comes from the company CorNeat.

KPro is the first implant that can be directly integrated into the eye wall, replacing damaged or deformed corneas with no donor tissue. The clear layer that protects the front portion of the eye is called the corona. The corona is susceptible to degeneration or scarring, as well as a number of diseases such as keratopathy, keratoconus and pseudophakia bullous.

While artificial cornea implants already exist, the surgeries are complex and typically only used as a last resort when transplants or cornea ring implants don’t work. That is perhaps what makes the CorNeat transplants so remarkable – it’s a simple procedure that’s minimally invasive.

Additionally, KPro uses a biomimetic material that “stimulates cellular proliferation, leading to progressive tissue integration”. Not only can these implants give you your sight back instantly, but they also can help the natural tissue in your eyes to grow back and integrate. Now, THIS is cool stuff.

CorNeat said that ten more patients in Israel are approved for trials, as well as two in Canada. Six others are in the approval process in France, U.S., and the Netherlands. Professor Irit Bahar of CorNeat stated that he believes this project will ultimately impact millions of people’s lives. Only time will tell.

This advancement in biotech comes at a time where many Americans are uninsured and at a higher risk for health ailments due to the coronavirus pandemic and subsequent effects. At its best, CorNeat’s KPro offers some hope – while COVID has brought many industries to their knees, advancements in medical technology seem to persist.

If the results of the implants continue to stay as promising as they are now, who knows – maybe we’ll all be receiving cornea implants as a normal part of health upkeep in the not-so-distant future. I know I’ll be first in line.

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Tech News

The top 10 languages you can know as a programmer

(TECH NEWS) Considering a career as a developer or programmer? You’re not alone. Here’s top 10 programming languages to enhance or start your career.

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Two female programmers at a laptop working on a programming screen.

The COVID economy has thousands of Americans reconsidering their career paths – with so many jobs dissolving due to various reasons (i.e., automation, a decrease in full-time creative positions), it’s no wonder why scores of professionals are seeking to reskill ASAP.

If this sounds like you, look no further; have you ever considered the lucrative career of computer programming?

Programmers on average make a salary of $89,590 a year. And better yet, coding jobs might never become obsolete. The trick is to know exactly what you want to do – different coding languages best serve specific purposes. So, which one should you learn first?

Top ten languages for new developers:

  1. Python – Learn Python if you’re interested in data analysis, machine learning, scripting, web development and Internet of Things (it’s the future!). Python is also the easiest language to learn, so give it a go!
  2. JavaScript – JavaScript is for you if you want a career in making websites interactive.
  3. The Go Programming Language – You can learn to build simple, reliable, and efficient software.
  4. Java – Want to work on computer programs, games, apps and web applications? What about Internet of Things and robots? Learn Java to tap into these fields. Keep in mind, Java is considered difficult for novice programmers.
  5. C# – C# is great for websites, web applications, games, and apps – especially Windows apps. It’s also perfect for Machine Learning and Artificial Intelligence.
  6. PHP – Want to get your hands dirty doing back-end website programming? PHP is the language for you.
  7. C++ – For programming apps, games and web browsers, C++ is the language you’ll need to learn. Though it’s notoriously tough to grasp, knowing this language could be the competitive edge you need to set you apart from the pool of programmers.
  8. C – C will prepare you for operating systems, compilers and databases.
  9. R – The world is always in need of those who conduct data and statistical analyses – check out R to dive in.
  10. Swift – For apps and software for Apple devices, check out Swift.

My advice? Figure out exactly it is you want to do in your new career as a programmer. Set your goal. Then, after you’re sure what direction you want to go in, see which programming language best suits your needs.

Get proficient at one language to start and become top-notch at it. Then, you can expand your rolodex to include multiple languages and grow your abilities as a programmer.

Good luck!

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