homepage logo

VPNs can preserve your privacy while surfing on the Internet

By Staff | May 11, 2017

In this issue, we’re going to explain what a Virtual Private Network is and how it can help keep Big Brother from watching where you’re surfing on the Internet.

Congress just passed a bill to give all Internet providers permission to give away all your personal information from all the sites you visited on the Internet, including your history information.

But if you want to protect yourself, you need to get a VPN (Virtual Private Network), so nobody can see where you went.

So what is a VPN? VPNs help cloak your browsing information from your Internet provider. There are two apps that, after downloading and setting them up – which is so easy to do – you can then visit your favorite site and not have Big Brother know about it.

First, download the app “Opera Mini,” which is a web browser like Safari, Internet Explorer, Firefox and Chrome. Second, download the app “Opera Free VPN,” which is an unlimited ad-blocking VPN. After downloading that one, it begins to install and sets up a VPN on your iPhone.

When finished, you can go into Settings, General, VPN to activate or deactivate it. When you use VPN software, your device connects to a VPN provider’s servers. That way, all your web traffic passes through the VPN provider’s Internet connection.

So, if your Internet provider was trying to listen in on your web traffic, all it would see is the VPN server’s IP address connected to the VPN service. In other words, if you have Roadrunner as your provider, it can’t see where you went. It’s being blocked by the VPN software on your iPhone.

Because your Internet traffic passes through a VPN provider’s connection, you will likely see a dip in broadband performance. In other words, SPEED.

Even if you hide your activities from your Internet provider, web companies like Facebook and Google can use tracking technologies like cookies, which contain unique alphanumeric identification tags, to identify your activities as you move from site to site. Beyond that, web trackers often lurk inside ads. The real problem is ads are dangerous. They’re fully functioning programs, and they carry malware.

The best ad blocker of choice is uBlock Origin, a free piece of software. For those who would prefer not to block ads, there are tracker blockers as well – my favorite is Disconnect.

So, the bottom line is, when you go into Settings and activate VPN, it slows down your speed but keeps you safe. If you want to just surf around and have fun, then go into your Settings and turn off the VPN.

I’m the worst artist in the world and would never make it into Sargent’s Fine Art Gallery. I have trouble even drawing a house… but there’s a new program called Auto Draw by Google, and you can get that at autodraw.com. Open it and draw anything. At the top is a menu of similar but better drawings that you can choose from.

The Netflix app has a button on the top that looks like a computer screen, and when pressed will give you the option to see subtitles. It’s nice to use if you want to watch a movie and turn down the sound – especially watching a foreign movie with characters speaking with an Afghan accent.

A really cool new app called Vidy will send a short video clip in messages instead of using Emojis. I use it often and love it.

Send your computer-related questions to mauimist8669@yahoo.com.