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How Virtual Private Networks Work

How Virtual Private Networks Work

These days there’s a lot of talk about Virtual Private Networks, or VPNs for short, and for good reason. As online privacy becomes an increasingly hot topic of discussion among politicians and activists, individuals have started to take online privacy into their own hands.

While you may not have as much to hide as Edward Snowden, everyone can appreciate online privacy and should take the necessary steps to protect yourself. One of the best things you can do to protect your privacy and establish your anonymity online is by using a Virtual Private Network.

VPNs allow you to connect to a private network through your regular connection to the world wide web. Upon establishing a connection to this private network you’re able to mask your online activity, thus establishing your privacy online. Even your Internet Service Provider (ISP) won’t be able to make sense of your internet activity.

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This has a great many number of benefits, especially if you are constantly accessing sensitive information like private health or financial records that you’d like to keep safe from prying eyes. These days you can never be too safe on the world wide web.

So, now that you have a general idea of what a VPN is, here’s an awesome infographic that will explain how a VPN works. Enjoy and be sure to share the article if you found it useful or leave a comment below if you have questions.

How Virtual Private Networks Work

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How VPNs Work Graphic

     

    Detailed Explanation on How VPNs Work

    At its core, a VPN is just a private network connection that you access through a public network like the world wide web. Basically, you connect to a remote server of your choosing. You’ve either setup this server yourself, know of another server somewhere else in the world, or you’ve subscribed to a VPN service that allows you to gain access to their servers all around the world.

    When you connect to the Virtual Private Network your computer attempts to establish a connection with this remote server. At this point the remote server authenticates your computer and your computer does the same to the server. Assuming the computer and server authentication is successful, you’ll gain access to the remote server.

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    At this point you’re able to connect and access the internet through this remote server. This is powerful for many reasons: the biggest is that you’ll have a new IP address. Having a new IP address means your computer thinks it’s in a different location.

    To give you a quick example, if you’re in Singapore but you connect to a server in New York through your VPN connection, your computer will be able to surf the internet through the New York server and all your internet traffic will appear to be coming from New York.

    This is great, especially if you’re trying to do something like watch Netflix from Europe or access a blocked site abroad.

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    A VPN connection does a lot more than help you fake your location. With a VPN connection you’re able to encrypt your internet traffic, protecting yourself and your data. In fact your internet activity will be encrypted to the point where even your ISP won’t be able to make sense of the data.

    A VPN can also help you protect yourself when you access the internet over public wi-fi like in cafes or airports. This is important because it protects your and your personal information.

    If you’re looking for a great VPN service you can type “best VPN services” into a search engine and come up with a lot of options.  When looking for a VPN provider you want to look for speed (fast download speeds and unlimited bandwidth usage). There are a lot of great choices online when it comes to VPN providers so you’ll have no trouble finding one that works for you.

    Privacy will be the hot topic for 2014, so now is a good a time to become more knowledgeable about privacy technology and leverage it in your favor.

    Let me know if you have any questions by leaving a comment below!

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    Last Updated on May 14, 2019

    8 Replacements for Google Notebook

    8 Replacements for Google Notebook

    Exploring alternatives to Google Notebook? There are more than a few ‘notebooks’ available online these days, although choosing the right one will likely depend on just what you use Google Notebook for.

    1. Zoho Notebook
      If you want to stick with something as close to Google Notebook as possible, Zoho Notebook may just be your best bet. The user interface has some significant changes, but in general, Zoho Notebook has pretty similar features. There is even a Firefox plugin that allows you to highlight content and drop it into your Notebook. You can go a bit further, though, dropping in any spreadsheets or documents you have in Zoho, as well as some applications and all websites — to the point that you can control a desktop remotely if you pare it with something like Zoho Meeting.
    2. Evernote
      The features that Evernote brings to the table are pretty great. In addition to allowing you to capture parts of a website, Evernote has a desktop search tool mobil versions (iPhone and Windows Mobile). It even has an API, if you’ve got any features in mind not currently available. Evernote offers 40 MB for free accounts — if you’ll need more, the premium version is priced at $5 per month or $45 per year. Encryption, size and whether you’ll see ads seem to be the main differences between the free and premium versions.
    3. Net Notes
      If the major allure for Google Notebooks lays in the Firefox extension, Net Notes might be a good alternative. It’s a Firefox extension that allows you to save notes on websites in your bookmarks. You can toggle the Net Notes sidebar and access your notes as you browse. You can also tag websites. Net Notes works with Mozilla Weave if you need to access your notes from multiple computers.
    4. i-Lighter
      You can highlight and save information from any website while you’re browsing with i-Lighter. You can also add notes to your i-Lighted information, as well as email it or send the information to be posted to your blog or Twitter account. Your notes are saved in a notebook on your computer — but they’re also synchronized to the iLighter website. You can log in to the site from any computer.
    5. Clipmarks
      For those browsers interested in sharing what they find with others, Clipmarks provides a tool to select clips of text, images and video and share them with friends. You can easily syndicate your finds to a whole list of sites such as Facebook, Twitter and Digg. You can also easily review your past clips and use them as references through Clipmarks’ website.
    6. UberNote
      If you can think of a way to send notes to UberNote, it can handle it. You can clip material while browsing, email, IM, text message or even visit the UberNote sites to add notes to the information you have saved. You can organize your notes, tag them and even add checkboxes if you want to turn a note into some sort of task list. You can drag and drop information between notes in order to manage them.
    7. iLeonardo
      iLeonardo treats research as a social concern. You can create a notebook on iLeonardo on a particular topic, collecting information online. You can also access other people’s notebooks. It may not necessarily take the place of Google Notebook — I’m pretty sure my notes on some subjects are cryptic — but it’s a pretty cool tool. You can keep notebooks private if you like the interface but don’t want to share a particular project. iLeonardo does allow you to follow fellow notetakers and receive the information they find on a particular topic.
    8. Zotero
      Another Firefox extension, Zotero started life as a citation management tool targeted towards academic researchers. However, it offers notetaking tools, as well as a way to save files to your notebook. If you do a lot of writing in Microsoft Word or Open Office, Zotero might be the tool for you — it’s integrated with both word processing software to allow you to easily move your notes over, as well as several blogging options. Zotero’s interface is also available in more than 30 languages.

    I’ve been relying on Google Notebook as a catch-all for blog post ideas — being able to just highlight information and save it is a great tool for a blogger.

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    In replacing it, though, I’m starting to lean towards Evernote. I’ve found it handles pretty much everything I want, especially with the voice recording feature. I’m planning to keep trying things out for a while yet — I’m sticking with Google Notebook until the Firefox extension quits working — and if you have any recommendations that I missed when I put together this list, I’d love to hear them — just leave a comment!

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