I’ve been interested in computer security for a few years, partly because I want my data to be safe and because I believe in the right to privacy, and party because I find it fun to learn about the technologies involved.
So I’ve been using whole-disk encryption for a few years (see Filevault, Truecrypt), strong passwords with a password manager (1Password), encrypted connections whenever possible (HTTPS Everywhere is a good extension for Firefox and Chrome), etc. That provides some safety if someone steals my computer and tries to read what’s on the hard-drive, and some online security, but I didn’t feel it was enough (especially with everything that’s in the news lately).
So I did a lot of research on VPN services, and subscribed to the best one that I could find: IVPN.net.
I’ll be doing a full review soon, but in short, the main benefit is that my ISP now only sees an encrypted connection to the VPN, and the sites that I connect to see the geographical location of the VPN’s server that I choose (they have a bunch around Europe and North-America, with new locations coming soon I’m being told). On top of that, IVPN is registered in Malta, and doesn’t keep logs on their servers.
I’m not under the illusion that this is a bullet-proof setup. I know that a well-organized attacker could find a way to get at my data, especially if they are a national intelligence agency that gets its info directly from some of the services I use (Google, Facebook, Apple, Skype, etc), or even a criminal group that figures out how to hack a service that I use or my computer. But it should still be a big security and privacy improvement my previous setup.
It’s a bit like putting curtains on your windows and a stronger lock on your doors. It doesn’t make it impossible to spy on you or get in and steal your things, but it’s a common sense thing to do to protect your safety and privacy.
So I’ll keep testing IVPN a bit longer, and then will do a full review here. Stay tuned.