The highly publicised hacking of the Xbox and Playstation live networks, which left millions of players unable to use their connections over the Christmas period, served only to highlight the very real problem of internet security and privacy. While not strictly a hack – the team used a Denial of Service or DoS attack, which, put simply, bombards the servers with fake requests and renders them unable to complete the transactions required – it brought down a system run by major organisations very quickly and easily. The question raised is: if this can happen to these people, what damage can be done to the average business, or individual?
Protecting Your Online Identity
While there is little that can be done to prevent a DoS attack, there is plenty that both commercial entities and individuals can to do ensure their online security is up to date and as strong as can be. One of the best methods of giving yourself the greatest level of online security is to use a virtual private network, or VPN. The benefits of a VPN are many: first, it enables you to overcome any geo-restrictions that may be in place in certain countries, but perhaps more importantly, a VPN helps protect your online identity and the information you send across the internet.
Using a VPN
Your ISP provider, the company that supplies your internet connection, will use servers operated by itself to transfer information to and fro. These are generally quite secure, but problems come when you use the internet from a public WiFi hotspot, which is fast becoming a very popular way of logging on to the internet. It should be remembered that public hotspots are not protected as your personal or commercial network will be, and you information is therefore at greater risk. A VPN diverts all information via servers operated by the VPN provider, and also encrypts all information that you send across the wire. It is a safe, secure and affordable method of giving yourself the best possible protection against those who wish to steal you information or identity, and should be a primary consideration for anyone using the web on a regular basis.