“Privacy is overrated”
Many people believe in this phrase and given the digital era we are in, it’s highly unlikely that we are able to protect it all the time.
Picture yourself waiting for your next flight and while connecting to a public wi-fi network, the thought of prying eyes snooping your browsing data creeps in.
It troubles you.
You wonder if there’s any alternative way that will enable you to connect your phone to the Internet safe from snoopers…
…and there is.
Its name is virtual private network or VPN.
You might have heard of VPN before and you hadn’t given it much thought.
But I’m here to persuade you to give it another chance for it could just be the answer to your troubles.
VPN is understandably complicated, if not properly explained. However, with a proper rundown, it can be easily digestible.
So, let’s get started with the basics.
Virtual Private Network, what is it actually, and why should I use it?
VPN can be described as an encrypted tunnel that provides secure connection and anonymity when using either wi-fi or mobile data.
In this day and age, you probably use your mobile phones for almost everything — from sending emails to shopping online.
However, how can you be certain that your online activities are not being monitored by other users?
For all you know, someone out there is keeping tabs on your personal information as we speak.
Which is why using a VPN on your phone is vital as it prevents people from spying on our internet activity (among other things, which we’ll get into soon).
Okay, so how does it work?
Here are a few scenarios to help demonstrate how VPN works its magic :
When you’re traveling abroad, it can be a hassle finding free public wi-fi, especially when you want to save up your cellular network.
Even if you are able to connect to a public wi-fi network, you might not be able to access certain websites or stream movies.
With a VPN service, you can change your location while connecting to a server in a foreign country and start browsing freely, without any restrictions.
In addition, it’s not limited to only when you’re traveling.
You can also use VPN at your home for streaming movies that are not available in your country.
Connecting to public wi-fi hotspots in a coffee shop or airports might seem harmless at first but you can never be too sure that your internet traffic is not being watched by a Nosey Parker.
When using a VPN provider, it helps ensure users that no third parties will monitor your online activity.
Protecting your sensitive data from unwanted parties is one of the key features of a mobile VPN.
When you’re using a VPN with wi-fi or mobile data, you’re always browsing in incognito mode. Meaning no one, including your internet service provider, can track your browsing habits.
It also ensures that no sensitive data will be leaked (phew).
Are VPN apps is legal?
“Too good to be true, it must be legal” might be what you’re thinking after reading up all its perks, but here’s a great news — it’s legal!
Yup, you read that right.
However, using VPN to do illegal Internet activities is highly prohibited.
Other than that, you’re fine.
Choosing the right VPN service for your mobile device
There are two ways of setting up VPN services for your phones, the first one is downloading the app and the second one is manually setting up a VPN provider.
Selecting the right app for your mobile devices can be tricky, especially when there are a number of excellent VPN apps to choose from.
The first step is to determine which one is suitable for your mobile device — whether you’re using an Android smartphone or an iPhone.
Free VPNs are good for beginners, as it’ll help dip your toes in learning the services it provides.
It is recommended for users to invest in a paid VPN, seeing as a free VPN has its limitations.
Nevertheless, let’s take a look at the four top VPN servers that you can choose.
The top VPN phones that offers VPN services
Surfshark – Budget-friendly
Surfshark offers a rather more budget-friendly VPN server with only RM 9.21/month where users save up 83% than the normal offer for a two-year plan, plus 3-months free subscription.
This is the biggest saving deal Surfshark offered, making it the second cheapest VPN server there is.
It also provides complete encryption using AES 256-bit encryption, OpenVPN, and WireGuard and a speed of 69 Mbps on a 100 Mbps connection.
NordVPN – Most secure VPN
NordVPN is one of the most recognized brands among the VPN fields and is best known for its reliability and security.
It includes 1900+ servers including 6 in Malaysia and unblocks several websites like Netflix, YouTube TV, and DidikTV KPM. Moreover, it has 5100+ servers with 16 Malaysian servers.
One of its best deals offers a promotion up to 72% on Black Friday with RM13.71/month and comes with a 30-day money-back guarantee.
IPVanish – Fastest VPN
A notable feature for IPVanish is it is the fastest VPN server with a lightning speed of 86 Mbps on a 100 Mbps connection.
In addition, a few similar features is it offers a kill-switch, split-tunnelling and uses AES 256-bit encryption.
The only drawback is it’s a little bit more expensive than the others, with RM16.51/month for 24 months with a 30-day money-back guarantee.
CyberGhost – Cheapest and user friendly
CyberGhost is an easy-to-use VPN service for all the popular devices, including Android, iOS, and Windows.
It offers 65 Mbps on a 100 Mbps connections and 7000+ servers across the globe with 14 in Malaysia.
It also provides a kill-switch and uses AES 256-bit encryption for optimized online privacy, security, and data protection.
Starts at RM9.04 /month with a 45-day money-back guarantee, making it the cheapest VPN service among the rest.
If you opt to manually set up a VPN on your phone, it is important to learn about its protocols as it will help you choose which is more fitting.
There are five common VPN protocols — OpenVPN, L2TP/IPSec, SSTP, IKEv2, and PPTP — each with its own levels of authentication and encryption.
Features – Has a 2048-bit authentication, a virtually impenetrable AES-256-bit key encryption, and a 160-bit SHA1 hash method.
Pros – Only open-source protocol that allows its user to access its underlying code for vulnerabilities and/or use the code for different tasks and projects.
In addition, it is compatible with almost all platforms.
Cons – Security features affect its performance speed making streaming in 4K and playing online games suffer a lag.
Layer 2 Tunnel Protocol (L2TP/IPSec)
Features – A replacement to its predecessor PPTP.
Pros – Extremely guarded and has a good deal of Internet speed.
Cons – The reliance of UDP port 500 makes it easily detected and blocked by firewalls.
Secure Socket Tunnelling Protocol (SSTP)
Features – Fully integrated with Microsoft’s operating systems and used with a smart chip and Winlogon for added security.
Pros – Authentication is handled by utilising 2048-bit SSL/TLS certificates, while encryption is handled by 256-bit SSL keys. This makes it more secure and one of the most useful VPN protocols.
Not to mention it’s also harder to detect and block.
Cons – Only drawback is since it’s a Microsoft-developed proprietary protocol, users will have a hard time accessing its underlying code.
Internet Key Exchange Version 2 (IKEv2)
Features – Developed by both Microsoft and Cisco and functions as a tunnelling protocol and facilitates a secure key exchange system.
Pros – Quick reconnection when you lose network connection.
Usually happens when you’re within an area with bad reception or when you’re switching your network from wi-fi to mobile data or vice versa.
Cons – Easily detected and blocked by firewalls
Point-To-Point Tunnelling Protocol (PPTP)
Features – Used for Internet connections and Intranet connections. Easy to set up and use.
Pros – Fast connection speed for those who don’t need heavy encryption.
Cons – As technology evolves, the fundamental encryption of PPTP has weakened over time, jeopardising its underlying security.
How to set up a VPN service?
By now, you have a clear vision of what kind of mobile VPN software is best suited for your iOS devices or Android devices.
The next step is setting it up and fortunately for you, setting up a VPN provider is not necessarily hard.
First option : Download any mobile VPNs on your Android devices or iPhone devices
Like any other apps, setting up a VPN server is quite easy. Most VPN services come with a monthly fee, but its perks make purchasing it worth it.
The first step is to purchase any VPN app according to your privacy needs at the Apple store or Google play store and click download once purchased.
Next, read up its manual and set it up accordingly.
Second option: Manually set up VPN on your Android or Apple smartphone
How to set up a VPN on your Android smartphones
- Open the Settings menu on your Android phone.
- Tap on the Wireless & Networks or wi-fi & Internet in the menu.
- Tap on the VPN option. For some devices, this option might not be available at first hand so you might need to search for the More option.
- Tap the plus sign and add all the necessary information such as your server address, username and password.
- If you don’t see any plus sign, you probably need to click the three vertical dots icon for more options.
- Click save once you’ve entered all the required data. You might need to repeat this process for every server you wish to set up.
How to set up a VPN on Apple smartphones
- Open the Settings menu on your iPhone.
- Tap on General and VPN & Device Management
- Select the Add VPN Configuration option.
- You can select various types of VPN, which include IKEv2, IPSec and L2TP. Afterwards, you need to fill in the IP address and your authentication login info. For IKEv2, a remote ID is needed while IPSec and L2TP require a pre-shared key.
- Once completed, click done to save the profile. Repeat these steps to set up different kinds of servers.
Bottom line : Yes, you need a VPN on your phone.
VPN has proven to be a great tool to mask your online identity and protect your anonymized data.
Without it, your mobile phone is bound to connect to any free wi-fi connection, leaving all your internet traffic and data out in the open — you wouldn’t want that, right?
Which is why, VPN makes it possible for you to take charge of your privacy and access geo-restricted websites. It also makes your internet experience more secure.
Moreover, VPN providers offer access to private corporate files when you’re working remotely with a secure connection and environment.
You’ve learned about what VPN is, its service, its legal implications when using one.. your next step? Set one up!
Although all of the listed apps come with a price, what is it compared to a lifelong of secure internet connection?
At the end of the day, your privacy is yours.