Anybody on the same network (which in some cases could be thousands of people) can easily grab your unencrypted data as it flies through the air. Usernames, passwords, credit card numbers, browser cookies, and other identifying information can be ripe for the picking from your web browser and mobile apps (I talked in detail about this problem here). A VPN (Virtual Private Network) protects you from all of this, with one click.
VPNs also allow you to get around Internet filtering. I’ve come across blocked sites in Vietnam, Spain, Portugal, China, Thailand, and many others. Simply connect your VPN to a country that doesn’t block the site you’re after, and the problem disappears. I’ve used this method to read blocked news stories from Chiang Mai, watch Vimeo videos in Bali, update my Facebook status in Hanoi, and visit the Uber ride-sharing site while staying in Porto. Additionally, it lets you access blocked content like Netflix, Hulu, HBO, and the BBC while overseas.
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