What is a VPN and How Does it Work?

Video – VLog #46

What is VPN and why do I need it?

What does a VPN hide?

Can you be tracked if you use a VPN?

Script – VLog #46

Willie Nicol: Hello everyone and welcome to week 46 of the Techno Dinosaur meets the IT Geek. I am the Techno Dinosaur Willie Nicol also a personal development life coach and I am based near Troon, South Ayrshire, Scotland. Today, as usual my partner in crime is David Logan the IT Geek. So David, how are you and where are you?

David Logan: Hi Willie I am good thank you, my names David Logan I am the IT Geek. The person who takes the jargon out of technology, the guy, the IT Geek, who helps you the homeworker, work more efficiently from home using technology. Except for apple devices. I am based in Dumfries, South West of Scotland today.

Willie Nicol: Excellent David, thanks for that.

Willie Nicol: Now you’re told about technology, we’re all online now, and when we are online particularly when we are researching online, we are being monitored, our data is being harvested, so that if you are not keen on that idea perhaps we should do something about it. One thing that has been suggested to me is we use is a VPN, a virtual private network, so would you be good enough to explain what that means to me, and whether, I as an average user should be using such a thing?

David Logan: Great question Willie, the straight and forward answer is yes. If you want to track, if you want to hide your tracks, so that no-one can see what you are looking at, where you are looking at from, use a VPN. But the question is, what is a VPN? Virtual Private Network. So, we are all connected, networks are computers, it doesn’t matter, because even when you look at a website, all your doing is connecting another computer that is in the cloud, You’ve heard us talk about the cloud before, that’s using a computer as a server, which then, you’re copying data from that system onto your computer, pictures, videos, whatever, so that is all its doing, copying information from that system to your system, okay? Now, obviously in amongst all that, is tracking codes, so that is where you can hide yourself where people, where these marketing companies can see, “oh Willie Nicol, he has been looking at shoes today – let’s throw him adverts of shoes”, that you want to stop, am I correct?

Willie Nicol: Well that’s, that is one of the things certainly, is I have experienced is whenever you looks for shoes or whatever, you get inundated with adverts for shoes or whatever. It’s, I think the main concern that I have is that, all my information is being, and I use the word “harvested, compiled, stored” whether I like it or not and I was wondering if there was a way to avoid that? Which brings me to the VPN, so good idea or not?

David Logan: Yes, it’s a good idea going for a VPN, so a VPN basically hides your, your system from, your system from these BOTS, these guys who are harvesting your information they can do it. But beware, if you put an email address on a website, doesn’t matter if you have put in a VPN or not they have got that email address. So you know it is like you know you’ve seen these feed-in webpages, drop in webpages, sorry is not the right word. Where-as, do you want a free brochure, give us your name and email address, whether you’re behind a VPN or not, that marketing company has your name and email address. It doesn’t matter if you are on a shop website or a research website, as soon as you put in your email and your name or whatever other details, the have got information, they have harvested that information. What a VPN will do, is potentially will stop the adverts appearing on your google search, when your googling, it will stop any adverts coming up or any websites that have adverts, it will probably reduce that happening.

Willie Nicol: Okay, I am not so, I am not so much fussed about my email address, because I’ve given that voluntarily. It is the, what annoys me I suppose let’s put it this way is that everything else that I do whether I like it or not it’s being monitored.

David Logan: The pop-up adverts, the pop-up videos.

Willie Nicol: I also understand that you can, you can download free VPN’s or you can download paid for and some are better than others, have you any recommendations?

David Logan: I would probably go for paid, in a sense is what your doing here, is looking at your own security, and you pay for what you get, now it’s not necessary all the time that I would certainly go for paid, we can come back and look at this in a bit more depth another week, there is ones out there that I can’t quite remember just now that I’ve used off and on, I can certainly drop it to you, I certainly don’t know any other ones at the moment, but VPN is very good. One like VPN’s are used in a commercial sense quite a lot just to explain to you another way of using VPN is when we are homeworkers working remotely into the office, a lot of the time a VPN is used then because it’s a Virtual Private Network, the traffic is secure so nobody can interrupt it and its secure and you have a direct connection to that computer.

Willie Nicol: Okay okay right! So for your, for your average punter like me, it’s a good idea to think about it at least yeah?

David Logan: Absolutely let’s make a note, make a note next week we will do a quick re-cap of this video and what I will do is give you the name of some recommendations of VPN’s.

Willie Nicol: Fantastic, thank you very much David that’s been a very useful, it is a quick run through or over-view of VPN’s what they are what they are used for and why we should, perhaps consider having one. So thanks again, all that remains for me to say is its goodbye from Willie Nicol, the Techno Dinosaur, if you have any coaching questions please address them to me, if you’ve any IT related questions please refer them to David, so it’s good bye from me Willie Nicol, stay safe, stay well and remember, have some fun along the way good bye.

David Logan: Great thank you Willie fantastic question this week, great questions as always, remember next week we will have that quick recap and that’s it from me and to the viewer make sure I get you the answer, if you don’t, send us a comment, phone us, grab us. To the viewer as Willie says, anything technical shoot us the question, if you don’t understand, if you want to know more about VPN’s, give us a shout, comments down below or send us a direct message or a private message on social media channels, that’s us, stay safe have a good week everybody, thank you, see you next week.

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