Privacy Reclaimed: Use a VPN When Computing at Home or On the Go

April 12, 2017

by UNH IT Staff

Internet Privacy
You can protect your internet privacy with a couple of preventative measures.

In March 2017, Congress rolled back internet privacy laws scheduled to go into effect this December, making it fair game for internet service providers to sell their customer’s internet browsing history and information without consent. This means internet service providers (ISP) will be able to create and sell to the highest bidder a profile based on private information, including their customer’s shopping and banking preferences, hobbies, political preferences, and even searches on medical conditions.  This information can then be used to serve up laser-focus advertising campaigns based on private information. 

Fortunately, there are some measures you can take to protect online privacy. UNH Information Security Services (ISS) recommends the following: 

  • First, contact your ISP and ask to opt out of allowing them to sell data about your browsing history and online behavior or to use for targeted advertising.    
  • Use a personal Virtual Private Network (VPN), both on home computers and on mobile devices.  A VPN is as a secure, encrypted connection from a computing device to the internet that makes it difficult for anyone to track internet-browsing behavior. 

A VPN provides protection by hiding a device’s IP address and physical location. It also encrypts data, and shields browsing history from prying eyes.   

Here at UNH, the UNH Pulse Secure VPN is used to guard against data compromises when accessing secure resources on campus, or when using a University-purchased device at home or on the go.  A personal VPN offers the same protection for your personal data, and allows public Wi-Fi use without compromising security or privacy.

However, ISS does not recommend the use of free VPN software (with the one exception below), as they often come with their own set of risks; you may not realize what you are giving up in return for the use of their “free” software.

ISS has vetted and recommends the following VPN software for personal use: 

Expressvpn.com 

$8.32/month ($99.95 billed annually) 
Note: only VPN provider with a native Linux client. Unlimited devices.   

Windscribe.com 

$7.50/month ($90 billed annually) 
Note: Free version available with a 10GB data usage cap

 

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