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Cybersecurity

What Is A VPN – Know How a VPN Works | VPN Basics to Pro

Virtual Private Networks or VPN can save you a lot of trouble. If you are you wondering what is a VPN, how VPN works, or what does a VPN hide then you are not alone. In this guide, we will discuss VPN basics and in no time you will know all there is to it.

So, if you are sick and tired of looking up for VPN meaning in your mobile phone and simply cannot cut through the technological jargons, here’s all the info you will ever need. We shall start with VPN basics and then move forward to discuss what is VPN.

VPN Basics Unveiled!

In the virtual world, there are two major concerns — Security and Privacy. With big corporations such as Facebook selling user data for profit, the US abandoning net neutrality, and increasing cases of cybercrime, it is becoming a must to use a VPN.

While the primary purpose of a VPN is to offer secured communication over the internet, it provides other benefits such as bypassing geolocation blocks, secured file-sharing, and avoiding price discrimination.

So what does a VPN Hide?

A VPN hides the identity and activity of the user by not letting the Internet Service Provider (ISP) track activities such as web searches, downloads, websites visited, etc… On the whole, the user’s browsing history and IP address are masked, which ensures a high level of privacy for users.

Now that we are done with VPN Basics and what does a VPB hide, its time to get more technical. So, let’s dive deeper into what is VPN and how VPN works.

What Is A VPN?

A VPN is a private network that encrypts your communication when browsing the internet and protects your online identity. It creates an encrypted tunnel between you and a network, which cannot be accessed by any third-party, including your internet service provider.

A VPN secures your internet communication by routing your traffic through a VPN server instead of sending it directly to your ISP. This in a way makes your internet connection appear as if it’s from the VPN server and not from your device, thereby masking your identity and location.

Without a VPN, your communication over the internet is virtually open to everybody, especially when you access an HTTP website which does not encrypt client-server traffic. For an average user, that means your IP address can be traced by hackers, governments, or spies, and be used to retrieve sensitive information.

Things can be much worse if the intercepted data was confidential and sensitive, such as information connected to your business, finances, or personal data. To satiate the need of the end-user, there are many different types of VPN available, however, broadly speaking, they can be classified into two different types.

  • Commercial VPN: This is for individuals concerned about their internet security and online privacy.
  • Business VPN: This is for businesses that want to ensure the security of their resources, within and outside their premises. Especially, when employees are working remotely and the chances of security breaches are higher.

Before concluding what is a VPN, it is worth mentioning that not all VPN service providers are safe. So, you need to choose from the most reputed VPN Service providers like Nord VPN.

Should I hide my IP Address?

Whether you should or should not hide your IP address is entirely your choice but using a VPN can prevent several cyber attacks. It can be extremely powerful against packet sniffers, man-in-the-middle attacks, and more. So, should you hide your IP address? Maybe the below listed basic uses of VPN can help you decide whether or not should you hide your IP address.

What is VPN and Why is it used? | Basic Uses of VPN

Now that we have discussed what is a VPN and how a VPN works, its time to figure out why this is used. Understanding this would help you appreciate the security it accords and the wonderful things you can do with it. Below mentioned are the many reasons why a Virtual Private Network is used.

A VPN ensures better security on Public and Private Networks

You probably know of the two main suspects to all security breaches — rogue websites and malicious apps. But what if we told you there was something else that could be even more dangerous? Over 35% of all security breaches involve MITM attempts. While MITM takes many different forms, one of the easiest ways to intercept your data is when you are on a public WiFi network.

Always remember that public WiFi networks such as those found in airports and coffee shops are not secure. If you live in NYC, you know how amazing the free NYC WiFi is but what’s the harm in being a wee bit cautious? So, even there, you are also exposed to threats and must safeguard your virtual activities.

To retain a level of control on your data and who accesses it, you must use a VPN. The VPN will hide your IP address and encrypt your personal data and browsing history from potential hackers or interested entities. With your network connected to a VPN, your ISP won’t even be able to access your data log either.

Most WiFi MITM attempts are made by third parties interested in your login credentials and personal data, which they intercept. A few to mention are ISPs, advertisers, and hackers. You sure don’t want to let them win by breaching your privacy.

Virtual Private Network helps retain Online Anonymity

The internet offers a whole world of benefits but that does not cover up for the risks associated with it. Plus, if you wish to remain anonymous then you have the right to, don’t you?

Moreover, with online identity theft on the rise, you don’t want a creepy thief stealing your identity to perpetrate criminal or unsavory acts that leave you in a truly uncomfortable situation. So, using a VPN can prevent hackers and cybercriminals from tracking your internet activity.

This lets you browse the web without having to worry about someone knowing your life choices, whether it’s your favorite movie or something else. Also, it is worth mentioning that the degree of anonymity offered by a VPN is far superior to that offered by web proxies and incognito modes.

Stream from Anywhere

As mentioned in the VPN basics and further explained in the ‘what is VPN’ section, you can use it to stream from anywhere. Back in the day when Netflix was only available in the US, people holidaying in Bali could catch up with their favorite flick via VPN.

In fact, video streaming is one of the most popular reasons why people use a VPN. Certain content and services cannot be accessed in certain countries and geographical locations. Examples are Netflix and Spotify, which are only available in select countries in each continent due to licensing issues.

Connecting to a VPN with servers in one of the allowed locations will enable you to bypass these restrictions and stream your favorite shows and music from anywhere. However, note that this is illegal and may come with some penalties, so we do not recommend it.

Avoid Censorship when traveling abroad

We live in times when being a digital nomad is the trend and if you are traveling for longer periods, whether it is for work or pleasure, a VPN can be useful and here’s how.

Some countries, in their bid to control information or promote local content and services, restrict access to specific social media platforms and websites, or censor certain information. For example, you can’t access sites such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Flickr, and Pinterest in China. Apps like WhatsApp and Skype are banned in some parts of the Middle East. And Russia actively represses information and monitors its citizens’ internet traffic.

With a VPN, you can appear as if you are in a different location and access the website or content you wish to. It would be best if you kept it in mind that there may be consequences for circumventing these restrictions. Regardless, a VPN allows you to exercise your freedom of information and free speech.

Remote Access via VPN

With the remote work culture becoming the new normal, a VPN serves as an excellent safeguard for businesses. Basically, if you read the sections ‘what does a VPN hide’ and ‘what is VPN’ then you might recollect that we discussed the types of VPN — Commercial VPN and Business VPN.

Basically, a Business VPN enables companies to allow their employees to work remotely and access proprietary information, which is sensitive and confidential. This data can otherwise only be accessed from within the company’s building, without risking exposure.

So it lets the business data flow in a very secure manner, which eliminates the possibility of unauthorized interception. Also, a VPN works well for professionals who work while commuting or traveling. So, a VPN can provide them secure access to content on their workstations as well as computers in their home.

Buy Cheaper Airline Tickets

This is a quick hack for those who travel a lot and wish to cut back on their travel expenses. Most airlines and travel agencies have varying prices for different countries, depending on the country’s cost of living. The trick is to find a country that has a lower cost of living compared to yours and connect through a VPN.

As discussed in the VPN Basics section, you can use this simple hack to bypass geolocation and come across as someone from a low-income region. This will allow you to buy tickets at prices lower than the ones offered in your country. You can also apply this hack for rental services such as car hiring or hotel booking.

Avoid Price Discrimination with Virtual Private Networks

Remember what we discussed in VPN basics about overcoming price discrimination? Well, that happens more often than not, as internet service providers always track your internet traffic. Your ISP monitors your purchasing habits and behaviors, noting the products you buy regularly.

The ISP then sells this information to the product manufacturer or supplier. Once this happens, you may notice a spike in the price of the product, because the seller has your data and is confident that you will buy it regardless of the cost.

You can avoid this kind of targeting and price discrimination by using a VPN. The privacy and anonymity offered by a VPN prevents your ISP from monitoring your online behaviors.

Cheaper Leased-line Alternative

This is another way a VPN can help businesses. A corporation with multiple offices within and outside the country will need to create a network that connects these offices for fast information access and sharing. Building this network from scratch or renting network capacity lines can be expensive. Businesses can circumvent these costs by leveraging on an already existing infrastructure provided by VPNs to connect their various branches, while also ensuring non-exposure of their resources.

Access Blocked Websites

If you are browsing the internet through an organization’s network, there are some websites that you might be prevented from accessing. Many institutions such as universities, companies, and libraries restrict people using their network from entering specific web pages, most especially social media platforms, due to security reasons or institutional policy. A VPN can help you bypass these restrictions by encrypting your connection.

Avoid ISP Bandwidth Throttling with a VPN

In the ‘Should I hide my IP Address’, we told you that it is up to you to decide and that we would only guide you through it. Well, one of the reasons many techies use it is to avoid bandwidth throttling and whether to use a VPN for this purpose or not is entirely your decision.

This works because most internet service providers use bandwidth throttling to monitor and limit the amount of content you can access or to slow down your online speed after you have consumed a certain amount of data.

For example, most big internet service providers throttle internet speeds for streaming services such as Netflix and YouTube. ISPs also track the times when you use your data most – either for downloading, uploading, or streaming – and lower your online speeds during these peak periods.

This is done to generate profits in an unfair manner by forcing users to sign up for a more expensive subscription or data package. A VPN can help you avoid this bandwidth throttling by encrypting your internet traffic and hiding your activity from your ISP.

Download Torrent Files Securely

When torrenting and using peer-to-peer file sharing, personal information such as IP address and location, are exposed to all the parties involved in the process. While this may not pose an immediate threat, you may have to deal with dire consequences such as identity theft later on. Now you know why we emphasized on keeping your IP hidden in the ‘What does a VPN hide?’ section.

A VPN can help you hide your real IP address and location behind fake ones generated by the VPN service provider. You can choose to be wherever you want and not risk being traced. However, note that torrenting may be illegal depending on the content you are downloading, and we do not encourage it. But it’s perfectly legal if you are downloading files such as Linux distributions.

Access Regional Sports Coverage Unavailable in Your Location

Certain sports channels are restricted in some geographical locations outside the United States. For example, ESPN and NBC are only available to people within the United States. But what if you are getting cheap tickets to Bali but do not want to miss out on your favorite games?

Well, you can then use a VPN to circumvent these restrictions. It is important to first confirm whether there are any legal ramifications to bypassing these rules before you decide to use a VPN for this purpose.

Secured Communications and Browsing

Some business operations require accessing external sites and communicating with unknown third parties. For instance, the Sales team must send emails to unknown persons and the Research team must look through innumerable resources.

In such cases, Businesses can use VPNs to ensure that their employees are browsing or communicating in a secure manner. This is essential because although HTTPS is being touted as a security and SEO factor, there are many websites that do not have an SSL certificate installed.

An innocent visit to one of these HTTP websites by one of your employees could lead to a security breach. So, a VPN adds an extra layer of security and allows such departments to function in a secure manner by encrypting the internet connection and hiding sensitive business information.

Cheaper Long-distance Telephone Charges

VOIP services such as Skype, Zoom, Viber, and Google Hangouts have eliminated the need to spend hundreds of dollars on international calls. Nevertheless, these services are restricted in some countries like the Middle East, where you can’t use it to make international calls.

So, this is where you need to ask yourself the question ‘Should I hide my Ip Address?’. If you decide to do that, then the VPN can tunnel through these restrictions and at the same time, ensure that your conversation remains secure.

On the other hand, if you wish to make calls to landline or mobile phones, you can still get a cheaper deal with a VPN. You can simply connect to a country where cheaper subscription plans are available and buy it.

Improved Online Gaming Experience with VPN

There are several game streaming services and games exclusively available for those living in a specific geolocation. For example, you can’t play Fortnite in China, the majority of Africa, and the Middle East.

To overcome these restrictions, you can connect to a VPN server in the United States or one of the allowed countries. A VPN can also circumvent IP bans in game rooms, and protect yourself from DDoS attacks.

Affordability

VPN services are extremely affordable and a must-have in this digital era when businesses and rogues are trying to grab your data one way or the other.

You can overcome these limitations by buying a subscription plan. You can find a long-term plan for as low as $3.49 per month. Although you will find free VPN service providers online, the paid ones offer better security.

How to Choose A VPN

When selecting a VPN, you should keep the following factors in mind:

No Log Policy: As we have discussed above, VPNs are used to ensure better privacy. So, if a VPN keeps a log of your internet activity, it defeats the very purpose of using it. Therefore, you must confirm that the VPN service provider has a no-log policy. So, read their policy document for confirmation before buying their services.

DNS Leak Protection and A Kill Switch: You must check whether the VPN service provider has a protocol in place to ensure secure DNS routing. As discussed in the ‘What is a VPN?’ section, your DNS requests are routed through the service provider’s servers.

So, in case of a connection drop, nothing should suddenly happen through your ISP’s DNS servers. So, the VPN service provider must have a “kill switch” that automatically stops your device or specific programs from accessing the internet in the event of connection issues.

Encryption: Before you buy a VPN service, you must check the level of encryption offered by the VPN provider. This is very important and you must never settle in for anything less than AES-256 encryption. This encryption protocol is the highest level of encryption currently available, and it’s most secure.

Peer-to-peer Support: P2P file-sharing is one of the most popular types of data transfer used in torrenting. The VPN needs to provide support for it by offering P2P servers.

Shared IP Addresses: Sharing an IP address with multiple users offers you an extra layer of security and privacy while surfing the internet. It would be best if you looked out for VPN providers that offer such a feature.

Multiple Servers Locations: Check if the VPN service provider offers servers in the locations of your choice. The more locations, the better because being able to access servers in any country around the world allows you to enjoy the many of the benefits of a VPN.

Works on Both PC and Mobile Devices: Another feature you should look for while choosing a VPN service provider is compatibility, both device-specific and platform-specific compatibility. Check if the service provider supports both PC and mobile devices. Ensure that you can use one account across multiple devices and platforms such as Android, iOS, macOS, and Windows.

Other things to consider while buying a VPN

  • Speed of the VPN
  • VPN Service provider’s reputation
  • Free trials that allow you to test the speed

Now that you know what is VPN, how VPN works, and the many benefits of using a VPN, you should be able to decide whether to use one. So, stop looking for VPN meaning on your mobile phone and find a reliable service provider.

Using one not only ensures your security and privacy, but it also protects you from bandwidth throttling and price discrimination. Now that you know what a VPN hides, stop thinking ‘Should I hide my IP Address’ and start acting. This simple security measure can prevent various third-parties from spying and monitoring your internet activities.

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AI & ML Cybersecurity Online Business Marketing

5G Technology dangers and the road ahead

Whenever I think of the 5G network, a scene depicting a fight between the human race and a robot comes right in front of me. All of us have seen this type of a violent scene in one or more Scifi movies and just the thought that it could turn into a reality sends a shiver through my spine.

I’m not Amish as you probably figured out from my website, instead, I’ am a tech geek who embraces technology like any other millennial. Still, I fear the possibility of a potential war between the human race and the robots.

I don’t say this from out of the blue, but because I have my facts in place and by the time you have read this entire post, you would know how deeply I have analyzed the potential aftermaths of this technology.

disadvantages-5g-technology

What is 5G Technology? 5G Technology Explained

The 5G network refers to the 5th Generation of internet, which may not seem like a big deal for someone who is short-sighted. However, did you know that the most dangerous thing about 5G technology is that it is much more smarter than humans are. By saying that, I mean that the response rate of the 5G technology is 400 times faster than the blink of an eye.
Now you may wonder how that poses a challenge to the human race, and where are the robots. Well, hang around and we’ll get there.

You probably never thought of it this way, but look at it this way! Imagine you have a friend and both all set for a race, and you have a shiny BMW but your friend arrives in a Boeing 707. Is the competition going to be fair between the two of you?
Likewise, the IoT industry is now going to run on the extremely fast 5G network which means the response rate of the smart devices is going to be much faster. Even faster than humans themselves, and the day is not far when the 5G or a more advanced 6G or 7G may be rolled out and would empower highly efficient and dangerous robots.

While there is so much to worry about the 5G technology, its ridiculous that all most people can think of is the “radiations” part of it. I don’t mean to demean or insult anyone because while climate change could be a major issue for some, there are also those who are happy selling Advanced Air Conditioners and Heaters.

For me, it’s the future and the victory of robots over the human race that is more serious than anything else, at the moment.
5G Technology Dangers Explained

If you are now wondering why I am so worried about something that is just a remote possibility, then its NO LONGER A POSSIBILITY. Honestly, the damage has already begun, while we sit at home and order food and groceries that are delivered by fancy delivery robots, aren’t we unaware of the 5G Technology dangers?

Did you know that in the US alone, the food and restaurant industry hires close to 10 percent of the employable workforce? This includes cooks, chefs, delivery personnel, waiters, and more. So, if Flippa the Robot is going to flip burgers, Deli the Robot is going to deliver them, then how are we going to pay for it?

If you have never worked for a restaurant or have nothing to do with that industry, you might be thinking that there are 90% of those who are employed in the US and don’t work for the food and restaurant industry.

Well, that’s true but what if I told you that the 5G network is going to disrupt your industry, no matter which one that is?
I would like to now highlight some of the industries that are going to be badly hurt with 5G technology.

Agriculture and 5G Technology dangers

Heard of those cool drones that can do anything from soil and field analysis to real-time livestock monitoring? Well, that itself can cause some serious job cuts, which is definitely going to have a worldwide impact, but more so in developing economies as most of these are agrarian economies.

5g-network-dangers

In fact, despite being the most developed country, the US employs close to 11% of the employable resources in the US. According to 2017 Agriculture Census in the US, 21.6 million in the US are employed by this industry, which accounts for roughly 11% of the total employable workforce in the US.

Now you have a clue about the 5G technology and its dangers that can cause mass unemployment in this sector. This can cause more damage than any other industry because the early signs of being civilized were evident in human beings when they stopped hunting for food and instead grew it.

No wonder Agriculture is one of those professions which continues to employ several people across the globe. Now without getting too deep into the evolution of human civilization, let us get out head around the 5G technology dangers that may disrupt the agriculture sector.

Dangers of 5G Technology

If you are now wondering what’s the connection between drones and 5G technology dangers, then the answer is ‘Connectivity’. With a technology that is so powerful with a response rate that is much faster than the blink of an eye, which is often an involuntary response of the human body, these drones are definitely going to be much more precise than humans. The efficiency may be good news to some, but for the 11% that are employed by this industry, the dangers of 5G technology are quite evident.

Food and Restaurant industry shrouded in 5G Technology dangers

As mentioned earlier, the Food and Restaurant industry in the US alone employs over 10% of the total workforce and a good percentage of this workforce could lose their jobs in the near future. Now that’s how serious 5G technology dangers are. And if you have been to college then you have probably worked part-time for a restaurant at some point in time. Well, these jobs may entirely be wiped out, which would also hurt other economies considering how enormous the food and restaurant industry is.

You may have heard from restaurateurs about the high turnover rate in the food and restaurant industry. Most of them claim that there’s a need for technological intervention to combat this issue. In fact, it is the very nature of this business that leads to high turnover rates. For example, most people working in this industry are part-timers, who grab a full-time job as soon as they find one or graduate.

The 5G network is going to lead to an upsurge in the use of robots in the food and restaurant industry.
With the 5G network all set to disrupt these part-time jobs, and the increasing interest rates of student loans, things are not going to be easy in the near future. The high-speed connectivity and quick response time that comes with the 5G technology is only going to make delivery robots faster and more accurate.

Also, self-driven cars would be used for deliveries and although these exist in certain parts of China, I’d say we are better off without it. This innovation which is only possible due to the 5G network and its high streaming ability can wipe off thousands of jobs in no time.

5G Technology dangers in the Retail Sector

Milton Keyes, a town in England is one of the few regions where thousands of deliveries have been made by a fleet of robots by Amazon. You may now wonder if the robots are already doing what they are supposed to, then why oh why is the 5G technology dangerous.

Well, these robots exist only in some parts of the world because they are being tested and aren’t fully capable of behaving like humans. However, with connectivity that can download 120 minutes of video in less than 3.6 seconds, the exchange of information between the delivery robot and the control systems is going to be much faster. These robots basically connect to a navigation system and several other systems to receive instructions through the internet. All of this data would be retrieved extremely fast as its exchange depends on the internet speed and connectivity.

If you have been a delivery partner for a new of the big retail stores then it is most likely that your job would be wiped off. Although Delivery robots may currently not be as efficient as you are, the day is not very far away when those very delivery robots are going to be much smarter efficient once they start running on the 5G technology this is one of the biggest dangers of the 5G technology, which could result in mass unemployment.

Healthcare and 5G Technology dangers

Currently, in the US alone, the Healthcare industry is a trillion-dollar industry and the tech giants are definitely not unaware of that. Technology giants have done their best to penetrate as deep as possible into this industry by investing in research and finding ways to use technology in the healthcare sector.

On the other hand, the healthcare industry had been dealing with its own set of problems which included lack of professionals, and delayed diagnosis which the tech giants identified. The result is that today, Google’s AI algorithms can predict a heart attack by examining the retina. With 5G technology at the forefront, smart diagnosis algorithms may very much work with the IoT devices, and while that’s good news, here’s what the healthcare professionals need to now worry about.

Long since the healthcare industry has had a shortage of Professionals as compared to the number of patients that need to be attended to. In fact, even in the most developed countries, providing healthcare services to those living in rural areas has become quite a challenge.

To counter this problem, remote monitoring tools are being developed faster than ever before. With the 5G technology making this more efficient than ever before, soon remote home monitoring tools are going to change how healthcare services are delivered. The biggest challenge with using these tools has been the time lag, which would be dealt with by the 5G technology, which also offers network slicing.

So, soon, doctors would be able to prescribe medications through video calls after making a diagnosis through remote monitoring tools. Now that’s how the 5G technology is going to transform the healthcare sector.

Dangers of 5G Technology – Considering how expensive healthcare currently is, this is the only industry that really has no dangers from 5G technology. Instead, one can look forward to a decline in the prices of healthcare services and the inconvenience of waiting for the doctor. However, that does not mean there are not going to be security breaches in this sector — something that existed with all other generations of the internet.

Automobile, Transport, and Logistics

Elon Musk is all set to roll out his fully automatic self-driven Telsa car in 2020, which of course would make use of the 5G technology. Although we currently make use of GPS systems and other smart technologies in our cars, the efficiency is nothing compared to what it would be when powered-up by the 5G technology. With faster connectivity and high-speed internet, the response time of the connected devices is going to be a lot higher and this is precisely why the fully self-driven car would be launched in 2020.

Alibaba, the online wholesale marketplace already makes use of this for its deliveries in China, while Ford Motors uses self-driven vehicles in Spain. So, there is every possibility of transport giants like Uber and its counterparts across the globe making use of a fleet of self-driven cars instead of their current business models. This could wipe away a lot of jobs that are currently employing millions across the globe. Although the 5G technology makes this possible and some parts of the world are already making use of it, the only roadblock is the Governments and legislations. Most countries do not approve of this as it could be dangerous for their citizens, so if you live in one such country, then you need not fear being rammed into by a self-driven car that has lost connectivity and control.

Dangers of 5G Technology – As mentioned above, you could be rammed into by an erratic self-driven car, which may malfunction due to hundreds of technical issues. Now that’s not a pleasant thought, especially when there is no driver you can sue, and the proprietary technology that runs the automobile belongs to an XYZ company.

Not to mention the mass loss of jobs and unemployment that would follow, as the transport and logistics sector is one of the largest industries employing millions across the globe.

Conclusion

The Cover-up – Honestly, when someone says ‘Data is the new oil’, I laugh back at them because data and information have always been important. A reason why it has always been passed on from one generation to another, whether it is the knowledge connected to cutting diamonds in Antwerp or growing tomatoes in Mexico. Now you know why in the good old days, families chose to pursue a common profession or trade.

However, behind the scenes what all of these IoT devices are doing is a horrendous operation that involves segregating your personal data, only to sell it or use it to make more money. This is YOUR personal data and YOU need to have control over it.

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Cybersecurity

Telephone Hacking Scams in the UK

While individuals face threats like subscriber frauds and phone insurance frauds which are pecuniary in nature, celebrities face something worse. Their personal lives are invaded by the Press and are constantly susceptible to public scrutiny. After all, the media seems to spare no efforts in invading their privacy by using Private Investigators and cybercriminals to do their bidding. However, the Duke and Duchess of Sussex have had enough and no longer wish to be victimized by the media.

While the petition filed by Prince Harry is definitely going to be a historical move, there have been other hacking incidents that have rocked the UK‘s media houses. In 2011, News of the World, a subsidiary of the News Corporation found itself between the devil and the deep blue sea, due to its telephone hacking approach. In fact, the Editorial admitted this in its last edition and had to shut down post the Leveson Enquiry, which was initiated by Prime Minister David Cameroon. This resulted in a loss of around £240 million to the News Corporation.

Later, in February 2012, The News of the World was replaced by The Sun, which seems to be heading towards a similar fate. Until now, the Sun has paid close to £400 million and the Mirror has paid around £75 million to settle phone-hacking cases. As a matter of fact, the phone-hacking case between Sir Elton John and The Sun was settled just days before it could be heard in the court. Some other noteworthy victims of the phone-hacking cases include Lord Archer, Actor Joe Swash, Sportsperson Kevin Keegan, Actress Sadie Frost, and several others.

Privacy Laws in the UK

Although the British Laws claim to protect the privacy of its citizens, the fact that the Royal family’s privacy has been invaded several times makes its effectiveness, questionable. In the UK, Privacy laws are a part of Human Rights and are enshrined in Article 8 of the Human Rights Act, the Data Protection Act, and several others. Article 8 of the Human Rights Act clearly includes the Right to Private and Family Life, home and correspondence, all of which the media has repeatedly disregarded.

Not very long ago, the Duke of Sussex received a hefty sum along with a formal apology from Splash News and Picture Agency. Splash had earlier used a helicopter to take pictures of the Duke and Duchess at their new residence, the Frogmore Cottage in Windsor, and was sued by Prince Harry for their wrongful act. However, this time the Sun and the Daily Mirror may not get away with their antics. It may be recollected that almost seven years ago, Prince William made a similar move against the French Media house for publishing topless pictures of his wife and the Duchess of Cambridge, Kate Middleton. Back then, the royal couple were vacationing in Provence but were apparently followed by snoopy paparazzi.

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Cybersecurity

What is SSL Certificate

SSL Certificates are the abbreviation of Security Socket layer certificates that are installed on a web server by the website owner. SSL Certificates enable the website to run on the HTTPS protocol, instead of the insecure HTTP protocol and encrypts the communication exchanged between a server and a client or between two mail servers. So, when you submit your personal details on a website, then SSL Certificates activate the HTTPS protocol which prevents the in-transit data from being intercepted by unauthorized persons. This upholds the integrity of the data that is exchanged and retains its confidentiality.

SSL Certificate and Cryptography

An SSL Certificate is a bunch of small files that make use of cryptography to verify server and client authenticity. The SSL Certificate links the domain name and the server name that you can get from your web hosting service provider. Its successful installation is denoted by a green padlock in the URL box but that only means that the communication between the server and the client computer is encrypted. 

 The Green Padlock does not indicate that the business is legitimate or otherwise because any website owner can get an SSL Certificate. So, the sole interpretation of the green padlock is the secure transmission of data from the cybersecurity point. The website could still be fake and created by scammers unless they make use of a specific type of SSL Certificate which we shall discuss later.

Why Use an SSL Certificate?

As SSL Certificates help prevent illegal access to personal and confidential information such as phone numbers, credit card numbers, emails, usernames, and addresses from hackers, installing one is strongly recommended. Doing that helps create a safe and trustworthy environment for buyers and sellers to transact online. 

Moreover, the HTTPS protocol, which is HTTP on SSL Certificate is now a globally accepted security standard, which is also prescribed under laws and regulations such as Payment Card Industry Data Security Standards (PCI DSS) and the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). So, if you are involved in any type of online business then it is obvious that you accept online payments or personal information, or both. 

Since this involves the exchange of financial data and personally identifiable information, you would be required to comply with the PCI DSS requirements. If you are operating in the EU region then you would also be liable to comply with the GDPR requirements. One of the key requirements under both GDPR and PCI DSS is to enable the HTTPS.

Who issues SSL Certificates?

SSL Certificates can be issued in two ways — self- signed SSL certificates and SSL certificates that are signed by reliable neutral third parties known as Certifying Authorities. Some well-known certifying authorities are GlobalSign, Symantec, Thawte, etc… So, you need to first decide which type of SSL Certificate you need.

 For the most part, we recommend using SSL certificates that are signed by reputed third parties because most operating systems and browsers come pre-loaded with their public keys. This may not be the case when you use a self-signed SSL certificate and the browser may not identify it as secure and shoot out a warning to the user.

Who Should Invest in an SSL Certificate?

If you own or manage a website or an online business that makes use of a website, then you must invest in an SSL certificate and there are many benefits of doing so. Nobody wishes to browse through a website that their trusted browser warns as insecure. So, to gain customer trust and to operate in a safe manner, you must make use of SSL certificates on your websites.

Benefits of Using an SSL Certificate

Now that we are through with what is SSL certificate and all the relevant basics, its time to understand the core benefits of installing one. SSL certificates offer more than just security for your users and come with several direct and indirect benefits. Moreover, there is no reason for you to not install one, since there so many cheap SSL certificates available. In fact, you can also get a free SSL certificate, which leaves you with no reason to skip installing one on your website. Let us now discuss some of the most important benefits of having an SSL Certificate installed for your website.

Compliance
To begin with, SSL certificates play a pivotal role in enhancing the security of a website and earning all-round credibility. Regardless of how big or small your website or online business is, not having an SSL certificate exposes you to the possibility of being held liable for security breaches. With the sharp increase in cybercrimes, Governments all over the world are framing data privacy and personal privacy laws or making necessary amendments to their existing laws in order to protect the best interest of their citizens.

You will notice that most of these laws place a larger burden on the website owner, who is expected to adopt critical security measures such as installing an SSL Certificate and ensuring that the website runs on HTTPS. So, besides protecting your credit card numbers, the SSL certificate plays a more significant role — compliance. In case of a security breach, you could be held liable unless you guard necessary caution by fulfilling the mandatory requirements.

So, if you have a website or blog, then you must consider buying one and there are several cheap SSL certificates available. Personal data is precious and any security breach can lead to serious issues such as identity thefts and financial frauds. With an SSL certificate, your data is encrypted, and no one can retrieve it without having a decryption key.

Rank Better in Google with an SSL Certificate
An SSL is also used to boost your website’s ranking and brand value. Recently, Google updated its page ranking algorithm and added HTTPS as a ranking signal. This is a welcome initiative from Google which provides website owners with an incentive to install an SSL Certificate. So, if your website or blog has a working SSL certificate installed, then you are likely to rank better. Higher page ranking and a security cue in the URL Box is sure to win the trust of your visitors and make it easier to convert them.

Google made SSL mandatory to ensure a superior user experience and better safety. Although other websites that do not have an SSL certificate installed would continue to be there on the internet, such sites won’t rank high. You can easily identify such websites due to the security cues shown in the URL box. The browsers will be quick to notify you of the insecurity by showing a red cross mark indicating an insecure website.

PCI DSS Requirements for Secure Online Transactions
SSL certificates also enable your website to satisfy the PCI DSS requirements. If you do any business online, you must know something about the Payment Card Industry (PCI). To receive any form of payments on your website, it has to be a PCI DSS compliant website. One of the 12 primary requirements set by PCI is having an SSL certificate installed on your website. Therefore, SSL is mandatory, especially for e-commerce and freelancing sites.

Low Bounce Rate
Besides making your website appear trustworthy, SSL certificates also improve your search engine rankings and result in better conversions. That’s because visitors don’t bounce off your website, as they do when they notice that it is marked insecure by their browser.

Finally, if you think from a customer’s point of view, then you would know how difficult it is for them to trust a website that their favorite browser does not approve of. On the other hand, when they see the green padlock appear on your website, then they are more at ease while making online payments or submitting confidential data.