Why Opera’s Free Integrated VPN Feature Should Matter to You
By Roger Murray | April 26th, 2016
Opera’s latest update has introduced a free integrated Virtual Private Network (VPN) for all users. With the barrage of stories pertaining to leaks and personal information becoming public, the announcement of a mainstream browser offering unlimited VPN access through their browser was incredibly exciting! So let’s delve into what it all means…
What is Opera’s Virtual Private Network (VPN):
Opera’s latest VPN feature creates an encrypted and secure tunnel for information to be transmitted. This protects your online activity and identity from eavesdropping third party tracking applications and tools that build an online profile based on your internet history. Have you ever wondered why after viewing a website, be it travel or a department store, you see a targeted advertisement which is directly correlated to your recent history?
All of your internet traffic and data remain encrypted and anonymous while the VPN is active. This is especially relevant when traveling or using public Wi-Fi hotspots where wireless services may not be secure. Using a VPN can provide an added level of security even while utilizing these networks, thus preventing the ease for data theft.
Of course, there are many other benefits to complete anonymity. Because the connections are encrypted, the traffic cannot be monitored or blocked. Many countries, schools, and workplaces block video-streaming sites, social media networks, and other services. When using Opera’s VPN, all access is available, no matter where you are.
Things to Consider:
Don’t let this new found security go to your head. There can be valid reasons for limitations and restrictions being put into place, especially on public hotspots. Many times, websites are blocked because they are data hogs and the bandwidth is really limited. Just because you can access those sites, doesn’t mean you should. You can easily bring everyone’s speed, including yourself, to a glacial pace if you decide to stream the latest Netflix hit while sitting at Starbucks.
More importantly, ignoring company policy is a big no-no with serious repercussions. Remember, those policies are not only implemented for the security and safety of the company infrastructure, but for your own productivity and focus. Accessing blocked content or sites on a company device/network is still a violation that can lead to termination.
Remember this, a major difference between traditional VPN’s and Opera’s feature is that their plug-in provides anonymity only to your web surfing inside the browser. This does not protect you from company installed monitoring or any other software you may be using while on public networks such as Outlook or Skype. All activity outside of the Opera browser still remains accessible, so while it is a huge step in browsing security/privacy, you should be aware of the limitations.
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