Why You Need a Chrome VPN Extension – A Beginner’s Guide

Unsplash/Markus Spiske

The internet landscape in 2018 is a complex one full of pitfalls. With NSA’s “big brother” oversight, a surge in internet hackers and ubiquitous data-hungry internet giants, the internet is a fully-exposed, unsecured online terrain ready to exploit unsuspecting users. The good news though, is that the use of a virtual private network (VPN) safeguards users’ traffic an provides ample protection against prying eyes and malicious third-parties.
At just a mouse click away, you can download a Chrome VPN extension and gain back control over your data and online paths.

Why should I care about privacy?

In 2013, when Edward Snowden revealed NSA’s massive surveillance program of all digital communications, it became evident that the internet is filled with gaping holes in user data protection. Connecting online without a VPN is to leave you exposed to possible unknown oversight and prying eyes, be it from the NSA or your ISP who has everything to gain from learning about your usage behaviour.

‘But I have nothing to hide!’ you say. You don’t necessarily have to have something to hide to care about privacy, just like how you don’t have to be a drug dealer to want to lock your doors. It’s just outright invasive for someone scrutinize your private life! Especially when ISPs and websites are potentially making fortunes out of analysing your footprints, and re-selling that data.

A Brief Glimpse into VPN

In layman’s terms, a VPN creates an encrypted tunnel around all of your traffic to and from servers, ensuring that your data is protected from mischievous hackers or unwanted online onlookers. Even more, the VPN extension is capable of masking your identity by associating your computer with the IP address of the VPN server.

What about Incognito Mode?

For the past few years, the incognito mode has gained popularity among internet users for being the latest tool in private browsing from Google Chrome. The online feature allows the user to open a new tab or window with no record of cookies, bookmarks, saved searches or pre-filled forms. Any data that is entered in this separate browser disappears once the tab or window is closed.

Yet, users have come to mistake this tool as an anonymity tool when browsing online. It’s not. It only provides ‘local privacy’ but not ‘online privacy’. You can still be identified by your:

DNS records

System administrators and internet service providers (ISP)
Unencrypted traffic that is susceptible to interception

DNS Records

DNS (Domain Name System) refers to the databases that refer an individual to a specific website typed into a browser via IP addresses of a particular domain. The individual’s request, as well as IP address/identity, could be tracked and disclosed to other unauthorized individuals or networks.

System Administrators and ISPs

Internet activity is bounded by its functioning operator, be it the network administrator of a WiFi network or the ISP responsible for a phone’s hotspot. As such, do not be surprised to find that both record and track online activities, and can use or sell personal data to third parties. The fact that both may use personal data is highly alarming given that online information may be consequently censored, or bandwidth throttled if desired.

Faults in Encryption

Browsers primarily access websites via HTTP requests; however, such online protocols are considered outdated due to its lack of data encryption. When users send information online, such as banking details or passwords, third-party individuals can easily obtain and exploit such data. While HTTPS is a more prominent, secure form of HTTP, it has yet to be applied uniformly across all websites, which means data vulnerability is remarkably high even in incognito mode.

The solution: ExpressVPN’s Chrome Extension

Outstanding features

While Google Chrome has different VPN extension options, only one can best address all the issues mentioned prior and cover the weaknesses found in incognito mode – Express VPN. Branded as a premium VPN by a leading company in the cybersecurity field, ExpressVPN is a security expert that works to patch all imaginable gaps at every corner of your browsing journey.

In the case of DNS, ExpressVPN makes it impossible for external DNS (or your ISP’s DNS in particular) to identify you due to its ability to re-route traffic through its own private, zero-knowledge DNS server. You need not worry about leaking any personal data entered, because data encryption features will keep it hidden from admins and ISPs, preventing any form of malicious activities or Man-in-the-Middle (MITM) attacks as well which typically occur with hotspot usage.

The incorporation of HTTPS Everywhere

Most noteworthy of all, ExpressVPN stands out from among its competitors because of its incorporation of EFF’s HTTPS Everywhere function which resolves the egregious issue of an unsecure network in any browser and promises secure online activity for all users. How? It helps puts you through the secure HTTPS mode instead of the ‘naked’ HTTP.

Protecting yourself from online threats can be extremely easy. Subscribe to ExpressVPN and get their Chrome extension on your Chrome browser, you can begin surfing the internet with an ironclad network, utmost privacy and of course, peace of mind.