The role of a VPN: protecting digital security, privacy, and freedom
Did you know that the virtual private network has been around for nearly 30 years?
Invented in 1993, the VPN has given internet users more control over their data and access to a safer, more private, and less restricted internet. It’s hard to imagine life before the VPN without any protection against censorship, surveillance, or cyber attacks.
Today, 142 million people use VPNs for privacy, security, and more internet freedom. While this may sound like a lot, that’s only31% of all internet users. The global majority are still very susceptible to digital attacks that a VPN could help prevent.
International VPN Day: What is it all about?
With that in mind, International VPN Day, celebrated on August 19, is the perfect opportunity to shed some light on the importance of cybersecurity.
With so much information available, keeping up with cybersecurity news, trends, and developments can be challenging. But being aware of online threats is more important than ever before, with cybercrime a continuous threat for individuals and businesses alike.
So, let’s use International VPN Day not only to celebrate people’s right to digital privacy, security, and freedom — but also to educate ourselves. Here are three fun ways to make International VPN Day count.
1. Take the National Privacy Test
Do you know the right thing to do with phishing emails — or what app permissions mean? Do you accept all terms and conditions without a flinch — or read them to ensure you don’t agree to some shady privacy practices?
The National Privacy Test created by NordVPN is a fun and easy way to evaluate your digital privacy and security skills and knowledge. It only takes a few minutes, and after answering questions about digital habits, privacy awareness, and risk tolerance, you get a score out of 100.
Whether you’re hoping to get the full marks or not, NordVPN ran a survey in 2020 to evaluate the global level of cybersecurity knowledge. The “world” only scored 65.2 out of 100, showing room for improvement.
2. Learn something new
The cybersecurity world is constantly evolving, and unless you read industry news daily, there are probably still things you could learn.
Use this day to brush up on your digital security knowledge. Start by visiting the Cybersecurity section of the NordVPN blog and reading an article or two. Pick a topic you don’t know much about — whether it’s insider threats or browser hijackers — and educate yourself.
For an even more fun way to learn, make some popcorn and watch a cybersecurity-themed movie. Here are some film ideas:
- Tinder Swindler (2022). This documentary captivated viewers all over the world. It tells the story of a notorious dating app conman and his influence over several women. Tinder Swindler is a cautionary tale for those who seek to meet someone online.
- The Great Hack (2019). You’ve probably heard about the Cambridge Analytica-Facebook scandal that resulted in illegal access to 50 million users’ data. Even if you haven’t, this engaging documentary paints the full picture.
- The Most Hated Man on the Internet (2022). This spine-chilling documentary tells the story of a convicted criminal, Hunter Moore, who founded a pornographic website called “Is Anyone Up?” The site primarily used stolen and hacked nude photos that were extremely difficult to take down.
For more films on cybersecurity, check out this list of freedom-of-speech movies.
3. Spread awareness
Once you’ve brushed up on your knowledge, you’ll most likely want to share it with the outside world. This part often comes naturally — when we learn something that shocks or surprises us, we can’t help but relay that information to others wherever we go.
The truth is that not everyone is aware of the dangers of the online world. Some people can be quite (or completely) oblivious, making them more vulnerable to online threats.
Educating yourself gives you the power to educate others, too. Whether chatting with a friend over a cup of coffee or sharing an article on social media, you could be doing someone a favor.
This International VPN Day, be the messenger contributing to the mission of accessible digital privacy, security, and freedom for everyone.