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By- Tejas Maheta
Free VPNs tend to get a bad rap (and often for good reasons, which we'll discuss in a second). Still, there are some safe and free VPN services recommended by expats - just click the link for some solid options. Next, scroll on to see how you can put them to good use while you're abroad.
Privacy and Security (to a Certain Degree)
One of the main purposes of a VPN is to encrypt your network traffic – garble it, basically – to keep it safe from:
- ISPs that want to sell your browsing and location data for a profit
- Hackers and script kiddies lurking at every corner public hotspot
- Government surveillance agencies spying on their own citizens
Even free VPNs can do as much, as long as you go with a trustworthy provider such as those linked at the start.
On top of that, VPNs hide your real life location by masking your IP address and assigning a new one based on the server you connect to. Useful in case some cyberstalkers or trolls lure you into clicking on IP-grabbing links or scripts to determine your location. Unfortunately, it's not as effective against GPS tracking (though there are some paid VPNs out there that can spoof GPS).
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Unblock Some Websites While Abroad
While not as versatile as a subscription-based VPN, free VPNs still have some unblocking ability that can be useful to an expat. For instance, you can access your home banking or investment accounts, which in most cases block foreign traffic. Understandably so, since a lot of cyber attacks tend to be linked to international hacker networks.
Using a VPN also allows you to access small news sites from back home, who simply don't find it worth it to comply with GDPR regulations in the EU. Alternatively, you can set your virtual location outside the EU to get around all those annoying cookie consent pop-ups. Funny little side effect, but it can definitely save you some grey hairs while browsing.
Finally, free VPNs can unblock some content such as region-locked music videos, or age-restricted YouTube videos in the EU without having to give up your ID or credit card information to Google. You won't have much luck using free VPNs on content platforms like Netflix, though. Those of you looking to bypass geo-restrictions on streaming sites are better off using a sub-based VPN.
One of the main purposes of a VPN is to encrypt your network traffic.Wikipedia
Bypass Firewalls and Censorship
VPNs sure seem like a master thief's skeleton key, don't they? So many Internet barriers out there, all of them nullified with the help of a single tool. And yes, they can easily get around firewalls as well.
For the most part, you'll be using a VPN to unblock social media and other "distractions" at work or at school. Believe it or not, airport and hotel Wi-Fi can be pretty restrictive too. Thankfully, VPNs make short work of their firewall rules.
And while not as effective as a paid option, free VPNs can also help during Internet blackouts caused by government censorship. Look no further than the recent Hong Kong protests, the frequent social media shutdowns in Turkey, and similar cases worldwide. All of these have one thing in common: free VPN usage shot up immensely as people sought ways to contact their loved ones or post their outrage online.
Why the Negative View of Free VPNs?
You've seen all the great things you can accomplish with a free VPN. So why all the bad press about them? Well, here are some fairly valid concerns that apply to a decent chunk of free providers:
- They sell user data – after all, they need to pay for operational costs somehow. It just so happens that advertisers find your browsing habits highly valuable.
- Several free VPNs based in Hong Kong breached their "no-logs" policies and ended up leaking 1.2 TB of user data online. This isn't an uncommon occurrence, considering the data harvesting practices of most free VPNs.
- They can infect your device with malware that can extract sensitive info or otherwise cause damage. In one major case, user devices were hijacked into a botnet and used in a large scale denial-of-service attack.
Other criticisms are directed at their data caps, slow performance, the small number of overcrowded servers, and the bandwidth throttling. Add to that the fact that they don't unblock region-specific Netflix libraries or other streaming sites, and you can see why people aren't too thrilled about them.
Still, if you're not looking for anything fancy, a free VPN should tide you over until you can fit an actual subscription into your budget. Just stick to the trusty VPNs we've linked to in the beginning.
Disclaimer: (This article is sponsored and include some commercial links)
With the accessibility to high-speed internet, affordable OTT platform subscriptions, the popularity of binge-watching culture is at its peak. Now, we get unlimited shows to watch every day. In fact, it has brought entertainment to our fingertips. Among the popular platforms, Netflix is one of the favourite names for binge-watchers.
However, if you want to have the best streaming experience, then try out these five hacks and make the most of the Netflix streaming service you use:
1. Get access to different countries' Netflix shows that aren't available in your location
There are so many incredible movies and shows on Netflix that are sometimes not available in specific locations. If you also have a show or a list of shows that you eagerly wanted to watch but couldn't, then this hack is made only for you. You can use unblockers such as smartflix, or any other unblocker that is accessible for free to change your Ip address and make the site think you belong to a different location. This way, you will be granted more Netflix shows which otherwise you would have missed. Remember that these unblockers may contain security issues; hence ensure you choose the best and reliable unblocker and access the US Netflix library with a free VPN.
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2. Get better video quality with a super Netflix extension
If you use google chrome to access Netflix, then you must use the free extension given in the browser known as Super Netflix. This extension is basically provided to give users an enhanced video quality. You just have to install the free extension and select the video streaming quality you want in place of letting Netflix do it for you. This option is convenient when you often shift between your mobile data and wifi connection.
Other advantages of Super Netflix involve:
- Automatic skipping of show intros.
- Speeding up video.
- Managing color contrast and video brightness.
Also, super Netflix keeps you from getting spoilers by blurring out the plot description and show thumbnails.
In addition, try to watch your shows early in the morning or late at night as with fewer people engaging on the platform, speed, and quality automatically improve.
You just have to install the free extension and select the video streaming quality you want in place of letting Netflix do it for you.Unsplash
ALSO READ: Tips To Stream Better On Netflix In 2021
There is no doubt that Netflix originals are way too engaging and filled with pure entertainment. However, there is no harm in watching something that is not produced by Netflix yet is something worth watching.
In case you already have a few shows in mind you would want to stream on Netflix other than Netflix originals, then use the Google Chrome extension named no Netflix original. It removes all the Netflix-produced shows from your list and introduces many other great pieces to watch.
4. Binge-Watch With Your Friends And Family
Watching any shows or movies with loved ones adds to the excitement and joy of the moment. Unfortunately, due to the current world situation, people are stuck at their homes or may live too far to hit a movie night with you. But, using a tool called Teleparty, you can virtually host binge-watching sessions along with your friends and family. This tool will let everyone on your list get engaged virtually at the same time to watch a movie together.
5. No More "Are You Still Watching?"
If you are also tired of tapping on the "next episode" option and want to binge-watch a show without any disturbance. Then here is another Google Chrome extension for you. Get an extension of Never-Ending Netflix from chrome and remove anything that comes between long hours of binging. This extension will automatically play the next episode, lets you skip the sequence, and most importantly, keeps the prompt of "are you still watching?" from popping up every now and then. You can also search shows by genre on Netflix using this extension.
When it comes to binge-watching shows and movies, Netflix indeed pops up in the mind of serial streamers. After all, Netflix has it all, from the latest seasons of money heist to all the episodes of the 90s as well as today's people's favourite show, "Friends." Hence by using the hacks and tricks mentioned above, you can go for your non-stop binge-watching mode along with better quality and convenience.
Disclaimer: (This article is sponsored and include some commercial links)
With the pandemic forcing many schools and educational institutions to find online alternatives, 89 per cent people in India believe that schools should educate children on cyber safety, according to a study by McAfee released on Tuesday. Of these, 62 per cent believe that digital wellness and protection should have its own separate curriculum that is taught throughout grade school while 27 per cent feel it should be integrated into technology subjects like IT. Further, 81 per cent of the people in India said that since last year, at least one member in their household started either full time or part time online learning via virtual platforms. Of these 24 per cent learners fall between the age group 5-12, and 9 per cent even under the age of 5.
89 per cent people in India believe that schools should educate children on cyber safety, according to a study by McAfee released on Tuesday. Photo by Maria Thalassinou on Unsplash
"With students as well as teachers now operating from lesser controlled environments, the need to educate them on basics such as phishing, cyberbullying, and inculcating overall cybersecurity hygiene is imperative. Educational institutions must approach cybersecurity holistically, particularly now that technology pervades nearly every facet of a child's life," said Judith Bitterli, senior vice president of Consumer at McAfee, in a statement. "As technology has transformed the educational sector, cybersecurity too must be part of the school curriculum, and entrenched in the way we teach, and the way we learn," she added. To stay safe, one must scrutinise the email/text before replying; maximise privacy settings on all social profiles and engage in safe social networking.
Children must also be educated about fake news, how to spot a phishing scam, make strong, complex passwords, among others. Photo by Dan Nelson on Unsplash
Use a VPN when children are accessing online learning services from home to protect the privacy of the Internet connection with bank-level encryption to stop hackers stealing personal information like passwords or data, McAfee advised. Children must also be educated about fake news, how to spot a phishing scam, make strong, complex passwords, among others. For the study, McAfee commissioned MSI International to conduct a survey of over 1,000 adults in India in April 2021, aged 18-75. (IANS/ MBI)
Keywords: cybercrime, cyber-security, hacking, passwords, cyber bully, password, VPN, data, phising, pandemic
Do you like to watch movies online, then this article is a must-read for you. Customers of 123Movies can watch the latest hits for a long time without paying any money. All the customers have a good web system and you can watch the content available on 123Movies on the web without any hassle. Movie websites sometimes upload brand new content so that you can keep up with everything that is happening around the world. In this article, we will navigate the details of 123Movies, a very good and popular website. It has made quite a name for itself over the years and we are here to tell you more about it.
What is 123Movies?
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Is it safe to use 123Movies?
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Easy To Use Interface
The owner of 123Movies reveals how he has implemented his vision from the very beginning. Not only is their website easy to use but also presents the information to the user in a very systematic manner. With its friendly interface and easy navigation, it reduces their search time and increases satisfaction, thereby meeting their needs faster. And then the brand increases sales volume, improves customer loyalty and costs, and reduces resources. The user interface is very important. It brings fewer issues, increases user engagement, improves functionality, and creates a stronger link between customers and the website. The owner of 123Movies Download reveals how he has implemented his vision from the very beginning. Not only is their website easy to use but also presents the information to the user in a very systematic manner.