What does VPN means?
Virtual Private Network (VPN) is a way to use a “Private Network” on a public environment. Basically it connects to a private network even though the user is using an open or public network. This is use for privacy matters and to protect any organization or individual from the public network to see the user’s traffic. In other words, the VPN encapsulate the information been transmitted and send it into a tunnel which is encrypted and inaccessible from anybody on the public network. In a every day scenario, a user goes to a Cafe where the WiFi is free and open. The user will use this WiFi access to connect to the internet to then connect to the VPN client. The client will then encrypt the information been transmitted by the user into a tunnel, this way it protects it from others on the same open network from seeing the information at all.
Aside from encrypting your traffic, VPNs can also spoof your location. This is possible because the VPN provider has many data centers around the world. This way a user can choose the datacenter from where he/she wants the data to be encrypted and by doing this the user is able to “change” their device location. For example, if VPN client X has a datacenter in US, China and Australia, the user could select Australia and be able to trick the device’s location to Australia even though the real location is the USA. A lot of users use VPNs for mainly this purpose because they want to see or access a site that has been blocked in their country and by doing this trick, they are able to access the site.
The other use is one already described, the use of VPN to protect your data from been intercepted by those owning the public network the device is connected. The only catch is that when using a VPN for privacy and protection, one should be very cautious when choosing VPN providers. The user should really trust the VPN provider because even though the information will be protected from the public network, the VPN provider itself could see your traffic if desire. My choice of VPN is Freedome from F-Secure, the reason I have chosen this VPN is because I really trust in Mikko Hyponnen which is the Chief Research Officer at F-Secure.
I believe on the use of VPNs but also as mentioned before one should be careful while choosing a provider.