It seems that we are moving towards a society based on surveillance, much like the one described by George Orwell in his book, 1984. We are constantly being watched online, by almost everyone – government, hackers, ad agencies, ISPs, and big tech companies.
They collect all kinds of personal data from your mobile phone, often without your consent. In most countries, ISPs even keep track of your browsing activities and sell them to advertisers without your permission.
Imagine seeing a dozen people looking out the window of your living room and watching you non-stop: it’s serious at this point.
As the popularity of mobile devices, which have become the preferred means of accessing the internet (Android accounts for 73% of the market share according to a famous website) increases, the problem of confidentiality arises more and more.
To make matters worse, the Android operating system has been designed to recover your data and use it to send you targeted advertisements. Many users are concerned about these security issues and want to know how to protect their online privacy using Android devices.
How do I protect my privacy on my phone?
For most people, the best solution to surf the net confidentially is a trustworthy private virtual network (VPN). If you don’t know what it is, a VPN, as the name suggests, helps you create an encrypted and personal virtual tunnel. By accessing the Internet from this tunnel, it becomes very difficult for everyone, including your ISP, to monitor your online activities.
VPNs also help you hide your location no matter where you are in the world, and access geo-restricted services like Hulu and Netflix – but Netflix is starting to prevent VPNs from getting into their traffic.
How to get and install a VPN?
It is rather simple to obtain and set up a VPN on Android. It is interesting to note that there are many VPNs within the Android community. Most of them are available in the Google Play Store for free download.
However, like most free services, a completely free VPN may not be able to provide you with the level of protection you need – and has obvious flaws. One of the easy ways to make sure your VPN meets your expectations is to take a paid one. Most offer monthly and yearly subscriptions. The best VPNs are those with high bandwidth and multiple sites. The best thing is to take advantage of a free trial to try it before.
Android natively supports certain types of VPNs that you can use to connect to an existing network if you already have connection details. This is particularly useful if you want to connect securely to your private corporate network without installing third-party apps. To connect using the Android VPN on your mobile phone, follow the steps below:
- Open the settings and press “More” under the “connections” option, as shown in the screenshots below.
- Tap VPN in the “more connection settings” tab.
- In the top right corner, you will see the + sign “or “Add VPN”(depending on your version of Android).
- Tap it and enter the connection details provided by your network administrator.
- Once done, save, and then tap the VPN to connect to it.
What confidence factors should I take into account?
One of the fundamental problems with VPN service providers is trust. Some VPN companies are also involved in rather questionable privacy practices, especially mobile VPN providers.
A recent study has shown that there are more fraudulent VPNs on Android than there are good VPNs on Google Play. To stay safe, systematically check the supplier’s general conditions and avoid those who keep logs of your activities. Those who keep logs are likely to sell them to advertisers or give them to law enforcement upon request. You can check out our ranking of the best VPNs for Android.
It is important to have a VPN service that works as it claims. Some VPNs work so poorly that they disclose your IP address. One way to find out if your VPN is leaking your internet address, testing it with our IP leak test , if you see your ISP’s internet address, it means your VPN is leaking.
What are the disadvantages and limits?
While VPNs do a lot for your security, it’s not a complete solution that solves all of your privacy concerns. They have their limits and their disadvantages. Using a VPN on your mobile device helps protect data in transit over the net, but not data that is permanently on your device.
In the same way, your telephone operator can still know your location by analyzing the towers to which your mobile connects. A VPN can slow down your internet connection; it is best to buy a VPN service that is located near where you live.
VPN can’t do anything for your security if your mobile device is already corrupted by malware or malicious apps. If you are concerned about your privacy, it is best to download as few apps as possible and not give access permissions to your unnecessary private information.