Imagine going about your everyday life naked. This is effectively what you are doing if you do not try to secure yourself on the internet. The hardware and software is now so sophisticated that any tom, dick or harry can easily snoop on your internet activity and see everything you do.
I am breaking with the format of this blog to post the below how-to guides because, well, without freedom of speech, it doesn’t really matter what else I talk about. So, this post is about protecting your privacy on the internet, and thereby protecting your freedom of speech.
Since the ISPs, NSA, and everybody else are spying on internet traffic, I, like so many others, have begun using a VPN (virtual private network) service. VPNs encrypt all of your internet traffic so that anyone tapping your internet connection will not be able to see what you are doing. It is kind of like tinting your car windows so people cannot see in, or like having curtains over your windows, again, so people cannot see in.
However, all of this is very confusing and there is a steep learning curve. The purpose of this post is to provide some simple explanations of things, and to provide step by step instructions for people just getting started.
My main starting point for choosing a VPN company was this article. The general consensus is to NOT use free VPN services because, well, you get what you pay for. VPN companies you pay for either allow a short free trial or a very inexpensive trial period of a few days or a week, so you can try it out and see if you are happy with it.
Most VPN companies provide a small application that runs on one’s computer and routes all the internet traffic through the VPN’s servers. Installing and running such apps are easy and all the companies have straight-forward tutorials for getting going. If you are only going to run the VPN on one or two computers, just install their application and you are done, and you can stop reading.
However, I learned that you can set up the VPN service to run on your home wireless router. Then, everything connected to the router is protected by the VPN. This is nice because you can use one VPN account to cover your entire home network. However, this is harder to do, and I had to search through much information to get things to work. In the links below, I am providing step-by-step how to guides of how I set up my system. Be aware, it is highly specific to both my router and the VPN service I am using. However, even if you don’t have the same set up I have, at least it can show you all the steps from A to Z and give you a guide-post to figure out how to do the same things on your system.
How To Guides
These three tutorials are in the order you need to follow. Each will take you to a separate web page containing the tutorial. You can also download all the tutorials as a single PDF file.
Whew! The price we pay for privacy. Oh well, now that it’s well known that everybody is spying on everybody else over the internet, it’s worth the effort to go through the steps in the tutorials to shut yourself off from prying eyes.
I hope the how to guides save people time. It took me several weeks of searching and reading on the internet to figure out how to do this. Finally, last but certainly not least:
A special thanks to all the people out there on the internet who made all of this possible!