Surely while browsing sites you have seen ads that offers VPN services. Some free, and others that promise maximum anonymization in exchange for some Decent costs.
VPN (Virtual Private Network) is used most of the time when you have no trust in the Internet Service Provider (ISP). Many people are convinced that the ISP can see everything they do on the computer and use that information for commercial purposes. Others use VPNs to hide their real IP address, considering that are completely anonymous while browsing online.
VPN is a solution through which you can connect to a dedicated network, to use its resources and that will become the "bridge" between your computer and the rest of the internet. Basically, all the data exchange between your PC and the internet will no longer be done through the provider (ISP), but through the private network (VPN). The latter offers greater security of data exchange through various encryption methods.
You have to keep in mind that Anonymization on the Internet is not just about hiding the IP address (Internet Protocol). Many companies and internet providers use it cookies si web trackers for monitoring customers and users while browsing the Internet. Elements that can provide enough information about your identity and activity online. From the type of operating system used to the resolution of the monitor and the extensions installed in the browser, they can be easily found by organizing a website that you access. As for Facebook and Google, there are a number of tools for finding out about you even if you use a VPN connection.
So, don't get the wrong idea that once the VPN is activated you are 100% invisible and anonymous on the internet.
It is true that VPN is very useful, especially when working from home or from another location and you need to securely connect to the company's infrastructure. The connection between your PC and VPN will be encrypted and thus the data exchange will be secured. But this is a VPN Enterprize and not a free one that you find in the "offers" in online ads.
For example, Cisco offers complete VPN solutions for corporations, but here we talk about network infrastructure as well as software. Cisco AnyConnect VPN is such a solution for companies.
Which VPN service to choose? Premium Services vs. Free VPN (Free)
There are companies that offers free VPN access and I promise IP address anonymization. Opera has such a service integrated into Opera Browser, and each user can choose to activate the VPN connection with a single click. But it is by no means a safe service. You don't know who has access to that VPN and what data it can extract from it. The same thing happens with service 18.104.22.168 al CloudFlare. Also a free VPN that can be installed on your smartphone, iPhone, Mac or Mac Windows PC.
When we choose a free service, and here I am not just referring to the VPN, we must be aware that for that service, someone is paying for it to be functional. And since no one is willing to throw money at the window, it means that behind that free service there is something the regular customer doesn't see. Whether the user's identity is found and exploited for marketing purposes, or worse, the user's confidential data reaches third parties interested in their exploitation.
In the case of a paid service, this does not happen. The purchase of a VPN service also involves a contract and some legal terms that the service provider must adhere to. Otherwise you are entitled to notify the control bodies and follow the legal steps. For free services, you do not have this possibility. Especially as most times when we accept a free service, we do not make time to read the section "Terms and Conditions" or "Confidentiality".
In conclusion, if you just need to access a website, without entering sensitive data on it, you can choose a free VPN service. You will have the benefit of no longer accessing it with your IP. But you will not be completely anonymous.
For home work and remote sensitive data handling, we recommend paid VPN services. It does not have to be an expensive service, but before you buy it, it is advisable to read the "terms and conditions", plus a few reviews.
The data on your computer will be safe when you do not transmit it on the Internet. Eventually, the PC may not be connected.