Virtual Private Networks, or VPNs as they’re more commonly called, are excellent tools to protect your online privacy and security. Many of the benefits of using a VPN were discussed in this recent blog post, but changing your virtual location is one benefit many people overlook. For most, it’s not as important as protecting your Internet traffic over public Wi-Fi or blocking Internet tracking, but it does give people the freedom to bypass geo-blocks that can restrict access to some websites for people in certain locations. Anyone who’s traveled or lives in a country that is cut off from content they want to see knows how frustrating this can be.
In short, a VPN routes your Internet traffic through an encrypted tunnel and out of a special “exit node”, and this node replaces the IP address for your device with its own. For example, if you’re traveling in Japan and trying to access a streaming service or website that’s only available to people in the US, using a VPN with a US exit node will allow you to use a US IP address when visiting websites. Thus, it is giving you a “virtual location”.
F-Secure’s Freedome VPN offers 25 different virtual locations that people can choose from to get local Internet access in 19 different countries from anywhere in the world. This makes it great for travelers, expats, and other globally minded people that rely on technology to stay connected to certain countries.
Here’s how you can set up a virtual location to get Internet access at home while you’re abroad:
Step 1: Make sure you have Freedome
Get Freedome if you haven’t already.
Step 2: Open Freedome and make sure the protection is turned on
Here’s the home screen. As you can see, the protection is turned on, and the virtual location is set to Espoo, Finland.
Step 3: Click on the location to see the list of available exit nodes
If you click on the current virtual location you’ll be taken to the virtual location selection screen, which gives you a choice of 25 different virtual locations in 19 different countries.
Freedome automatically chooses the closest virtual location, and in my case, this is Espoo.
But I’m originally from Canada and often spend time browsing for news on Canadian websites, or using online services from Canadian companies. So I typically like to choose Canada as my virtual location.
Step 4: Choose your virtual location
The different exit nodes you can choose from are listed alphabetically, so browse the list to find the country or city you’re looking for.
I chose Montreal. Just click on the location you want and Freedome will connect you to the appropriate exit node.
Step 5: Browse and enjoy
If you navigate back to the home screen you’ll see your new virtual location (Montreal in this case) at the bottom of the screen, meaning that web pages you access will now see your IP address as being located in Montreal.
So now I can enjoy fast access to all my favorite content and services from back home.
Local access like this is important to me because I still rely on many services offered by Canadian companies, including online banking. F-Secure Security Advisor Sean Sullivan has pointed out that there are times when online services will become temporarily restricted for people outside certain countries, so having a VPN that offers local access to my home country is a great way to ensure that I won’t be suddenly cut off from my bank accounts.
So Freedome’s virtual location selection is a pretty useful feature that not only protects your security and online privacy, but it also frees you from the restrictions that can limit what you do online.
This is part of a series of posts about what security experts think will happen…
December 30, 2015