Should I Use a VPN at Home?

Cybersecurity and privacy risks remain the same, regardless of where you are. Here are some of the reasons why you need a VPN even when you are at home.

There are many reasons why using a VPN is a good idea. From government surveillance to corporate data gathering and hackers prowling the web, everyone wants to catch the data trails you’re leaving along your online journey.

Unfortunately, many of us tend to leave our digital woes at the door once we clock out from the office. Home is a safe space where we should be able just to kick back and relax, right? The problem is that cybersecurity and privacy risks remain the same, regardless of where you are.

Here are some of the reasons why you need a VPN at home.

1. The Buck Stops With You

Risk levels at work or home are essentially the same. The Internet is essentially a massive network that connects servers and devices around the world. Yet while offices have IT teams to secure the multitude of devices, you’re responsible for the security of your devices at home.

Consumer-grade equipment is notoriously insecure since manufacturers often favor usability over security. Unless you take steps to protect your home network, there will come the point where things start to go wrong.

Using a VPN service at home is a way you can stay safer and more private for a minimal fee. You don’t need to pay for expensive and complex hardware firewalls, enforce strict policies, or anything else.

2. IoT is Raising Risk Profiles

We once only had to secure laptops and smartphones, but homes are beginning to see the entry of a flood of other “smart” devices. Think about the automation in your home today; are you using smart TVs, smart switches, smart light bulbs, and other similar things?

The Internet of Things (IoT) is taking the world by storm, but if anything, these devices are further boosting your risk profile. The more devices you have connected, the higher the risk of a security compromise.

Deploying a VPN service on your home router is a quick way of blanketing your home with an additional layer of security. That single service will be sufficient to cover the 101 smart lightbulbs you’re running at any time.

3. We Do More at Home

It may sound strange to say we do more at home, but that’s essentially true. Many of us are stuck on spreadsheets and email. We often don’t have the time (or privacy) to look beyond those limited borders.

At home, you can relax, browse your favorite websites, stream music, or even melt onto the sofa for a night of Netflix

Unfortunately, many governments today are using Internet Service Providers (ISPs) to enforce censorship. Even service providers like Netflix have no hesitation in blocking you from specific content, depending on your location.

VPNs help bypass geoblocks, so you won’t have to worry about being prevented from doing what you want to; it’s your private time.

4. Home Routers Are Generally Unsafe

Netgear’s Nighthawk RAX120
Netgear’s Nighthawk RAX120 looks like something out of a Batman movie. (img source: Netgear)

Brands like Linksys and ASUS are constantly introducing new networking equipment. These include shiny new routers that come in interesting shapes and sizes. Yet, while they’ve put a strong focus on design and performance, one area often swept under the carpet is security.

Disregarding security options that come embedded in the details of administrator control panels. One glaring loophole we often see is the lack of HTTPS access to those same panels. HTTPS connections encrypt data, and without it, login credentials to your home router are at risk.

VPNs encrypt all data flowing from your device, so you won’t have to rely on the good graces of any manufacturer again.

5. Your Kids Use the Internet as Well

Even if you feel safe using less than ideally secured devices at home, what about your kids? Children today are increasingly connected as well, and those as young as ten begin using such devices. Yet how many of them are prepared to take the proper precautions like you are?

Again, using a VPN at home can give you blanket privacy and security protection for all devices, including those used by your young ones. Remember that VPNs help mask your device IP addresses so nobody can trace them back to your physical location.

6. Antivirus is Seldom Enough

Given the changing scope of threats on the Internet, using antivirus solutions isn’t enough. While they remain a critical part of the security pyramid (see our list of best antivirus solutions), we should get the measure of privacy that we all expect at home.

VPNs do a lot more outside the scope of antivirus solutions. They protect us against anyone who is trying to steal our data and use it against us. For example, even legitimate businesses today like Google and Facebook track all the data they can to serve more ads to their audience.

Conclusion: Yes, a VPN is Essential at Home

The border has become increasingly blurred between home and anywhere else on the planet. Living in a highly connected world is convenient, but we need to take care that it doesn’t encroach on our private spaces.

VPNs are one good way of ensuring that, protecting our loved ones and us at all times, running silently behind the scenes, even as we sleep.