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An illustration of a computer with a wireframe globe on the screen surrounded by question marks and random longitude and latitude coordinates.
Illustration by Maria Chimishkyan

Virtual private networks (VPNs) can offer an additional layer of security and privacy for your online activity. Whether you’re working on a public Wi-Fi network and want to escape prying eyes, or you’re worried about privacy in general, a VPN can offer a lot of benefits.

In a nutshell, a VPN establishes a secure, encrypted connection between your device and a private server, hiding your traffic from being seen by others. Of course, the VPN itself can still see your traffic, which is why you should choose a VPN from a company you trust. (A good rule of thumb is to avoid free VPNs, because if they’re not charging you a fee, they may be monetizing in some less desirable way.) In addition, law enforcement can get its hands on your...

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