In Collaboration With NordVPN
When was the last time you haven’t connected the Internet for an entire day? Nowadays, being connected is part of our life, especially in Hong Kong, and if we care more and more about data privacy, VPN companies have emerged, to bring more security over our daily connections.
What is a VPN?
A VPN (Virtual Private Network) is a software that provides an encrypted internet connection so that your browsing activities remain anonymous and secured.
It creates an encrypted tunnel to ensure that all your outgoing and incoming data is transmitted safely. With a VPN, it is possible to prevent unauthorized people from spying on your internet habits. It protects your online activities by hiding your actual IP address. Thus, you can access public WiFi hotspots without worrying about your privacy at all, and you know that, in Hong Kong, connecting a public WiFi is like ordering a Dong Leng Cha (凍檸茶).
Using a VPN is an affordable option to secure your internet connection on your desktop or mobile by encrypting the transmitted data.
How Does a VPN Work?
Previously only businesses and organizations used VPNs to protect their corporate data. However, now, it is used by individuals for protecting themselves from being exposed to hackers, who can steal personal and financial details.
A VPN establishes an encrypted connection between the devices. Often VPNs use the SSL/TLS or IPsec encryption protocols. The devices that connect to the VPN create encryption keys. Thereafter, the keys are used to decode and encode the details sent between them.
The effect of the encryption is that a VPN connection will remain private even if it stretches across public internet infrastructure. In short, VPN protects your data and “data” can include many things like emails, instant messages, login information, downloaded files, financial information, and the websites you visit.
A VPN change the IP address to a different server location. This makes it look like you are using the device somewhere else, allowing you to access sites that have otherwise been blocked in your region.
Is It Legal to Use a VPN in Hong Kong?
Yes, it is completely legal to use a VPN in Hong Kong. That being said, we don’t recommend you to use a VPN to engage in some illegal activities that would be forbidden by the government.
Unlike in mainland China, Hong Kong upholds an open internet due to the semi-autonomous status of the city. Newspapers, social networks or messaging apps, such as WhatsApp, Facebook, Twitter, and VPNs that are banned in Mainland China are legal in Hong Kong.
At this stage, it is still unclear how the National Security Law will impact the online world but NordVPN declared last year that the company saw a massive surge in download in Hong Kong, prompting efforts made by the company to add some new servers in Hong Kong and Taiwan.
Is It Safe to Use a VPN?
A VPN is a way to protect your privacy when you are online, especially when you log in from a public space, such as the coffee shop, hotel lobby, airport, or library in Hong Kong.
As you sign up with a VPN provider, you have to log into that service prior to connecting to the internet. When you are connected, malicious individuals will not be able to see your IP, nor intercept your data, due to the encryption.
But, online privacy isn’t absolute even when you use a VPN because the provider will know your IP and your online activity for instance, and therefore, not all VPNs have been created equal, so, you use a VPN that you can trust.
How? A reliable and trustworthy VPN provider provides a zero-logs policy and doesn’t store any information about your internet activities.
What are the Differences Between Free and Paid VPN?
You can’t really expect perfection out of the products you get for free.
While free VPNs can be a good choice for individuals who want to try out a VPN before moving to a paid one, note that they come with their flaws.
- Some free VPN track users and some sell browsing and personal data to third parties (so that other companies can send you ads or else). Thus, your online privacy is compromised, defeating the main purpose of using a VPN.
- Other free VPN providers that operate as P2P networks and send data through someone else’s device and route the traffic of other users through yours. This can be downright dangerous.
Paid VPNs are however, owned by legit companies, and therefore, are trustworthy.
Why Use a VPN?
A VPN allows you to access geo-restricted content. If you’re in Hong Kong and that you want to have access to the British, American or French version of your favorite streaming app, change your IP and you can access new movies.
Or, if you go to Mainland China and you want to access Google or Facebook, just change your location, and you’re all set.
Also, since Public WiFi is free, networks tend to be less secured, and there are threats linked to that, such as attacking malware and data breaches. A VPN can provide a secure tunnel for your online activities over public WiFi, when you’re working from Starbucks for instance.
How To Choose A VPN?
There are various criteria such as the encryption protocol, the number of servers and their locations, the number of simultaneous connections, the no-log policy, the speed of the servers, and obviously, the cost.
In Hong Kong, NordVPN is one of the best VPN, as it cost less than $HK 40 per months, for a yearly plan, and it comes with DNS leak protection, a double 2048-bit encryption, two kill switches, and many other features. The virtual network offers both security and speed. The VPN provider has a strict no-log policy. It has more than 5400 VPN servers in 59 countries, including in 70 in Hong Kong and 120 in Taiwan.