Going online without a VPN is what can be termed unsafe nowadays.
Using a VPN, or Virtual Private Network makes your presence safe online. As far as legal issues are concerned, it is perfectly safe to use a VPN in Australia, and most parts of the world.
The Australian government is constantly working towards improving their cybersecurity. This does not mean that more restrictions are being imposed. Rather they aiming to reduce cybercrimes, hacking, build strong defenses, and make the internet safe for everyone.
Why Do We Worry About This?
Your VPN (Virtual Private Network) service provider is running a legitimate business. Despite that, users often worry they might be doing something illegal by using a VPN. This is probably because a VPN hides your identity, and somehow that seems morally wrong. Getting access to a blocked site using a VPN might be morally wrong, but it is not illegal. It’s not like you are using something without the owner’s permission – that is wrong, both morally and legally.
Uses of A VPN
A VPN provides safety on the internet. These are the numerous ways that using a VPN can help you:
- VPN lets you do everything securely on the internet. It hides your identity and can save you from various scams.
- VPN encrypts your browsing data, so it can’t be picked up by anyone on the internet.
- When using a public network, your device is often at risk because of plenty of devices connected to the network at the same time. Your device could catch malware from another device. A VPN can prevent this.
- Location-based restrictions, like media streaming and online shopping, can be bypassed using a VPN.
- It can improve gaming speed when you play high-end games online.
- It will let you privately access your work database without putting it at risk. This is especially helpful since businesses tend to keep a huge amount of data in one system. A slight breach and all of the data becomes vulnerable.
Why Do So Many People in Australia Use A VPN?
Unfortunately, many people need to use a VPN in Australia. There are many reasons for this, but they fall into two categories – security and access.
- This is most important for businesses. Cyber-attacks have been fairly common in the country in the past few years, and many businesses have suffered because of it. Hacking and phishing have also been reported by individuals.
- Many ex-pats in Australia need to send, receive, and access confidential information to and from their home country. Online security is of utmost importance to them.
- Another worldwide phenomenon is marketers using personal data. Marketers and advertisers use your personal information to target their audiences for ads. It sounds harmless, but multiple businesses sell your information to marketers and make money. Doesn’t sound so harmless now, does it?
- Australia had passed a Data Retention law, which meant internet service providers (ISP) were logging their user information and keeping records. According to the law, if a government authority required the information, they were bound to give it up. This was enforced to trace and control cybercrimes and is useful for everyone’s safety. However, it does pose an invasion of privacy.
- This is the most common reason. It affects ex-pats in Australia more than anyone else. They constantly need to access their home country’s data that they often find restricted.
- Not only are media and shopping content modified based on geographic location, but they are also priced differently. Although this is a marketing segmentation technique, it does not always bode well with consumers. Often when they learn other countries are getting the same goods and services at a lower price, they tend to move away from that particular brand.
- Even travelers in Australia have to deal with this issue. When they are unable to access their local sites, what other choices would they have but to use a VPN?
Can Using A VPN Be Risky?
As much as a VPN contributes to security, using a VPN itself poses a few issues. These are not all that major if you know how to handle them.
- When you use a VPN, your connection speed is slowed. This also depends on the server location and the distance between you and your server.
- Just because you use a recommended VPN, does not mean it will always work. Many services are now working on VPN blocking, which could be bad news for you.
- You cannot test how well your VPN is working. In the case of data encryption, it is hard for individuals to know how strong it is.
- Some VPN providers do not have a Kill Switch. This means if there is a connection loss for any reason, your data is left without security.
- Beware of free VPN services. More often than not, they tend to log your activity and sell the data to third-parties.
Cybercrimes in Australia
Many people might not know this, but cybersecurity in Australia is a shared responsibility – between the government, the private sector, and individuals. A large portion of Australia’s digital infrastructure is owned by the private sector, not the government. Yet, cybercrimes impact all sectors and can be equally destructive.
Cybercrimes have increased in the past few years in Australia. Even in 2020, a wide range of political and private organizations have been victims of cyberattacks. The attack impacted renowned firms in financial services, defense, and healthcare. However, according to the official statement by the government, no major data breach was detected. Nevertheless, it is still a concern as to how vulnerable these systems in Australia are.
An updated cybersecurity strategy was meant to be released in 2020 but has been delayed. This strategy would require firms like banks, healthcare services, and utilities to adhere to a specific cybersecurity level set by the federal government. This would allow overall security to come to a standard and these sectors were given the highest priority.
Owing to the increased cybercrimes, the Australian Cyber Security Centre (ACSC) had been established as a portal to help individuals and businesses. This center is part of a larger mission to improve the country’s cybersecurity. The center provides information regarding cyber-attacks and how to be safe on the internet. As a part of protecting your data on public networks, they even encourage the use of a VPN.
The government’s constant efforts to improve cybersecurity include implementing new regulations and bringing necessary changes. While unprecedented changes may arrive in the future, currently, there are no specific laws against using a VPN in Australia.
Reliable VPN Services
ExpressVPN – ExpressVPN is a fast and secure VPN connection provider. It is supported by almost every operating system. ExpressVPN runs on 5 devices at the same time, with one account. The software will also encrypt your data and does not log any activity. It is a paid service and there are both monthly and yearly packages to choose from.
NordVPN – NordVPN can give you double protection, by redirecting your connection through 2 servers. You can use it on 6 devices simultaneously. It also provides data encryption. NordVPN has a large number of server locations to choose from, and do not log any of your online activities.
CyberGhost – CyberGhost has a large number of server locations. It is reliable and secure. You can use the software on 7 devices at the same time, using just one account. This is a great choice for public Wi-Fi protection. They also have a great support team for any help you need. This is a paid service, but you get a 7-day free trial before you start paying.
IPVanish – IPVanish also provides a speedy connection. Their app is user-friendly and easy to setup. It is compatible with both desktop and mobile devices. They adhere to a strict ‘no activity logging’ policy. You only need one account to run this on your devices, and you can use up to 10 devices at the same time.
Windscribe – Windscribe has server locations in 63 countries. They also give you the option for double protection. It is compatible with most operating systems, even Amazon Fire TV. It provides data encryption and does not log your activity. You can use one account in 5 devices at the same time.
There are other options available – you will be surprised by just how many. But these are the most popular. They have been used by businesses and individuals who have endorsed them. Be cautious and do further research. If anything looks fishy, back out.
VPN gives you both anonymity and security. You get the online freedom to work, play, shop, and do anything you want on the internet. However, we strongly insist you use this freedom sensibly. Do not engage in illegal activities (VPN will not save you from jail). Be wary of piracy and other cybercrimes. Enjoy what is available to you, but do not misuse information.
We hope this helps you use the internet and your privileges better. Always remember – better be safe than sorry!