Plugging the Leak

Is your VPN keeping your data private?

The whole point of using a virtual private network, also known as a VPN, is to keep the information you transmit secure. If your VPN is leaking, it's not doing its job. But, how do you know if it's working?

That's the question Ian Paul addresses in this PCWorld article. VPNs may be used at home, but are even more useful when you are away from home using public Wi-Fi hotspots. If you are using a VPN, any data transmitted online should be protected from hackers and malware. To check whether your VPN is configured and working properly, Paul recommends checking to see what IP address your device is currently showing. If your VPN is properly configured, the IP address should be the VPN's IP address, not your device's. For more in-depth inquiries, check out the various tests found on the site.

Supporting Web Links

Discussion Topics/Activities 
  1. As a class, review the concept of VPNs. You may want to refer to one of the articles found in the Supporting Web Links section for additional information.
  2. Divide the class into small groups and assign each group a VPN service to critique. Select a service from one of the lists in the Supporting Web Links section or encourage the groups to locate a VPN of their own choice. At a minimum, groups should identify the VPN, its cost, the features offered, how the service ensures privacy, and how it handles record-keeping and data security. Each group should present their findings to the class.
  3.  As an individual project, ask students to locate a current news article about the advantages and/or disadvantages of using a VPN. Students should identify the article and write a brief synopsis of it.


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