You can use many methods to protect against cyberattacks, including strong passwords, antivirus software, a virtual private network (VPN), privacy-focused browsers, and more. Tap or click here for our list of essential privacy tools that help you stay safe online.
A VPN puts a layer of protection between you and the internet. Rather than connecting to a potentially unsecured server, your internet traffic goes through an encrypted tunnel, securing data traveling both ways. This hides your IP address, encrypts internet traffic and protects your browser history.
You’ll want to secure all your devices with a VPN to stay protected, including your smart TV. The benefits of a VPN go beyond security.
Watch movies not available in your area
When a VPN assigns you a new IP address, it can be used to spoof your location to anywhere that the VPN service retains servers, including other countries. The benefit is that you can get around geoblocking and watch streaming content that may not be available in your area.
The biggest streaming services have a global network, and their content differs between regions. A title can move between regions, becoming available in one while leaving another. Another title may be exclusively available in one area and never shown elsewhere.
Simply change your location through your VPN and log into your streaming accounts. You’ll see content based on the location you chose.
Note: Using a VPN can lead to your ISP throttling your connection, but a good VPN will prevent this.
Live sports/local TV
Using a VPN can give you access to more than just exclusive streaming content. You can catch sporting events from different countries, which is great if you’re into a sport that’s not so popular in the U.S., such as cricket, field hockey, rugby and more. Even if a live event is available here, you may prefer the coverage and commentary from another region.
The same principles apply to local TV. YouTube TV, Hulu Live, DirecTV Stream, Sling TV and others offer live TV streaming that can vary by region or even the city. Changing your location will let you watch local content from that area.
Keep your ISP from collecting all of your data
Your internet service provider gives you access to the internet in exchange for a subscription fee. The deal should end there, but it doesn’t. ISPs are known to spy on your activity to learn more about you. This can be used to target you with advertising.
According to the FTC, your location history, TV habits, search history, and even the content of your emails are being collected by ISPs. This information not only helps to build a profile of you and hit you with personalized ads but the data can also be sold to third parties. Tap or click here for our report on invasive ISP practices.
The good news is that a VPN hides your web activity from cybercriminals and your ISP. Nobody can identify you or your device, as all your traffic goes through the VPN’s server.
RELATED: The danger of free VPNs
We recommend ExpressVPN
Our sponsor, ExpresssVPN, secures all your devices, including your desktop, laptop, smartphone, tablet or streaming device. ExpressVPN has 3,000 servers in 160 locations across 94 countries, so you’ll always be able to find one that works best for you.
Here are some benefits you’ll get for choosing ExpressVPN:
- Browse anonymously, so your ISP isn’t tracking you.
- Unblock websites and bypass filters, and change your location to anywhere you want.
- Hide your IP address and avoid targeted ads and trackers.
- Works on Windows, Mac, Linux and Apple and Android phones.
- Easy to set up and use in just two clicks.
- Fast and doesn’t slow you down while keeping hackers and thieves out.
- 24-hour chat help whenever you need it.
You can set up the ExpressVPN native app on your Android TV, Fire TV and Chromecast with Google TV. This gives you a simple interface and lets you change your location right from your TV while enjoying the privacy benefits of Express VPN.
Simply search for “expressvpn” on your Android TV, Fire device or Chromecast device and download/install the app. Then log in to your ExpressVPN account to activate the app and follow the onscreen instructions for setup.
When you’re done, you can connect to a default VPN server location or change to any other available server location. You can use ExpressVPN on your TV in other ways. Tap or click here for more information on how to set it up on your TV.