Miami Top VPN, Legality, Stats, and Recommendations
The State of VPN Usage in Miami
Miami is a popular travel destination for people all across the globe. With its rich culture, gorgeous beaches and scenic cruises, there’s a lot more to Miami than meets the eye.
From a cybersecurity standpoint, the city has a long history of being a preferred target for cyber criminals. Numerous attacks have been reported over the past two years. The most recent attack, reported in February 2020, targeted the North Miami Beach Police Department. It infected the department’s computer systems with a type of ransomware. Although measures were taken to isolate the threat, the investigators weren’t able to find the culprits for the attack.
Several more attacks were reported in 2019, including ransomware as well as data breaches. Whether you’re a Miami citizen or planning to visit the city, the prevalence of cybercrime in the area only demonstrates the importance of protecting your personal data.
A VPN has been the favorite way of securing Internet connections in Miami. Individuals and businesses across the United States use a VPN exactly for this purpose.
A VPN is a bit of software that allows you to connect to the Internet safely and anonymously. It routes your connection through a server in the VPN’s network instead of your ISP’s servers.. Once you connect to a server, your data is encrypted and your IP address is replaced.
Let’s say you have a Downtown Miami IP address and choose to connect to a VPN server in Edinburgh, UK. Once connected, an Edinburgh IP address will replace your real IP address. Everything you do online will appear as if it is coming from someone in Edinburgh.
In addition, all of your data will be fully encrypted. Most VPN providers use military-grade 256-bit encryption. Anyone who attempts to intercept your information will only be able to see encrypted data.
There’s an analogy I like to use when describing how a VPN works. It’s very much like walking from your house to a local shop. Without a VPN, everyone can see you. Using a VPN is like asking someone else to shop for you at night via back alleys, fully attired in black and wearing sunglasses.
But that’s not all a VPN is about. Here, I’ll be discussing all you need to know about using a VPN in Miami.
Is it Legal to Use a VPN in Miami?
The state of Florida, which obviously includes Miami, doesn’t restrict the use of a VPN. However, VPNs are legal only if used for legitimate reasons and not for illegal or criminal activities. Doing something illegal while using a VPN is still illegal.
If you’re trying to access regionally blocked content with a VPN, you should be aware that many service providers would class this as a breach of their Terms of Service. The truth is, there are no legal restrictions to prevent you from doing so. However, attempting to access geo-blocked content could still get you into some trouble.
Netflix, for example, states that they’ll terminate any account and forfeit any funds if a VPN software is detected. Due to the popularity of VPNs as a means of bypassing their geographical restrictions, Netflix has actually started implementing VPN detection tools to find accounts that go against their ToS. Netflix’s VPN detection tools are quite sophisticated and can identify the use of VPNs pretty accurately.
What they do is they’ll match your IP address with your DNS server or investigate if your VPN-provided IP address is a shared IP address. For the most part, they’re successful. But you can easily avoid detection if you pick the right VPN provider and insist on some essential VPN features.
Why Use a VPN in Miami?
Privacy should always be a top priority when connecting to the Internet. This holds even truer if we consider the number of cyberattacks in Miami in recent years.
In June 2019, the Village of Key Biscayne was the victim of a data breach attack. It was one in a series of similar hackings that targeted surrounding areas. A week prior to this attack, Riviera Beach in South Florida was also affected by a ransomware attack. A payment of $600,000 was made to the hackers to recover the infected computer systems.
A similar incident took place in Lake City on June 10, 2019. The hackers used a malware attack that rendered a large number of network systems and telephones inoperable. Among the affected services were email systems, city utilities, and administrative departments. In the end, the city had to pay $460,000 in ransom to remove the malware. Following these attacks, officials stressed the importance of implementing appropriate security protocols to prevent cybercrime in Miami-Dade County.
Another important factor that mandates the use of a VPN is the large number of free public wireless connections available in Miami. As of writing, Miami offers a total of 87,382 free WiFi hotspots to residents and travelers. As you might be aware, public WiFi is a preferred way for cybercriminals to steal your private information. Unless you want to gamble your online security and privacy, you should take advantage of a VPN every time you connect to one of Miami’s WiFi hotspots.
The Benefits of Using a VPN in Miami
A VPN Keeps You Safe
Many of us connect to the Internet and do things online without giving it a second thought. But have you ever considered that, at any given moment, a hacker or cyber criminal might intercept the data that you transmit through your connection? It happens very often — every 39 seconds, in fact.
That’s where a VPN comes into play. Once your connection is encrypted by a VPN, no one can read your data, not even your ISP. This is especially important when accessing public wireless connections. One thing you should always keep in mind is that you can never tell if a public WiFi hotspot is what it appears to be.
Imagine you are trying to connect to a public WiFi during a visit to Little Havana. Among the various available networks is McDonalds-Wifi. Despite the seemingly reliable name, it doesn’t mean the hotspot is operated by a well-known restaurant chain. A hacker can easily create a hotspot by the same name that automatically siphons every piece of data you transmit while connected to it.
Even if you come across such a WiFi connection, a VPN can protect you against the cyber thieves on the other end and ensure your personal data stays private, regardless of where you are in Miami.
A VPN Removes Geographical Restrictions
I previously mentioned a VPN’s ability to remove geographical restrictions that some service providers place on certain content. For example, users of Netflix US don’t have access to the same content as users of Netflix UK, and vice versa. That’s because Netflix only holds licenses for content in specific areas. As such, they impose geographical restrictions to ensure that only a very specific audience has access to it.
With a VPN, you can bypass these limitations and access content anywhere in the world. Whether you want to download a game from a different country’s PlayStation Network library or watch a UK-only Netflix original series, a VPN is your best bet. By routing your connection through a server in a different country, a VPN allows you to pretend to be anywhere.
A word of caution, though. Many service providers forbid the use of VPNs to access geo-blocked content. Doing so can possibly result in your account suspension. Conduct plenty of research to ensure your VPN is suitable for accessing the content platform of your choice.
A VPN Prevents Bandwidth Throttling
We’ve all experienced random drops in connection speeds when browsing the Internet. More often than not, bandwidth throttling, or when your ISP limits your bandwidth to “improve their services”, is to blame. While this practice does in theory help to prevent network congestion, the truth is that ISPs are actually trying to save money.
Fortunately, there’s a way to make sure that your Internet speeds stay the same regardless of what you’re doing online: use a VPN. You may be wondering — how can a VPN address bandwidth throttling? Because a VPN encrypts your connection, it conceals your online activity. This means your ISP won’t know what you’re doing online or how much bandwidth you’re actually using.
The result will ultimately be more reliable connection speeds at all times.
A VPN Might Help You Save Money
Airline companies, hotel chains, and even online retailers of consumer goods are well reputed for charging different prices based on a customer’s location. A VPN is one of the few tools that will allow you to prevent price discrimination. Why pay more for a product that is better priced in a different country?
What you need to keep in mind before attempting to shop online using a VPN is that this tactic might not always prove effective. For example, if the website is using tracking cookies. If you find that the prices don’t change, try clearing your cookies and try again.
Internet Speed and VPN Accessibility
According to statistics, over 464,000 people in Florida don’t have access to a connection that is capable of 25 Mbps. Fortunately, Miami enjoys fairly good Internet speeds that range between 169 and 309 Mbps. Many will find those speeds sufficient for most of their online activities. However, while you might enjoy great speeds at home, that’s not the case with public WiFi hotspots, which are usually slower.
Since hotspots are public and likely used by a lot of people at the same time, network operators try to reduce data usage by throttling their connection. If you’ve ever tried connecting to public WiFi, you’ll likely have noticed slower connection speeds.
Nobody likes the idea of a non secure Internet connection. With cybercrime on the rise, a VPN can protect your personal information and allow you to do more online regardless of where you are in Miami.
Nonetheless, remember that not all VPN providers are the same, and they do not all provide the same level of service. It’s important to spend some time researching your options before making a choice. What I do advise is looking for a few essential features to ensure you’re enjoying the best level of protection.
For example, a no-log VPN service is always preferable because no records of your online activity will be stored anywhere. Also, a VPN service with many servers in different locations can offer the widest range of opportunities. If you don’t want your VPN to be detected, you’ll need to be able to choose from different servers every time.
Lastly, look for a service that also comes with a kill switch option to ensure no one can tell whether or not you’re using a VPN. A kill switch stops your computer from accessing the Internet when the VPN connection drops. The risk of IP address leaks will be drastically reduced.
Using a VPN is recommended whether you’re a Miami native or merely visiting for a trip to South Beach. You can never be too safe with your personal information when you go online.