How To Get The Best VPN For New York In February 2024
The State of VPNs in New York City
When it comes to cybercrime, New York City is a common target. Remember the Erie County Medical Center cyberattack in 2018? The attackers used ransomware in an attempt to extract $30,000 in ransom from the New York hospital. ECMC refused to pay the ransom, which proved even more costly. To the tune of $10 million.
That’s just one example of a New York City cyberattack. A more recent attack targeted an upstate New York airport in December 2019. The hackers encrypted budget spreadsheets and other files, some of which were placed on backup servers. A ransomware was then used to demand a bitcoin ransom of “under six figures” to restore the infected computer systems.
It’s easy to see that residing in or traveling to New York City can make you vulnerable to cybercrime. That’s why using a VPN in New York is so important. Not only can it protect you against cyber thieves, it can also prevent data collection and reduce bandwidth throttling. By using a VPN, you can enjoy peace of mind every time you go online, whether it’s for five minutes or several hours.
Keep reading to find out more about New York VPNs and their benefits.
Is it Legal to Use a VPN in New York City?
New York City doesn’t forbid the use of a VPN so long as it’s used for legal reasons. Just because a VPN provides you with a safe and anonymous way to connect to the Internet, it doesn’t make it any less illegal to, say, torrent copyrighted material.
You’re free to browse the Internet, stream movies, play online games, download files, chat with friends, look for directions on a map, and more. Even accessing geo-blocked content is possible with a New York VPN. However, keep in mind that most service providers usually prohibit doing so. Netflix, for example, is notorious for forbidding the use of a VPN when watching movies or other series. Their Terms of Service explicitly state that doing so can result in your account suspension.
Another aspect to remember is that online poker is generally considered illegal in New York. This includes areas such as Brooklyn, Manhattan and Staten Island. That’s why many gambling enthusiasts choose to use a VPN to access online casinos. Thus, they choose to connect to a server in a location where online poker is permitted — for example, Delaware or Nevada. Attempting to access an online poker site located somewhere else in the US might prove a fruitless effort. These sites use a combination of geolocation software and cell phone triangulation to identify the actual location of a player.
Some online casinos only allow gambling through a proprietary app capable of detecting whether you’re using a VPN. If a VPN is detected, they will suspend your account and forfeit your funds.
Don’t fret too much, though. You can still play poker online if you use a New York VPN that’s equipped with a kill switch option. What makes a kill switch so useful is its ability to prevent IP address leaks if your VPN connection drops. It stops your computer from connecting to the Internet as soon as your VPN stops working, thereby preventing accidental exposure of your real IP address. Even if something happens and your VPN connection does drop, the online casinos won’t be able to tell that you used a VPN at all.
Why Use a VPN in New York City?
Looking back at the city’s history of cybercrime, there’s no doubt as to whether you should use a VPN. The entire state of New York is, in fact, frequently targeted by cyber thieves. According to Seculore, there have already been over seven cyberattacks in 2020. These attacks affected different organizations and departments across the state.
The most recent attack, which occurred at the end of February 2020, affected Crossroads Technologies. The company supports the electronic health records of Personal-Touch Home Care, a home healthcare brand . While the investigation is still ongoing, the company has already notified over 157,000 patients that their personal information might have been exposed during the ransomware attack. The information included medical treatment information, medical record numbers, names, dates of birth, and SSNs.
In January, a different cyberattack hit the town of Colonie in New York. This time, it targeted the Colonie police as well as other departments and services in the town. However, no personal information was compromised during the attack and the town’s computer systems didn’t suffer.
The NYPD’s fingerprint system was also shut down by a virus in November 2019. The attack took place when an infected NUC mini-PC was plugged into the department’s computer systems, affecting 23 machines. The virus was later identified as ransomware, but it was never executed. Nonetheless, the NYPD decided to shut down LiveScan and also to reinstall software on 200 computers as a precaution. Only .1% of the department’s computers were affected.
Public WiFi is Unreliable
Let’s not forget the data breaches that often affect those connected to public WiFi. In New York City alone, there are WiFi hotspots at the LinkNYC kiosks popping up on sidewalks all over town. Not to mention the free WiFi hotspots provided by local restaurants, bars, cafes, and libraries. Go into any pub in Bronx or Brooklyn and you’ll surely get access to some kind of public WiFi.
The use of a VPN is decidedly important for New York residents and visitors alike. Unless you’re ready and willing to gamble away your online privacy, you should use a VPN every time you connect to the Internet.
The Benefits of Using a VPN in New York City
Stay Safe from Cybercriminals
The fact of matter is, cyber thieves are constantly looking for new victims to target. Every time you go online, your device transmits data. You may never think about it, but this data can almost always be intercepted by dubious individuals. Unless encrypted, criminals can read and use it at any time — often for purposes that aren’t altogether good or noble.
With a VPN, you can enjoy the best level of privacy and security no matter where you are in New York. This is especially important when connecting to the Internet using public WiFi, which is often unsecured. For example, the wireless connection available throughout the city or the networks operated by local cafes and restaurants. A VPN encrypts your data by using a combination of hash algorithms and encryption keys. It makes your personal information completely unreadable. For example, instead of an alphanumeric password, what a hacker will see is a string of letters and numbers that make no sense to whoever intercepts it.
Whatever your purpose for using a VPN, you’ll enjoy the same level of privacy and security wherever you go online.
Prevent Data Collection by Your ISPs
You’ve surely heard that ISPs are in the habit of collecting and storing logs of your online activity. Because information is transmitted through servers owned by them, they can see exactly what you do online. More often than not, your data ends up in the hands of advertisers, who then give you targeted ads based on your recent activity.
But a lesser known fact is that your ISP can be required to share these records with government and surveillance agencies. That’s because the US is a member of various international surveillance agencies, such as the “Five Eyes”, “Nine Eyes” and “Fourteen Eyes”. The member countries of these agencies gather mass surveillance data and agree to share information with each other freely.
That’s where a VPN comes into play. Because a VPN fully encrypts your data, your online activity won’t be visible to your ISP. In other words, they won’t be able to share this data with any third party. They can’t access your browsing history, view your private chat history, or see what apps you’re using.
Access Regionally Blocked or Censored Material
You are, no doubt, aware that some websites and service providers restrict access to certain content to users located in specific areas or countries. Common examples are Netflix and PlayStation, who provide different content depending on a user’s location.
But did you know a VPN has the ability to bypass these regional restrictions? If you think about it, a VPN is basically a bit of software that replaces your IP address with the IP address of a server in a location of your choice. Let’s say you’re in Manhattan or Queens and want to spoof your location to Florida. All you have to do is connect to a VPN server in Florida. It’s as easy as that.
Similarly, you can choose to connect to a server in a completely different country, such as the UK. If you want to stream movies only available on Netflix UK, you can do so with a VPN. The same applies for shopping on a website in a different country, such as France.
Get Faster and More Reliable Connection Speeds
Here’s yet another benefit of a VPN: in certain situations, it can make your connection speed faster. Because your connection is transmitted through a virtual private tunnel, your ISP won’t be able to tell what you’re doing online. You could play multiplayer games, stream high-definition movies and videos, or download large files. Since your VPN encrypts all this information, your online activity remains fully private. As a result, your ISP can’t throttle your connection.
ISPs are well known for actively throttling the bandwidth of users they associate with heavy data usage. If you frequently download very large files, they’ll almost certainly throttle your connection. The reason for placing caps on how much bandwidth you can use is to avoid network congestion.
If you use a VPN in Staten Island, you’ll avoid bandwidth throttling and avoid any connection slowdowns from your ISP.
Internet Speed and VPN Accessibility
New York City enjoys faster Internet speeds compared to many other cities in the country. Looking at the numbers, we can see that as much as 98.4 percent of New York citizens have access to Internet speeds of 25Mbps and above. It’s the fourth most connected state in the country, with 98% broadband coverage.
In terms of VPN accessibility, you’ll find a large number of providers with an equally large number of servers located across the globe. Most of these services also offer a selection of features that will make your experience far more convenient and enjoyable.
What I do recommend when choosing a New York VPN service is making sure that you’re getting a no-logs service with a kill switch option. A no-log policy will ensure that no records of your online activity will be stored by the VPN provider. A kill switch will protect against IP address leaks if the VPN connection drops at any point.
This is especially important if you’re planning to access geo-blocked content or play poker using an online casino. If your IP address gets exposed at any time, you risk having your account suspended.
If you haven’t been using a VPN, now is an excellent time to start. I’ve listed their benefits as well as my preferred VPN providers above to help you make an informed decision.
Don’t forget that cybercrime threats are everywhere, and more often than not they’re very difficult to identify. Just because a public WiFi hotspot is named “Starbucks-WiFi” doesn’t mean it’s owned or operated by a Starbucks cafe. It could be a false hotspot created by a cyber thief looking for their next victim. You need to be aware of potential risks and exercise a bit of caution.
Fortunately, a New York VPN can prevent many of the potential dangers lurking in the shadows. If you spend a lot of time outdoors and are in the habit of using public WiFi, you need a VPN now. Remember that you’ll need to always be connected to a VPN server to enjoy maximum protection. Just a few seconds without a VPN are enough to allow unscrupulous individuals access to your information.