Every time you connect to the internet you are being tracked and logged. Someone is watching. A VPN can help to limit that activity and adding one to an Android phone or tablet can increase your privacy and security.

What is a VPN?

A VPN (Virtual Private Network) is a way of connecting computers together privately, even across public networks. A VPN client is run on a mobile phone, tablet or computer and this connects to a VPN server over the internet. Non-one can tell what information is passed between the two because of the security methods and encryption used. It prevents anyone eavesdropping on the communication or intercepting it.

What is a VPN for?

If you connect your phone/tablet/computer to a VPN server with a secure connection over the internet. What then? A VPN server could be run by a company, so when an employee connects to the server it provides access to the company network. It enables employees on the road to access the company network and its resources while out of the office.

There is another use and this is to make browsing the web more private and more secure. When you access a website, the web server can see your IP address, operating system, web browser, location, and other information. It does not have enough information to personally identify you, but it gets a lot of general information.

If you connect to a VPN and then browse a website, what happens is that your phone/tablet/computer sends the URL to the VPN server. The VPN server fetches the web page and the forwards it to you, securely and encrypted. The website gets the details of the VPN server, not you, because the VPN server requested the web page and your ISP can't see what page you requested because the communication between you and the VPN server is encrypted.

As you browse the web, the VPN server fetches web pages for you and so you are hidden. If someone eavesdrops or intercepts the communications, they see only the website and the VPN server. They won’t know who the VPN server is fetching the web page for.

Websites will not know your location because they only see the VPN server. Wherever the VPN server is located, which could be in any country in the world, is where you appear to live. This can sometimes be useful. For example, news stories, companies, products and services returned by searches use your location and if you appear to be in another country, you see local information that is specific to that country.

CyberGhost for Android

There are many VPN clients for Android and a popular one is CyberGhost. It allows unlimited anonymous and secure web browsing. When you run CyberGhost it tells you the network you are connected to. You can either trust it, which case a normal internet connection is used, or tap Protect Me! And CyberGhost sets up a VPN.

A little ghost icon in the top left corner of the screen tells you that you are connected. Here I have set my location to Paris, France.

CyberGhost VPN for Android . CyberGHost for Android

CyberGhost has VPN servers located in many different countries and in Automatic mode one is selected for you, probably one in  your own country, but you can tap Country at the top and select a different country. There are two columns, one with free servers and one with premium servers. There are around 23 free servers for people that don’t want to create an account, and around 300 premium ones for subscribers.

CyberGhost for Android . CyberGhost VPN for Android

After connecting with CyberGhost on the mobile phone or tablet, you can open a web browser and browse the web in the usual way, but anonymously. If you see any requests to reveal your location, it is up to you do this. Your phone has GPS and knows exactly where you are and it can send your real location to the website. This can be useful if you want local shops and services, but it is not useful if you want to pretend to be elsewhere in the world.

CyberGHost keeps logs of your activity and you can see the session duration, how much data has been sent and received, and so on. It can remember the Wi-Fi networks you trust and ones you don't, which need a secure VPN connection. Use it at Wi-Fi hotspots and other public locations where you want a secure and private internet connection.

There are a few extra features if you become a subscriber, but free mode is pretty good.

TitleCyberGhost - Free VPN and Proxy
Price: Free
Developer: Cyberghost SRL
Size: 24 MB
Android: 4.0 and up