Do You Need A VPN When Running Linux?

Lately, internet users (read: everyone) are in a bit of a frenzy regarding online security. Antivirus and antimalware software is soaring in popularity. There are a million VPN apps for your smartphone (most of which don’t work). And everyone is telling you to stop what you're doing and subscribe to one.
But why do you really need a VPN?
And is there any particular reason for a Linux user to get one?
How can one hide their IP address on the internet?
The online world is dangerous
It should be no secret by now that the online world is dangerous. As much as we like to pretend we’re perfectly safe, the truth is that our very identities are on the line. Take the recent Equifax breach in the U.S. as an example. This credit checking service that many people had forgotten they'd once subscribed to, leaked so much information that almost half the population of America is at risk of identity theft.
But if we really stop to think about it, there are easier ways to get a hold of your identity than hacking a big company. Hackers can go directly after you, through your unsecured network. What they'll do once they’re “in” might range from installing malicious software to stealing directly from your bank account.

And yes, a VPN is not going to magically protect you from master hackers. Persistent hackers can find a way through your security… eventually. But unless you're a politician or celebrity or have some level of national or international importance, they're not going to go to those lengths. In a neighbourhood that doesn't lock its doors, one wall looks very daunting.
If you're convinced, have a look at the best VPNs for 2017.
But for Linux users, there’s another reason why VPNs are so attractive.
The internet should be open
There will always be a battle between those of us who believe in open access to information and those who want to hoard it. Big companies try to prevent access to content so that they can squeeze out a few extra bucks.
We see this time and time again with regional blocks on content, whether music, movies, TV series, or games. Companies prevent us from getting access at a reasonable price. And they don’t do it for the artists’ sakes. Record companies have for decades overcharged for albums, and only streaming forced them to change their approach.

So too with television. Some content you just cannot get in India, for example. And although no one benefits from regional blocks, companies simply cannot let go, for fear that consumers might find that affordable, open access is a worthwhile pursuit.

VPNs give us a way to continue using the internet as we should – with no frustrating censorship, with access to content no matter where we are, and without spending mountains of money on what we should be able to access for free.