Following the federal government’s decision to ban the microblogging site Twitter on Friday, Nigerians have been downloading Virtual Private Networks (VPN) in order to access it.

Telecom operators in the country have already confirmed that they have received orders to block their subscribers from using the social media app.

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A VPN is an important step toward achieving digital anonymity.

However, there are a few risks associated with their use.

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To begin, users should avoid conducting bank transactions through VPN because it functions similarly to a router. This means that it reroutes your request, avoiding network providers, and that your transactions can be tracked.

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Furthermore, viruses and malware continue to be a threat because most VPNs do not protect your device from viruses or malware.

VPNs frequently slow down your connection speed by 10-25 percent, depending on the service, due to encryption overhead.

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The worst-case scenario is that VPNs can provide your data to government authorities. Even if the provider promises not to sell the data, there is still a risk that it will be stored at all.

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