VPNs, or virtual private networks, continue to be used by millions of people to disguise their internet activity by encrypting their location and web traffic.

But in the modern internet, most people can safely drop them thanks to the widespread use of encryption that has made public internet connections far less of a security threat, say cybersecurity experts.

“Most commercial VPNs are snake oil for security reasons,” said Nicholas Weaver, professor of cybersecurity at the University of California, Berkeley. “They don’t improve your security at all.”

It’s a development that shows how the cybersecurity landscape has changed: hackers are less likely to target people’s individual devices and instead focus on the credentials of their most important accounts.

For years, experts warned that it was dangerous for the average person to use WiFi in a public place like a coffee shop without taking steps to disguise their internet traffic. Someone shares a …

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