Allan has suggested, several times, for others here @Aantares to checkout Australia websites which have access LIMITED to those within that country. There are ways to gain access, if one is willing to do a little homework and perhaps spend a few bucks. However; Australia is not the only country which may be of interest. For example; if one is traveling abroad and needs to access their HOME/OTHER countries, one may find that access is being BLOCKED (for one reason or another). Additionally; one might desire to maintain both privacy and security when sharing files, or video chatting, or banking online, etc.
Using a VPN could provide both privacy and security (and access which otherwise is being BLOCKED). NOT ALL VPNs are created equal. Some keep LOGS of access, some cost more than others, some can access countries which others can not access... then too, some might be set-up with a nefarious intent, to trick unsuspecting users.
If/when choosing any VPN, do your homework before committing to it. Here are some sites which review VPNs:
6 Best VPNs for Australia – Fast, Secure & Affordable!
The Best VPNs for Australia
au.pcmag.com: The Best VPN Services For 2020
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I used surf easy as a free vpn, a few times in Hong Kong. It has a limit of the amount of data but it allowed me to pay a Dish Network Bill!
I’m not as crazy about Norton’s, which seems to be more complicated and harder to use, and turn off, but it came with my last iteration of security software an no extras cost that I recall.
I had used one of the 2 to access the SBC for Australia though, which was nice.
Thanks for sharing your experience, Reed.
Personally, I never use a "free VPN" for anything to do with any of my accounts (where a username/password LOG-IN is required). I understand that sometimes might be necessary for others to do, but I'll deal with closed/delinquent/locked accounts if it ever comes to that.
My neighbor spent more than an hour telling wifey and me about how screwed-up her accounts have gotten (lost money, can't get into her email or FB for example, etc.) Frankly, I think everyone should use 2-tier log-in methods (i.e. be required to get a one-time-passcode via text message, and enter that, before being allowed in with their usual username&password). She doesn't use strong passwords and has not used 2-tier log-in methods... but she now MIGHT do that (at least I hope so, for her sake)
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In general, I don’t use free vpns for much, surf easy could be turned off too. I just needed to set an ip so that a bill could be paid and be read as an ip that wasn’t banned from the site. There was only on Bill. The bills my husband pays are set to require you send money from a specific account. Normally those are paid hardwired when away from home but that wasn’t working.
Similarly with Australia I’ve told the system that I’m there when I’m not! The other instance was a downloaded movie renewal which I needed to be in the US per Amazon.
Bill paying was the only thing I was a bit Leary of, and it was a onetime deal. Still could have been broken into if someone was really good. It was a satellite switch that caused the problem until then we had shown miami as home ip. Which is where the server was.
I guess I used a vpn at home to connect to a school computer but that was because that’s the way the tunneling was set up.
I now have a paid vpn as I felt this last spring I would again need one in the Indian Ocean. Ultimate I never got there!
From our previous exchanges, I know that you knew all that and exercise caution online. But, I just wanted those precautions to be here for lurkers. Too many disregard such precautions and wonder why they get hacked and/or become victims of identity theft (my neighbor is an example). Such losses are in the billion$, IIRC.
Later Edited to Add:
Now, granted, many companies use these STATS as scare tactics (wanting more customers to spend money on their Credit-Monitoring and ID-theft services).
If one simply puts a FREE security/credit reporting freeze (links to FTC's website) on the ability of all three credit bureaus to send reports to "any inquiry" ... then one is pretty much "protected" (because, additionally, most banks & credit cards have ZERO LIABILITY and/or Free FICO-Score/Credit-Monitoring and/or FDIC/CUNA insurance against accounts' fraud).
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I hear you, we often sound the same! And a security course I took to graduate recently didn’t improve my feeling of safety either!
I had a credit card number stolen twice, about 20 years apart! Both companies quickly stopped the cards. The last one was more if they because we were in Antartica! We always have copies of passports, credit cards etc. so that if stolen we have some semblance of resource for recovery. Until you lose all your identification you have no idea How hard it is to function! A colleague had her rental house catch fire. She’d fallen asleep downstairs so she got out with her coat and not much else. People gave heck but she couldn’t cash them and md DMV was down so she couldn’t quickly it her DL replaced for 2 weeks. What a mess!