VPN stands for Virtual Private Network and it allows you to create a secure network connection while using public networks. VPNs protect your internet traffic and hide your identity online. Third parties cannot track you online or steal your data, because VPN is in use and the encryption is done in real-time.
About Virtual Private Network VPN
VPNs hide your IP address by redirecting it through a VPN host. The VPN server is the source of all your data when you surf the internet with a VPN. Your Internet Service Provider (ISP), and any third parties, cannot see what websites you visit online or the data that you send and receive online. VPN acts as a filter to turn all your data into “gibberish”. It would not matter if anyone had access to your data.
What are the advantages of using a VPN connection to access your computer?
VPN connections disguise your data traffic online and protect it from outside access. Anyone with network access can view unencrypted data. Hackers and cybercriminals can’t decipher the data.
VPN servers can disguise your location: Your actual location cannot be established because the data is derived from a server located in another country. Most VPN services don’t keep logs of your activities. While some providers may record your activities, they do not share this information with third parties. Any potential record of user behavior is therefore permanently hidden.
Secure encryption: An encryption key is required to read the data. It would take millions of years to crack the code if a brute force attack occurred. Your online activities can be hidden even from public networks with good VPN. And for such crucial service, we recommend Surfshark VPN, which happens to be one of the best top-rated VPN service with fair price. Check Surfshark pricing in a nutshell.
Access to regional content: It is not always possible to access regional web content from anywhere. Many websites and services have content that is only accessible from certain areas of the globe. Standard connections use local servers within the country to determine your geographical location. This means you can’t access content at home when you travel, nor can you access international content from your home. VPN location spoofing allows you to switch to another server and “change” your geographical location.
Secure data transfer: This information is sensitive and requires a secure connection. A VPN connection is required to gain access the network. VPN services connect to private servers using encryption methods to minimize data leakage.
Why use a VPN connection when you can connect from anywhere?
When you connect to the internet, your ISP will usually set up your connection. Your IP address is what it uses to track you. Your internet traffic is routed through the servers of your ISP, which can log everything you do online.
Although your ISP may appear trustworthy, it could share your browsing history with advertisers or the government. Cyber criminals can also attack ISPs. If they hack, your private and personal data could be compromised.
This is particularly important if your internet connection is frequent to public Wi-Fi networks. It is possible that someone may be monitoring your internet traffic, and they could steal your passwords or payment information.
What is a good VPN supposed to do?
Your VPN should be able to complete one or more tasks. Compromised VPNs should be also protected. These are the essential features that you can expect from a comprehensive VPN service.
- Encryption and hiding of your IP address: This is the primary function of a VPN. This allows you to send or receive information online with no risk to anyone except you and your VPN provider.
- Encryption protocols: A VPN should prevent you leaving any trace, such as your internet history, search history, and cookies. It is important to encrypt cookies because it protects confidential information like financial and personal information from being accessed by third parties.
- Two-factor authentication: A strong VPN uses a variety authentication methods to verify that everyone tries to log on. You might be asked to enter a password and a code will be sent to your mobile phone. Uninvited third parties cannot access your secure connection.
- The kill switch: Your VPN connection will be cut if it is suddenly disrupted. A VPN that is reliable can detect this and terminate selected programs to reduce the chance of data being compromised.
History Around VPNs
Since the dawn of internet use, there has been a movement for encryption and protection of internet browser data. In the 1960s, the US Department of Defense was already involved in projects that aimed to encrypt internet communications data.
The predecessors to the VPN
Their efforts led them to create ARPANET (Advanced Research Projects Agency Network), which was a packet switching network that led to the development and implementation of the Transfer Control Protocol/Internet Protocol.
TCP/IP was divided into four levels: link, internet, transport, and application. The internet level allowed local networks and devices to be connected to the global network. This is where the risks of exposure were most apparent. A 1993 collaboration between AT&T Bell Labs and Columbia University led to the creation of a type of modern VPN known as swIPe. This protocol uses software IP encryption.
Wei Xu, an employee of Microsoft, developed the IPSec network in the next year. This internet security protocol authenticates and encrypts information sent online. Gurdeep Singh-Pall, a Microsoft employee, created a Peer-to-Peer Tunneling Protocol in 1996.
VPNs in the early days
Singh-Pall was also responsible for developing PPTP. The internet was growing in popularity, and the demand for sophisticated security systems that could be used by consumers became urgent. Anti-virus programs had been in place for years to prevent spyware and malware from infecting computers. People and companies began to demand encryption software that could conceal their browsing history online.
Although the first VPNs were created in 2000, they were almost exclusively used for business purposes. After a series of security breaches in the early 2000s, however, VPNs began to be popular among consumers.
Current use of VPNs
GlobalWebIndex reports that the number of VPN users has increased fourfold in the past year, according to their data. One in five internet users use a VPN in countries like Thailand, Indonesia, and China where internet access is restricted or censored. The percentage of VPN users in the USA, Great Britain, and Germany is around 5% but it is increasing.
The increasing demand for content that has geo-restricted access is one of the main drivers for VPN adoption. Some video streaming services like Netflix and YouTube restrict access to certain countries. You can use modern VPNs to encrypt your IP address to make it appear that you are surfing from another country. This allows you to access the content from any location.
Here are some tips to surf safely with a VPN
Your surfing behaviour is encrypted by a VPN. This key can only be decoded by your ISP. This key is only known by your VPN and your computer, so your ISP can’t see where you are surfing. Although VPNs may use different encryption methods, they all work in the same three steps.
- Start your VPN once you have connected to the internet. VPN acts as a secure tunnel between your computer and the internet. This tunnel is not detected by your ISP or any third party.
- Now your device is connected to the VPN network. You can change your IP address to one provided by the VPN server.
- The VPN protects your personal data so you can surf the web at your leisure.
What type of VPNs do you have?
Although there are many types of VPNs available, you should be familiar with these three types.
1. SSL VPN
Many employees don’t have access to company laptops that they can use for work at home. Many companies were faced with the challenge of having sufficient equipment during the spring 2020 corona crisis. In these cases, companies often resort to private devices (PCs, tablets, smartphones, and laptops). Companies often resort to SSL-VPN solutions, which are usually implemented using a hardware box.
A HTML-5-capable browser is required in order to access the company’s login page. HTML-5-capable browsers are available on virtually every operating system. You will need a username and password to gain access.
2. Site-to-site VPN
Site-to-site VPNs are essentially private networks that hide private intranets, and allow users to access each others’ resources.
If you have multiple locations within your company with their own local area networks (LANs) connected to the WAN, a site-to-site VPN can be useful. Site-to-site VPNs can also be useful if there are two intranets that you wish to share files with each other without any users accessing them.
Large companies use site-to-site VPNs most often. These VPNs are more difficult to set up and offer less flexibility than SSL VPNs. They are however the best way to ensure communication between large departments.
3. Client-to-Server VPN
You can think of connecting via VPN client as if your home computer were connected to the company’s network using an extension cable. Employees can connect to the company network via the secure connection from their home and act as though they are in the office. A VPN client must be installed on the computer before it can be used.
This means that the user is not connected to the internet through his ISP but establishes a direct connection via his/her VPN provider. This reduces the time it takes to establish a VPN connection. Instead of creating an encryption tunnel to hide the internet connection, the VPN will encrypt data before it is available to the user.
This VPN is becoming more common and is especially useful for providers of unsecure public WLAN. It blocks third parties from accessing or compromising the network connection, and encrypts all data until it reaches the provider. It prevents ISPs accessing data that is not encrypted.
This type of VPN access offers greater efficiency and universal access for company resources. An employee can connect to the network with a headset, and pretend that he/she is at work if the appropriate telephone system exists. Customers of the company can’t tell if the employee is working in the company or at home.
How do I set up a VPN on my computer
It is important to familiarize yourself with the various implementation methods before installing a VPN.
For standalone VPN clients, software must be installed. The software must be configured to meet the needs of the endpoint. The endpoint creates the VPN tunnel by connecting to another endpoint and executing the VPN link. This step is usually required by companies. The firewall will recognize this connection as authorized by using either a certificate or password. The employee can then identify himself/herself using credentials that are known to him/her.
VPN extensions are available for most web browsers, including Google Chrome and Firefox. Opera has its own integrated VPN extensions. Users can quickly change and configure their VPN connection while surfing the web with extensions. The VPN connection can only be used for information shared within this browser. Other browsers, and other internet use outside of the browser (e.g. The VPN cannot encrypt online games.
Although browser extensions may not be as complete as VPN clients, they can still be a good option for those who use the internet occasionally and want extra security. They are more vulnerable to hacking. It is important that users choose a trusted extension. Data harvesters might attempt to use fake VPN extensions. Data harvesting refers to the collection of personal information, such as that used by marketing strategists to create a profile of you. Advertising content can then be tailored to your needs.
It may be simpler to set up a VPN directly on the router rather than installing a separate VPN on each of the devices. If you need to protect devices that have a difficult to configure internet connection, like smart TVs, a router VPN can be very useful. You can also access restricted content via your home entertainment system.
It is simple to set up a router VPN. This ensures that your network remains secure and private, as well as preventing insecure devices from logging on. It may be harder to manage if your router doesn’t have its own user interface. This could result in incoming connections being blocked.
VPN for Company
A company VPN is a customized solution that requires technical support and setup. The IT department usually creates the VPN for you. Your company can log your data and activities. You have no administrative control over the VPN. This reduces the risk of data leakage and allows the company to manage it. A corporate VPN has the main benefit of providing a secure connection to the intranet and server for the company, even for employees working outside the company.
Is it possible to use a VPN on my phone or other devices as well?
There are many VPN options available for smartphones and other internet connected devices. If you store personal data, payment information, or surf the web on your smartphone, a VPN is a must-have. Many VPN providers offer mobile solutions, many of which are available directly through Google Play or Apple App Stores.
Are VPNs really that secure?
VPNs are not designed to replace antivirus software. VPN connections can protect your IP address and your internet history but they do not protect your computer against outside intrusion. Anti-virus software or application is recommended to do this. A VPN alone will not protect you against viruses, Trojans, bots, or other malware.
The malware can infect your computer and steal your data. To ensure maximum security, you should use a VPN in conjunction with an anti-virus program.
Choose a VPN provider that is secure
You should also make sure that you trust your VPN provider. Your ISP can’t see your internet traffic but your VPN provider can. Your VPN provider can be compromised. It is important to choose a reliable VPN provider in order to conceal your internet activity and provide the highest level security.