The term VPN stands for Virtual Private Network and is an online security encryption system used to safely and privately access the web. It encodes the data you send over the internet so that only authorized individuals are able to access it.
Typically, traffic sent via VPN is in the form of end-to-end encryption, whereby data is encrypted by the internet user and decrypted on the other end by the receiver. This way the information stays totally confidential since nobody can intercept it in-between.
How does VPN Encryption Work?
In a VPN system, the internet devices found at each side of the tunnel encrypt data entering them and decrypt it on the opposite side. Nevertheless, a VPN requires more than some few keys to do the encryption. They also use connectivity protocols such as Internet Protocol Security (IPSec), or Generic Routing Encapsulation (GRE) to provide structure on how to enclose the passenger protocol to be conveyed through the web protocol. Generally, this framework covers details about the kind of packet that you’re encapsulating, as well as the connection existing between data sender and receiver.
For VPNs that use remote-access encryption, tunneling is mainly done through a Point-to-Point Protocol (PPP) which forms part of the original protocols that the worldwide web uses.
Reasons Why You Need a VPN Encryption
On a basic level, VPN technology helps users to protect their online activity and stay anonymous while browsing the internet. It also allows people to bypass geographical internet restrictions and access content from anywhere around the globe. Some of the benefits of using this technology include:
I. Confidentiality. Through it, you can surf the internet privately without leaving behind identifying footprints such as logs, which may otherwise be used by hackers to locate you.
II. Remote access. It doesn’t matter whether you’re travelling abroad and would still want to browse the internet undetected, VPN allows you to do so regardless of where you are in the world.
III. Improved speed and performance. Since VPN is not tied to any particular internet service provider (ISP), users can connect to any network around the world that provides the fastest web speeds. You don’t have to worry about any downtime since you can simply switch from one network to another across different countries in case the server you are using is slow.
IV. Ability to unblock websites and bypass filters. The tool allows you to access blocked sites that you may otherwise not be able to reach if your IP address was open to everyone. Likewise, you can bypass web-filters such as those that are applied in countries that use internet censorship.
V. High-security levels. Unlike search apps such as Mozilla or Google Chrome that only provide basic encryption that can be breached by experienced hackers, VPN is totally secure as it uses an incorruptible protocol that keeps your data completely safe from fraudsters. Furthermore, the program allows you to share files easily across groups, especially if you have data that needs to be shared within a group for lengthy periods of time.
What is Encryption Strength?
Encryption strength refers to the number of bits present in the key used for encrypting data during an internet session, generally the larger the number the harder it takes for computers to decode the enciphered data.
By and large, encryption strength depends on the type of VPN that you are using, though it’s recommended to go for those with 128/256-bit bulk encryption for the best outcomes in terms of online security. One of the strongest 128-bit form encryptions available today is Advanced Encryption Standard (AES), which is also used by the U.S government and several other high-level institutions. Even though it mainly operates within the 128-bit form, some AES encryptions also support 192 and 256 bits for even more advanced security.
This encryption is largely considered hack proof, and many experts in the data security sector also believe it will soon become the ultimate measure of online security.
Yet another strong VPN encryption system is RSA, which is a public-key coded algorithm used for protecting data sent over the web. RSA is widely considered a form of the asymmetric algorithm because of its reliance on key pairs. There’s a public key used to encrypt data as it travels through the internet and a private key on the receiving side for decrypting it. As a result, RSA encryption is a complex set of numbers that will scare away any attackers or hackers attempting to access your data.
It stands for Point-to-Point Tunneling Protocol and is among the oldest VPN protocols still being used today. The program is very easy to set-up and also very fast thus making it suitable for audio and video streaming over the internet. It’s a network that supports encryptions of 40-bit and 128-bit, including any other authentication program supported by point-to-point protocol (PPP). However, its structural authentication protocols are fundamentally insecure, and therefore PPTP may not be the best choice for cases whereby anonymity is absolutely necessary.
The term L2TP is the short form for Layer 2 Tunneling Protocol, it’s a standard system for relaying L2 traffic through an IP network. This encryption protocol is particularly useful for its ability to transfer any kind of L2 data format across an IP, or even other L3 (Layer 3) networks.
L2TP connections rely on two main components which are; the tunnel and a web session. The tunnel offers a reliable means of conveying between two L2TP Control Connection Endpoints (LCCEs), and relays only control packets. On the other hand, a session is usually contained inside the tunnel and bears user data.
This protocol combines aspects of both PPTP and L2F, plus it fully supports IPSec and is useable in most site-to-site VPNs. L2F is another encryption system also known as Layer 2 Forwarding and is compatible with any authentication scheme that uses PPP, such as L2TP in this case.
OpenVPN is highly regarded as one of the best solution on the market. It’s an open source protocol, very secure, configurable, and works on multiple platforms. The fact that is open source brings a lot on the table because it’s easily scrutinized and anyone can check it and search for vulnerabilities in the source code.
OpenVPN is very difficult to block because OpenVPN traffic is extremely difficult to tell apart from HTTPS/SSL traffic and use both UDP and TCP protocols. Being secure brings down the speed in most cases but this problem can be adjusted by using the UDP protocol because it’s faster.
SSTP stands for Secure Socket Tunneling Protocol, and it was introduced by Microsoft to any version since Windows Vista. SSTP uses 2048-bit SSL/TLS certificates for authentication and 256-bit SSL keys for encryption, which makes it pretty secure.
Even though it also works on other operating systems like Linux and Android, because it’s owned by Microsoft, tends to mostly work best on Windows platforms. The code is not open source so porting it to other new operating systems is a bring problem.
Internet Key Exchange version 2 is another protocol developed by Microsoft and Cisco. It’s very popular on mobile solutions because it handles network changes very well. This means that if you switch from WiFi connection to a data plan connection, the VPN connection will remain stable and not brake down.
If you are interested in buying a VPN, be sure to read some of reviews we did: