What is a VPN and how does it work?

Consumers are also becoming increasingly aware of cyber risks. It is now understood that all data in the network must be encrypted, including for daily Internet use

Why VPNs are the most important thing right now

Consumers are also becoming increasingly aware of cyber risks. It is now understood that all data in the network must be encrypted, including for daily Internet use. Commercial VPN services have become a popular way of protecting Internet traffic through encrypted and unencrypted Internet ports.


The use of VPN is increasing for both industry and consumers. Understanding how the VPN works is important to optimize both security and functionality.


What is a VPN and how does it work?

A virtual private network (VPN) is a series of virtual connections that travel across the Internet that encrypts your data as it travels between your client computer and the Internet resources you use, such as B. web servers, are transmitted back and forth. Encryption is built into many Internet protocols; B. HTTPS, SSH, NNTPS and LDAPS. Assuming everything is OK, your data will be encrypted at least twice when you use these ports over a VPN connection.


PCs, smartphones, tablets, dedicated servers and even some IoT devices can be endpoints for a VPN connection. In most cases, your customer will need to use a VPN connection application. Some routers also have built-in VPN clients. Unlike proxy networks like Tor, VPNs shouldn't noticeably slow down your internet traffic under normal circumstances. However, some VPNs are faster than others, and one of the biggest factors is how many VPN clients are using a VPN server at any given time.


A VPN connection usually works like this. Data is transmitted from your client computer to a point on your VPN network. The VPN point encrypts your data and sends it over the internet. Another point in your VPN network decrypts your data and sends it to the appropriate internet resource, e.g. B. a web server, an e-mail server or your company's intranet. The internet resource then sends data to a point on your VPN network where it is encrypted. The encrypted data is sent over the Internet to another point on your VPN network, which decrypts the data and sends it back to your client computer. Dead easy!


Types of VPN Technologies


Different VPNs can use different encryption standards and technologies. Here is a short list of some of the technologies a VPN can use:


Point-to-point tunnel protocol: PPTP has been around since the mid-1990s and is still widely used. PPTP itself does not perform any encryption. It tunnels packet data and then uses the GRE protocol for encapsulation. When considering a VPN service that uses PPTP, you should be aware that security experts like Bruce Schneier have rated the protocol, especially Microsoft's implementation, as quite unsafe.

IPSec - You should keep in mind that IPSec is a better alternative to PPTP. IPSec consists of different protocols and technologies. Packet encapsulation is done using the ESP protocol, and AES-GCM, AES-CBC, 3DES-CBC or HMAC-SHA1 / SHA2 can be used for encryption.

Layer 2 Tunneling Protocol: L2TP can be used for tunneling with IPSec to increase security.

Secure Shell, also known as SSH, can be used for both tunneling and encryption in a VPN network.

Read More: Managed VPN Services


Choose a VPN service that suits your needs

Now that you understand the basics of a VPN and how it works, you can consider using one yourself. Instead of endorsing a specific company's services, I'm going to share some tips with you on choosing a good VPN service.


The physical location of the VPN service should be considered. If you want to bypass regional content blocking, the VPN should operate in the country in which you want to appear from the perspective of the company providing your media. For example, many people here in Canada use US VPNs to access content that Netflix only makes available to the US market. You may also want to consider the laws of the jurisdiction in which your VPN is physically located. For example, US VPNs may be subject to search warrants from US law enforcement agencies.


Think about what type of devices you will be using with your VPN. Are you only using the VPN with your PC? Or would you like to be able to use the VPN on your smartphone or tablet? What operating systems are you using? Some VPN providers offer dedicated mobile apps, and some VPN providers require software that is only compatible with certain operating systems.


If you are a consumer, a commercial VPN service might be the best solution. They're offered for low monthly or annual fees, and come with desktop and mobile apps to make using a VPN easy, even if you're not very technical. However, it is important to be able to trust your VPN provider as all internet traffic goes through them. Do you keep records? Do you protect your VPN servers from cyber attacks?


Businesses and businesses may prefer to set up their own VPN services. Install a VPN server on the company premises and protect it from cyber attacks. If you have your own VPN servers, your company is in control of your own data. Proper implementation can also help ensure regulatory compliance.


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