Virtual Private Networks, commonly called VPNs, are rising in popularity thanks to the security these services provide. VPNs are best known for getting users through censorship filters and geo-blocks. However, they also offer excellent protection against government surveillance programs, hackers, malware, and other spyware.
VPNs connect to the internet, which is a public network, by creating virtual tunnels to transmit data to and from the devices connected to the net. Usually, the connections on a public network like the internet are highly unsecure. Even a hacker with average skills can get inside unprotected connections and steal information. Computers have protection against malware and hacking using firewalls and antivirus programs. However, the security protection on your computer, or other devices, can only protect the data that is already on the hard drive. The Windows Firewall cannot protect the data you send over the internet.
You don’t have to log into the internet. But that doesn’t mean you are not revealing extremely sensitive private information when you connect to the World Wide Web. Namely, your personal information, such as location, can be identified by your IP addresses. It is generated by your computer when it connects to the internet using a local ISP. When you browse the web, you also expose data such as your credit card information. Transmission of this data on your end is unprotected by default, unless you use a VPN.
VPNs use a technique called encryption to protect your personal data transmitted through various devices and servers. Encryption is a method of jumbling up information, so it is unreadable to unintended eyes. You may have heard of a simple method of encryption where letters of the alphabet are replaced by numbers. For example, using 1 instead of A. If you wanted to send a secret letter to someone, you could replace all the letters in the message with assigned numbers. When your post is in the mail, if a thief opens it, he or she would not be able to read it. It’s all nonsensical numbers after all. However, your recipient would be able to read it with a key. The key is the decoder. In this case, it is simply knowing the letters that correspond to the number. VPN encryption is a far more advanced form of this type of encryption.
VPNs mainly use two types of encryption: symmetric-key and public-key. In symmetric-key encryption, a single key is used to encrypt and decrypt data. In public-key encryption, a private key only the sending computer knows is used to encrypt the message. The computers on the receiving end use an appropriate public key to decrypt the message.
VPNs additionally use a tool called a cryptographic protocol (or encryption protocol) to secure data even further. Now, if you sent that aforementioned secret letter in a wooden box, which the recipient could only open by solving a puzzle, that would be akin to an encryption protocol. VPNs commonly use encryption protocols such as IPSec and PPP to protect data.
Now that you have a basic understanding of what encryption is, let’s look at VPNs that offer the best data protection via encryption:
ExpressVPN is best known for offering speedy and reliable connections for streaming videos and downloading content. However, this service is also one of the highly secure VPNs available on the market. ExpressVPN uses 256-bit encryption to protect all data transmitted through its 100+ servers located worldwide. 256-bit encryption uses a single key to encrypt and decrypt data. If a hacker wants to crack a message encrypted in this manner, he or she will need to try 2256 number of combinations. Therefore, ExpressVPN is one of the most secure packages that you can use to access the net.
Golden Frog offers VyprVPN, a fast service that comes with an array of features. VyprVPN is remarkable because they use their own encryption technology trademarked as Chameleon. VyprVPN software is developed using open-source OpenVPN infrastructure. OpenVPN comes embedded with 256-bit encryption protocols. Chameleon modifies this encryption technique to bypass censorship filters and similar restrictions imposed by governments or employers. Chameleon is specifically designed to bypass the Great Firewall, which can repel some low-grade VPNs. Users can be assured of security and accessibility with VyprVPN when connecting on a computer or even a smartphone on public Wi-Fi.
IPVanish promises their customers superfast speeds along with industry-standard protection. IPVanish connections rely on 256-bit encryption, which is considered one of the most advanced encryption protocols currently available. 256-bit encryption is used by banks, large corporations, government agencies, and even the military to protect sensitive intelligence. Your connection will enjoy a similar level of protection with IPVanish. Also, the IPVanish network is designed to support OpenVPN, PPTP, and L2TP/IPsec VPN protocols. Therefore, IPVanish is highly flexible on many devices and does not compromise security. You can use IPVanish without worries on a handheld device when travelling to access the net using a public network.
PureVPN comes with an array of security protocols to ensure that your connection is not susceptible to government snooping or hackers. PureVPN also relies on 256-bit encryption to protect all data being transmitted over the company’s servers. PureVPN is also based on OpenVPN protocols, so that security measures do not hinder speed. In addition, PureVPN software is compatible with L2TP/IPSec, PPTP, SSTP, and IKEv2 protocols to ensure compatibility across 20+ devices. PureVPN is 100% secure on public Wi-Fi connections. In addition to advanced security protocols, PureVPN maintains its own servers so third parties don’t get access to user data.
Having decided to reconsider the question of your online security, you can definitely place confidence in NordVPN provider. This one is an ace of the service for many reasons. Full confidentiality, unlimited access and bandwidth, secure Wi-Fi and all that’s on condition your privacy is under defense of 2048-bit SSL ciphering and usage of up-to-date protocols. Having subscribed to the service, you can easily forget about any restrictions you’ve faced while networking, because more than six hundred servers are located worldwide. Moreover, the service keeps no logs and lets using Tor over VPN, which provides you with extra anonymity. In addition, thirty-day money back guarantee and constantly-run specials will waist little time for your thoughts.
The above are the top of the line VPNs for users who seek highly secure connections. These VPN services rely on industry-grade encryption, so users can be assured of complete protection. All of the above VPNs rely on 256-bit encryption. If you are confused by this term, it refers to how long the encryption key is. Encryption, in general, relies on extremely complex mathematical problems. Now, it is possible for hackers or data thieves to guess a solution to a mathematical problem that a certain type of encryption protocol relies on.
Think back to the secret letter. If a snooping third party wanted to read the letter, he or she could simply guess which letter in the alphabet corresponded to the number. Now this snooper only has to guess between 26 letters, which makes the process much easier. With 256-bit encryption, a cracker will have to guess a number of combinations that’s equal to the sum of 2 raised to the power of 256. It’s impossible to generate this number of combinations, even if the hacker has the fastest supercomputer on earth. That’s why almost all organizations that deal with sensitive data, like central banks and intelligence agencies, rely on 256-bit encryption. When you buy one of the above mentioned VPNs, your connection will be as secure as a digital intelligence transmission conducted by the Army Headquarters.
VPNs also complement encryption with multiple VPN protocols. As explained earlier in this article, these protocols securely encapsulate encrypted data. IPSec is the most common of these protocols for securing data. IPSec is normally used to secure all data transmitted over the internet. This protocol encrypts data between two devices, such as your computer and the router, for example. The above VPNs also simultaneously use other protocols such as PPTP, L2TP, and IkeV2. All these protocols use various types of encryptions, like 40-bit or 128-bit, to secure data between devices.
A good VPN would always support multiple encryption protocols. Some of the protocols used today, like PPTP, are old and mostly outdated. PPTP is known to have certain security vulnerabilities. An agency like the NSA can exploit these weak points to decrypt a message. Therefore, if a message is decrypted in multiple ways, a hacker will have to jump several hurdles, which will make it impossible to decode an encrypted message. So, the more protocols a VPN supports, the more secure it is.
In addition to encryption, the above VPNs also have other safeguards to protect data. Namely, the best VPNs do not log user data. Doing so makes your connection impossible to trace. Even if a government produces a subpoena to a VPN provider to track an IP address, the VPN company literally cannot comply because it has deleted all data. Safeguards such as these are necessary to be safe from governments that are known to crack down on internet users and bloggers. Carefully consider the VPN suggestions listed above, and choose a service that suits your needs and budget the best.