VPN is the abbreviation of a “virtual private network”. A VPN is a very popular method to provide security to users while on the Internet. A VPN works by creating and extending a private network in a public network so that users connected to the public network browse the Internet as if they were connected to a private network that offers more privacy online.
This means that a user is able to create a virtual space or a room within a specific network that would allow the user access to private internal systems. In more general terms, a VPN offers a user the opportunity to have absolute privacy while online which would allow access to otherwise limited content. For example, in some countries, some services like Netflix are not allowed. Using a VPN, a user can mask his position and be able to access limited content.
Does a VPN provide absolute privacy?
This question can be answered by understanding how VPNs work. A VPN provides total security to all users connected to the VPN. As such, traffic and information passing through the network is completely secure and no one can view the traffic. As a result, many people use VPNs. In addition to privacy and security against hackers, some users use VPNs to hide their online activity from Internet service providers (ISPs), the government and to customize their locations so that they appear in different countries.
However, caution is advised to users. Before connecting to a VPN, you need to make sure that a system has not already been compromised by malware. As such, a user must take steps to protect the device from such software. One way to ensure that the malware is removed is by using an antivirus.
There are several ways in which VPNs are classified and include:
- The protocol used for traffic tunneling.
• The security levels used.
• The end point of the tunnel.
• The connection topology used, for example, from network to network and from site to site.
• The Open Systems Interconnection layer presented to the connection network.
• The classification is also made based on the count of simultaneous connections.
While a user can never be totally anonymous while online, a VPN certainly provides a number of mechanisms that greatly increase online security and privacy. The security provided by a VPN includes:
- Confidentiality such that a hacker who is able to access network traffic would only get encrypted information.
• Sender authentication which ensures that only authorized users access the VPN.
• The integrity of messages sent over the network thus ensuring that the message is not tampered with.
Protected protocols provided in a VPN include Internet Protocol Security (IPsec), Transport Layer Security (SSL / TLS), Datagram Transport Layer Security (DTLS), Microsoft Point-to-Point Encryption (MPPE), Microsoft Secure Socket Tunneling Protocol (SSTP ), Multi-path virtual private network (MPVPN) and VPN Secure Shell (SSH).
Before the secure VPN tunnels are created, the tunnel endpoints are authenticated. This authentication can be in the form of two-factor authentication, using passwords, passwords or any other method used for encryption.