There are more and more people interested in protecting their data when browsing online. Internet. And how not to be? As more users connect to the network and move sensitive information across it, cyber threats they also proliferate. One of the tools to protect ourselves against possible attacks is the connection VPNa technology that is not new, since it has been used in the business sector for years, but lately it has become more relevant among private users.
Currently connecting to the network is very easy thanks to mobile devices. These devices greatly facilitate our lives, especially with thousands of procedures and operations that we can carry out from wherever we are. The problem is that we are increasingly exposed to saving and exchanging sensitive information, such as our bank passwords, personal information or confidential documents from the companies we work for.
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How does the VPN help keep Internet browsing safe? To answer that question, you first have to know what happens when you surf the net.
At the moment we connect to the Internet, our devices (be it computer, mobile phone, tablet, etc.) communicate via WiFi or an ethernet cable with the router with which our provider provides us with Internet.
Each of these devices that connects to the Internet is assigned a IP adress, which is lucky identity record that makes them unique. In this way, when we access a web page, the equipment we use sends a request to the server where the site is located, which is nothing more than a computer located in a data storage center. So this server uses our IP to detect who is trying to access and send a response.
As part of the process, The IP is stored on the servers of all the pages we visitTherefore, the companies that own the sites can learn relevant data from us for –at best– commercial purposes or to improve their own website. Our data can also be sold illegally or get into the hands of cybercriminals.
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If a user browses connected through a VPN, the website being visited will not be able to track their data or behavior in cyberspace. This because of the information will be encrypted.
In this case, the website server will get the IP data from the VPN and not ours. That is, the website will know everything we do, but it will not know who those actions correspond to.
“VPN stands for ‘Virtual Private Network’ and allows you to establish a protected connection when using public networks. VPNs encrypt your Internet traffic and protect your privacy and location online. This makes it difficult for third parties to track your online activities and steal data. In this way, the Internet Service Provider (ISP) and other third parties cannot see the websites you visit or what data you send and receive online. In other words, a VPN works like a filter that turns all your data into gibberish text.”says Fabio Assolini, director of the Kaspersky Research and Analysis Team for Latin America, to El Comercio.
When we have a VPN activated, all network traffic passes from the device to the Internet provider, but from there it goes to the VPN server, and then reaches its destination. Therefore, VPNs create a secure tunnel between our device and the Internet. In other words, it creates a totally virtual network, which creates a retaining wall to prevent third parties from spying on our browsing activity, something extremely important when we connect to public networksFor example.
It must be taken into account that public networks in airports, hotels, shopping centers, parks, etc., although they can be very useful, are easily accessible to cybercriminals. Connecting to a VPN protects us in those cases.
“If the user needs to use a public WiFi network, it is important to do so through VPN to encrypt the exchange of information through devices connected to the Internet. Because although access to the Internet in a public space can be seen as a good option for many users, it is also a good option for cybercriminals, who see here an opportunity to position themselves in access points with little protectionor place a point that pretend to be public, in order to intercept network traffic and obtain user data”. explains the Kaspersky specialist.
Another of the most attractive benefits of this technology is the possibility of change the location of a device. Most of the VPN services available in the market have servers all over the world. What does this mean? That the website we visit will register the IP offered by the VPN in the country we choose, which will make it identify the communication as coming from that place. In this way it will be possible to unlock content that is only available in certain countries.
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“A VPN allows users unblock geo-restricted content by changing your IP address to simulate a different location. This means that users can access streaming services, websites and other content that would otherwise be blocked to their location.Luis Corrons, Avast Security specialist, explains to this newspaper.
Many streaming platforms have their own content for each country, for example. With a VPN this limitation is broken, since we could access directly as if we were located in some other nation, for example, in the United States or Spain.
On the other hand, in countries where governments restrict access to certain content, such as China or North Korea, a VPN connection It is used to bypass censorship without fear of being detected.. As we see, privacy is the basic principle here.
According to Corrons, VPNs can significantly improve the security of a company’s network. This is accomplished by encrypting all data that is transmitted over the network to prevent unauthorized users from accessing it.
“This ensures that sensitive company information is protected from any intruder. In addition, a VPN also allows remote users to connect to the company network securely, allowing employees to work from any location. In this way, travel costs are reduced and employee productivity is improved.”points out.
For Assolini, definitely not, since not all VPNs are equally strong, even cases of database leaks of VPN services have been reported. How could that have happened? The specialist explains that “Your computer belongs to you, so you are responsible for its security. But the exit node belongs to the VPN provider, and the provider chooses its encryption algorithms and VPN protocolsso the security of the server and the tunnel depends on the provider”.
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“For this reason, it is advisable to choose a reliable VPN provider that has been on the market for several years and that offers the OpenVPN protocol, which is constantly evaluated to detect vulnerabilities”delimits.
For his part, the Avast executive believes that a VPN is not infallible against data theft. “A VPN can help protect data by encrypting the information and hiding the IP address, making the data more difficult to access. However, it is not a foolproof solution as hackers can find ways to access the encrypted data. Therefore, It is important to take additional security measures into account, such as two-factor authentication and the use of strong passwords, to help protect data”.
Both specialists consulted consider that yes there may be a bit more latency. This is caused due to the fact that by having all the traffic forwarded to the server before going out to the Internet, it causes our connection speed to be lower.
For the Kaspersky executive, “there will be a higher latency, especially depending on where the server is installed (geographical location), and finally, the jitter (latency variation) will also be affected”.
While Corrons considers that depending on the VPN configuration and the location of the servers there may be a small increase in latency. “It’s generally despicable. Sometimes using a VPN will improve latency by allowing Internet traffic to be securely decrypted through servers closest to your location”points out.
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