” What are vpn tunnels and why do you need them? “
Why do we need VPN?
Today there is massive censorship and regulations impeding internet freedom globally security of information is becoming a mere fallacy and this has happened so fast it is alarming but has prompted an equal but opposite reaction like Newton’s third law of physics stated is a response to every action. The reaction seen in this case is an increase in the number of services offering technology that protects during online web browsing. Techrider reports on the services that offer protection through virtual private networks (VPN).
1. Why do we need VPN?
2. HOW VPN WORKS?
3. What is a VPN Tunnel?
4. Types of VPN tunneling protocols
5. Which tunneling protocol should I use?
HOW VPN WORKS?
Virtual Private Network companies have seen a rise in popularity in recent years because they offer the ability to bypass government censorship and geo-blocked online services, and they do so while protecting the identity of the user.
The basic principle of how virtual private networks operate is tunnelling, they create this as a media between you the user and the online space using it to encrypt your service connection and block Anybody or anything trying to eavesdrop on your online browsing activities.
What is a VPN Tunnel?
When you use a VPN to connect to the internet, it creates a tunnel space that surrounds your internet source, it conceals data packets sent by your device.
Though created by a VPN, the tunnel on its own can’t offer protection unless it is accompanied by strong encryption which prevents any third party interceptions. And the level of encryption depends on the type of tunneling protocol.
Tunneling protocols enclose and encrypt the data coming into and going out from your device and the internet.
Types of VPN tunneling protocols
Different VPN protocols offer varying levels of security and other features, the protocols that exist are numerous but some are quite popular and are most commonly used in the VPN industry, they include:
The best VPN services should offer most or all of these protocols so as to provide adequate cover, these protocols are what you look out for when signing up with a VPN service. Techrider takes a closer look:
PPTP or Point to Point Tunneling Protocol is one of the oldest still in use today. It was made by Microsoft and released with the Windows 95 version, PPTP is a protocol that uses data packets to encrypt and sends these packets through the tunnel created to enclose your network connection.
It is one of the easiest to configure, it requires just a username, password, and server address in order to connect you to the server. It’s also one of the fastest because it has low encryption.
Low encryption makes PPTP fast but low on security delivery, in fact, it is one of the least secure protocols in use today, protecting your data with PPTP leaves you open to known vulnerabilities dating as far back as 1998, In Techrider’s opinion you should try to avoid using this protocol.
because it doesn’t grant you a solid defense online, security and anonymity are not strong therefore it is bypassable by government agencies and top authorities like the NSA. Top authorities have been known to have walked through this shield in the past.
L2TP A simply means Layer 2 Tunneling Protocol, it is used together with IPSec: Internet Protocol Security to create a more secure tunneling protocol than the previously discussed PPTP.
L2TP first encases the data, then it is adequately encrypted by IPSec which wraps it again with its own encryption, creating two layers of security, this situation can be described as securing the privacy of enclosed data packets going through the tunnel.
L2TP/IPSec provides one of the most advanced data encryption standards implemented. Using the double encapsulation principle, creates a very secure cover for your connection however, the principle makes it a little slower than the PPTP. It may also struggle with bypassing some restrictive firewalls and that’s because it uses fixed ports, this subjecting L2TP to easy detection and possible block. nonetheless, this is a very popular protocol among VPN users and that’s because of the high level of security it provides.
SSTP- Secure Socket Tunneling Protocol, is named for its ability to carry internet data through the Secure Sockets Layer or SSL, It is supported natively on Windows, which makes it the best operating system to set this up on with a very easy process. SSL is very secure and doesn’t use a fixed port making it hard to detect and block by security systems, it is less likely to scuffle when passing through firewalls than L2TP.
SSL is also used with Transport Layer Security (TLS) on your web browsers to add a layered encoding to the site you are visiting to create a secure connection with your device. Implementation of this can be seen whenever the website URL starts with ‘https’ instead of ‘HTTP’.
Since this is a Windows-based tunneling protocol, SSTP is not available on other operating systems and has not been independently worked on for potential backdoors to be built into the protocol.
This is a classic case Saving the best for last, like OpenVPN, which is a kind of recent open-source tunneling protocol that uses AES 256-bit encryption when encoding data packets. Since the protocol is open source, the code making up this protocol is open to auditing by a thorough, highly vetted security community and this is done regularly, they constantly look for potential security flaws and fix them.
The protocol is available on all major operating systems including Windows, Mac, Android, and iOS, but third-party software is needed in the setting up of the protocol, also the protocol is not easy to configure.
After configuration, however, OpenVPN brings strong, high-level protection to the table, it is equipped with a wide range of cryptographic algorithms that help keep user data secure as well as their internet data. It can also easily bypass firewalls at fast connection speeds.
Which tunneling protocol should I use?
Techrider advises that even though the fastest VPN is PPTP, you should avoid using it if keeping your internet data secure is important to you. The second option, L2TP/IPSec provides more encryption but is slower and struggles with firewalls because it uses fixed ports. Meanwhile SSTP, being very secure, can only be used on Windows, and is closed off from any security checks for a built-in backdoor or possibility of adding one.
Obviously we Techrider recommends the OpenVPN, which has an open-source code, with strong encryption, and the ability to bypass firewalls relatively easily. It is said to be the best tunneling protocol that is internet data secure. Even though third-party software is required for secure VPN connection with this protocol, it is the most secure connection to the internet and is available on the most used operating systems. Once again Techrider advises you to use the OpenVPN protocol.
Even better, a good VPN service should offer at least these four types of tunneling protocols when going online. You should be given the choice of using any or everyone you want to and that is what you should look out for the most when faced with the need to pick a suitable VPN service.