VPN Tunnel: Keeping your data secure via encryptionPosted April 28, 2020, 1:47 a.m. by Emil S.
The principle of tunneling gave birth to the Virtual Private Network (VPN) technology. The VPN makes possible a private flow of data inside a tunnel by encapsulating and insulating the traffic with a type of encryption. This creates a confidential link between computers or servers. With strong encryption, this tunneling concept makes it nearly impossible for others to hack into your network.
What is a VPN tunneling and how does it work?
VPN tunneling involves two steps:
This process involves wrapping up a packet of internet data with another packet, like enclosing a letter inside an envelope.
Encryption adds another layer of protection by scrambles the content of the letter and locks them such that the only person who can open and read it is the intended recipient. VPNs are most often described as encrypted connections because some are made without. However, VPN tunnels are not considered secure this way.
Encryption Protocols for VPN
There are a few encryption protocols specific to VPNs. Below is a list of them:
Internet Protocol Security (IPSec)
IPSec is a set of security protocols used in VPNs to encrypt and authenticate data. There are set standards to create a shared connection between two computers and the cryptographic keys that need to be exchanged. Data encryption is done via these keys and the computers that are involved in the exchange are the only ones which can view the data when they unlock it. IPSec is a complete solution on its own as a security protocol. It can also be an encryption protocol combined with others like it.
Point to Point Tunnelling Protocol (PPTP)
This has been the standard protocol, created by Microsoft, since the 90s. To work, it depends on Generic Routing Encapsulation and a control channel (TCP). Because NSA was able to crack this encryption, it became obsolete and was replaced by the safer protocols.
Layer Two Tunnelling Protocol (L2TP)
This is Cisco-owned and is a better version of PPTP. However, it’s merely protocol without the encryption. As such, it must be paired with another encryption like IPSec. Together, they are called the L2TP/IPSec encryption (supports to a maximum of 256-bit as well as the 3DES algorithm).
Secure Socket Tunnelling Protocol (SSTP)
Microsoft owns this protocol, but it can work with other operating systems like Linux and macOS. It provides excellent security and is quite stable. It uses the Secure Socket Layer (3.0 standard).
Internet Key Exchange Version 2 (IKEv2)
Microsoft and Cisco worked together to develop this protocol for a security association. It encrypts and authenticates a connection between two computers. It is commonly paired with IPSec to make IKEv2/IPSec and this provides a maximum of 256-bit encryption and very strong cryptographic keys.
Open VPN (OpenVPN)
OpenVPN is an open-source protocol used by all operating systems including Linux, Windows and Mac, iOS, Android as well as OpenBSD, Solaris, NetBSD, and FreeBSD. It can also encrypt up to 256-bit and uses OpenSSL, a toolkit for the Transport Layer Security that is known to be highly strong, commercial-grade, and packed with a lot of features.
This is the encryption that is highly recommended because of its ability to circumvent firewalls and its robust encryption. It helps also that it can work with so many platforms available today.
SSTP, IKEv2/IPSec, and L2TP/IPSec are also viable options if you’re priority is really strong encryption, but you may need to check your platform if these protocols are supported.
VPN Provider Categories
VPN providers are either single or multi-protocol.
These providers only offer one protocol type and it’s commonly the OpenVPN.
Multi-protocol providers support all the above-mentioned protocols and they can give VPN services for personal use or businesses.
Explore the benefits that these providers offer to include security in your internet activities as well as some extra layers of protection that they can add. The important thing is to use your VPN. If you don’t, then you waste money on paying a premium for your private network.