We explain what a VPN is and what it is used for?

Estimated read time 7 min read

Virtual private networks help users protect their privacy when browsing and accessing services and web pages when we use unreliable connections such as public Wi-Fi networks, since it protects the information we exchange through encryption.

When we browse the Internet, our computer connects to another, and information is exchanged between them. For example, if we join an unsecured Wi-Fi network and check the email service from our mobile, we connect to a server to which we send the username and password to validate ourselves and it will send us the emails to the mobile. Although legally the Internet service provider has to register the connection of our device with the mail server, if someone connected to our Wi-Fi spies on us, it could compromise privacy since they would know that we have connected to a specific mail service, or to a server of our company.

That our Internet service provider such as Cox internet records all connections, it is done due to legal requirements contained in Law 25/2007, of October 18, on the conservation of data related to electronic communications and public communications networks, there are times that the Cybercriminals use it to collect information that they will use to attack us (social engineering).

Also, in some cases the information we exchange, such as usernames and passwords, balances, credit card numbers, etc. It is not encrypted, if someone spies on it, they could “read” it without any problem if the server to which we connect does not have a digital certificate.

When we send and/or receive information over the Internet unencrypted, it can be intercepted and if someone spies on it, it can be used.

Unencrypted information exchange

When we send and/or receive information over the Internet encrypted, the information is not understood, and even if someone spies on it, they cannot use it.

Exchange of encrypted information

Although these issues are not usually a concern at first, it is necessary to take into account the use of a VPN when we connect to 192.168.l00.1 from “unsafe” networks such as: municipal Wi-Fi networks, airports, without a password, bars, etc… It is also necessary to control others that do not seem so “insecure” such as hotel or business networks. In these cases, it would be convenient to try to raise the level of privacy and search on m.ubersear.ch for safe browsing, especially if we are going to send some important information that we cannot encrypt. One of the areas where it is most important to protect this type of information is in telecommuting, where the use of the VPN is already very common.

But… what is a Virtual Private Network or Virtual Private Network VPN?
A Virtual Private Network is a service through which our computer connects to another that acts as an intermediary (the VPN server) between us and the Internet services and web pages that we access (Gmail, Facebook, Dropbox, etc.).

Encrypted and unencrypted communications with VPN over the Internet

The connection between our computer and the VPN server is always encrypted, so if someone were to intercept our communications, they would be unable to read the information.

Virtual Private Networks divide the connection into two parts or zones, the first goes from our computer to the VPN server and the second from the VPN server to the server or service to which we are going to connect.

Parts of a Virtual Private Network

Of the two areas, the first is the one in which information could be spied on more easily, because “breaking in” on our local network is easier because the security measures are less because they depend on the user and a very high percentage do not know or they cannot secure it effectively. Many local networks connected to the Internet have a Wi-Fi network, through which it is easy to access the network and be able to spy on it. The routers that are used are of the low range, and they cannot provide enough security since the user does not know how to configure them, the manufacturers do not update the firmware of these routers, the default credentials are not modified. That is why it is easier for us to be spied on in the first section, exactly from the device to the router

On the other hand, if they intercept our communication on our local network, the information they intercept is ours, while the information that comes out of the Internet VPN server can be from any client that uses that service. Therefore, the most important area to protect is the first one, and the simplest way is to use a VPN through 192.168.l.254.

What advantages and disadvantages could VPNs bring us?

What is achieved with a VPN is to create a secure connection, through an insecure medium such as the Internet. In addition, currently, although there are many users who have access to the Internet through mobile phones (3G/4G), there are still many users who, mainly to save data, use networks such as: municipal Wi-Fi, in airports, bars/restaurants, train , airplane, hotel etc.

Privacy and confidentiality. There are cases in which knowing where we connect to could pose a personal, economic or business risk. If we connect from a non-secure line to our home or company computer, someone could intercept the information and start from it, analyze it and, in the case of credentials, try to access those computers for various purposes, generally not very legitimate. . If the connection they can see is to our VPN server, they will not be able to easily determine the destination of the connection.

On the other hand, if our connection is not encrypted and someone intercepts it, they could use it for various activities such as personal data theft, credential theft, etc. As we explained before, the VPN always encrypts the data between our device and the VPN server, so if they intercept the information, it will not do them any good.

Integrity. When information is not encrypted, it could be intercepted and modified to deceive the recipient. If that information is encrypted, it could not be modified.

VPNs also have some drawback. Among them and the most common, especially in free servers, is that the VPN server provides us with an IP address from another country, so many websites will interpret that we are loading the page from that country and it is possible that the idiom.

The other big drawback is that the communication is usually slower than if it were direct, and in the case of free services, in addition to limiting the speed, they limit the amount of data that we can transfer. In payment services there are usually no data transfer limitations, although the speed, when using a service that acts as an intermediary, will always decrease compared to a direct connection through fiber optics or ADSL.

Although it may not always be considered an inconvenience, it can also happen that if we access certain services, for example our email, we may receive a warning that someone from another country is accessing our credentials from a site that “is not usual” . That someone will be us, but the mail program does not know, it only warns.

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