What is a VPN?

what is VPN

You’ve heard the term, but what is VPN? And what are some of the specifics of VPN technology? These are some questions you might want to answer before checking out our VPN options, and knowing the answers will make you look smart in the company of your tech-savvy friends.

Virtual Private Network

VPN stands for Virtual Private Network. Let’s break down the each individual component. Virtual relates to the fact that a VPN network is a non-tangible mechanism which facilitates a point-to-point connection by using encryption, a dedicated connection, or a combination of each. The VPN is virtual in the sense that it doesn’t physically reside where you connect to the Internet. A VPN is private because only those who have the credentials supplied by the VPN administrator can connect to it. Finally, it is a network in that the VPN connection is shared by multiple users. That’s the elaborated answer for “what is VPN?”

Simplified, a VPN is a remote connection that allows an authorized group of users to access the Internet via an encrypted connection.

VPN Security Protocols

A specific characteristic of VPN technology is that it operates according to certain security protocols, thereby making it a safer option for Web access. VPN’s prevent personal information from being disclosed by only allowing authenticated access to the server and also by encrypting (think of creating a ciper or secret code) the data that is passed across the network.

VPN’s work on a model of security which includes three primary elements:

Confidentiality insures that those who access the VPN network are protected against attempts to “sniff” personal data. Data becomes unrecognizable gibberish when it is encrypted, and complex keys are required to decrypt the data. This aspect can also reflect the VPN provider’s policy to not log or otherwise keep records of user’s browsing activity.

Authentication means that only those with the proper credentials can access the VPN tunnel. Each time a user attempts to access the VPN their access must be authenticated by multiple measures, beginning with a username and password.

Integrity is used to detect and identify any tampering with transmitted messages. Basically, the integrity of a VPN is an outgrowth of the first two security principles.

Simplified, VPN security safeguards you against tampering and observation of your Internet activities and private data.

Know the basics of VPN

One of the best things about a VPN account from VPN-accounts.com is that you don’t need to be able to explain all the technical aspects of tunneling and encryption to use the technology. A VPN is a bit like a lightswitch. Once the technology is in place, you simply need to turn it on to take advantage of the benefits. If you know the basics, when someone asks, “What is VPN?”, you can give an intelligent answer, but realize that you don’t have to be a technology wizard to use a VPN for added security. To buy a vpn click here.

3 Steps for a VPN

01

Sign upGet an affordable VPN account.

02

ConnectConfigure the VPN on your device.

03

Enjoy VPNEnjoy the benefits of a VPN today.

Get a VPN Account

Connect & Enjoy: Internet Freedom, Privacy & security.

Why you should use a VPN instead of Tor

tor vs vpnAttempts to ban or block anonymous web surfing programs like TOR are on the rise. A recent article in Japanese newspaper Mainichi detailed how the Japanese government is attempting to ban TOR in the country in an effort to crack down on Internet users who participate in illegal file sharing or illegal activities such as the distribution of child pornography. While these are certainly valid reasons to question TOR’s usage, it also serves as a good example of why you should choose a private VPN over a free anonymous web browser like TOR.

What is TOR?

TOR is actually a software platform which was originally developed for the US Navy, but now they program is readily available for civilian use. It can be integrated into many browsers, such as Firefox, via extension and has been a popular choice for those who want to surf anonymously.

It works on the principle of masking your IP address and uses a complex method of routing your signal through different servers. The idea sounds really good, but because TOR has been used by hackers, data thieves, and other unscrupulous individuals the program now has a target on its back. Japan is just one of several countries that have spoken out against the program and are actively seeking to ban its use.

One danger of using TOR is that it depends upon volunteers to run so-called “exit-nodes” as a part of the signal routing process, something we’ll talk more about later. If you happen to become one of these volunteers your IP address can be linked to the browsing activity of whoever used you as an exit-node. If all of this sounds confusing, all you really need to know is this: TOR has numerous security vulnerabilities that a VPN does not.

A VPN is a better option than TOR

Let’s look at the similarities between the two options. The main one is that both a VPN and TOR are often used to spoof one’s geographical location and also to enable anonymous web browsing. In most other respects, the two options are very unlike one another. Here is a side-by-side comparison which reveals the advantages of using a VPN:

VPN

TOR

Very fast—no   notable difference in connection speed Extremely slow—caused   by signal routing through multiple nodes
Easy   location-spoofing—a VPN such as the one we provide offers servers   worldwide Inefficient   location-spoofing—too slow to stream geo-restricted services like Netflix
Legitimacy—VPN’s   are considered a legitimate option for security-conscious users Poor reputation—Tor   has been used for too many questionable activities
Support—a   personal VPN provider offers technical support Limited support—most   support must be obtained through other TOR users via messageboard

The biggest security concern regarding TOR relates to those exit-nodes we mentioned. Anyone can offer to provide a node via TOR, and anyone includes people who want to observe your browsing activity. You have zero control over how your signal is routed along the TOR network. When using a VPN you remain safe and secure behind the VPN tunnel. Your true IP address is never completely safe when using TOR because the service depends upon a human element to make it work. That human element allows for the introduction of many security loopholes which can reveal your true IP address and make you an easy target for those who are trying to gain access to your personal data.

One final word about speed. The bandwidth of a VPN is top-notch, so VPN users pretty much get the same speed as when using their own personal network connection. We mention this again because connection speed is important when you need to stream media from a service like Hulu. The slowness of TOR makes it an unworkable option for trying to access streaming media in geo-blocked locations.

IMPORTANT NOTE: Some users seem to prefer combining the use of TOR and a VPN, but this solution does not ultimately increase your security and the speed of your connection becomes unbearable.

Why do some countries want to block anonymous surfing?

To use the example we gave at the beginning of the article, some officials in Japan believe that anonymous surfing assists criminals in posing a threat to other individuals online. One Japanese hacker known as Demon Killer evaded and embarrassed the Japanese authorities for months because they were unable to pinpoint his location via IP address. It was subsequently revealed that he had been using TOR the entire time to conduct his activities.

We’re not trying to give TOR a bad rap, but the fact is that anonymous surfing programs are the first targets in efforts to prevent access to restricted content. Countries and media services are more concerned with these because they are so readily available. Unfortunately, those users who have become dependent on them for anonymous surfing will ultimately find themselves without an option unless they have a VPN.

Getting around blocks on anonymous surfing with a VPN

The primary way to ensure that you will be continue to be able to surf anonymously and access geo-blocked services like Skype, WhatsApp, and Viber is by using a VPN. Your web surfing is also protected because of the encryption a VPN account that VPN-accounts.com offers. In addition, it is the integrity of a VPN which makes it the only viable long-term solution for anonymous surfing. While some anonymous surfing programs like TOR may eventually fall, the personal VPN will remain available because the concept is not one designed to help users break the law.

VPN’s are designed to protect data through encryption. Period. True, they can be used to avoid geo-blocks and there is nothing illegal or wrong about that. VPN users are not typically trying to carry out questionable activities. They simply want the peace of mind that comes from knowing their browsing is not monitored and the ability to enjoy an Internet free of censorship. Therefore, no substantial efforts are being directed toward banning the use of a VPN.

3 Steps for a VPN

01

Sign upGet an affordable VPN account.

02

ConnectConfigure the VPN on your device.

03

Enjoy VPNEnjoy the benefits of a VPN today.

Get a VPN Account

Connect & Enjoy: Internet Freedom, Privacy & security.

VPN Connection – What is a vpn connection?

The letters VPN pop up in a lot of places in today’s digital world, even in our domain name VPN-accounts.com  You’ve seen them on your home computer, your laptop, your smartphone, and even the Kindle. If you happen to be one of those people who haven’t explored using a VPN on your Internet-ready devices, you might still have some questions about what a VPN connection really is.

VPN stands for Virtual Private Network. You’ll never call it that, most likely, so we wouldn’t worry too much about remembering the exact words. VPN is all you need to know because that is how it is identified on your devices. If you happen to be using Windows, your Network and Sharing Center will have a designation for VPN and it is similar on a MAC. The reason a VPN option pops up in your network windows is because all current devices come with a VPN client pre-installed.

A VPN could be described as a network within a network. We’re purposely trying to keep this article free from a lot of technical jargon, so let’s break it down this way. Your ISP provides your basic access to the Internet. A network is then established which facilitates your access. A network can be the connection you have at home, which is likely secured and only accessible to your family members, or it can be the connection at a fast food restaurant, which is likely unsecured. That means that anyone can hop on the network and use the Internet. Whenever you use these networks, your device is identified by means of an IP address. Think of an IP address as your digital postal address. Data across the internet is sent in packets, just like mail. So, when you download something or even view a website, data transmission is occurring between your computer and the host server.

Sometimes, it is advantageous to conceal your actual IP address. The reasons for doing this are numerous. Maybe you want to keep the websites you visit private. Maybe you want to eliminate the possibility of marketing companies spying on your browsing preferences. To continue our postal analogy, a VPN is something like a postal box. You pay a fee to use the box and your mail is sent to the box address instead of to your physical address. The sender only sees the address of the postal box. That’s a lot like what a VPN does. When you connect to it, your data transmission is routed or tunneled through the VPN server which has its own IP address. For the party sending the data, the end point is the VPN tunnel. The VPN then completes the data transfer by sending the information to your machine.

VPN’s use something known as encryption to keep your data safe and make it invisible to prying eyes. Encryption is just a fancy word for a complicated cipher that turns your data into indecipherable code. To understand encryption and tunneling, think of driving along and talking on your smartphone. Many smartphone apps lock in on your physical location via a communication with your device. Up ahead there is a long tunnel. When you enter that tunnel, you briefly lose the service on your phone. For those brief few moments while you are in the tunnel, you become invisible to those apps which track your physical location. Once you exit the tunnel and your service comes back, GPS works again and your location is again revealed. If someone were to try and pinpoint your movements during that period of time they would find that they lost you going into the tunnel and picked you up again coming out. Now, here’s the really cool part. What happened while you were in that tunnel is anybody’s guess. A VPN is very much like that. Once you connect to a VPN, after connecting to the Internet through your ISP, you enter the VPN tunnel. As long as you are in that tunnel, tracking your activities becomes virtually impossible. Make sense? We thought so.

Some things a VPN is not

Before we wrap up this basic analogy about VPN’s, it makes sense to remind you of some things a VPN is not.

  • A VPN connection is not a stand-alone Internet connection. You connect to your VPN once your regular connection has been established.
  • A VPN account is not software. A client is required to use VPN, but that is already installed on your device. You don’t have to download anything new to use a VPN.
  • A VPN is not an antivirus program. A lot of people seem to think this. A VPN can increase the overall security of your system, however, by using encryption to protect your data.

3 Steps for a VPN

01

Sign upGet an affordable VPN account.

02

ConnectConfigure the VPN on your device.

03

Enjoy VPNEnjoy the benefits of a VPN today.

Get a VPN Account

Connect & Enjoy: Internet Freedom, Privacy & security.