VPN connections are far from being a new invention, but now they are beginning to gain traction among the general public. While traditionally its use was more common in the business environment, the great versatility of this type of connections and their multiple uses make them increasingly popular .
But what is a VPN and what advantages does it give you and what are there disadvantages .Precisely that versatility of which we spoke is the same that creates some other confusion about it, because it is increasingly related to VPN connections with ” the bad ” (with large quotes), as some of its applications include the jump of the geographical blockages, greater anonymity on the Web or even the blocking of advertising .
What is a VPN ?
Let’s start with the basics. VPN is the acronym of Virtual Private Network , or virtual private network that, unlike other more cryptic computer words such as DNS or HTTP , does give us fairly precise clues as to what they consist of.
The keyword here is virtual , because it is this property that generates the need for the VPN itself, as well as the one that allows VPN connections to offer you the multiple uses that we will see later.
To connect to the Internet, your mobile, PC, television and other devices usually communicate with the router or modem that connects your home with your Internet provider, either by cable or wirelessly. The components are different if you are using your mobile’s data connection (which includes your own modem and speaks with the telephony antenna) but the essence is the same: your device connects to another, which connects you to the Internet.
The most normal thing is that you do not have one, but several devices connected to the same router: phones, computers, consoles … In this case, each one will have a local IP address assigned, which is not visible from the Internet. This is a local network , a set of devices connected in such a way that they can share files and printers without going through the Internet.
A VPN connection which allows you to create a local network without having its members physically connected to each other , but through the Internet. It’s the “virtual” component that we talked about earlier. You get the advantages of the local network (and some extra), with greater flexibility, because the connection is through the Internet and can, for example, be from one end of the world to the other.
However, it is another peculiarity of VPN connections that is making them so fashionable nowadays: the data tunnels . Normally, while you use the Internet your device contacts your Internet provider, which is the one that connects with the different web services to offer you, for example, YouTube videos.
When you connect to a VPN connection, this changes. All your network traffic keeps going from your device to your Internet provider, but from there it goes directly to the VPN server , from where it will go to the destination. Ideally the connection is encrypted, so your Internet provider does not really know what you are accessing. For practical purposes, your IP address is that of the VPN server: in many ways it is as if you were physically there, connecting to the Internet.
Advantages of VPNs
There is the privacy of navigation , as there is some anonymity in the visits. In fact, when we enter a VPN we are ‘hiding’ our IP (the Internet address that marks who we are, from where we connect). This prevents the websites from knowing, for example, where we are connected from. And when we say ‘websites’ we are also talking about advertisements and possible hackers, who will have a harder time tracking our tracks (fingerprint).
CHOOSING COUNTRY OR SKIPPING GEOLOCATION RESTRICTIONS
Another advantage is that, in some cases, you can choose to which country we want to have the tunnel. That is, that the IP belongs to a specific country. This is useful in countries such as China , where Facebookor Twitter are blocked. If we connect through a VPN from outside, we can post or tweet without problems from that country.
This also opens the door to skipping the content geolocation restrictions . For example, to be able to access sports content from another country (many Internet sites only have the broadcasting rights for the country in question, so if you access from outside the classic message appears that it is not possible to see it).This bring us to another advantage.
UNBLOCK WEBSITES AND FILTERS
VPNs are great for accessing blocked websites or for bypassing Internet filters.
In addition, there is the encryption of the data. The good VPN ensures encrypted connections , encrypted, so it will be even more difficult to track movements, also avoiding unwanted advertising (that trail makes after searching for a hotel in a place, appears to us for months advertising on that site).Data Encryption
When Connected To A Virtual Private Network, The Data Transmitted Over The Internet Is Encrypted. If You Can Not Find A Secure Wireless Internet Provider And Are Using An Unsecured Connection, The Connection To The VPN Protects The Security Of Your Data. Your Office May Require You To Log In To A VPN When Traveling To Ensure The Security Of Your Work, Based On The VPN’s Encryption Definitions.
Another of its advantages is that you can access remote contents more securely if, for example, we are connected to a public Wi-Fi network.
Using A VPN Is An Advantage For A Company, Since It Allows Employees To Work Remotely. Once An Employee Connects To The Virtual Private Network, They Can Access All The Files In The Computer Network Of Their Office. This Means That You Can Access The Same Files That You Could In The Office And The Use Of Programs That Reside On The Network Instead Of On Your Computer’s Hard Drive. This Also Allows Several People To Work On Files And Share Them On The Network Remotely.
IT WORKS WITH ALL APPLICATIONS
Because it routes all Internet traffic, unlike the proxy servers, which you can only use in the web browser and a handful of other applications that let you configure the advanced connection options.
Low cost compared to dedicated networks
The last advantage is the fact that VPNs use the internet as a connection between the various gateways and hosts greatly reduces the cost of implementation. In fact, studies estimate that the reduction of costs, when a VPN is used, is greater than 60%, depending on the case.
Disadvantages of VPN
But everything that glitters is not gold. Although these connections present great advantages, they also have their disadvantages.
LOST OF CONTROL
To begin with, although security is apparently greater, we lose some control of where we are connected. What happens if they have attacked the VPN service? Well, these networks, if they are vulnerable , can cause all users who use them to be affected . How? It is not the first time nor the last time that hackers manage to cause a massive DDoS attack causing every computer connected to a specific VPN to participate in the attack. It is an extreme case, but it has happened.
LOWER NAVIGATION SPEED
On the other hand, the free can be expensive. VPNs require a large infrastructure and resources , and some free VPNs require (always in the small print) that users share part of their connection with the rest of the VPN to streamline transfers. The disadvantage is, the navigation speed slows down.When Connecting To A VPN, An Employee Has To Make Two Connections. This Means That You Have To Take The Time To Connect To An Internet Provider And Then To The VPN. If The Employee Has A Limited Amount Of Time, Such As Short Stops At An Airport, Or The Need To Obtain Information Before Meeting With A Client In His Office, This Delay Can Be Critical.
POSSIBILITY OF MORE HACKERS
Nor should we forget that VPNs are of interest to those who can trade with our information, so it is possible that they are interested in attacking them and obtaining information from their users. So a big disadvantage is that VPNs attract a lot of hackers.
When Connecting To A VPN, This Results In Data Traveling Through Two Different Connections. The First Is The Internet Connection Used To Connect To The VPN And The Second Is The VPN Itself. This Is A Disadvantage Because Connections More Than One Chain, The Greater The Probability That The Data Will Be Lost, Transmitted Out Of Service, Or A Connection To Be Lost.
THEY CANNOT ALWAYS FALSIFY LOCATIONS
Especially in the mobile, there are more and more technologies by which you can triangulate and approximate your location beyond your IP address.
Using the Client as the attacked port of the companies.
A hacker can access the client’s machine through the original IP address and, from there, connect directly to the VPN server, having access to all company data. One way to avoid this attack would be to configure the client to accept only IPSec connections, which would make it impossible for the hacker to perform the first attack.
CONFIDENCE IN SERVER
We have many VPN servers offering services on the internet. It is important to consider the reliability of this server since all customer data will be passed through after the tunnel is deployed.
LOCAL SEND FAILURE
When we have many packets not sent due to some equipment failure (old cabling, for example) the software can identify this situation as a hacker attack. The VPN tunnel is then undone and redone soon after, but with the same problem happening. This will occur in a loop and will prevent a stable connection.
It is important, then, to choose well what VPN we use, that is reliable and safe, and always be careful. There are free VPNs, yes, but you have to read the fine print and remember that nobody gives away money for nothing.