A VPN (Virtual Private Network) is a type of cyber security software that allows you to securely connect to a remote network (such as a corporate network or the Internet) through a public network (such as the Internet) via a series of encrypted tunnels. The purpose of these encrypted tunnels is to provide confidentiality, authentication, and privacy to users while they are online. In this article, we will discuss the various aspects of a secure line VPN including why you might want one, how to choose the best one for your needs, and how to setup and use it effectively.
Why You Might Want To Use A VPN
One of the most significant advantages associated with using a VPN is the ability to prevent malware and ransomware from harming your device while you are online. Malware such as viruses, Trojan horses, and ransomware are all forms of malicious software that can be installed on your device without your knowledge or consent. Once installed, these pieces of software can behave in ways that are harmful to your computer or phone.
While there are many advantages to having a VPN, they are not all created equal. There are a few different types of VPNs available, each with its own unique set of positive and negative attributes. Before choosing one particular type of VPN over another, it is important to consider the risks vs. the benefits.
Types Of VPNs
There are currently five different types of VPNs that you might want to consider:
- L2TP/IPSec: Layer 2 Tunneling Protocol (L2TP) is a successor to the Layer 2 Tunneling Protocol (L2TP) protocol originally designed for IPsec (Internet Protocol Security). IPSec is generally considered to be a better and more secure replacement for L2TP, though L2TP is still widely used today due to its simplicity and support for older versions of Microsoft Windows OSes (such as Windows XP and Windows 7).
- OpenVPN: OpenVPN is an open source virtual private network software application that was designed to allow users to create secure tunnels between two or more devices (e.g., your computer and a VPN server). It has a user-friendly GUI (Graphical User Interface) that makes it extremely easy to use for non-technical people. In addition, OpenVPN has a large number of pre-configured servers available which makes it very convenient for users who need to connect to a remote network without having to setup the VPN server themselves. Because it is open source software, you will have access to hundreds of different servers (around the world) that you can use for free as long as you adhere to the OpenVPN guidelines (terms of service). Unfortunately, OpenVPN can be a little tricky to configure for users who are not technologically inclined (IT admins who need to perform routine maintenance and troubleshooting of their networks are the type of people who might find OpenVPN a little overwhelming).
- PPTP:PPTv is a VPN protocol designed to provide confidentiality, authentication, and privacy to users while they are online. It was developed by the United States military and is as strong as IPSec with the added advantage of being compatible with older versions of Windows OSes (e.g., Windows XP and Windows 7). PPTv is generally considered to be the most secure type of VPN, though again, the military-grade encryption makes it a bit more complicated and expensive to set up and use compared to other types of VPNs. PPTv is also the only VPN type that does not require any specific credentials to be entered upon connection (it will use the user’s credentials from their Microsoft account if available).
- IKEv2: IKEv2 is the updated version of the Internet Key Exchange Version 2 (IKEv2). IKE is a key exchange protocol that is used to establish communications between two (or more) computers or devices (e.g., your computer and a VPN server) via a virtual private network. It is considered to be a very secure and reliable protocol, though a bit more complicated and expensive to use compared to other VPN protocols (such as L2TP and OpenVPN).
- ChaCha20+Poly1305 (SIV): SIV (Single-Image-Verification) is a newer addition to the list which is aimed at providing better security and privacy to users compared to earlier versions of the ChaCha20 cipher. SIV provides forward secrecy by default which means that even if someone manages to decrypt a single piece of data, it will still remain confidential as long as it is not revealed or used in combination with other information. SIV is also compatible with all versions of Windows OSes (including newer versions such as Windows 10), and it is relatively simple to setup (via a series of automated steps) for users who are not technologically minded (such as network administrators who need to configure their networks remotely).
Features To Look For In A VPN
When choosing a VPN to use, it is important to consider a number of qualities and features that you might want to see. Some of these features are: