Learn About The Different Kinds of VPN Encryption
When choosing a Virtual Private Network, commonly known as a “VPN” when abbreviated, you must think about having a professional level of VPN encryption which premium VPNs tend to include in their products.
There are many, many VPN users today that have fostered an awareness of cybersecurity and privacy over the years. Most of these users will not have an “encryption level” in their criteria when shopping for a VPN, which is kind of like opting for summer tires in winter. So, we need to get an understanding of what a VPN is, what encryption is, and finally tie these topics into which VPN you will want to have for optimal security and privacy.
What is a VPN?
A VPN is a network security software solution, part of a small IT niche known as network and information cybersecurity. VPNs are offered by various brands for almost every platform. A VPN is a private internet connection that is encrypted and anonymized to preserve your privacy rights and your security. A premium VPN can easily mask your computer’s critical IP address, and greatly reduces privacy intrusions and data breach issues. A user can choose a server within the app, and simply route their internet connection to i.e., a random town in the UK or the capital of Singapore. It all depends on where the VPN provider has set up their servers.
More and more people are benefitting from VPN tech, and disappearing from the radars of their ISPs and their governments. The VPN sector is now a multi-billion dollar arena, the roots of which lie in an ancient technology known as PPTP or Point-to-Point Tunneling.
To recap, with a good VPN in tow (which we will look at in the next section) you are; protecting yourself from hacker interception, targeted marketing, and obscene data collection.
The best VPNs out there are usually those that operate outside of the 5 eyes, 9 eyes, and 14 eyes regions that exchange sensitive information and as such do not log users or share, or sell, user data.
Likewise, the best VPNs out there use their proprietary encryption technologies, which we will get into in the next section.
What is Encryption?
In information technology, encryption is one of the most important pillars of cybersecurity. Cybersecurity is the defense of computer systems against both cybercriminals and the application of frameworks and internet best practices for these systems, and their users.
If you are a history buff, you may remember the ancient German Enigma encryption machine that would encrypt messages between officers and generals. Well, a VPN is sort of the modern equivalent of an Enigma machine. Encryption has existed for a century now, but only recently has it trickled into the digital world as computers and the internet came about a few decades ago.
In computer science terminology, encryption comes from cryptography. That means the securing of digitally transmitted information on cloud and computer systems, and across networks. The encrypted data can be digitally stored data or moving data. VPNs protect data that is moving, sometimes called “in-flight” data. This is done with encryption algorithms (mathematical code) that scramble outgoing and incoming data packets in a tunnel. VPN technology has its roots in PPTP or Point-to-Point-Tunneling that dates back before the 2000s. Proxies are also similar to VPN technology, only in that proxies are purely gateways between the internet and internet users while VPNs are a complete, effective solution that covers more than just single apps or websites.
Premium VPNs offer complex encryption algorithms such as AES (Advanced Encryption Standard) that are superior to symmetric encryption. Maximum encryption protection means a 256-bit layer of protection, which most premium modern VPNs offer these days. The more bits there are the more garbled the information and the more difficult it becomes to intercept by attackers.
Which VPN do You Want?
Because there are dozens of “premium” VPNs out there (discounting the free ones), it has become a market in and of itself. This market encourages competition, and as such VPN vendors need to distinguish their unique selling points from the rest. Some do this by adding extra features, sporting higher speeds or more servers, while others do this by marketing their advanced proprietary encryption protocols.
There are a huge amount of different encryption protocols out there such as; OpenVPN, Nordlynx, Blowfish, AES, RSA, Wireguard, Camellia, IKev2, Diffie-Hellman, and more.
Today, there are only a few premium VPN brands that are considered the cream of the crop. These are NordVPN, ExpressVPN, Cyberghost and Surfshark. Now, there are others such as Mullvad and PIA however, the former has made a huge commercial success. Most people will opt for one of the above VPNs, but, there are distinct differences in how they encrypt information.
Let’s look at ExpressVPN and NordVPN. ExpressVPN relies on a Diffie-Hellman algorithm, while NordVPN has developed its proprietary algorithm called Nordlynx. Nordlynx is considered to be the best encryption algorithm out there (although ExpressVPN is not far off) because it improves on WireGuard’s already solid encryption by using a modified version of it.
No matter which premium subscription-based VPN provider you use, you will most likely be secure and your connection will be private. Yes, there are small differences in encryption technology however as soon as you are up there in AES 256-bit land (which is the base of all premium VPN protocols) there is almost zero chance of your connection being intercepted. The exception is when you use a low-quality or free VPN service, which may be controlled by cybercriminals.
The other exception is whether the VPN you have chosen has a history of being hacked, or logging user data. NordVPN does not seem to have these issues and promises never to log user data. The choice is up to you. As a general rule, make sure that you always do in-depth research and look at trust reviews for the software you are downloading.