How strong is VPN protection?
Despite its humble beginnings, VPN protection became one of the most popular tools in the digital world. After two decades of updates and improvements, the Virtual Private Network evolved into a multifunctional technology. From preventing all kinds of surveillance and cyber threats to bypassing content restrictions – VPN brings it all. Needless to say, VPN protection is highly reliable, or at least it should be. So, how do VPNs guarantee a flawless experience no matter what? Can snoopers circumvent VPN protection and track you down?
What makes VPN protection secure?
The security of a VPN depends on encryption and leak protection. Since it’s not enough to send your data through a tunnel, VPN uses encryption protocols to encode it. To encrypt the data, VPN providers can apply a variety of security protocols. However, not every protocol provides the same level of VPN protection.
Some of the quality protocols, such as OpenVPN or IKEv2, are incredibly secure since the math behind them is extremely complex. However, PPTP or L2TP/IPSec protocols are weaker and rendered obsolete by more advanced options. To provide robust security, reputable VPN providers no longer apply them. Hence, you can evaluate how secure your VPN protection is by knowing the exact encryption protocol you use.
The most common VPN protection vulnerabilities involve IP and DNS leaks. Both of them are the results of the inherent flaws of browsers or operating systems. However, trustworthy VPN providers integrate leak protection mechanisms into their software, and always proactively respond to vulnerabilities when they occur.
Still, learning to test and fix a connection leak is a useful skill. After connecting to your VPN, you can perform a quick IP and DNS leak test on reliable websites to see if everything is in order.
Can hackers break VPN protection?
Breaking into a VPN service can involve one of the two tactics. A hacker can crack the encryption due to vulnerabilities or steal its key through unethical behavior. However, breaking the encryption is time-consuming and computationally demanding due to its mathematical complexity. To decrypt an outdated encryption protocol with even the most robust computational power would take months or even years. Due to these reasons, hackers might not waste their resources on cracking the VPN protection.
In 2015, researchers estimated that it would take about a few hundred million dollars a year to build a computer capable of hacking a single 1024-bit Diffie-Hellman encryption key. Still, it wouldn’t be enough to decrypt other encryption keys that protect VPNs. The good news is that reliable VPN protocols no longer use anything less than 2048-bit Diffie Hellman cryptographic exchange. The increased bit lengths contribute to the highly robust VPN protection, making it even more immune to attacks.
Can you be tracked even if you use VPN protection?
From your ISP and surveillance agencies to Google and other social networking platforms – all of them are snooping behind your back. As they gather different kinds of data, it is essential to distinguish what VPN protection can hide from them.
For instance, your mobile service provider can use your phone’s GPS and cellular signal to track your location. Since internet connection is not necessary, there’s no way to block such tracking unless you turn off your phone.
Google, which offers the ability to sync different accounts into one, gathers personally identifiable information, such as your age, gender, and location. By creating accurate user profiles, the tech giant builds its business on trackers and advertising. Furthermore, Google has a heatmap of Wi-Fi access points, which allows browsers to track your geographical coordinates, even if you use a VPN protection. Luckily, you can prevent browsers from using your location.
However, most of the invasive tactics end up associating your real IP address with your activities online. With VPN protection, you hide in the crowd of a variety of IP addresses. As a result, intrusive third-party trackers won’t be able to link a particular IP to your browsing habits since you can change it regularly. Also, Google, your ISP, or the government entities get nothing but pieces of unreadable information left from the VPN encryption.
So, should you trust VPN protection?
You can, and you should trust VPN encryption that uses industry-standard solutions. If anyone tries to hack you or the encryption protocols, it will be a real nightmare. Even though VPN protection can’t make you 100% anonymous, it definitely complicates the attempts to compromise your privacy.
Atlas VPN wants to earn your trust by ensuring a strict no-logs policy, military-grade encryption, DNS leak protection, and many other powerful security features. You can try Atlas VPN protection at zero cost and unlock the Premium package whenever you’re ready. Get it here:
Former chef and the head of Atlas VPN blog team. He's an experienced cybersecurity expert with a background of technical content writing.