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VPN Security -
What You Need to Know

VPN security is not just a luxury—it is a necessity. Both individuals and businesses can benefit from a virtual private network (VPN) that secures your sensitive information from prying eyes by encrypting your files and data. You don’t have to understand all the technical details of VPN, but you should have a basic knowledge of what makes a good VPN system.

How Does VPN Security Protect Your Information? 

A secure VPN protects your sensitive information using encryption and protocol. There are two primary methods for coding and decoding with two forms of protocol.

Symmetric-key encryption is easier to understand by way of an example. Let us suppose that John is a Social Media Manager and wants to send a confidential document to his client Margaret. John uses a key to encrypt the message. The original message is called plaintext while the encrypted message is called a ciphertext. The ciphertext is sent to Margaret.  Margaret knows the key and uses the same symmetric cipher (e.g. 3DES or AES). Margaret is therefore able to use the symmetric cipher to decrypt the message.

The more widely used protocol, and the more secure, is IPSec, or internet protocol security; the other is generic routing encapsulation (GRE). Simply put, data is placed in virtual “envelopes” and sent from one VPN-enabled computer to another.

Using VPN to Thwart Identity Theft

Perhaps one of the most frightening aspects of interacting online is the possibility of having your personal information stolen. VPNs neutralize the threat of identity theft in several ways:

  • Masking your IP address—Hackers can use your IP address to track your location and your internet service provider. Your VPN will hide your address, making it impossible for anyone else to pinpoint your data.
  • Sending information over a public network—If you are sending information over a public network (Such as Wi-Fi hotspot) it will remain secure if you are using a virtual private network. 
  • Protect your computer from viruses and malware. Most VPNs have a strict policy so that any computers attached to a network must include anti-virus and anti-malware protection so that viruses and malware can’t gain access to the virtual private network.

Tips for Enhancing VPN Security

If you want to get the most protection from your VPN, you’ll need to take some additional steps to increase security and protect against unauthorized access: 

  • Make your authentication and verification method for access as strong as possible, and use the strongest encryption method possible. 
  • Limit access to those with a valid business reason and make it available only to those who need it. 
  • Have a strong user password policy in place. 
  • Require all users to implement strong antivirus and anti-spam technology as well as personal firewall protection. 

VPN technology enables you to secure any information or transactions that must be conducted online. By taking these steps, you can ensure the best possible protection of both personal and company data.

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