VPN – How does it work?
While VPN (Virtual Private Networks) have gained popularity as a common security tool, many companies and VPN users do not understand how they work. By understanding the fundamental basics of how a VPN protects the users’ information, users can better decide what information needs to be sent through a VPN. To understand this, users must first understand that VPNs are a network between the user and a dedicated server. You can read about What is a VPN in our dedicated article. Much like a home network or a private network at a business, a VPN secures information from outside computers and users—restricting who can access the user’s information. Unlike home networks, which will function without a connection to the internet. A VPN needs an internet connection in order to function.
The Role of Software:
A VPN network is accessed through software installed on the user’s computer. The software aids the user in properly using the network for maximum security of the transmitted information. The software will transfer the information safely and securely to a server – the only other computer who can receive the information due to protective security measures placed on the information. The server will decrypt the information and forward the data to your intended recipient – without your personal information attached. The server is also responsible for returning information to your computer, and does so through safe encrypted files.
The role of encryption and tunneling:
Before transit to the server, all information from your computer will undergo two security layers, encryption and tunneling.Both processes are vital to protect the user’s data. First, the information is tunneled. To imagine tunneling, picture important documents which, before transit, are placed in blank envelopes to protect from prying eyes. All the information you send undergoes this enveloping process, which prevents unauthorized computers from accessing the information.
Next, the information is encrypted. Encryption is a security measure that scrambles the information within the packets and requires the use of an encryption key to unscramble. Only the user’s computer and the dedicated server have the encryption key. Now, if unauthorized computers see the data they will be unable to understand or use the information. Since the server has the encryption key, none of the data is lost or corrupted when received by the correct recipient.
The Benefit of Security:
Both of these security measures are applied to all data that is transmitted from the user’s computer to the server. This will prevent a majority of hacking attempts and phishing scams. In addition, when the information is sent, all identifying information is removed from the data. This is security data about your computer’s location, connection, and additional information. This data, if not removed, can be used to identify the user’s computer and location by the recipient and unauthorized computers. Information that can be used to target the user for malicious attacks.
The user benefits by remaining anonymous on the internet, protecting their vital information and location, and gaining additional layers of security against unauthorized access. This protection allows users to once again send data from non-secured internet connections and public Wi-Fi.