What is a Virtual Private Network | How VPN works and why VPN is not all you need for privacy

The Hated One

First published at 02:20 UTC on October 5th, 2017.

What is a Virtual Private Network? And why using a VPN is not enough to protect your online privacy? We'll look at how virtual private networks work to understand why they are not all you need to protect your privacy. VPN will hide your IP address, but websites will still be able to track you using cookies, tracking scripts, and analytics tools.

What is a Virtual Private Network (VPN)?
VPN is a private network that makes “virtual” connections routed through a public network, which could easily be and in most cases even was the Internet.
There is no single standard for building a VPN. Each provider has its own structure and protocols, which offer different features, and not all of them are privacy.

How does a VPN work?
Basically what a VPN does is that it takes packets of data that would normally run through an insecure network, like Internet, encapsulates them in an entirely new packet, and puts its own VPN header on top of it, masking the original source of information. This process is called tunneling and it is how VPNs mask your IP address.
This is why you can trick websites to having a different IP and bypass geolocation censorship. But this is not what guarantees the confidentiality of your data. For that you need encryption.
VPNs achieve that by encrypting the traffic between a client and the VPN server. This means that a company VPN client can encrypt data coming from their employee’s laptop working out in the field and connected to a local wifi.
Encryption doesn’t necessarily mean privacy.
The reason why VPNs work to protect corporate privacy but fail at guarding consumer privacy is the fundamental design of VPN technology. VPN server is always going to know some personally identifiable information about you. Whether it’s your real IP address, information you submitted upon account creation, and information taken from your payment method. The process of collecting this information is called logging, and there is not much you can do to verify what ..

CategoryScience & Technology
SensitivityNormal - Content that is suitable for ages 13+