Top 7 VPN Myths: Common Misconceptions About VPNs Debunked

Top 7 VPN Myths: Common Misconceptions About VPNs Debunked

VPNs are an important part of any Internet security program, only you don’t know it. Read now to discover the truth about this cyber security bulletproof vest. The Reality Of VPN Security Myths.

VPN, the three-letter acronym you probably have never heard of before today and if you have, you aren’t really sure what it is. Well, I am here to explore and debunk many of the common misconceptions about VPNs that plague the public today. Yes, I said plague. A bit of a harsh word but when you consider the number of scope of risks that are present when surfing the Internet and how easy it is to protect yourself from them by using a VPN, ignorance of the subject can be considered a plague on modern society. So, on to the many, and erroneous, VPN myths.

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VPN Myth #1: Only Criminals Use VPNs

While it is true that VPNs offer many attractive features that can be utilized by criminals, or merely circumventing the law, is not the primary use for the technology. Yes, on a commercial basis VPN technology rose to fame as a means of bypassing Geo-restriction in order to access content not available in one region or another. They have also gained notoriety as a means for people in oppressed countries to evade censorship and government restrictions but even that is not the reason why you should be using one. The reason why you, the average Internet user and/or business owner, should use a VPN is because of encryption. All other security features aside, the encryption of your data makes everything you send and receive over the web safe from prying eyes. It is possible, as unlikely as it is, for your connection to be monitored or intercepted but if it is, it won’t matter because the amount of time and money it would take to decipher the data is so enormous as to make attempting it a worthless endeavor. So, yes, a criminal may find it useful to use a VPN but so will everyone else, and using one just may save your data or devices from those very criminals.

VPN Myth #2: Using A VPN Will Slow Down My Connection Speed

The number one complaint about VPNs, from non-users, is that they will slow down your connection speed. It is possible for this to happen but it is not entirely true, and modern advances in the tunneling protocols have greatly improved speeds. Even to the point that commercially viable products are available. The first thing to keep in mind is that your connection speed is ultimately limited by the speed of your connection. Obviously, faster connections will perform much better than slower ones. Another factor that comes into play is the location of the server you are using (VPNs work by routing your connection through dedicated remote servers), the farther away the server – the slower your connection, or greater the lag time. This problem can be alleviated by using a VPN provider with a number of servers located around the world, so you can choose the ones best suited to the task at hand. In addition, there is more than one kind of VPN protocols. Each offers a different level of security, is good for different kinds of Internet related tasks and affects connection speeds in different ways. An OpenVPN or L2TP may not be the best for watching streaming content but do offer high levels of security for data transfers and file sharing, a HybridVPN with SmartDNS is best for streaming media but does not offer the same level of security.

VPN Myth #3:All I Need Is A Free VPN, Right?

Free is always a good thing but remember the old saying, nothing is really free. You always have to ask yourself what you are getting when you sign up for free software, and how it is that they are making money off of you. When it comes to a VPN you have to ask yourself, am I getting the best, the latest, the most secure form of VPN or am I getting the basic, not that great, slow to use VPN that anyone with mid-level hacking skills can detect and intercept. The obvious concern though is the speed, which is going to be very limited, and the amount of bandwidth you are allowed to use each month, which won’t be a lot. The hidden concern is security, and anonymity. One of the ways in which a free VPN can make money is to track your browsing history, yes that’s right the service you use to keep from being tracked may in fact be tracking you, and then sell that information to the highest bidder. In most cases the data is simple such as websites, shopping habits etc, in the worst cases you could experience a major breach of personal or business secrets. The thing to do is check to make sure that your VPN provider does not keep logs, especially anything with personal data attached.

VPN Myth #4: All VPNs Are The Same

As I am sure you are by now becoming aware, not all VPNs are the same and there are some pretty big differences. In terms of its function, there are really two main things to understand about VPNs encryption and connection. The encryption takes place within your device and can be done in a number of ways, using any of a group of encryption protocols and with differing levels of effectiveness. The connection takes place between your device and the dedicated VPN servers, which act as your gateway to the Internet. These connections can also be made in a number of ways with 3 main categories: PPTP, L2TP and OpenVPN. PPTP is the lowest level of connection, does not always include encryption and much less often good encryption and is not really appropriate as a means of securing sensitive data. It is however very useful for evading geo-restrictions, has the least amount of impact on your download speeds and when used in a hybrid situation with SmartDNS is entirely appropriate for streaming your favorite TV shows right from behind their firewalls. L2TP is the next level, Level 2 Tunneling Protocol, and brings a higher level of encryption and much safer connections, the ones you want to use when shopping online, accessing your bank accounts or transferring sensitive information. The OpenVPN is based on open source technology and offers the highest levels of security and anonymity. The leading VPN providers, such as Le VPN, support servers with all four configurations, Le VPN itself has more than 120+ servers located around the world.

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VPN Myth #5: I’m Using A VPN So I Can Do Anything!

VPNs offer a high level of security, safety and anonymity on the Internet. When you connect with a VPN server and use VPN technology on your devices you ensure that your data is only able to be received and read by the intended recipient via a connection that is virtually impossible to detect, and if it is detected looks like nothing more than a random, encrypted and undecipherable connection with no visible origin or end point. This protects you from a wide variety of Internet threats but not all of them. The number one of which is plain old, run of the mill, ages old and ever enduring human stupidity. A VPN protects you from outside attacks but not, like inviting a vampire into your home, from those you bring upon yourself. Using a VPN does not mean you can abandon the use of Internet best practices and go to any old website willy-nilly and expect to be safe.

You also can’t expect to just open any odd email from some Nigerian prince and think you’re gonna make money this time. If you go to a shady website, or open a shady email, or do some other questionable activity on the Internet you will open yourself up to every kind of attack imaginable. The simplest will be phishing scams for information, maybe a virus or other executable file; the worst will be active attacks against your network, device, accounts and person. So, using a VPN can not protect you from yourself the same way a seat belt cant help you if you decide to drive off a cliff. Be smart, always use your Internet best practices including the use of malware protection, firewalls, screening emails and avoiding sensitive tasks while on public Wi-Fi networks.

VPN Myth #6: VPNs Guarantee 100% Complete Anonymity

As discussed previously, this may not be true if you are using a VPN service that keeps logs or tracks you and your use of the Internet in any way. The biggest issue with that is that while most providers will claim to be a no log service, few are truly that. Of course there are some good uses for logging so don’t get to bent if you discover your provider keeping tabs, how else will they know how to help you with your problems, or send you the latest offers.
That being said, it is a fallacy to think that anything can keep you 100% private or anonymous on the Internet. Where one person finds a way to keep you safe another 10 are looking for ways to break that safety so they can prey on you. In the end, anonymity and privacy are not really the same anyway. Anonymous means being unnamed: your connection and browsing habits may be visible but they won’t know who did it. Privacy means being named, but with a certain expectation that what you are doing is for your eyes alone. What VPNs do provide is the highest levels of privacy and anonymity available on the Internet today, a combination that provides much better benefits. This means that your connections are very hard to find, nearly impossible to detect, extremely difficult to intercept, undecipherable and as useless to hackers, censors and governments as ice to an Eskimo.

VPN Myth #7: TOR Is Just As Safe As VPNs

TOR, the Onion Network, or BitTorrent are a popular method of file and data sharing that many think offers the same safety as a VPN. The Tor network is a free to use sharing service that offers some anonymity and privacy for users, as well as encrypting and transferring large data files with ease. While TOR does provide some of the same features as a VPN, there is one major difference and that is in the connection itself. When you use a VPN the encrypting and connecting begins from within your own device. At no time are you connected directly to your ISP or visible to Internet-At-Large. When you use TOR you have to first connect to the Internet using your standard ISP, and then connect to the TOR network. After you send your data file it has to leave the TOR network and travel along whatever connection the endpoint recipient is using. This means that your connection and your data is vulnerable before entering and after exiting the network; a savvy hacker could easily use this information to trace data as it exits or track it back to where it entered from, along with many other vulnerabilities you won’t experience with VPN.

A Simple Look At How VPNs Work

If you think of the Internet in terms of the old snail mail system it works kind of like this; your connection to the Internet works like a digitized version of the mail service. Your packets are the mail, the packet is the envelope and the payload is the letter. On the outside of the envelope is a stamp, a return address and a “to:” address that anyone can see, the postal system is the Internet, the post man is your ISP and the post office are servers that route your mail to its destination around the world. When you make a connection without a VPN you fill out a regular envelope, give it to the postman and send it to the routing servers. . . and it is in danger of being intercepted or damaged at every point, the addresses plain for all to see. Anyone looking for mail coming from you, or going to its destination, can be filtered, blocked or worse. The traffic of mail could be tracked back from the source to find you, or traced to its destination to find them and all the while it is in danger of all kinds of day-to-day threats that could endange or damage the envelope, or the letter.

Now consider using the mail with a VPN. Your letter is encrypted so that no one can read it, then the address information is encrypted as well, so that only the end point can verify it. Then the entire thing, envelope and letter, packet and payload, is put into a new envelope and given new, anonymous, addressing information that is used to route the mail. Because the VPN connection starts at your computer the mailman is bypassed and the new, anonymous envelope is delivered directly to the post office. Once there they don’t know where it came from, or who it is going to, only that it is being sent through their service. It then gets picked up by a special secret post office (the dedicated VPN server) from where it is then delivered, all with privacy, to the end point recipient. The final step in the process is verification, which has to be done before the letter can be opened and read.

One Stop, Full VPN Service

By now I am sure it is clear that the many VPN misconceptions are just that, misconceptions, top VPN myths are nothing more than whispers on the Internet. The question now should be, where, or how, do I get a VPN service with the servers and connections I need? The answer is Le VPN. Le VPN has been a leader in VPN tunneling technology for many years and on the cutting edge of the retail VPN market. They support all three of the major VPN protocols, as well as HybridVPN for streaming media, and have servers in 100+ locations around the world. The best part is that it is very inexpensive to purchase and provides protection above and beyond what any free service can do. On top of that comes the highest level of customer support that you just won’t find with a free service. You also won’t find them logging your traffic, tracking your history or selling your information to anyone. The need is clear as is the solution so there is no time to waste, get Le VPN now and save yourself the hassles of an un-secure digital world.

*Article updated on September 12th, 2018*



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Written by Vuk Mujović @VukMujovic

Vuk Mujović is the founder of MacTíre Consulting, an analyst, data management expert, and a long-term writer on all things business & tech. He authored blogs, articles, and opinion pieces aimed to help both companies and individuals achieve growth without compromising their security. Vuk is a regular guest author to Le VPN Blog since January 2018, where he gives his expert opinion on the topics related to cybersecurity, privacy, online freedom, and personal data protection. He also often shares his tips and best practices in relation to internet security and digital safety of private individuals and small businesses, including some additional applications of using a VPN service.

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