As we know, VPNs are not only used for business purposes. Many people uses VPNs to break geo-restrictions and unblock websites, such as users in China. The usual reasons for an organization to use VPN services are mainly for security consideration. This consideration includes security of the system, security of its information in transit and protection of its business network. For individual users, in order to keep their sensitive health information or financial data safe, they may also need a VPN.
All these tricks should be handled by a properly configured VPN. Your link between two separate Internet locations is encrypted by using strong algorithms that prevent people from intercepting your messages, whether from your rivals across the streets or to negotiating with Kim Jong-Un.
What do VPNs actually do?
Many VPN providers are owned by non-US corporations and that they may be able to collect (the same data that consumers think has been protected) information and then share it with other organisations.
So one question to be asked in the first place, can VPN providers share information in a decrypted way? Also, is such a sharing likely to take place?
A straightforward “yes” is the answer to the first question. It is completely possible for them to share whatever personal information you are providing through the VPN pipes from a purely technical perspective. The answer to the second question is “maybe”, of course, because it depends on the supplier, who operates this service, where it is practicable and what is its ethics.
This is due to the way many VPN services operate. When setting up the VPN, you create an encrypted tunnel at the site of the VPN provider between your computer and network and a server. Your link will be sent from there to its ultimate destination. During your VPN service sessions, your data may not be encrypted, and when sent back to the other side of your link, it may be encrypted.
Some VPN providers may not encrypt your data during the whole process. And if they so choose, any of them can decrypt your files. The risk lies in the time your information is spent on servers of the VPN provider. A scrupulous provider may, while in possession of another, send an unencrypted version of your results. How do you defend your business information in the light of this scenario?
What could be the risks and what should you do?
Choose the VPN provider first. If it is a US-based company, you must know that a US-based VPN provider is subject to US data protection laws; a supplier located in another country may not. Similarly, you will want to ensure that your information is treated in accordance with your local laws, if it is stored in Europe or other nations.
The founder and CEO of OpenVPN, Francis Dinha said that when a VPN provider is located in the outside world, it should be seen as a red flag. “You subject yourself to security risks when you have a company operating outside of the country,” he said. Dinha points out that there are other red flags, in particular whether a VPN will be offered for free. “Who knows whether the information on your computer is shared?” When people use free VPN services, their information become another form of products in the eyes of those VPN providers. This may lead to an exposure of users’ VPN to advertising, or to a sharing of users’ actions with others for marketing purposes, or to a sharing with organizations that do not have your best interests at heart.
“If the torrent-or peer-to-peer connections can be used under a VPN, you should better avoid using this VPN” said Dinha. “Those third-party peer-to-peer connections can also extract data from your network. It could also be a third party that installs malicious content. You can allow your customers to install rear doors to use them later and allow them to access network assets throughout the VPN activation. While a lot of VPN users and strong users can make fun of that advice— because very often, they download the VPNs for the torrenting and peer-to-peer uses they allow. Meanwhile, these users are also well aware of the potential security risks. Of course instead, they take a lot of technologies of endpoint protection to help reduce the negative impacts.
Actually any VPN can be misused, even those located in the USA. You therefore have to check with your VPN provider to guarantee the support that you believe they are providing. It is important to check. A reliable way to ensure that you work with a trustworthy VPN provider is to check that the company has other reputations. Find companies with security roots, including firewall companies or security software firms, for example.
Another important point is that you never need a VPN that does not have the server control. You need to ensure that your key management is fully controlled. However, most consumers will not set up their own VPN servers. Under many conditions, the benefits brought by the advantages of end-to-end VPNs outweigh the potential risks of losing users’ personal data. Again, this is a question of balance.