VPN: The versatile tunnel through the network
You make sure unsecured Wi-FI connections, push through the great firewall of China, and conjure series like “House Of Cards” on the home screen. VPNs are a Jack of all trades technology. An overview for beginners.
The acronym VPN stands for “Virtual private networks” and thus a wide bouquet of different techniques. All common is: on the Internet, an encrypted connection between the two points is rebuilt through traffic. The advantage: The traffic is protected from interception and tampering. Assuming, of course, you can trust the tunnel and the other side.
VPN access especially in the business environment were common until a few years ago: IT administrators use the tunnel secured by encryption to quickly resolve at home or on the road technical problems. They also use many companies to connect branch offices or sales representatives about VPN access to the internal network.
Back to Netflix and other services
Particularly through the progressive Geoblocking – country-specific barriers for content and services – the VPN technology also in the private sector was experiencing a boom. There are now dozens provider providing virtual approaches in various countries such as the United States for the international clientele.
The advantage here: Users can access to content, which are activated only for certain countries. For example, the series was “House of cards” first not in the German offer of Netflix, although the service had produced the political series itself. To bear the high cost of production, the U.S. carrier had selling the rights in Germany to the pay TV provider sky, whose services for end customers are significantly more expensive.
To what extent it is legal to circumvent such geo blocks through a VPN, is today not finally clarified. So such services violate users often the terms and conditions of video platforms, so the contractual provisions between clients and providers. But instead to take legal action against customers, provider such as Netflix so far to settle, to cut the access via popular VPN providers to meet the strict conditions of the rights holder. And where there is no plaintiff, also not a judge.
Protection against eavesdroppers
Many VPN providers promise other services as quick access to U.S. series. The offer ranges from the simple VPN, which is to secure the Internet connection on unsecured networks such as in a Café or at a free wireless access point. Because in such open networks an attacker can relatively easily in principle intercept traffic, listen to or even manipulate.
For this purpose it is not instructed but on commercial service providers. So included many home routers such as the Fritz box spread a VPN function, with which the users on the network at home can dial. The downside: The configuration is not trivial; When changing from a Wi-FI in another network, the secure connection tears off back home. The advantage: Even IOS and Android smartphones support now common VPN techniques from home.
The VPN in this case but not as a stealth helps towards the of visited Web pages. On the contrary: for the server operator’s looks like you surf mobile home from its IP address.
VPN is a matter of trust
Many vendors promise over secured connections – perfect anonymity is your unique selling proposition. Services such as black-VPN and gate guard agree to their customers across that you delete all data immediately, through which users could be tracked. Thus, it would be possible to use file-sharing services without running risk expensive warnings to receive. Whether the provider really keep on such guarantees, the customer can however not effectively review. Some services offer anonymous payment options, so that they know the real identity of their customers. Data such as the home IP normally but still get.
How also attackers in open Wi-Fi networks, VPN providers have the ability to manipulate the data traffic of users. Some providers offer this as advanced services: delete, for example, identifying browser data from the stream or prevent loading of malicious programs. This works only if the VPN provider has itself, free access to the data. In general it is advisable but also within a VPN to observe usual safety precautions. This includes the use of secure connections to Web pages and in particular mail servers.