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What is VPN encryption and why it is important?

VPN encryption
In simplest definition, encryption means converting the data into indecipherable form while transferring to another device or for storage purposes. It is quite obvious that VPN encryption is done to prevent unauthorized access to the data. All kind of sensitive information and data is stored in encrypted form; it protects organizations, businesses and even individuals from fraud and other pitfalls.

How VPN encryption works?

VPN traffic is encrypted by the sender and decrypted by the receiver; this end to end encryption makes sure the data transferring via VPN remains confidential. The method used for encryption and decryption depends on the VPN protocol you are using.

Of course sender and receiver must have the common encryption key so they can understand each other. Without the encryption key, even the intercepted data has no value to the hacker who has gained access to the traffic.

VPN encryption types

There are numerous types of VPN encryption like:

  • Blowfish
  • 3DES
  • AES-128
  • IPSec
  • MPPE
  • Camellia
  • AES-256

Each of those comes with different technologies and attributes like performance, security, availability and others. Let’s talk about each of these VPN encryption types.

Blowfish

Blow is an olden encryption technique that has been in use since pre-2000 era. This uses 64-bit blocks that mean it experiences issues while encrypting larger data like more than 32Gb. OpenVPN uses Blowfish encryption method.

3DES

3DES is as old as Blowfish but it is a product of Federal bureaucracy which is the main difference between these methods. Blowfish is also faster than 3DES. It is also used by OpenVPN.

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AES-128

AES-128 is way more secure than Blowfish and its better performance makes it a better option for OpenVPN protocol. It is mainly popular because of compatibility.

IPSec

IPSec provides end to end encryption between the sender and receiver. IPSec is mainly used for L2PT connections and as the name suggests, it encrypts data on IP packet level.

MPPE

MPPE refers to Microsoft Point to Point Encryption; it is mainly used in dial-up connections and PPTP connections. MPPE offers link encryption between sending and receiving routers.

Camellia

Camellia is used with 128-bit data blocks with 128, 192 and 256-bit keys. It is developed by NTT and Mitsubishi. It is quite similar to Blowfish in term of performance. Camellia is used by OpenVPN.

AES-256

AES-256 is mainly used by OpenVPN, SSTP and IKEv2 VPN protocol. It is one of the most secured encryption standards and US government uses this encryption for high level communications.

What is the best VPN encryption?

This is not an easy question to answer. Finding the best VPN encryption type means going through a huge amount of data and taking a lot of factors into consideration. Luckily for you, our experts did that, so you don’t have to. Out of the available encryption protocols, AES-256 and AES-128 stand out and that is the reason why most VPN providers use either one or the other.

AES (Advanced Encryption Standard), known also by its original name Rijndael, is a subset of the Rijndael cipher developed by two Belgian cryptographers which became a specification for the electronic data encryption established by the US National Institute of Standards and Technology. It comprises three block ciphers, AES-128, AES-192 and AES-256.

The best VPN encryption algorithm is considered by many to be AES-256 because it offers a higher level of security. While this is true, experts also argue that taking into account that AES-256 also needs more resources (even 40% more resources in certain cases) while the difference in the level of security is rather small, AES-128 may be a better option.

Finding out what is the best VPN encryption probably depends more on each user and the purposes behind the need for encryption. If you’re looking for the highest level of encryption, with complete disregard to the need for resources, then AES-256 is the way to go. If you’re looking for a more convenient option and a better security / resources ratio, AES-128 is for you.

What are the VPN encryption protocols?

A VPN protocol determines how your data travels between your computer and the VPN server. Each VPN encryption protocol has a different set of specifications, offering different benefits.

Encryption is the process of encoding data in such a manner that only a receiver with the correct decoder will be able to read and use it.

In a VPN, the devices at each end of the “tunnel” encrypt and decrypt the data every time this is sent or received through the tunnel. The protocols assist in applying the encryption keys at each end and that is what makes VPNs work. VPNs use either Internet Protocol Security (IPSec) or generic routing encapsulation (GRE).

There are many VPN encryption protocols and as mentioned before, each offers a unique set of benefits for the user. Some favor speed over security, others focus on privacy and security, while others are known for being stable and reliable more than anything else. Here is a list of VPN protocols usually used by VPN providers:

Check our guide about VPN protocols to find out more about them and which one to use.

Why do we need VPN encryption?

Encryption is important because it allows us to secure our data, information and even web traffic so no other party can access its contents. Organizations and businesses all over the globe use encryption to protect their secrets and classified information. On the other hand, individuals use encryption to protect their identity to prevent identity theft, fraud and other cyber crimes. Encryption implemented by VPN makes sure you remain anonymous on the internet and no one could see your web activities as well as your real identity.

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