With more and more of our financial and private lives being broadcast between our personal computers and web services through the internet, the need for secure communications has never been greater. One approach to fulfill this need for security is to connect through a virtual private network, or VPN.
Private Internet Access offers this type of secure connection through their VPN product. While there are many approaches, both closed and open source, to building a VPN system, Private Internet Access has based their platform on the open source OpenVPN protocol. Building a system on top of this proven protocol is a good first step towards providing a strong solution.
Private Internet Access Takes Anonymity Serious
When looking at the various purposes the VPN will be used for, the strength of the remaining system details becomes apparent. First, for providing anonymity, they score high points by not keeping any user logs. Not all VPN providers forgo logging, making those solutions less secure. By not logging individual connections and IP addresses, the only way anonymity could be compromised is through a sophisticated traffic analysis that watches all traffic coming into and out of the VPN server. This kind of analysis is really only within the reach of major government organizations and is so expensive and difficult to carry out, the current capabilities to do so are completely attached to national security projects.
128 Bit Encryption
Data from a client computer to a VPN server is encrypted with 128 bit Blowfish encryption. This is technically weaker than other available VPN solutions but not actually weak by any means. With 128 bit encryption, a current supercomputer would take on the order of one billion years to compute a brute force crack.
Protect Yourself on Public Wi-Fi
For applications where encryption is important, such as connecting to a public Wi-Fi hotspot, Private Internet Access provides more than enough encryption to render any traffic captured by a packet sniffer completely useless to the person collecting the data. Another area where encryption is important is in shielding activity from an internet provider. By connecting first to the VPN server, an internet provider will only see an encrypted stream of data heading to that one server. The content, and ultimate destination of that data, is indecipherable to the internet service provider. This allows a user to use provider blocked services such as voice over IP, point to point file sharing and bit torrent file sharing.
Multiple Connections Supported
The system supports up to three connections at a time which is significantly better than most competitors that only support a single device connected to the network at any given time. With support for connecting to the VPN directly from a router running dd-wrt firmware, an entire home network can be connected at the same time.
Location masking is accomplished by offering connections to the internet through over 585 servers from 9 different countries. This is useful for bypassing geographical restrictions that have been set in place by a user’s government or by a specific website.
Other Protocols Supported
Rounding out an already robust system, Private Internet Access also offers the ability to connect via a PPTP/L2TP/Socks protocol when OpenVPN is not supported by a device. There is also an option to enable DNS leak protection which prevents a computer from revealing information through the DNS server connection. Finally, the program includes an internet kill switch. If for any reason the connection through the VPN system is lost, this option will disable the internet connection on the computer to ensure no private data is transmitted in the clear.
All of these features, combined with fast VPN bandwidth speeds, make this VPN solution a top choice.