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Making data secure via VPNs

According to INS chief Shailesh Gupta, China has blocked even t he access through the VPN (Virtual Private Network) server by creating a technologically advanced firewall. Representational image  

Data security and privacy are the buzzwords of this connected era, where we use the internet for everything from browsing social media sites, checking out cat videos and ordering in food to carrying out key financial transactions via bank transfers.

If you are nodding your head at these use cases, setting up a VPN (Virtual Private Network) for your computing needs may not be a bad idea.

What is it?

VPN, which stands for Virtual Private Network, began life as a tool designed for large organisations, where employees needed to connect to a server from different locations to access key files and information. To ensure security, the private network connection is established using an encrypted layered tunnelling protocol and VPN users can use a host of authentication methods, including passwords or certificates, to gain access to the network. Nikhil Yadav, an IT developer at Blocumen Studios, explains, “A virtual private network extends through encrypted connections over the Internet. Since the line is encrypted between the network and the device connected to it, the traffic remains private.”

He adds, “VPN technology can check whether a connected device meets certain security requirements, thus making the connections secure. For instance, a company ABC has a private network with many resources, including proprietary algorithms running on their server that their employees can access. If someone needs to work from home, they can connect to the company’s private network through a VPN (making the connection secure) and use all the resources that the company provides. In this day and age, when there are no geographical boundaries for skilled workers, and talent can be placed around the globe, these networks are a huge asset.”

Nikhil continues that, remarkably, VPNs are also a necessity for companies to securely share their resources with their employees, as well as connect their multiple branches in a reduced-risk environment. “It is also a good tool to circumvent censorship. We can connect securely to a proxy network via a VPN which, in turn, will connect to a destination website/service.”

How can I get it?

Yadav says, “There are multiple third-party software such as Cisco AnyConnect that will help you set up a VPN network. Moreover, there is an inbuilt VPN service in Windows PCs.”

Note to self: just learn to use these facilities correctly!

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Printable version | Apr 19, 2021 6:33:58 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/sci-tech/science/making-data-secure/article26364707.ece

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