Since the beginning of the special operation and mass censorship of Internet projects in Russia, the popularity of VPN, which allows to bypass such blockages, has increased dramatically. Only in the first 10 days after February 24, the number of downloads of VPN applications exceeded 5 million installations. According to surveys, a quarter of Russians use VPN to bypass blocking and sanctions restrictions, and among young people the popularity exceeds 50%.
Considering these factors, we have created a detailed guide for the effective use of VPN on a smartphone.
What is a VPN?
VPN is a set of technologies for creating one or more network connections (a logical network) on top of another network (for example, the Internet).
How does VPN work?
The technology creates a virtual encrypted tunnel between two servers, presenting the data sent from the device as a random and encrypted line of code. VPN also masks the user’s IP address and location in real time to access content without restrictions.
Why do I need a VPN on my device?
VPN is becoming increasingly popular among smartphone owners. Now the use of content streaming and live broadcasts is growing, as mobile devices have quickly become the main channel for accessing shows of interest.
- VPN will allow you to use the Internet around the world without restrictions. In different countries, you may encounter various restrictions: from complete blocking of social networks to reduced libraries of streaming services;
- VPN ability to encrypt any datasent over the network, significantly complicates the interception of information by hackers. Hiding the IP address and location makes the user less vulnerable to malware and DDoS attacks.
- When using mobile banking the protection of credentials is becoming more and more relevant.
- A VPN can establish a secure connection on a public Wi-Fi network. Users who have gained access to the network will not be able to view your actions or collect login data and passwords.
- VPN will protect your privacy and it will not allow websites and services to track your activity. With VPN, you get access to the website in confidential mode, and no one on the network will see your actions and will not get access to the information you have sent.
It is important to note that a VPN provides relative security and anonymity when using a web browser or application, but does not prevent cookies from tracking your Internet activity. However, the ability of a VPN to connect to a huge number of foreign servers and hide the IP address can transmit false information to cookies, creating an additional level of anonymity on the Internet.
Choosing a VPN provider.
There are several criteria for choosing a VPN provider:
- Secure connection. It is important to make sure that the VPN service provider offers a secure encryption method and a reliable protocol. A secure VPN should use 256-bit encryption and the OpenVPN protocol, which is especially effective at bypassing firewalls.
- Large coverage area. If the provider has a small coverage area or not a large number of servers, a VPN can lead to network latency and slow down the Internet connection. It is necessary to give priority to VPN service providers with a large number of servers in various countries of the world.
- Tariffs. It’s not necessary to use a VPN all the time, so you should consider service providers with multiple payment plans. A VPN subscription costs an average of about $5 per month, so keep this in mind when comparing market prices.
Setting up a VPN on a smartphone.
After choosing a service provider, you need to establish a VPN connection on your smartphone. There are two main ways to do this:
The first option – Purchase a VPN app in the Google Play store or App Store. Most popular VPN providers have native applications for both iOS and Android, and also simplify the process of saving installation settings and maintaining (and updating) applications over time.
The second option – set up a VPN manually on your smartphone, which takes more time and depends on whether you have certain knowledge. However, this will give you much more control and configuration options for the VPN.
Below we have listed the most popular and secure VPN protocols:
- OpenVPN. The popular open source platform is compatible with 256-bit encryption and is effective at bypassing firewalls.
- WireGuard. A popular and secure protocol that supports only the User Datagram Protocol (UDP). Thanks to high-speed cryptographic primitives and deep integration with the underlying OS core, WireGuard results in high speed and low overhead compared to OpenVPN.
- IKEv2. This protocol is also popular and boasts great speed and security. IKEv2 can switch from one type of connection to another (for example, from mobile Internet to Wi-Fi) without compromising security and performance. However, IKEv2 is not as widely supported as WireGuard and OpenVPN, and does not have standalone encryption, and must also be installed together with the IPsec protocol.
- IPsec (and L2TP). IPsec can be deployed as a standalone protocol in combination with the Layer 2 Tunneling Protocol (L2TP). Together, the protocols create an easy-to-install and secure VPN option. However, using a single port (UDP port 500) allows it to be easily blocked by a firewall, which makes the protocol less popular.
- PPTP. It belongs to the “Point-to-Point Tunnelling” protocol and is one of the fastest, but the least secure. Because of this, PPTP is no longer supported by iOS, so it is a poor choice for internet security.
As we can see, there are several VPN options and protocols to meet different user needs – fast connection or increased security. Now, even with minimal technical knowledge, it is not difficult to install a VPN on your smartphone and use it, which will protect your personal data and your device from hacking and DDoS attacks. Moreover, a VPN will help to maintain privacy on the Internet, especially when using public networks.