What is a VPN and how to use it safely

The invaders in the temporarily occupied territories are trying to connect Ukrainians to Russian Internet networks, where there is equipment for filtering Internet traffic, which made it possible to block many Ukrainian and international web resources. To avoid surveillance and circumvent restrictions, Gospetssvyaz advises using VPN services.

It is reported by RBC-Ukraine with reference to the press service of the State Service for Special Communications.
What is VPN

VPN (Virtual Private Network) is a virtual private network that encrypts the traffic between the client and the VPN server and changes the IP address. When connected to a VPN, a secure channel is created between the user’s computer and the VPN server. The data in it is securely encrypted: your Internet provider will not recognize your location and the web resources that you have visited.

The updated IP address is usually generated from a different city or country. For example, you can log in from Kyiv while in Ukraine, but your IP address will indicate that you are, for example, in London, UK.

VPN services allow you to use resources to which access is prohibited on a geographical basis or based on government decisions. Thanks to a VPN, you can freely visit blocked sites, you just need to select and download the application on your computer or mobile device.
When to Use a VPN

When using unsecured public Wi-Fi networks to protect your data.
When you need secure access to the Internet network and systems while organizing remote work.
To protect yourself from websites, programs and services that want to track your activities.
To prevent the operator or provider from tracking your activities on the Internet.
To gain access to information resources blocked by the occupier.

How to choose a VPN

When choosing a paid VPN, pay attention to the following criteria:

Protection. Better choose a VPN that has military-grade encryption (like AES-256), an assortment of security protocols (OpenVPN, L2TP, IKEv2, WireGuard, and more), DNS leak protection, TrustedServer technology that deletes all your data every time you restart , and the function of automatic emergency shutdown (kill switch).
Support for operating systems. Make sure the VPN supports the operating systems you use: Android, iOS, Windows, and more.
The number of concurrent active devices. The main thing is that you have enough.
Price. VPNs are free and paid. Paid ones may have a better level of protection, higher connection speed, support for more operating systems.

If you are using a free VPN

Check the reputation of the service in the search engine – if there were any facts of leakage or sale of user data.

Do not use Russian VPNs, they can probably send data to Russian intelligence agencies.

Some VPN programs may unnecessarily request access to user data when downloaded. Those who ask should be alert:

access to personal data;
recording on external drives;
changing system settings;
local file management;
access to call logs.

“To ensure a stable and secure connection, we recommend using paid VPN services. Be sure to download VPN service applications from official sites, observing all licenses and recommendations of the provider,” the press service noted.

Applications that the user does not install through official web resources may contain vulnerabilities in their code that allow the user to be deanonymized.

On May 7, 2022, the Russian Federation began transferring mobile operators in the occupied areas of Donetsk and Luhansk regions (CADLO) to its own telephone numbering system. Prior to that, they used the Ukrainian numbering system.

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