Cryptography

Virtual Private Networks (VPN) Limitations

February 1, 2021 by Nitesh Malviya

You probably have heard about VPNs before. It’s even possible that you might have used one. In this post, we will be learning about VPN, some of its basic concepts and will be reading more in depth on limitations of using VPN softwares. 

What is a VPN

VPN stands for Virtual Private Network. It provides a secure connection between sender and receiver, i.e. it connects users securely to each other over the internet. Technically, VPN is a secure tunnel that encrypts your connection and keeps your activities invisible from others. 

So, a VPN is a software tool that protects your identity and data from cybercriminals, government, tracking, eavesdropping and more. It is so well-designed that it is impossible to track you or to dig into your network.

Why VPN

Day by day, the number of cybercrimes are rising exponentially. Consumers are also becoming aware and concerned about risks and attacks related to cybercrime. It’s now understood that everyone should have a secure network and the network data should be encrypted. Thus, VPN services are becoming a popular way to access the internet securely and remotely.

A typical VPN software offers several advantages. Some of the major advantages an ideal VPN software should offer are:

  • Privacy: A VPN in action hides your online activities, IP address, browsing history and so on. Your Internet Service Provider (ISP) can no longer monitor your activity.
  • Security: Secure browsing through an encrypted connection and comes with advanced security features.
  • Accessibility: It allows you to connect with multiple servers globally. You can access blocked websites and different libraries of OTT platforms unavailable in your region.
  • Anonymity: VPN connection hides your real IP address, replacing it with the server’s IP address. Using your IP address, there is a chance that someone can identify you and can monitor your activities; this type of monitoring and tracking can be prevented by using a VPN. 
  • Business purpose: Apart from personal uses, it is also used in businesses. Using a VPN, you can access corporate networks securely and remotely.

As every coin has two sides to it, VPN Softwares have several disadvantages which one should consider before using VPN. Here are the major disadvantages one should know before using any VPN software –

Using VPN is Illegal in many Countries

There are few countries which don’t allow the use of any type of VPN services for their citizens. Most VPN services are blocked by the countries which consider private networks to be illegal. If VPN service is blocked, it shouldn’t be used since the government may impose hefty fines and citizens may have to serve in jail for short duration like 3-6 months.

  1. Performance issues while using the private network

This is the biggest disadvantage one experiences while using VPN service. VPN connection works by connecting your network to a private network, thus consuming time more than a normal connection and might give rise to performance issues in the process. Also, many times the connection speed when using VPN connection is slower than the regular connection.

  1. VPN Service might use your data and monitor your Activity

Many VPN services allow users to use their private servers in exchange for personal  data like Email or Telephone number. There have been many cases where VPN companies were caught monitoring user data for their benefits and personal motives. These VPN services may help protect your identity and hide your IP address, but they might actually do the tracking instead.

  1. VPN service may be difficult to set up for business users

It is easy to set up VPN for individual users, however, for business purposes/users, the case might not be the same. For business users, VPN is much more complicated and difficult to set up  on the business network/premise.Also, such VPN setup still needs a separate and dedicated network management team to look after theVPN Network.

  1. It Might Add More Cost To Your Network Connection

VPN software is not available for free and companies/businesses have to pay a hefty amount to purchase VPN software. Also, additional network devices and infrastructure is needed to set up the VPN, thus incurring more cost and budget.

  1. Free VPN Softwares cannot be trusted

Many VPN Softwares are available for free to use for the end users. It’s not safe to trust these free VPN softwares, also a user may not come to know what data is being saved by the software and how they are being tracked.

  1. Using It Can Not Guarantee 100% Anonymity

There are many ways a user may end up revealing their identity using a VPN. What if the DNS is leaking or while browsing the website the VPN client is suddenly disconnected. Also, the VPN provider may consent to provide the government with critical information about you. Also, there are still many ways data get leaked through software or hardware or any other means.

  1. Not Possible to Bypass All the Restrictions
  2. Platform Compatibility Issues If You’re Using a Less Popular Platform – VPN Softwares work fine on popular platforms but may not work well on less popular platforms, thus creating compatibility issues to the user and may not be possible to configure the VPN for every user. To overcome this, many times the VPN software is installed and configured on the router instead of the user device.
  3. Intermittent connection drop/breaks

Conclusion

VPN softwares and VPN connection have become the prerequisite in today’s world and every organisation opts for some VPN software. Though VPN;s have their own disadvantages, it can be overcome by using software of reputable service providers.

 

Sources

  1. https://us.norton.com/internetsecurity-privacy-what-is-a-vpn.html 
  2. https://www.namecheap.com/vpn/how-does-vpn-virtual-private-network-work/ 
  3. https://www.vpncrew.com/5-disadvantages-of-vpn-that-you-should-know-before-using-it/ 
  4. https://vpnoverview.com/vpn-information/disadvantages-vpn/ 
Posted: February 1, 2021
Articles Author
Nitesh Malviya
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Nitesh Malviya is a Security Consultant. He has prior experience in Web Appsec, Mobile Appsec and VAPT. At present he works on IoT, Radio and Cloud Security and open to explore various domains of CyberSecurity. He can be reached on his personal blog – https://nitmalviya03.wordpress.com/ and Linkedin – https://www.linkedin.com/in/nitmalviya03/.