Follow us

Guidance by National Security Agency on selecting and upgrading to secure VPN connections

NSA and CISA release an information sheet about the factors to consider before choosing a virtual private network (VPN).

Published: October 14, 2021 By Ozair Malik

Title image for Guidance by National Security Agency. Girl upgrading to secure VPN for protected browsing of the Internet

Image source – pixbay.com

The Information sheet contains top hardening recommendations that include using tested and validated VPN products on the National Information Assurance Partnership (NIAP) Product Compliant List.

Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) recommended employing robust authentication methods like multi-factor authentication, promptly applying patches and updates, and reducing the VPN’s attack surface by disabling non-VPN-related features.

Readout to know about the critical developments of this news.

Keep these in mind before selecting remote access VPN

Try to avoid using non-standard virtual private network solutions. They include custom and non-standard features to tunnel traffic via Transport Layer Security (TLS). Even when the TLS parameters used by the products are secure, these non-standard and custom features produce additional risk exposure.

VPNs with Internet key exchange/Internet Protocol Security (IKE/IPsec) validated against security requirements have been recommended by NSA and CISA. It’s your responsibility to read vendor documentation carefully. Ensure that the product support IKE/IPsec VPNs.

Make sure to avoid the products that do not identify the standards they follow. If the product fails to establish IKE/IPsec VPN, determine whether it uses SSL/TLS in a non-standard-based VPN protocol.


Wondering how a VPN becomes insecure?

VPN servers allow users to get into protected networks from virtual locations, making these entry points vulnerable to exploitation by malicious cyber actors.

The exploitation of these devices can bring up:

  • Credential harvesting
  • Remote code execution on the VPN device
  • Cryptographic weakening of encrypted traffic sessions
  • Hijacking of encrypted traffic sessions
  • Arbitrary reads of sensitive data (e.g., configurations, credentials, keys) from the device

The most common remote-access VPN servers are either Layer 2 Tunneling Protocol (L2TP) or Point-to-Point Tunneling Protocol (PPTP). PPTP has been around longer and is more widely supported by hardware and software vendors but has a lower security level. L2TP isn’t as standard on the market but is more secure than PPTP.

Person prioritizing security before connecting to the internet

Image source – pixbay.com


2021’s top 5 VPN providers

A step to secure your internet

If you are using one of these best VPN services of 2021, you will never be hacked. Let’s look at the detailed analysis of the top 10 VPN providers.

  1. It can have five simultaneous connections.
  2. 30-day money-back guarantee
  3. Internet kill switch, split-tunneling, and server obfuscation
  4.  AES-256-Bit military-grade encryption
  1. 3200+ servers in 65 countries
  2. Unlimited simultaneous connections
  3. Internet kill switch, Clean Web, and Multi-Hop
  4. 30-day money-back guarantee
  1. Six simultaneous connections
  2. Double VPN, Onion Over VPN, and Obfuscated servers
  3. 30-day money-back guarantee
  1. Unlimited simultaneous connections
  2. AES-256-Bit military-grade encryption
  3. Double VPN, Onion Over VPN, and Obfuscated servers
  4. 30-day money-back guarantee
  1. 7000+ servers in 90+ countries
  2. Seven simultaneous connections
  3. AES-256-Bit military-grade encryption
  4. Wi-Fi protection, streaming dedicated IPs
  5. 30-day money-back guarantee

With every day passed, technology is upgrading, and data breach threats are becoming more apparent. VPNs keep your data safe and secure from hacks and the prying eyes of custom technology.

They also allow you to freely access restricted or censored sites, such as streaming services or social media platforms, without worrying about government surveillance.

As a security-conscious individual, the importance of selecting a reliable VPN is evident.


Active exploitation

Public Common Vulnerabilities and Exposures (CVEs) to compromise vulnerable VPN devices, some freely available online, has led to the large-scale compromise of the corporate network or identity infrastructure and sometimes of different services.

The article discusses how VPNs can be compromised and exploitations that happen with them. It also talks about the effects these exploits have had on different companies. It gives suggestions for what users can do to prevent such attacks from happening again.

Multiple nation-state Advanced Persistent Threat (APT) actors have exploited common vulnerabilities and exposures (CVEs), including some freely available online, to compromise vulnerable VPN devices.

These effects usually lead to further malicious access through the VPN, resulting in a large-scale compromise of a corporate network or identity infrastructure and sometimes of respective services. While this is not a new threat, the scale at which it occurs has increased dramatically in recent years.


Staying safe on the internet

The internet is a fantastic place with many opportunities to take your career and life in new directions. However, it can become dangerous if you do not follow some basic guidelines for staying safe online.

This article discusses those guidelines and how they can help protect your personal information from getting into the wrong hands.

Users on the internet face cyber-attacks and data breaches every day. This article will provide some tips on how to avoid such cyber-attacks and data breaches. It will also discuss if you should avoid the internet, as it may be a safer option than you think.


Conclusion

Even though VPNs can become the reason for data theft, it cannot be said that using VPNs make you insecure on the internet.

The way of using as well as choosing the right one can be so beneficial. VPNs are good to use as a layer of security. It makes our identity safe from compromising and hacking, which is one of the main reasons for data theft.

But, what is the best way to stay safe from data theft? Using a VPN will undoubtedly be a good way, but it depends on how you use and select it—considering that not all VPNs are the same, hence the need to compare well before settling for one.

Tags: 
News
Author
Ozair Malik
A passionate Cyber Security researcher and writer with a keen interest in Digital Forensics. A community worker running a insta blog to raise cybersecurity awareness among laymen.

Write a review

click to select