VPNs (Virtual Private Networks) in theory provide anonymity and secure passage to your online destination. What we’ve increasingly seen is VPN companies go through their own security breaches and exposing users internet logs.
Even when a VPN provider claims that it keeps no logs, it can simply be marketing in a way where that might not be 100% true. There’s been instances where a provider has provided logs to the government, even though they claimed they didn’t keep logs. Even as recent as July 16th, 2020. A server hosting various Service providers logs was found to have no password, exposing more than 20 million users’ logs.
So, what can you do to protect yourself from bad VPN companies?
Do your research or upkeep your own:
Do some research n your service provider and make sure their reputation, client list, and past occurrences are clean. Also make sure that they are providing the services you’re playing fervent aren’t the end all be all of privacy and security for a company. But there’s still many things you can do the keep safe. You can also opt to set up your own, but that can require some major hardware and set up.
The NSA recently released an Executive summary that had some great advice for upkeeping a VPN.
Maintaining a secure VPN tunnel can be complex and requires regular maintenance. To maintain a secure VPN, network administrators should perform the following tasks on a regular basis:
- Reduce the VPN gateway attack surface
- Verify that cryptographic algorithms are Committee on National Security Systems Policy (CNSSP) 15-compliant
- Avoid using default VPN settings
- Remove unused or non-compliant cryptography suites
- Apply vendor-provided updates (i.e. patches) for VPN gateways and clients
Do more than just use a VPN:
The key to securing your organization is a sophisticated Security Information and Event Management (SIEM) platform. SIEM is the aspect of your security organization that is tasked with collecting and joining the data and information from all the organization’s security applications and tools. This includes your VPN logs.
To be effective against VPN hacks, SIEMs must break the siloed approach to cybersecurity. SIEMs, by definition, store huge amounts of data. A SIEM will use the plethora of the data to digest raw event logs into exposing insights and implement automatic correlation to weed out the truly high-risk events from the noise.
Try replacing it all together:
While a VPN is better than nothing, it leads us to a false sense of security. Monitoring and researching your Virtual Private Network provider is a good start against defining against potential security issues, but there are some developing security practices that can add extra layers. There’s an upcoming trend of VPN alternatives that tie together security infrastructures. Since more and more workers are moving to the cloud, having your security take place there too is becoming more important every day.
Zscaler is an example of a suite of services provided to enhance your cyber security. It replaces your VPN and other security segments. It’s more than just that, but that’s more for another article.
In conclusion, VPNs aren’t the only security tool you should use. You shouldn’t lull your security posture into a false sense of security by misunderstanding the vulnerabilities. To remedy this, you can do your research, use more than just a VPN, or embark on the journey into the “next gen” of internet connectivity and access security.