Here, we're going to review commercial and free encrypted tunnel proxy and VPN technologies for the home or small office.
The term 'encrypted tunnel' is used to describe both secure anonymous proxies and Virtual Private Networks (VPN). (If you want to understand more about the various types of anonymous surfing to guard privacy, see The Different Types Of Anonymous Surfing Tools).
So you can get a good feel for what is suitable for your situation, we'll take a look first at the differences between tunnel proxies and VPN, then we'll review some of the commercial and free encrypted tunnel proxy and VPN products...
I. Security Of Data And Privacy
I. Security Of Data And Privacy
A commercial or free encrypted tunnel proxy and VPN generally will use the same type of encryption... usually SSL or SSH (For more details, take a look at Commercial and Free Encrypted Tunnel Proxy... The Role Of SSL And SSH).
However, a tunnel proxy has all connections and data routed through a proxy server. This proxy server retains logs of...
Now, although we would be supportive of criminal investigations, if we're not the subject of that investigation, we still may not want our records to be handed over to the authorities, just because we've used that, or those, particular proxy server(s).
The point is, if we are accessing or transferring highly confidential information -- whether it be of a personal or commercial nature -- then we may wish to avoid this potential security or privacy risk.
This is why a VPN is more secure, in this respect. There is no proxy server involved in the secure tunneling of a VPN -- our PC acts as the anonymous, encrypted server, making a direct connection with the web-based application of our choice.
With VPN, then, there is no risk of our data and browsing data being handed over to any third party.
If you are not accessing or transferring highly confidential information -- like a client's financial information -- over the Internet, then for most home and small offices, a commercial or free encrypted tunnel proxy will guard privacy requirements.
A commercial or free encrypted tunnel proxy is limited by the type of proxy used...
For instance, a web proxy will only generally allow encrypted and anonymous web surfing, whereas a Socks proxy allows many more web-based applications, such as file transfers and downloads.
With VPN, everything we send or receive on our computer is encrypted and anonymized, such as file transfer, email, IRC, ICQ, P2P, as well as surfing.
There is no proxy involved, so a VPN has a direct connection from our computer to our destination. Our Internet activity is invisible and easy to thread through a narrow hole in a firewall or router.
Using both a proxy and encryption generally slows down connection speeds of the commercial or free encrypted tunnel proxy.
A VPN has no loss of speed.
Mainly the domain of corporations, governments and other large organisations, VPN is generally used for remote workers to connect to the corporate network.
However, an SSL or SSH VPN can also be an option for the home or small office user who doesn't want the risk of their data and browsing history being stored on a proxy server, as mentioned above.
There are also SSL and SSH proxy tunnels. These differ from a true VPN in that, although masking our IP address and encrypting our data transfers, our transmissions are passed though a proxy server, which anonymizes and encrypts our content.
Because SSL encrypted anonymous proxies have been discussed in A Review Of The Best Commercial International Anonymizers, the products we'll be focussing on here are SSH commercial or free encrypted tunnel proxy and VPN programs...
2. Commercial And Free Encrypted Tunnel Proxy... SSH Tunnel And VPN Products
I. Hide My Ass! Free Encrypted Web Proxy Use the Hide My Ass! (HMA!) free proxy, encrypted with SSL, to surf anonymously online, hide your IP address, secure your internet connection, hide your internet history, and protect your online identity. I use this product and it's the best free encrypted tunnel. Just click on 'Tools' and you'll see it there.
A user obtains anonymity and encryption by incrementally building a circuit of encrypted connections through the free servers on the Tor network.
As the user is passed from one server to another, each server only knows which server it receives data from and gives it to -- no individual server knows the full path that the data has taken. Additionally, a new set of encryption keys is set up for each server, so these connections can't be traced.
This free encrypted tunnel proxy sounds too good to be true... and in a sense it is. Unfortunately, the project is still in the development stages and anonymity and security is not guaranteed.
You'll find out how to use it at The Tor Home Page
Anonymizer has developed Anonymizer Universal, which creates an encrypted VPN tunnel between your computer and the other end of your internet connection, ensuring...
Another benefit of this software is that it doesn't suffer the connection speed loss common with proxy anonymizers in general. There is a...
In order to use the free Guardster SSH Tunnel, you need to configure your local applications, such as Internet Explorer, to use Guardster's SOCKS proxy.
You will also need an SSH client application, but the member account section provides access to software and instructions.
With the SSH tunnel in place, the applications will have all their data routed through the secure encrypted tunnel to Guardster's SOCKS proxy.
There is a monthly or annual subscription service. However, at a cost similar to that of Anonymizer Universal and Secure-Tunnel -- but having to source your own SSH application -- this may put many non-technical people off.