To start with, if you want to browse the Internet, first you need to connect to your Internet Service Provider (ISP), which then forwards you to the desired website or other Internet resources. It means, all your Internet traffic goes through and can be viewed by your ISP.
A Virtual Private Network (VPN) allows you to connect to the Internet via a remote server run by a VPN service provider. All the data traveling from your computer, tablet or phone is transferred via an encrypted connection, also known as a VPN tunnel. Generally speaking, all the traffic coming from your device is encrypted and hidden, therefore no longer visible to your Internet Service Provider (ISP).
NordVPN uses AES (Advanced Encryption Standard) with keys of 256 bits. In fact, before it became the most frequently used algorithm in symmetric key cryptography, it was used by the U.S. government to protect classified information, as well as by the NSA to protect national security data. Now it is an ideal option for software applications, hardware, and firmware that require either high throughput or low latency.
Furthermore, NordVPN recommends two different security protocols to provide strong VPN encryption between your device and the server you have connected to. Usually, when you connect to one of the NordVPN apps, it automatically selects the encryption settings most suitable for your speed and security circumstances.
In this section, we provide the detailed information about each security protocol that we use as well as share our recommendations when choosing between different VPN encryption types. We hope this information will provide a better understanding of the level of security offered by NordVPN.
The most exciting addition to the NordVPN security protocol family is IKEv2/IPsec. It encrypts and secures users’ traffic by employing high-level cryptographic algorithms and keys. In addition to this, NordVPN utilizes NGE (Next Generation Encryption) in IKEv2/IPsec. It is the protocol that not only provides military-grade encryption standards, stability, and high-performance speed but at least for the moment cannot be cracked even by the strongest computers. For these reasons, it is highly recommended by NordVPN and has been adopted as a default in the NordVPN apps for iOS and macOS.
OpenVPN is a mature and robust piece of open-source software, which enables us to provide a reliable, secure and fast VPN service. It is a versatile protocol and can be used for both TCP and UDP ports. While TCP is known for being more reliable option for accessing the web, UDP is faster and works better for online gaming and live streaming. OpenVPN supports a high number of strong encryption algorithms and ciphers – to guarantee the protection of your sensitive data we use AES-256-CBC with a 2048-bit DH key. It is currently used by default for Windows, macOS, and Android.
On the final note, both security protocols have their advantages and disadvantages in the certain situations. However, both of them are recommended by NordVPN and are safe options to use, if you are concerned with your online privacy and security.
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