VPNs are becoming very popular as more people want to evade censorship and geo-blocks. It will also help to keep you anonymous online and protect your data from cyber threats. However, internet service providers (ISPs), streaming websites, and governments are employing anti-VPNs measures to discourage you from using this vital tool.
Fortunately, obfuscation will conceal your VPN traffic to make you look like you aren’t using a VPN. This will enable you to bypass VPN blocks and use the internet privately without being detected.
Read on to find out what obfuscation is, how it works, and much more.
What is obfuscation?
Obfuscation is a technique that conceals VPN traffic and makes it look like regular traffic, preventing anyone from detecting it. Keep in mind that obfuscation just conceals the traffic and doesn’t alter it at all.
Usually, OpenVPN is the default protocol on most VPNs. It protects data with encryption but also adds a unique signature, which can be detected by deep packet inspection (DPI) and other methods. As a result, you can bypass VPN blocks and firewalls.
Governments and ISPs use DPI to monitor your online traffic and control what you can access. However, a VPN will encrypt your data, but the presence of a VPN is still visible. Moreover, interested parties like ISPs, governments, and streaming websites use blocking technologies to prevent VPN usage. Hence, you won’t be able to evade geo-restrictions no matter which VPN you use. The best solution to this problem is obfuscation.
How does obfuscation work
As mentioned earlier, obfuscation enables you to circumvent VPN blocks. It removes the VPN-related information from your data packets to make your VPN traffic look regular. The process of masking your VPN traffic depends on the obfuscation method your VPN provider uses.
One standard method is using SSL/SSH encryption to hide VPN metadata. Another way is to jumble your data, which removes the VPN signature and other traces from the header. As a result, it will look like regular HTTPS traffic that firewalls will allow to pass through.
Is obfuscation necessary?
Why do you need obfuscation, yet a VPN will protect your online connections and allow you to access blocked content? Sometimes this is not the case, and you may need a VPN with obfuscation.
Here are some of the reasons why
Prevent ISP throttling
Many VPNs will reduce your internet speed if you do data-intensive activities like watching video content on movies streaming sites, gaming, or torrenting. However, a VPN will encrypt your traffic to prevent your ISP from seeing what you are doing online. The problem is that your ISP will know that you are using a VPN and might even throttle your VPN traffic. If that is the case, obfuscation will come in handy to prevent this from happening.
Access geo-blocked streaming sites
Popular streaming services like BBC iPlayer and Netflix restrict their content to specific locations. For example, if you are in the UK, you cannot access Netflix US. These services know people are using VPNs to bypass their geo-restrictions, so they employ advanced techniques to block VPN traffic.
However, a VPN with obfuscation will enable you to stream your favorite content undetected.
Evade network blocks
You may not be able to use a VPN to dodge blocks if you use a school or office network. After all, many network administrators have techniques that detect and block VPN traffic.
In fact, you can even get into trouble for bypassing the firewall. However, obfuscation will enable you to evade restrictions worry-free as network administrators will not see your VPN traffic.
Improve security and privacy
A VPN with obfuscation will be helpful if you are concerned with your online security and privacy. It will make it impossible for snoopers like ISPs, governments, and cybercriminals to detect your VPN traffic. Besides, it will also encrypt your data.
Bypass government censorship
Governments in some countries like China, Egypt, and Iran heavily restrict internet access. In fact, VPNs are either blocked or illegal. As a result, citizens cannot use the internet freely. However, a VPN with obfuscation will enable you to access any blocked sites, apps, and services securely and privately.
How to obfuscate your VPN traffic?
Although obfuscation is a great feature, not all VPNs offer it. Some like IPVanish and Surfshark call it Stealth Mode, but it works the same way. Usually, you can access the feature in the advanced settings or just connect to obfuscated servers, depending on the provider.
Use the following steps to start using obfuscation
- Open the VPN app and login into your account
- Navigate to settings and deactivate automatic protocol selection
- Choose OpenVPN. Use UDP options as it is faster
- Go to the server map and connect to obfuscated servers
Your traffic will be obfuscated automatically. Additionally, enable the kill switch feature to maintain your anonymity if the VPN connection drops.
A VPN with an obfuscation feature is a plus because it will enable you to evade VPN blocks and access blocked content undetected. On top of that, it will mask your IP address and encrypt your data to protect your online security and privacy.
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