Why you shouldn’t waste time on a Free VPN PPTP Protocol!
“PPTP was a popular encryption protocol in the 90s, but this is no longer the case. Its protocol is extremely out-of-date by today’s standards, and it’s not worth the trouble in risking your online data.”
When it comes to choosing the right VPN service, you should take a look at the protocol it uses.
So, the decision shouldn’t be taken lightly. And with so many VPN options to choose from, it can be an overwhelming decision.
That is why it is important to know that some of these VPN protocols that are offered are not secured and should be avoided.
One of them is the PPTP protocol.
But before we go on to give a few reasons why VPN PPTP is a bad egg when it comes to security and encryption approach – here’s a quick rundown about what is PPTP and how it works?
What is PPTP?
PPTP, also known as, Point-to-Point Tunneling Protocol, was created by Microsoft, Ascend (today, part of Nokia), and other companies in the 1990s.
They wanted to provide Windows users with an essential tool for data encryption.
PPTP was an improvement from the previous PPP standard, which lacked the tunneling featured.
What started out as a protocol implementation in Windows systems instantly became a popular protocol available on various VPN protocols.
PPTP protocol gained a massive following among small and medium-sized enterprises for a short time in the 2000s.
Here’s how PPTP works
In a simpler explanation, PPTP is used as a tunnel to encapsulate data packets that transport all online data and traffic through an IP network – securing these with its encryption and authentication at the same time.
An IP can say a lot about you. It’s not just a string of numbers.
Once the PPTP server receives the data, it’s forwarded to the destination website or device.
The protocol was designed to function in everyday Windows environments, with high speed and low footprint.
Why some VPN services use the PPTP protocol?
To create a durable VPN service, one must sustain the service’s expenses – providing a secure connection to another network anonymously.
That’s why some excellent VPN services charge subscription fees to cover the costs of sustaining and maintaining a secured connection.
With that, they will provide greater protection from whatever you are doing online, such as torrenting.
Yet, there are other VPNs that go around by not building a durable private network service for their users.
Instead, they use this simple encryption protocol hoping that users won’t know about the technicality stuff.
It’s inveterate that those questionable VPN service providers who offer their services for a very low fee or even for free.
These questionable providers’ goal is to attract more users. Logging their activities and turn those into money.
With that said, PPTP VPNs should be avoided at all costs.
Here are the reasons why PPTP VPN Services are not secure
1. PPTP is an old-fashioned security protocol that should have stayed in the 90s
To begin with, PPTP has the poorest security compared to other protocols.
It doesn’t offer data verification. In other words, you won’t be sure if the data that’s sent over PPTP is authentic or has been rigged.
As a result, it diminishes the protocol reliability, especially if your information is sensitive.
Risking your online data as the nature of PPTP is not as secure with today’s’ standard.
There are stronger and advanced security protocols these days, and with that comes a higher cost to update and maintain these protocols.
With PPTP, these VPN service providers don’t have to pay to update or maintain the protocol.
2. Your data will be an easy target for malicious attacks
PPTP’s past records are filled with security flaws that have been detected by security experts.
In 1998, a report was published by Bruce Schneier and Mudge that revealed the hashing algorithms were disturbingly easy to hack in the PPTP implementations.
This allowed intruders to implement a range of eavesdropping attacks – tracking every user in the network.
It doesn’t stop there; other flaws were found, such as passwords hashing, vulnerable to man-in-the-middle (MITM) attacks, and the possibility of decrypting data.
According to the report, the protocol’s Achilles heels were its “Challenge/Response Authentication Protocol (CHAP), closely followed by its RC4-based MPPE encryption.”
After the report, Microsoft released another authentication protocol update known as MS-CHAPv2.
Not surprisingly, Bruce Schneier and Mudge published another report revealing the security flaws in the new protocol.
3. A myriad of PPTP hacks is available online
There’s plenty of PPTP hack information and cheat sheets if you search around.
This means anyone, including those who have no skills in hacking, can hack any PPTP network.
It’s easy to hack the protocol and reveal sensitive users that utilize this protocol.
Imagine using a PPTP VPN for sensitive activities like transferring money online or paying something online using a credit card.
Anyone can easily snoop around and steal your information.
I do not encourage such practices and are strictly against any illegal activities of hacking or breaching anyone’s privacy nor information.
4. Don’t be surprised if you become a PPTP hack victim
This brings it to the next point – the protocol encryption is easy to break hence making them a target for hackers, even an amateur one.
Still, many people using PPTP VPN service, which brings to the following detail: there’s plenty of fish in the sea for many potential victims.
You might actually become one of these victims if you using a PPTP VPN. It’s just not worth it!
So why People still use PPTP VPN?
1. Simple usability
PPTP is one of the most commonly used by cheap or free VPN service providers because it is easy to set up and maintain.
It is not required to encrypt using IPsec.
That means you don’t need to install computer certificates or a public key infrastructure to access and manage the protocol.
Another reason why it’s being used because it’s cheaper compared to other protocols such as L2TP.
Because it’s so easy to install yourself, you can do it yourself with basic network knowledge.
Moreover, PPTP doesn’t need a lot of certificates to run, so these providers don’t spend a lot of money getting or creating them.
3. Fast connection speed
Surprisingly, PPTP is capable of offering fast connection speeds due to its low level of encryption.
This is also another reason why free or questionable VPN providers use PTPP.
Is it possible for PPTP to be more secured?
No.Not really – as previously mentioned, MSCHAPv1 and MSCHAPv2 were Microsoft’s efforts to make PPTP secured.
But it didn’t work out.
However, you can use EAP – TLS authentication to make PPTP more secure, but it needs a full public key infrastructure.
And that takes a lot of time and energy to dedicate to this kind of protocol.
But this doesn’t compensate for the fact that PPTP is entirely useless.
It is best to stay away from PPTP VPNs if you’re looking for the highest standard of security when you’re browsing.
Finding the right alternatives to PPTP
PPTP may be the simplest protocol to set up, but it’s not the best when it comes to security convenience.
So, it’s better to choose other protocols that provide excellent security.
When it comes to security excellence, OpenVPN is the best option.
It provides not only robust protection for your data but also exceptional security stability.
OpenVPN, as the name hints, is open-source.
That means it can be independently audited by anyone to authenticate its security flaws or threats. As for now, there are no known security flaws in the system.
By default, it supports 256-bit SSL encryption, which provides a high level of protection and can also slow down your connection by 10%.
If you also download a VPN client provider, it’s most likely that OpenVPN is included.
If you choose a manual set up, it can get more challenging. But you can find detailed guides that take you through the process.
Another great recommendation, L2TP/IPSec, is another option for users whose priority is robust security.
Unlike OpenVPN, it comes with a built-in protocol that’s available on popular devices such as Mac, Windows, Android, and iOS.
In simpler terms, L2TP is the protocol, and IPSec would be the encryption method that I’ve mentioned above, and they usually couple together.
It is best to avoid using L2TP only since it lacks the encryption that IPSec delivers.
As for now, there are no known weaknesses, but L2TP/IPSec is not an open-source program.
Setting up is pretty easy in general.
Apart from the standard sets that are required with PPTP, you have to acquire an additional pre-shared key.
Microsoft developed SSTP, but it is way more secured than PPTP.
Currently, it is only supported by Windows devices, but it offers the same robust protection as L2TP/IPSec.
If you think setting up L2TP/IPSec is easier, SSTP is even more convenient because of its simplistic layout.
You only require a server domain, username, and password.
This protocol is an excellent alternative to PPTP, but it should be noted that it is not as popular as others due to its limited device capabilities.
Only a few providers support it.
A brainchild of Microsoft and Cisco, IKEv2 is pretty good as well.
Seldom heard of than SSTP, its strength lies in re-establishing a connection quickly if the connection drops.
Great use of this would be in the signal loss when moving around or switching networks.
The only downside is that it is available on a handful of BlackBerry devices and some versions of iOS.
Other than that, IKEv2 utilizes IPSec for encryption, the same as L2TP/IPSec.
Verdict- Should I Ever Use VPN PPTP service?
Now, most VPN services will offer a choice of VPN protocols.
But before you choose, you’ll need to ask yourself first:
- What’re your intentions to use a VPN?
- Are you looking to secure your sensitive data while browsing the Internet?
- Which devices will you be using when you’re connected to a VPN?
With that said, it is highly recommended that you avoid VPN PPTP altogether.
Even Microsoft has gone as far as to say that you should dodge PPTP.
It’s not the right choice for anything that requires high security. There are way better options available.
Though PPTP is useful for simple tasks such as looking for a fast way to unblock geo-restricted content or streaming videos from YouTube or Netflix.
But this can become a problem if a hacker starts snooping in your Netflix or YouTube account. So, use PPTP with caution at your own risk.
BUT, do keep in mind that you should not use PPTP – under any circumstance – while accessing sensitive online information (like your bank account or email, for instance).
Not to mention, newer operating software (Mac OS X Sierra and higher) and devices no longer support PPTP due to its outdated security standards.
If security and privacy are important to you, you should check out security protocols used by your VPN provider and ensure that they adopt advanced security protocols.
If they only use PPTP protocol, be sure to switch to another VPN provider for the sake of your own security and privacy online.
It’s a lot to take in here.
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