Few days ago Chinese hackers infiltrated several websites used by journalists and Muslim Uighur ethnic minority. Hackers were able to steal sensitive personal information; including: names, addresses, emails, birth dates, phone numbers as well as tracking cookies of users who were logged into any of the 15 Chinese Internet portals. This may sound like any other hack we read about in the news, however, these hackers have made the headlines because they managed to thwart robust anonymity and privacy tools, such as: Tor and VPNs, which are mainly used by millions of users in China to protect their personal information, to successfully hack into their accounts and steal highly sensitive information. This incident has raised the alarms because privacy tools, like Tor and VPNs are widely used by hundreds of millions around the world for being impenetrable by cyber criminals, especially hackers.
“There’s a growing sense within China that widely used VPN services that were once considered untouchable are now being touched,” said Nathan Freitas, a fellow at the Berkman Center for Internet and Society at Harvard and technical adviser to the Tibet Action Institute.
“Researchers say the complexity of the attack and the lack of digital fingerprints indicate that someone with significant influence had to have been directing it.”
“There must be a cybercriminal out there with pretty significant access to China’s Internet infrastructure,” said Mr. Freitas.
Ever since the increase in online censorship by the Chinese government and the establishment of the Great Firewall of China to exert more control over web content and intensify the crackdown on activists, bloggers, foreign businesses and internet services; millions of internet users and businessmen in China have turned to virtual private networks and other anonymity networks, like: Tor in order to protect themselves from the government’s internet surveillance, secure their personal information from being traced or stolen by third parties and cyber criminals, such as: hackers and fraudsters, carry out business and financial transactions or bypass geo-restrictions and unblock banned websites in China, such as: Youtube, Facebook, Netflix, Hulu, etc. Therefore, with Tor and VPNs being compromised and outsmarted by hackers who took advantage of a server software vulnerability to launch their attack, online privacy concerns are now on the rise and internet users have started looking for more effective ways to hide vpn connections from hackers.
In this article, we will reveal some solid tricks every internet user needs to know to hide VPN connection from hackers in China and elsewhere.
How to effectively hide VPN connections from hackers?
You can still outsmart hackers and protect your personal data on the internet if you know how to truly hide VPN connections from hackers and data snoopers whether in China or in any other country. Here are some effective methods to hide VPN connections:
1) Use L2TP/IPsec Encryption
In some countries, an OpenVPN encryption protocol is detected and blocked by ISPs, however, the best and more secure alternative is to use L2TP/IPsec encryption instead. This type of encryption prevents data from being changed or altered in any way while it is trafficked between the sender and receiver. It also uses UDP to encapsulate data to provide an optimal data encryption and during authentication processes. Not only is L2TP/IPsec fast, but it is also easier to configure with most firewalls. Here is how you can easily set up an L2TP/IPsec connection:
Using one layer of encryption, such as OpenVPN can be vulnerable to hackers or being detected by sophisticated firewalls that use DPI (Deep Packet Inspection) such as the case in some countries, like: Iran or the Great Firewall of China. This kind of inspection has the ability to distinguish data traffic attempting to pass through the main firewall, hence, can detect whether a user is using a VPN or not. By using double encryption techniques, such as: OpenVPN over SSH tunnelling, your data is wrapped in an additional layer of encryption which makes it easy for you to hide VPN connections and makes it virtually indistinguishable by DPI firewalls and impenetrable to hackers as well. One of the best and commonly used OpenVPN over SSH services is Wasel Pro because it comes with a built-in SSH mode giving you the ability to tunnel your VPN connection through SSH protocol in just one click, hence, does it by default saving you a long, exhausting and awfully confusing configuration process, as they state:
“Now you can route your VPN connection through SSH tunnel in on simple step. Just check the “Use SSH” checkbox. Setting up SSH tunnel requires a list of very complex instruction. Additionally, you’ll be required to root your device in order to be able to setup SSH tunnel. Whereas in WASEL Pro OpenVPN/SSH client for Android, you can avoid all the hassle and easily tunnel your VPN connection through SSH.”
3) Use Obsfsproxy
Another effective way to hide VPN in China is by using “Obfsproxy“. Obfsproxy is a tool created by Tor network when China started blocking Tor nodes. You don’t have to use Obfsproxy with Tor only, but you can use it normally with other VPNs as well. Obfsproxy is designed to make VPNs impossible to detect by ISPs and SPIs as it wraps your already VPN-encrypted data in a foggy layer of obfuscation, hence the name “Obfsproxy”. Since Obfsproxy doesn’t in fact provide an extra layer of “encryption”, but merely camouflages your already encrypted data, it might not be as secure as other encryption methods; such as: OpenVPN tunnelling over SSL or SSH, but not having an additional encryption layer makes Obfsproxy a fast tool with low bandwidth that can be more effective in countries, like: Syria or Ethiopia.