Data encryption is only part of what makes an effective VPN. There are many features and technical jargon aspects to consider; one of those terms you see thrown around is VPN obfuscation.
This article will go through the details to educate people on the topic. So you can reach an informed decision and select the best VPN for you, this article will provide you with everything you need to know about obfuscation and why you should keep it in mind.
According to the Merriam-Webster dictionary, to obfuscate is to confuse. You might think that VPNs already do that with geolocation spoofing. However, hiding your location isn’t enough for most VPNs.
Obfuscation in a more VPN-centric term confuses the receiving client into thinking that you are not using a VPN. The primary benefit of tricking your client into thinking you aren’t using a VPN is overcoming standard VPN blocks.
As data packet scans become more advanced, they are trained to catch VPNs. Because of some ill-informed reasons, some sites reject all connections coming from VPNs. In cases where you see the “cannot connect” message, it might be coming from a site-side block of your attempts to connect.
Much of this issue comes back to the natural stigma of people using VPNs. Some people would say, “why would you go to great lengths to hide your connections?” The reality is that these people don’t understand the importance of owning the rights to your data.
Through obfuscation, you overcome the natural policy of some service providers to deny VPN users based on the concept. While we cannot recommend you violate any TOS policy (mainly to avoid jail time), we agree that people shouldn’t be shocked at the idea that you should hide your data.
VPN obfuscation uses the same port that HTTPS traffic uses (Port 433). Because VPN services use the same port, connections coming through this method are expected and accepted. As a result, you overcome most of the blocking issues from standard VPN ports.
The detailed process for how it works depends on the obfuscation type. Below, we will go into further detail on different types of obfuscation commonly in use.
All casual (and serious) VPN users benefit from using obfuscated servers. Overcoming standard VPN blocks enables you to get back to using your regular services.
Despite some of the companies you use not liking VPNs (for example, if you have a Netflix account), they have no right to impose their security opinions on you. Companies typically don’t like when you argue with them and take control of your rights as an online consumer.
There are a few different forms of obfuscation on the market. To use them, you need to have one of the two situations exist:
In case number two, it requires quite a bit of technical skill to pull off. If you manually set up a VPN, you might find obfuscation among the steps. There are four major types of obfuscation:
Obfsproxy (obfuscation proxy) is a result of users of the Tor network being unable to access specific sites due to government censorship. It is a type of pluggable transport (PT) that acts as an external tool for bypassing censorship.
This information is found through a Deep Packet Inspection (DPI). This inspection is the same that VPN review specialists use to determine the encryption effectiveness of your VPN. You’ll need to have a tool that supports OpenVPN to use this. It is part of a small number of mainstream VPNs.
OpenVPN is already built using SSL connections. Its connection to SSH is only through existing relationships, making it not a regularly available protocol association.
From our earlier section, this reliance on the Secure Socket Layer (SSL) makes it easier to obfuscate. You’ll need to pick out the suitable servers from the list of those that use SSL.
Typically, you’ll see these servers listed as “obfuscated,” identifying them right out of the gate. These labeled servers will tell the receiving end what location you are at.
OpenVPN Scramble is a feature made available from a small number of VPN providers. Typically, you’ll find these among the connection settings of VPNs.
OpenVPN Scramble relies on the XOR encryption algorithm. XOR is a simple replacement-based algorithm that involves replacing single characters for encryption.
Because of this, the protocol is seen as primarily insecure. However, alongside the more secure OpenVPN protocol, it does have some potential in the right hands. Needing an improved patch is necessary for XOR to be helpful.
Many VPN developers frown upon its use in favor of its more advanced cousin: Obfsproxy. Because it is so easy to implement for developers, it can be just as easy to overcome.
Shadowsucks is a fast tunnel proxy made by a Chinese developer in 2012. Being driven by a Chinese developer means it exists for one primary purpose: to overcome the great firewall of China.
Shadowsocks isn’t known for being particularly strong but is excellent at confusing clients. Paired with alternative VPN protocols (OpenVPN, WireGuard, etc.), it can easily fool users into believing you come through HTTPS traffic.
As a specific VPN obfuscation method that routes through a TLS/SSL tunnel, this is a form of Shadowsocks with a less specific focus. As you might imagine, this obfuscation method also requires you to pair up with a robust VPN protocol.
Obfuscated servers come with a few benefits:
Of course, not all situations call for obfuscation.
If you want to be sure your VPN continues to perform well despite obfuscation, here are some tips:
There are two reasons you should consider obfuscated servers:
Using server obfuscation is wasteful when someone isn’t actively looking for VPNs. Obfuscation provides few security benefits, as ISPs won’t care one way or another unless government leadership tells them otherwise.
Your ultimate goal should be to find a secure VPN with military-grade encryption to ensure you remain safe. By prioritizing this layer of security, you will avoid most problems from this exposure. The Fast VPN provides this high level of protection while maintaining your internet speed at the best levels.
Try The Fast VPN for free for 7 days on iOS, macOS, and Android with 30-day money-back guarantee
Download FastVPN mobile app for iOS & Android platforms.