AES

Advanced Encryption Standard. A symmetric encryption standard also known as Rijndael, after its inventors Joan Daemen and Vincent Rijmen. A well audited and understood standard used to encrypt data of all kinds in many different applications. It became widely used after gaining the trust of the U.S. government in 2002.

Anonymity

You are anonymous if it is not possible to identify you in a group. Anonymity only exists within groups, and the larger the group, the more valuable your anonymity is. For example, as part of the Tor network you can only be identified as ‘a Tor user.’ The more Tor users there are, the less this identification is meaningful. See also: Pseudonymity.

Asymmetric encryption

Any encryption protocol in which the participants create a key pair, consisting of a public and private part. The private key is usually created randomly, and the public key derived through a function. Public keys are required for communication and can be safely handed out, while private keys usually never leave the owner’s device.

Bitcoin

A payment method secured by cryptography rather than institutions. Generally not controlled by anybody, Bitcoin allows for more anonymous payments than other electronic options.

Bullrun

A classified program by the U.S. National Security Agency and used to decrypt every communication channel. VPN services and protocols are targeted by Bullrun.

CA

Certificate Authority. When relating to VPNs, this usually refers to a file that identifies which key is considered the authority, or whether a connection to a Server is authentic. The Certificate Authority consists of a public and private key. The public key is given to each user (or included in the Software). The private key is one of the most secured files in a VPN company.

Censorship

The suppression of speech by powerful individuals or institutions. On the internet, censorship is usually deployed through DNS poisoning, DDos attacks, and Deep Package Inspection. However, the threat of physical violence is the biggest censorship enforcer, making anonymity a highly desired feature of online speech.

Ping (latency). Ping method can be used to check if the server is available and how long does it take to respond. To put it simply - by pinging the server (website name or IP address) you send a short request to that server and wait for an answer. If you receive an answer, that means that the server is available. Usually the lower the ping is, the smoother internet connection you will have.

DNS

You may find this term used pretty often. You may not have noticed, but you are using various DNS servers every day. Basically, the DNS server is used to translate the domain name of a website (facebook.com) to an IP address (69.63.176.13). It's basically a phone book where all names (website names) and numbers (IP addresses) are stored.

Leaks

When you connect to the VPN server, you can check if your connection was successful - here is our tutorial on how to do that. When you check the status of the connection, you must only see the IP and DNS addresses of the server you have connected to. If you still see your regular IP or DNS addresses, that's called a leak.

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