The goal of obfuscation is to hide the patterns that reveal the usage of VPNs. There are a few different ways to make that happen. They all boil down to creating special algorithms or other codes that, in a way, act as a VPN for your VPN. They make your traffic look like any old regular traffic, and your provider cannot see that you have any privacy software on!
Use obfuscated servers for extra privacy
Obfuscated servers use special algorithms to hide the fact that a user is using a VPN or Tor, and make it appear like a regular internet browsing activity.
What is obfuscation?
Obfuscation is a technology that a lot of privacy protection tools – such as VPNs or Tor – use. While the precise way it works varies from tools to providers, it always has the same goal: to mask the privacy protection software usage and make it look like no privacy tools are being used. When you hear the term obfuscated VPN servers, it means that these servers can achieve obfuscation.
Obfuscation can also be used to bypass VPN blockers. That is especially important for people who live in oppressed or censored countries where VPNs might be outright banned. On the other hand, it’s also a handy thing when you’re faced with an internal network that doesn’t allow VPNs or simply want to arm yourself against excessive ISP (Internet Service Provider) snooping.
How does VPN obfuscation work?
Why would you need obfuscated servers?
If you live in a country that has a censorship problem - like China or Russia- then obfuscation is most likely crucial. You will need it for your VPN to work in the first place!
Feel like your Internet Service Provider cares about and controls too much of what you do online? Obfuscation with your stealth VPN can help.
Some governments track their citizens more than others, e.g. China. If you have a reason to worry your government is tracking you, obfuscated servers are the way to go.
Strict internal networks
Some universities or schools ban the use of VPNs. In such a case, obfuscation can work as a VPN for your VPN and hide the fact that you’re using privacy protection tools.
How can your ISP tell you’re using a VPN?
Generally, your ISP can tell that by looking at the patterns of your traffic. All VPNs work in a very similar way – they send your traffic through an encrypted tunnel, which involves multiple layers of protection. Since regular online traffic isn’t protected like that, it looks different. These differences are how your provider can tell that you’re using a VPN.
How to bypass VPN blocks?
Can a VPN be detected?
Yes, it’s possible to see that somebody is using a VPN by looking at their traffic. That doesn’t mean your activities are visible, but it does mean that the fact you’re using a VPN may be apparent.
Can obfuscated servers bypass the Great Firewall Of China?
Unfortunately, it’s not as simple as that. Bypassing that firewall requires a lot of constant effort. While obfuscated servers are an important part, they alone cannot guarantee that your VPN provider will work in China.
It takes complicated algorithms, among other technology, as well as continuous maintenance to keep a VPN service up and running for Chinese users. However, if your provider offers obfuscated servers as Surfshark does, it’s a step in the right direction!
What does a VPN blocker do?
A VPN blocker is a tool that governments, ISPs, or website administrators use to deny access to a particular service or services when you connect to the internet with a VPN. The most common method used to block VPNs is blocking specific IP addresses. Another common way is blocking ports that VPN tunneling protocols use, e.g., PPTP and L2TP.
Can anyone track you using a VPN?
Anyone claiming that you 100% cannot be tracked with a VPN is either embellishing the truth or doesn’t have a good background in cyber security.
The truth is that anything can eventually be tracked – however, the effort levels vary quite wildly. When you use a VPN, you are exceedingly challenging to track, and somebody would have to pay a lot of special attention, as well as effort, to maybe achieve that.
It’s much easier to track people by exploiting the information they share willingly. For example, innocent social media posts may reveal a lot about you. That’s why it’s essential to think before you post anything online carefully. If you’re a difficult target, hackers or snoopers will likely move on to a countless number of easy ones.
How to know if a server is obfuscated?
There’s no easy answer to this. If you live in a country that blocks VPNs and your VPN works, you’re probably using obfuscated servers. Does your university ban the use of VPNs on their internal networks? If your VPN works, you’re probably connecting to obfuscated servers.
However, to know for sure, you’d need to look into your traffic patterns. Traffic with a VPN has specific patterns due to the technology being used. If you know what these patterns are and your traffic doesn’t show them when you turn on your VPN, you’re probably connected to an obfuscated server.
This does require quite extensive technical knowledge, so if you’re not sure where to start, you can simply look for reviews from other users who may have already tested the service and know more.