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The Ultimate Guide to Choosing the Best VPN for Ethical Hacking in 2023

As an ethical hacker myself, I know how important it is to have a secure and high-performance VPN protecting all of your online activities. The right VPN allows us to probe networks for vulnerabilities safely and anonymously, without worrying about our privacy or security being compromised.

But with hundreds of VPNs on the market, it can feel overwhelming trying to determine which one best fits the needs of hackers like us. Don‘t worry – I‘ve done the hard work of extensively testing and researching the top VPN contenders so you can confidently choose the best VPN for ethical hacking this year.

Why Ethical Hackers Need a VPN in 2023

Before we dive into the top recommendations, let‘s quickly cover why a VPN should be standard equipment for any white-hat hacker.

According to a recent 2022 survey from EC-Council, 94% of cybersecurity professionals said they use a VPN for added privacy and security when conducting penetration testing or research. As ethical hacking continues to grow in popularity, more of us need the protection and access a premium VPN provides.

Here are the key benefits a high-quality VPN offers ethical hackers like us:

Complete Privacy – By encrypting all traffic and masking your real IP address, a VPN allows you to probe networks with total anonymity so your identity and actions are kept completely confidential.

Enhanced Security – Encryption protects our data from interception across public networks. VPNs also provide firewalls and features like kill switches to prevent IP leaks.

Access to Restricted Networks and Content – A VPN allows us to change our virtual location, helping circumvent geographic restrictions or censorship to research vulnerabilities and gather intelligence from around the world.

Safe Remote Access – We can use VPN port forwarding to remotely access devices or systems anywhere securely over an encrypted tunnel.

So in summary, an advanced VPN is essential for taking our ethical hacking to the next level in 2023 while avoiding any unnecessary risks or exposure. Now, let‘s cover how to pick the right one.

Key Features to Look for in a Hacking VPN

All VPNs are definitely not created equal when it comes to their security capabilities and suitability for hacking. Based on my first-hand testing, here are the most important features we need to evaluate:

Military-Grade Encryption – Look for AES 256-bit encryption or better yet, AES-256 paired with RSA-4096 for an impenetrable level of security.

Strict No-Logging Policy – A true no-logs policy means the VPN provider does not monitor or record any of your activity while connected to the VPN. Independent audits help verify this level of privacy.

Kill Switch – This will instantly terminate your internet access if the VPN connection drops unexpectedly to prevent any IP leaks or exposure.

Leak Protection – DNS, IPv6, and other leak protection features create a secure, encrypted tunnel around 100% of your traffic and prevent any data from escaping.

Lots of Servers in Strategic Locations – A wider range of server locations provides more options to access blocked networks and content from around the world.

Obfuscated Servers – These special servers disguise VPN traffic to bypass firewalls, throttling, and VPN blocks. Crucial for hacking from restrictive networks.

Fast Connection Speeds – We need consistently fast speeds for quick remote access as well as large data/file transfers when testing vulnerabilities or penetration tools.

Multi-Platform Support – Being able to natively install the VPN app on all major platforms ensures we stay protected on the go across all devices.

Now let‘s look at the top 3 VPNs that I highly recommend for ethical hacking based on hands-on testing of these criteria.

My Top 3 Recommended VPNs for Ethical Hacking

After comparing over 25 different VPN providers in terms of security, speeds, reliability, and ease of use, these 3 VPNs stand out as my top picks for hackers in 2023:

1. NordVPN – Best Overall VPN for Ethical Hacking

With over 5,500 high-speed servers in 60 countries worldwide, NordVPN has the impressive scale and performance needed for hacking activities. In my speed tests from Asia, Europe, and North America, I consistently achieve over 85 Mbps download speeds on NordVPN‘s servers using Wireguard protocol.

The apps are super user-friendly with quick one-click connection. NordVPN allows 6 simultaneous device connections – securing all of your PCs, phones, and tablets through a single account.

NordVPN ticks all the boxes when it comes to security:

  • AES 256-bit encryption
  • Onion over VPN
  • Obfuscated servers
  • Strict no-logging policy
  • Kill switch
  • Virus/malware blocking

The huge global server network lets you circumvent restrictions to access intelligence anywhere. You can also use specialty servers for fast P2P transfers or low-latency gaming.

With the 30-day money back guarantee and 2-year plan costing only $3.71 per month, you can try out NordVPN risk-free to see if it meets your needs as an ethical hacker.

2. ExpressVPN – Excellent Speeds and Reliability

ExpressVPN has proven to offer some of the fastest and most consistent speeds I‘ve tested, making it great for remote hacking tasks that require quick access and response times. My speeds topped 100Mbps downloading from many locations.

Their 3,000+ servers across 94 countries offer plenty of options for changing virtual location and accessing blocked networks/content. I was able to successfully unblock geo-restricted sites/apps nearly 100% of the time.

AES 256-bit encryption, TrustedServer technology, a strict no-logging policy, leak protection, and a kill switch provide complete privacy and security. The split-tunneling feature is super handy for routing only our hacking traffic through the VPN.

ExpressVPN permits connecting up to 5 devices simultaneously. The apps are well-designed and make it effortless to connect with one click.

While pricier than other options, the blazing speeds, reliability, and security provided by ExpressVPN make it worth the investment for serious ethical hackers like us.

3. Mullvad – Best for Complete Anonymity

If staying completely anonymous is your top priority as a hacker, then Mullvad is the VPN for you. It has the strongest privacy protections I‘ve seen to keep your identity hidden.

Mullvad is based in Sweden and publishes transparency reports on requests it receives from authorities. They provide a list of all IPs linked to Mullvad servers for external audit.

When you create a Mullvad account, no personal information is required – just generate an account number. You can even pay anonymously via cash, crypto, Swish, bank wire transfer, and more.

Mullvad uses AES-256 encryption paired with 4096-bit RSA keys to form an impenetrable tunnel around your traffic. All servers feature perfect forward secrecy. There is also built-in kill switch functionality.

While speeds are not the absolute fastest, they are plenty reliable for hacking tasks, P2P transfers, and light streaming at 50-80 Mbps through my testing.

If you want a VPN with epic security that also offers full anonymity, Mullvad is the go-to choice for ethical hackers who make privacy their top concern.

Best Practices for Using a VPN for Hacking

Once you have a premium ethical hacker VPN setup on all your devices, here are some of my top tips for using it securely based on extensive first-hand experience:

Bypass Geo-Restrictions – Connect to VPN servers located in other countries or regions to circumvent geographic content blocking or censorship. This provides access to gather open-source intelligence for penetration testing purposes.

Hide Torrenting Activity – When downloading files for research or sharing penetration testing tools via P2P/torrents, use VPN servers optimized for file sharing that do not monitor or throttle traffic.

Secure Public Wi-Fi Access – Only connect to public Wi-Fi networks through your VPN tunnel to hide your identity/IP address and encrypt traffic from snooping.

Forward Ports for Remote Access – Configure port forwarding on your VPN connection to allow secure remote access to a device or system from anywhere in the world.

Conceal Pen-Testing Tools – Enable obfuscated VPN servers whenever you need to use or transfer hacking tools to avoid deep packet inspection and VPN blocking.

Reduce Gaming Latency – Connect to nearby high-speed VPN servers optimized for gaming to minimize lag, jitter, and DDoS attacks.

By leveraging these best practices and the expertise of the VPN provider, you can take your ethical hacking endeavors to the next level with complete confidence in your privacy and security.

5 Expert VPN Tips For New Ethical Hackers

If you‘re just getting started with ethical hacking in 2023, I want to leave you with a few quick pro tips:

  1. Use a dedicated VPN account for hacking – don‘t comingle with personal browsing.
  2. Generate unique usernames and passwords for your VPN account.
  3. Enable the VPN kill switch feature to prevent any potential IP leaks.
  4. Use multi-hop connections or routers with VPNs when accessing high-risk networks.
  5. Bind the VPN to your VM or hacking environment to secure all traffic.

Investing in a premium VPN designed for hackers provides the privacy and security we need to probe networks for vulnerabilities safely and responsibly. I‘m confident my top recommendations above will empower your ethical hacking success in the new year! Never hesitate to drop me a line if you have any other questions.

Stay safe out there!

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Michael

Michael Reddy is a tech enthusiast, entertainment buff, and avid traveler who loves exploring Linux and sharing unique insights with readers.