Surfshark Camouflage Mode is an obfuscation feature that masks your traffic’s metadata to make VPN traffic look like regular web activity.
Surfshark’s Camouflage Mode is enabled by default, so your data packets will be more complex for your ISP to identify from the moment you hit the connect button.
Many other VPNs have their own version of a Camouflage Mode, and you can find out which providers use the technique further in this article.
Keep reading to find out why Surfshark Camouflage Mode is helpful, as well as answers to several other frequently asked questions.
The Benefits of Surfshark Camouflage Mode
Camouflage Mode is Surfshark’s secret weapon in the fight to take back your internet privacy.
The feature makes the job of ISPs and internet snoopers more difficult, but there’s plenty of other reasons why this characteristic is so useful.
Enhance Your Security
Whether you’re surfing the web or downloading torrents, your ISP will be able to track your activity and also keeps logs of what you’ve been up to while using a direct connection (without a VPN).
Camouflage Mode works on the OpenVPN protocol (but not on IKEv2/IPsec used by iOS and macOS) to obfuscate your VPN traffic, using a tool called OpenVPN Scramble (sometimes known as XOR.
This technique masks any OpenVPN traffic it identifies.
ISPs use scanning and tracking tools to detect OpenVPN metadata, but XOR cipher is sophisticated enough to scramble your traffic, leaving no trace of a VPN footprint.
Bypass Content Filters
Many websites use advanced scanning techniques that identify VPN traffic from regular traffic and, as a result, block connections they detect coming from a VPN IP address.
One example is the online chat and video service Omegle.
Entering the site with a VPN is possible, but when a user attempts to begin a conversation with a stranger (that’s how the service works), the VPN connection is detected.
An error appears to show there’s been a problem connecting.
In reality, Omegle has blocked the connection attempt.
By using Surfshark Camouflage Mode, it makes it harder for websites like Omegle to identify the traffic as a VPN connection attempt and has a tougher time blocking the connection.
Like the above scenario with Omegle blocking any activity, it detects as coming from a VPN, many sites like BBC iPlayer place restrictions on connection attempts identified as coming from outside the UK (where residents hold a TV license).
Camouflage Mode not only scrambles the traffic to make it appear like regular traffic, but it also ensures the data transmitted over your connection appears to come from the UK.
This is important if you intend to access BBC iPlayer.
The service uses your GPS location and your IP address location together and blocks the connection if the traffic is unmasked.
Other VPN Providers That Use Camouflage Mode
Surfshark Camouflage Mode is the patented name for their own obfuscation techniques, but other VPN providers use a similar technology though it’s known by a different name.
- NordVPN doesn’t use any fancy name but instead refers to its version of Camouflage Mode as “obfuscated servers.”
- ExpressVPN uses a similar technology which it calls “Sealth Servers” to mimic ordinary traffic.
- VyprVPN labels its obfuscation technology as the “Chameleon protocol”, which hides VPN traffic from regular traffic.
While the providers above name their obfuscation technologies differently, the purpose is very much the same.
How to Enable Camouflage Mode In Surfshark?
For Camouflage Mode to work, you need to ensure you are using the OpenVPN protocol.
The OpenVPN (TCP or UDP) protocol is enabled by default so that Camouflage Mode will work automatically, but you can check if you are using OpenVPN by following these steps:
- If you haven’t already got a Surfshark subscription, you can sign up here and get a HUGE discount on your first two-year subscription!
- Download and install the Surfshark application for your chosen device.
- Run Surfshark, and enter your login credentials (usually your email address and a password you would have set) when prompted. Hit “Log in”.
- Click Settings and then select Advanced.
- Under Protocol, please select OpenVPN (UDP or TCP) from the dropdown list.
- Hit “Connect” and Surfshark Camouflage Mode will now be enabled.
What Is VPN Obfuscation?
Obfuscation is a technology that is used both by VPNs and Tor respectively.
Most VPN providers use their own techniques and naming conventions to enable obfuscation, but the end result remains very much the same; to mask the privacy protection software being used as a means of making the traffic appear like regular internet traffic.
If a VPN provider states they offer obfuscated servers, they can hide VPN traffic to make it appear the same as would be visible with a direct internet connection.
VPN obfuscation is useful for hiding internet activity from your ISP and snoopers, bypassing internet censorship in places like China, and beating an internal network that doesn’t allow VPN traffic.
Surfshark camouflage feature is perfect for bypassing content restrictions for websites that block VPN traffic.
The technology is enabled by default when using the OpenVPN protocol, and this can be changed in the application settings.
Other VPN providers use their own terms for obfuscated servers, but the principle remains the same; to mask VPN traffic enabling you to access sites that block online privacy software.
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