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Nick_Hudson
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Does VPN really help for Internet Privacy?

Fri Jun 29, 2018 3:16 pm

Internet privacy is considered as one of the basic human rights which everyone is entitled to.

However, in the last decade, online surveillance and monitoring policies have been tightened by governments around the world. This has made it even more essential for internet users to ensure protection of their privacy.

There are multiple reasons why users need to protect their Internet privacy. To understand the reasons, it is important to have knowledge about the loopholes from where your information can be stolen and used against your will and without your consent.

These loopholes include browsing history, searching preferences, and all communications and transactions done over the Internet. One solution is coined on the web about using a VPN to ensure Internet Privacy of users, like they say!

What is your opinion? Does VPN really helps?

jamesh
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Re: Does VPN really help for Internet Privacy?

Fri Jun 29, 2018 3:23 pm

I fixed the link.

But in précis, yes, VPN's do increase privacy.
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Ronaldlees
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Re: Does VPN really help for Internet Privacy?

Fri Jun 29, 2018 5:59 pm

It depends who you are most worried about.

IMO, if you are worried about the fellow patrons at a coffee shop, then yes - it probably adds quite a bit of privacy. If you are worried about governmental agencies, then in some situations your privacy could be lower. This is because, while the VPN shields your data as it transits to the VPN server, it also conveniently funnels ALL of your data through one, nice, easy to pluck point. If the VPN can be strong armed (possible, or likely, depending) - then your privacy could certainly take a hit.

However; I think quantum computers are now in use by multiple big entities around the world, and (from them anyway) - privacy is toast.
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Heater
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Re: Does VPN really help for Internet Privacy?

Sat Jun 30, 2018 10:09 am

If I understand correctly:

1) A VPN encrypts all data going in and out of your machine. That is good but as we should all be using HTTPS now a days I'm not sure it buys you much. The encryption is about the same.

2) The VPN does at least hide the protocol you are using from your box. Anyone sniffing your machines connections, at your ISP say, cannot tell if you are surfing the web or what sites you are visiting. All they know is that you have a VPN connection going on.

3) But, "they" do at least know you are using a VPN. Which might that in itself may raise suspicions for "them". Why are you trying to hide like that? What are you up to?

4) "They" can probably see which VPN and where you are connecting to. This may raise further suspicions.

5) No doubt by sniffing you ISP's network they can find out where you are connecting from pretty accurately. You are nailed at this point.

6) After all that you are connected, through a VPN, to the web site of your choice. Say, raspberrypi.org. That's great and all but said website then blows all your cover by immediately shouting to the world, google analytics, facebook, gravatar, etc that you have connected, when and for how long and what activity you are doing on their site, etc. You are nailed again.

What have I missed so far?

hippy
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Re: Does VPN really help for Internet Privacy?

Sat Jun 30, 2018 11:08 am

Nick_Hudson wrote:
Fri Jun 29, 2018 3:16 pm
Internet privacy is considered as one of the basic human rights which everyone is entitled to.
Is it ? I think you will find it is not universally considered a basic human right.

epoch1970
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Re: Does VPN really help for Internet Privacy?

Sat Jun 30, 2018 11:51 am

Internet is a public network. "Internet privacy" is an oxymoron.
A VPN is nothing more than a private network spanning over public links. It is a LAN, it's a boring place.

Heater and others have nailed it I think.
I would add that information theft is nothing compared to the volume of information actually volunteered by people over the Internet.
And that the number of "them" legitimately interested in knowing who/what/when/where is huge. (Big) data mining is not only easy, it is cheap and common practice these days.

A bit of education and self conscience would help, cryptography does not.
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Re: Does VPN really help for Internet Privacy?

Sat Jun 30, 2018 12:48 pm

epoch1970,
Internet is a public network. "Internet privacy" is an oxymoron.
I'm not sure what you mean by "public" there but in many ways the internet is certainly not public. That vast part of what makes it works is owned by anything but "public" entities, be they your ISP, the university/office network you connect from, the "free" WiFi" in coffeE shops, airports, etc. Then there is all the backbone communications infrastructure, fibre, under sea cables, satellites, etc.

Mostly you cannot even get online, to this "public" network, without giving up you identity and paying.

Americans are about to find how not public the internet is as they find they have to pay more to get equal access to various services over the internet.

How about comparison to other "public" networks? We used to expect that no one was opening and reading our mail as the postal services delivered it. You did not have to give up your identity to buy a stamp and post a letter. We used to expect no one was listening to our phone calls. Again we did not have to give up our identity to call from a "public" call box. Of course these things did happen from time to time but the internet allows such privacy invasion on a scale never dreamt of back then.

What about chatting to your friend in a public place like a park? We used to expect that there were not cameras tracking us every place. Cameras which can increasingly recognize you and who you are meeting.

We could think of the internet as a medium, like radio. There you might say "rado privacy" is an oxymoron. Well perhaps, on the other hand people have established secure communications over the airwaves since the days of the Enigma.
A VPN is nothing more than a private network spanning over public links. It is a LAN, it's a boring place.
That is true. Except the VPNs our OP is talking about provide a LAN that is connected to the internet. So, if you are in a country that is busy blocking or monitoring peoples connections to web servers, you can connect to a VPN's LAN somewhere else in the world and through that get unfettered access to the world wide web.

This is how one, for example, gets access to BBC content which is not available to internet users outside the UK. Just connect to a VPN inside the UK.

epoch1970
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Re: Does VPN really help for Internet Privacy?

Sat Jun 30, 2018 1:28 pm

Public as in public place.
A pub is a public place owned by someone.
The convention is not to enter or exit naked and knackered.
Is it the place for a private conversation? Sure.
Private and utterly confidential? Probably not.
Are there cameras in that pub? Connected to the local police station? Quite possibly, yes.

We are used to all that, we know it and we live with it because we like the banter and a good beer.
Some can't suffer being in a pub. No problem, meet them elsewhere.

Why would it be any different for the Internet?
Internet is a public network, but it is not free and it doesn't come out of thin air. It is the collaborative output of an organization.
If someone doesn't like that part of our digital world, again, go elsewhere. Technology (or low-tech) provides.

You can't be in both places at the same time, that's all.
"S'il n'y a pas de solution, c'est qu'il n'y a pas de problème." Les Shadoks, J. Rouxel

raspcoder
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Re: Does VPN really help for Internet Privacy?

Sat Jun 30, 2018 5:22 pm

Nick_Hudson wrote:
Fri Jun 29, 2018 3:16 pm
What is your opinion? Does VPN really helps?
It depends on who you want privacy from. If you mean privacy from your employer, family or high school, then sure it works. Privacy from military, for sure that doesn't work - there are ring level 0 back doors. :lol:

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Ronaldlees
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Re: Does VPN really help for Internet Privacy?

Sat Jun 30, 2018 5:45 pm

Heater wrote:
Sat Jun 30, 2018 10:09 am

6) After all that you are connected, through a VPN, to the web site of your choice. Say, raspberrypi.org. That's great and all but said website then blows all your cover by immediately shouting to the world, google analytics, facebook, gravatar, etc that you have connected, when and for how long and what activity you are doing on their site, etc. You are nailed again.

What have I missed so far?
As @epoch and @heater have pointed out, it's the voluntary info that is most people's biggest self-made problem. You allude to this in your statement #6. What I have found is that by eliminating javascript in the browser, many of your #6 items are much diminished. It seems the facebook, gravatar, and google stuff is often scripted. Maybe, without javascript, your exposure is reduced 8x, just to throw out an idea.

So, some counter-measures don't require cryptography, per se.
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Z80 Refugee
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Re: Does VPN really help for Internet Privacy?

Sat Jun 30, 2018 11:07 pm

Ronaldlees wrote:
Fri Jun 29, 2018 5:59 pm
However; I think quantum computers are now in use by multiple big entities around the world, and (from them anyway) - privacy is toast.
What's your source of information for that assertion? Practical quantum computers are still a pipe dream, regardless of IBM's current public demonstration. If Continuous Spontaneous Localisation (CSL) turns out to be the right theory to explain why the macroscopic world never shows quantum effects, quantum computers (comprising more than a few Q-bits) will remain science fiction.
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Ronaldlees
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Re: Does VPN really help for Internet Privacy?

Sun Jul 01, 2018 3:27 pm

Z80 Refugee wrote:
Sat Jun 30, 2018 11:07 pm
Ronaldlees wrote:
Fri Jun 29, 2018 5:59 pm
However; I think quantum computers are now in use by multiple big entities around the world, and (from them anyway) - privacy is toast.
What's your source of information for that assertion? Practical quantum computers are still a pipe dream, regardless of IBM's current public demonstration. If Continuous Spontaneous Localisation (CSL) turns out to be the right theory to explain why the macroscopic world never shows quantum effects, quantum computers (comprising more than a few Q-bits) will remain science fiction.
Most of the companies in this realm make it seem that the state of the art for quantum computing is in the area (roughly) of very broken 1971 era calculator arithmetic. Hogwash.

I spent almost a decade in the semiconductor fab industry. So, albeit I'm not a physicists, I can read the professional journals in this realm quite well. As I have said before, they can't simultaneously publish and protect their discoveries, without letting a little thru and in between the lines (a lot really, if you have the training). So, grasshopper, you're on your own to find a "source" - but good luck finding it in the popular press for the people.
Last edited by Ronaldlees on Mon Jul 02, 2018 4:29 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Heater
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Re: Does VPN really help for Internet Privacy?

Sun Jul 01, 2018 6:18 pm

Ronaldlees,

I can't make out what you mean to say in the above post.

Except, you are not a physicist, you do not know what quantum computing capabilities any companies may have actually is, and you cannot point us to anything that might back your assertion that " privacy is toast" because of the use of quantum computers.

Did I miss something?

And, given the content free nature of your post what is it with the condescending "grasshopper" thing?

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Ronaldlees
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Re: Does VPN really help for Internet Privacy?

Mon Jul 02, 2018 1:01 pm

Heater wrote:
Sun Jul 01, 2018 6:18 pm
Ronaldlees,

I can't make out what you mean to say in the above post.

Except, you are not a physicist, you do not know what quantum computing capabilities any companies may have actually is, and you cannot point us to anything that might back your assertion that " privacy is toast" because of the use of quantum computers.

Did I miss something?

And, given the content free nature of your post what is it with the condescending "grasshopper" thing?
There really are no journalistic entries available on the internet, such that I can point to a particular thing to give you an idea about what I've come to understand. You have to connect a lot of dots. I did this over a period of about three months, but don't have a ready list. Mostly - what you need to look at are *very* complex research articles steeped to high heaven in mathematics, and quantum physics. Maybe I could dig through some notes to find some select entries. But it's not an all-in-one sort of thing, and understandable only if you're fairly science minded, with some background. Not trying to be condescending. Sorry.

The broken 1971 calculator arithmetic reference is real. It's so ridiculously out of line with what is in the science, that it's laughable. Indeed, in my opinion it's a concerted effort to keep the truth in the realm from the public. Personally, I have absolutely no doubt. None. Even tho I have to qualify my feelings as opinion, I am absolutely convinced of the nature of this.

For those looking for popular press articles, here's one to help open some eyes (again, not condescending):

https://juliancribb.blog/2018/02/01/the-end-of-freedom/
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Ronaldlees
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Re: Does VPN really help for Internet Privacy?

Mon Jul 02, 2018 3:56 pm

There are three pieces that need to work:

- quantum memory (storage of qubits)
- quantum communication (transmission of qubits)
- quantum computing (manipulation of qubits)

Delving into the memory and communication parts of the puzzle gives more insight than just a general look at "quantum computing".
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rmadrid
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Re: Does VPN really help for Internet Privacy?

Sat Jul 07, 2018 8:38 am

VPN does help you with Internet privacy as it prevents all the intermediary from spying on your activity by encrypting all the traffic. It prevents your ISP from knowing what you do online or prevents the websites from tagging you for advertising and marketing purpose. If you are traveler, VPN is a must as you never know the public wifi or hotel wifi you are connected to how secure is it and what kind of people connect to it.

Also note, there two types of VPN, one is paid and other is free. the free ones are very risky as you dont know what kind of people run that free vpn and if something is free it means you are the product. They usually sell your data to earn money and covering the costs of servers. You can go for a cheap VPN instead under $5 a month as i feel paying anything more than that its just not worth it. As these VPNs cover all the features and benefits.

There are 100s of VPN providers in market and here are the ones i found the best cheap vpn which you can get for under $5
https://www.bestvpn.tips/cheap-vpn/

Heater
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Re: Does VPN really help for Internet Privacy?

Sun Jul 08, 2018 10:03 am

rmadrid,

I have some questions about that:
VPN does help you with Internet privacy as it prevents all the intermediary from spying on your activity by encrypting all the traffic.
How is that better than the encryption we get via HTTPS? When I'm interacting with important websites, like my bank or raspberrypi.org, all traffic is encrypted by HTTPS. That encryption is as good as any a VPN has.
It prevents your ISP from knowing what you do online...
Surely your ISP, and by extension any three letter agency or oppressive regime with access to that ISP's network, can see that you are using a VPN. Even if they cannot see what you are doing over that VPN it may well raise a red flag about you that they might want to investigate further.
...prevents the websites from tagging you for advertising and marketing purpose.
How so?

Certainly the website now sees your access coming from the VPN server rather than a server belonging to your ISP, so perhaps that prevents them knowing your location. But they can finger print your browser, use cookies and tokens, install malicious Javascript and all the rest just the same as if you did not have the VPN.

Meanwhile on your browser side, if the web site includes script tags that fetch javascript from google analytics, gravatar, wherever, that all works just the same as it did without the VPN.
If you are traveler, VPN is a must as you never know the public wifi or hotel wifi you are connected to how secure is it and what kind of people connect to it.
It's true that you don't know who you are sharing that WiFi LAN with. But surely using HTTPS thwarts their attempts to sniff your web traffic? Assuming you are not running services on your laptop that are insecure you should be OK. A firewall on the laptop may be required if you are using an insecure OS like Windows.

Note: If you are concerned about your privacy and security why are you using Windows?
Also note, there two types of VPN, one is paid and other is free. the free ones are very risky as you don't know what kind of people run that free vpn...
Isn't this also true of paid for VPNs? How do we know for sure who is running it and what they do at their end? For all we know the paid VPN's might be just fronts for the NSA.

I have never tried, but I guess one has to signup and register to use those VPN's. If they are paid for you need to supply payment details. Poof! You have blown all your privacy just there.

All in all, I'm seeing VPN's as a rather risky way of buying what might feel like security but is not necessarily helping much by itself.

What am I missing here?

rmadrid
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Re: Does VPN really help for Internet Privacy?

Sun Jul 08, 2018 11:37 am

Heater wrote:
Sun Jul 08, 2018 10:03 am
rmadrid,

I have some questions about that:
VPN does help you with Internet privacy as it prevents all the intermediary from spying on your activity by encrypting all the traffic.
How is that better than the encryption we get via HTTPS? When I'm interacting with important websites, like my bank or raspberrypi.org, all traffic is encrypted by HTTPS. That encryption is as good as any a VPN has.
True, all traffic is encrypted but only when you are using HTTPS, what about non https websites ? how about SMTP if you are just sending a email over port 25 without TLS/SSL, Your mail can be seen. There are many other data is being sent/received in background which you are not aware of.
It prevents your ISP from knowing what you do online...
Surely your ISP, and by extension any three letter agency or oppressive regime with access to that ISP's network, can see that you are using a VPN. Even if they cannot see what you are doing over that VPN it may well raise a red flag about you that they might want to investigate further.
Of course not, If you see website using HTTPS raise a red flag? Does keeping your house secure, raises a red flag ? same way you are protecting your internet communication and you have complete right to do so. Just because not many people use VPN, as they are not aware about full benefits you feel using VPN will raise a red flag but there are many people who need to use VPN in order to access their corporate network. Almost all MNC's require employees to use VPN.
...prevents the websites from tagging you for advertising and marketing purpose.
How so?
Certainly the website now sees your access coming from the VPN server rather than a server belonging to your ISP, so perhaps that prevents them knowing your location. But they can finger print your browser, use cookies and tokens, install malicious Javascript and all the rest just the same as if you did not have the VPN.

Meanwhile on your browser side, if the web site includes script tags that fetch javascript from google analytics, gravatar, wherever, that all works just the same as it did without the VPN.
Yes thats right if cookies exists they can still identify you but there are many VPNs which offer browser add-on to take care of everything. Again it depends what are you trying to accomplish with VPN, Hiding your location, Privacy, Unblocking restricted sites or whatever. As VPN is a multi-purpose/feature service which depends on end user what they are trying to use it for.
If you are traveler, VPN is a must as you never know the public wifi or hotel wifi you are connected to how secure is it and what kind of people connect to it.
It's true that you don't know who you are sharing that WiFi LAN with. But surely using HTTPS thwarts their attempts to sniff your web traffic? Assuming you are not running services on your laptop that are insecure you should be OK. A firewall on the laptop may be required if you are using an insecure OS like Windows.

Note: If you are concerned about your privacy and security why are you using Windows?
Using Firewall on your computer will not do anything if the application you are using is not using secure protocol for communication, You may use android, mac, windows. Doesnt matter if the main application is itself unsecure. In that case VPN helps you by encrypting all point to point communication regardless if the application is using secure channel or not. You do not have to take the burden to know if the website you are using is using secure channel or website you are using is https. Just use VPN and forget the worries about HTTPS and SSL/TLS.
Also note, there two types of VPN, one is paid and other is free. the free ones are very risky as you don't know what kind of people run that free vpn...
Isn't this also true of paid for VPNs? How do we know for sure who is running it and what they do at their end? For all we know the paid VPN's might be just fronts for the NSA.

I have never tried, but I guess one has to signup and register to use those VPN's. If they are paid for you need to supply payment details. Poof! You have blown all your privacy just there.

All in all, I'm seeing VPN's as a rather risky way of buying what might feel like security but is not necessarily helping much by itself.

What am I missing here?
Currently not many people use VPNs and i believe if NSA wants to spy, they are already doing it with your ISP. Why would they open a VPN company and gain subscribers just to spy on them at the end of the day ? again which is just a fraction of people using VPN. Instead they will go after big fish.

Regarding How can you trust the VPN company you are using, Ofcourse like any other product you purchase, you need to see the background about the company, their policy and how transparent it looks. Specially staying away from companies who are not incorporated or just claiming things which seem to good to be true.

I personally use VPN every day, as i do not want my ISP to record my activity and store it. I do not want my ISP to control what websites i can visit and what websites i cannot. I just want to enjoy the internet the way it was meant to be and securely and it also includes NAT firewall which means you cannot make inbound connection to my computer.

Of course everyone has their own opinion about what they feel about Computer privacy and security. But if you really start using VPN and see the real benefit of it. You will never go back using your Internet without VPN,

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rpdom
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Re: Does VPN really help for Internet Privacy?

Sun Jul 08, 2018 1:09 pm

Heater wrote:
Sun Jul 08, 2018 10:03 am
rmadrid,

I have some questions about that:
VPN does help you with Internet privacy as it prevents all the intermediary from spying on your activity by encrypting all the traffic.
How is that better than the encryption we get via HTTPS? When I'm interacting with important websites, like my bank or raspberrypi.org, all traffic is encrypted by HTTPS. That encryption is as good as any a VPN has.
Presumably the DNS requests will go via the VPN too, so your ISP won't even know what websites you are accessing.
It prevents your ISP from knowing what you do online...
Surely your ISP, and by extension any three letter agency or oppressive regime with access to that ISP's network, can see that you are using a VPN. Even if they cannot see what you are doing over that VPN it may well raise a red flag about you that they might want to investigate further.
This true. They will be able to see that you are sending traffic via the VPN port (depends on the VPN).
If you are traveler, VPN is a must as you never know the public wifi or hotel wifi you are connected to how secure is it and what kind of people connect to it.
It's true that you don't know who you are sharing that WiFi LAN with. But surely using HTTPS thwarts their attempts to sniff your web traffic? Assuming you are not running services on your laptop that are insecure you should be OK. A firewall on the laptop may be required if you are using an insecure OS like Windows.
I use a VPN when travelling, but not for those purposes.

Mine is a personal VPN. It allows my laptop to be part of my "home" network wherever I am. I don't use it to hide my location of usage or anything like that.

I did once have to use it to access a UK website when I was in Sweden, because the website would only allow UK access and I needed to order some medication to be ready for collection on my return.

parker55
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Re: Does VPN really help for Internet Privacy?

Thu Aug 22, 2019 3:54 pm

Yes, VPN really help for internet Privacy

Have you ever heard of a sniffer? This is a computer program that is used to decode data to make it readable but in nefarious ways. The bad guys use sniffers to spy, steal data, hijack devices, and even steal identities.

Fortunately, you can use a virtual private network, or VPN, to protect yourself.

Besides protecting your privacy, VPN services are also commonly used for BitTorrent and other Peer-to-Peer (P2P) traffic since many ISPs frown on file-sharing. People also use VPNs to watch streaming video services, such as Netflix and Hulu, in areas where they aren't legally available. In recent years, the streaming services have taken steps to prevent VPNs from carrying their traffic.

In last I'd suggest just avoid free vpns as they sell your data to 3rd party so its totally useless to install free vpn for your internet privacy. Go with affordable vpn which you can easily get it under $3 per month. NordVPN is the best choice However there are more good to choose.

Andyroo
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Re: Does VPN really help for Internet Privacy?

Thu Aug 22, 2019 6:48 pm

This may give you a nightmare if you currently use a VPN
https://www.computerweekly.com/news/252 ... nese-firms

For me a VPN needs to give me a link back to the home network and then onto the sites I need - not want / think I need (so this limits it to the bank and PayPal) buts it’s normally so rare I need this i now just wait till I’m home :lol:

If someone wants to get excited about me visiting here or the wargaming and news sites then I hope they are getting support :roll:
Need Pi spray - these things are breeding in my house...

Pringlescan
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Re: Does VPN really help for Internet Privacy?

Fri Aug 30, 2019 2:30 am

Heater wrote:
Sat Jun 30, 2018 10:09 am
If I understand correctly:

1) A VPN encrypts all data going in and out of your machine. That is good but as we should all be using HTTPS now a days I'm not sure it buys you much. The encryption is about the same.

2) The VPN does at least hide the protocol you are using from your box. Anyone sniffing your machines connections, at your ISP say, cannot tell if you are surfing the web or what sites you are visiting. All they know is that you have a VPN connection going on.

3) But, "they" do at least know you are using a VPN. Which might that in itself may raise suspicions for "them". Why are you trying to hide like that? What are you up to?

4) "They" can probably see which VPN and where you are connecting to. This may raise further suspicions.

5) No doubt by sniffing you ISP's network they can find out where you are connecting from pretty accurately. You are nailed at this point.

6) After all that you are connected, through a VPN, to the web site of your choice. Say, raspberrypi.org. That's great and all but said website then blows all your cover by immediately shouting to the world, google analytics, facebook, gravatar, etc that you have connected, when and for how long and what activity you are doing on their site, etc. You are nailed again.

What have I missed so far?
2. If your ISP is sniffing around they can tell where your going and what you're doing(use to work for one).

3. It would years ago when VPN's were known to be used by file sharers, but now they're advertised on TV and everywhere else as safety nets for protection. Though if your data usage spikes up pretty high they'll have a pretty good idea.

4. See #3

5. See #3

6. Any website you connect to doesn't know it's you unless you log in but then they display the country to which your VPN is connecting through. So magically you could be all over the world.

If you're trying to keep safe from normies prying eyes then VPN's are great. Even most government people sniffing around a VPN stops them. If the NSA, FBI or those types are looking at you... well you should rethink what you're doing and remedy that first.

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