10 votes

Just got a VPN. Love it and want to share the basics.

A VPN is a virtual private network. Basically what it is, is a middleman between you and the internet. Everything that passes between you and the VPN is encrypted so it is very very hard to spy or insert malicious data. Then the VPN actually contacts the sites you are browsing using their own IP address. The Main effects are that no sites can tell who you are, no more targeted ads, and data that can be linked to you is encrypted. It is very useful when using public wifi networks.
Ultimately, there is probably no avoiding the spying of an entity with the resources of the NSA for example but, for lesser threats it is great.
My VPN also has a few extra perks. It has gateways in quite a few countries so you can appear as if you are there, skirting location restricted viewing and such. It uses group IPs so even if your data were monitored on the other side of the VPN(which couldn't be linked to you anyway), it would be indistinguishable from many other peoples data so no one could perform "metadata" style analysis. It bypasses any ISP restrictions. It also stops news sites blocking you after a certain amount of articles read per month.
If you are interested in looking into one, here are a few pointers. Make sure the company keeps NO LOGS of any kind. Many people don't like the idea of their VPN being based in the US, but it is actually one of the few countries that has no legally mandatory data logging. I've also read that Turkey is ok. With a year contract I pay less than $3.50 a month so you shouldn't have to pay more than 6 or 7 even without a contract. Mine also accepts bitcoins and many types of gift cards so payment can be anonymous. Multiple country gateways is a plus and I believe a Swiss gateway can actually afford the highest level of privacy available. There are many good options out there so do your research.

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Keep in mind, VPN does not

Keep in mind, VPN does not encrypt and secure the entire connection to the website you're viewing (or whatever communication protocol is being used). What it does is secures your connection to the VPN provider. From there (from the VPN provider) your connection may or may not be encrypted depending on whether the website you are using uses secure HTTP... "HTTPS"

The big value many of the subscription VPN companies provide is that you can connect to untrusted wireless networks (pretty much any free wireless network provided anywhere which you do not control yourself) and be able to turn that untrusted wireless connection into a secure & trusted connection... well, as must as you trust your VPN provider.

Some VPN providers do log your activity and keep those logs for a short amount of time. Website logs can be associated to VPN connections which then can be tied to specific customers. It is correct that ISP logging is blocked (or the free wireless provider logging) since all they see is an encrypted connection to the VPN provider.

TOR ( https://www.torproject.org/ ) would be better if you're looking to be anonymous. However, you still want to use an HTTPS website if you want your communication to be encrypted from you to their web servers (with only encrypted data passing through all the routers, switches and whatever else it takes to make the communication work). I tested TOR out maybe 6 years ago and it was extremely slow. No idea if they improved the speed since then.


BT Guard is good too

anonymous VPN's only protect you from other sites from trying to get your location. However, Your ISP is still logging which sites you visit directly which are being monitoring by intelligence agencies and THAT is Edward Snowden's biggest leak.

Not to mention Modern ISPs integrate a wide array of surveillance and packet sniffing equipment into their networks, which then feeds the data to law-enforcement/intelligence networks (such as DCSNet in the United States, or SORM in Russia) allowing monitoring of Internet traffic in real time.

His name is Edward Snowden

What is Capitalism?

Respectfully disagree

I've been using a VPN for quite some time (https://airvpn.org), and as I understand it, when you are tunneled through the VPN your ISP cannot log which sites you are browsing. All they know is that you are logged into a VPN. Only the VPN servers know which sites you visit. However, as you stated, a proper VPN will not keep logs and therefore, doesn't have any data to reveal regarding their clients' activities online.

One other suggestion for selecting a VPN: accepts Bitcoin as payment.

Also, read the VPN's Privacy Policy and Terms of Service carefully. Not all VPNs are equal.

Let me just add that a VPN is just one of the tools in the shed for maintaining online privacy--albeit a very good tool. Employing several available tools (or layers) ensures the best level of privacy.

I've learned a lot in this VPN forum over the years: https://airvpn.org

To the OP--thanks for posting.


..is the one I currently use.
I appreciate your posting this. I wasn't aware of the "news article" feature, so it was informative for an old dinosaur like myself.

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