VPN use

Discussion in 'Computers, Hardware, and Operating Systems' started by W4PG, Jan 7, 2019.

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  1. AA5CT

    AA5CT Ham Member QRZ Page

    anonymizer definition - An anonymizer or an anonymous proxy is a tool that attempts to make activity on the Internet untraceable. It is a proxy server computer that acts as an intermediary and privacy shield between a client computer and the rest of the Internet.

    Fog must be heavy on the Zed today.
  2. W4EAE

    W4EAE Premium Subscriber QRZ Page

    Completely correct.

    "...attempts to make activity on the internet untraceable" is what trips me up. I don't use proxies (at least not fewer than four at a time) for this reason.

    For the layman (and I don't assume that you are such), the difficulty of really making oneself untraceable to the sites one visits is multi-layered and not solely dependent upon the method of connection one uses. If you connect to an excellent VPN and then hop online with Chrome that is permanently logged in to your Google account, you have wasted your time with the proxy.

    To really anonymize, you need a portable OS, multiple layers of connection security (proxy over VPN, TOR over VPN, etc.); disable Java, disable Flash, disable HTML5; run a bare bones browser (or better yet a text-only browser), and clear the cache and browser history (your browser shouldn't really have these to being with) and restart the OS each time you change webpages.

    I just don't want anyone to read this tread and think that any of these methods on their own will make them "anonymous.' There is enough propaganda out there on that already. If you want to anonymize yourself to the sites you visit, a VPN or proxy may accomplish this (depending upon the tactics used by the site to determine your location and other detail). VPNs and proxies can also spoof your location, making it seem you are connecting from a specific required location. Doing this could lead--but not necessarily--to you breaking the (probably copyright) laws of either this country or other counties. If you want to hide your traffic from your ISP, a good VPN is reasonably good at that and is more reliably secure (and probably faster) than a proxy.
    WF7A and W4PG like this.
  3. KT1F

    KT1F Ham Member QRZ Page

    Has there been any documented cases of an ISP doing that?

    How technically feasible is it for an ISP to build data on their customers that is worth selling?

    Assuming that most sites now use SSL, i.e., https, the ISP doesn't really get to see much. They obviously know the IP address I'm browsing to and I think they can see the host name (i.e., the domain) in clear text but that's about all. They don't see the full URL and the IP address often points to a content distribution network. So ... they can see I'm shopping at Amazon but they can't see what I'm shopping for. I guess they know more about my interests if I visit a small specialized site but that site would have to be categorized in some database to imply, "If he visits this site then he is probably interested in X".

    Maybe I'm naive but I'm struggling to see how my ISP could really come up with data that is worth much by monitoring network traffic.
    Last edited: Jan 10, 2019
  4. KA9JLM

    KA9JLM Ham Member QRZ Page

    There is no place to hide.

    Every connection leaves a fingerprint.
  5. W4EAE

    W4EAE Premium Subscriber QRZ Page

    This is true. The best for which you can ever hope is multiple layers of obfuscation. Every connection is ultimately traceable, but that doesn't mean we should all make it easy.
  6. KD2NOM

    KD2NOM XML Subscriber QRZ Page

    Always - on all devices - TigerVPN
    W1TRY likes this.
  7. W4EAE

    W4EAE Premium Subscriber QRZ Page

    Thank of it in a different way. With the oligopoly of 'media' companies in existence today, your ISP is almost certain to be a content provider as well. What happens when you ISP gets into some content dispute with Amazon, and they retaliate by crippling their subscribers connection to Amazon? Sure Amazon suffers, but so do you if you are their customer. The fact that the ISP cannot see what you are doing on Amazon may even increase the likelihood of something like this happening since they cannot tell whether you are buying toilet paper or streaming Mrs. Maisel.

    Maybe they don't cripple your connection, but they send a bill to Amazon demanding they pay if they want the ISP's customers to be able to stream from Amazon Prime. Then the cost of your Amazon subscription goes up.

    Or maybe your ISP starts selling a special 'Streaming Package!' that costs you an extra $20/month so you don't get throttled.

    Everything I have described is completely legal right now. If you use a VPN server and proper DNS that many others are using at the same time, your ISP sees nothing but 1s and 0s.
    W4PG likes this.
  8. N1EN

    N1EN Premium Subscriber QRZ Page

    My router at home has built-in VPN capability. All of my gadgets auto-connect to my home VPN when disconnected from the home network, to reduce the risk of snooping on public WiFi, etc.

    I do not generally use a third party VPN for routine online activity from my home network. The performance hit just isn't worth the hassle; I am content that firewalls and filtering are adequate for my level of privacy paranoia.

    If my privacy preferences were THAT stringent:
    • I wouldn't discuss it on a public forum
    • It's doubtful that I'd trust a third party for the secure pipe; additional or alternative measures would be required
    • I would reconsider my level of exposure to the 'net.
    That being said, I can see using a VPN to circumvent geographic content restrictions or blocks introduced due to ISP vs content-provider dispute...but my need for that capability is currently minimal.
  9. N1EN

    N1EN Premium Subscriber QRZ Page

    [QUOTE="KT1F, post: 4930397, member: 214918"Maybe I'm naive but I'm struggling to see how my ISP could really come up with data that is worth much by monitoring network traffic.[/QUOTE]

    Dear ISP: Please give me a list of your subscribers that have spent X amount of time in the past Y days on this list of sites. I want to target an ad campaign to them. I will pay you Z cents per identity.
    KK4NSF likes this.
  10. KK4NSF

    KK4NSF Ham Member QRZ Page

    many and multiple ISPs routinely sell or "share with our strategic partners" your data. The truth is that nobody actually knows exactly how much "private" data is traded every day since there are no laws in the US mandating that they tell the end user. However, if you care to see how much "they" sell about you, just go to a data broker, spend a few dollars and get your full report. You'll be appalled by what you learn about yourself.

    Because they don't just monitor metadata, they also database the content of that traffic... which when combined with data from every Internet / wifi connected device; Web-based vendor you may buy from; the utility companies; your location data from your cell phone....and so forth and so on....,paints a VERY complete profile of what you do every moment of every day unless you take steps to minimize it.

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