What Is a VPN?
- VPN = Virtual Private Network
It's a service that offers you anonymity to a certain extent. It creates a tunnel from your PC, to the server you are connecting to, and encrypts that tunnel so nobody can read whatever data is being transmitted. So you will be safe from eavesdropping, ssl striping, man in the middle attack among others.
The Benefits of a VPN:
The benefit of VPNs is that it creates an encrypted tunnel from your PC to the server you're connecting to, making you safe from various attacks. There are many different services to choose from. Every service has its own downsides and upsides. As a base line, they all pretty much offer the same thing.
Some providers even offer you a trial (How incredible is that..)
You can choose what country you want displayed as your IP
You can change your IP at any time (At least the ones I know)
You can buy several VPNs and use them at the same time.
Your data is encrypted with strong algortihms.
The servers of X provider, are located in countries outside US jurisdictin. (at least if you're smart.)
The Downsides of Using a VPN:
Just to mention a few:
You can never be certain if your provider is being completely honest about its services
Some will screw you over and hand over logs to the government. (Hint; HideMyAss)
You can never trust a company with your anonymity, because why should they protect you, from legal prosecutions from the Government, for $20 per month?
Does VPN Providers Keep Logs?
The simple answer is yes mate. They do.
Personally I would argue that the majority of VPNs today keep logs, and the majority of those providers "claim" they don't. We have seen it before, a hackers identity is blown because the company provided logs to the government despite the fact they claimed no logs were kept.
Of course some are being honest and doesn't keep logs, but the bad news is, you need to take a chance and hope that the one you have chosen is being honest about what they are telling you. You really need to do a lot of recon on the provider before choosing it, is my best advice.
- Read their Terms of Service. (I mean it, actually read it)
- Find out where they are located
- Read as many reviews as you can
- Check out what others have said about the product
- Ask around see what they have to say
- And do whatever it takes to get more information from the provider before choosing
How Do I Choose a VPN?
First of all, dont ask anyone for their recommendation because 99% is they wont tell you. Want to know why? Because every provider is different, and you are responsible for your own anonymity, and have to protect yourself. And because every hacker has different circumstances meaning, you might be in US and another one might be in China, vice versa. Different things apply to people located elsewhere from you.
First of all, when choosing a VPN, Stay away from any provider that is located in the US. That is the number one thing you need to make sure of, because not only is the **NSA CIA FBI **located in the US, so is the government (obviously). Also the Patriot Act applies to everyone and everything located within the US, which means the VPN provider you thought is so good about keeping you anonymous, actually has to hand over every single log of you if they are ever approached by the NSA or FBI.
Next, this is the only recommendation I can give you towards VPNs. Choose one located in Russia, China or Sweden. Simply because Sweden has privacy laws that are very good, the US doesn't have jurisdiction over there.
Am I Now Anonymous?
No you aren't. You are never completely anonymous on the internet, as any real hacker will tell you. And just like any other software out there, your provider is also a software, which means its hackable, and you are therefore still at risk.
Wait VPNs can be hacked?
They most certainly can, and you have to remember that whomever has created the software is always in full control of it.
They know the code and you don't. Stay safe.