17 votes

Using a VPN may make you less secure

7 comments

  1. [2]
    noah
    Link
    Who should these articles target? In my mind, the only people who would need to read something like this is the type of person who doesn't have a firm grasp on how to remain 'completely'...

    Who should these articles target? In my mind, the only people who would need to read something like this is the type of person who doesn't have a firm grasp on how to remain 'completely' anonymous, but still chooses to break the law (enough that their government will care). I would say most of us fall into two categories - those who use VPNs for piracy, streaming, and maybe NSFW traffic, and those of us who are attempting to circumvent internet filters which prohibit free speech (in countries like China).

    I can't speak for those living in countries where free speech/access is an issue, but for me and most fellow North Americans, I would assume our use case is, as listed above, mainly for piracy and alternate streaming services, in which case I don't really see a negative to VPNs storing logs (even though I hope they don't!).

    Stu, what are your thoughts as the author? Do you have a target demographic in mind? Do you think the average VPN user should have a certain level of knowledge about what a VPN does and does not protect against, or is it more important for ignorant people who are hoping to scour websites for common illegal commodities one would use tor for?

    A follow-up article may be an overview of what information is actually safe over tor as well, in case people read your VPN article and wonder "okay, how can I be more secure then?" I'd imagine a lot of them see tor and think "okay, done! I'll just install this on my desktop at home and I'll be safe from ever being caught!"

    12 votes
    1. stu2b50
      (edited )
      Link Parent
      Part of the benefit of a personal blog as opposed to something that intends to draw readers and make money is that I can just dump thoughts as I have them. But I think there is a kind of weird...

      Part of the benefit of a personal blog as opposed to something that intends to draw readers and make money is that I can just dump thoughts as I have them.

      But I think there is a kind of weird almost health supplementy attitude towards privacy that's growing? The YouTube ads and sponsorspots don't help. But I've definitely seen people who boast that they always use a VPN for privacy's sake.

      Do they need it? No, and I don't think being more privacy minded is bad, but Im pretty sure they're not getting what they're asking for from these VPN companies.

      I guess this is the "uh, you don't need to take 1g of Vitamin C every day" of VPN articles.

      14 votes
  2. [2]
    Deimos
    Link
    This was a good article with a similar message from last year: VPN - a Very Precarious Narrative

    This was a good article with a similar message from last year: VPN - a Very Precarious Narrative

    5 votes
  3. [2]
    imperialismus
    Link
    Well, my government recently approved a requirement for ISPs to store metadata for 18 months, and I do not trust them to use that information responsibly. I personally don’t use a VPN but I am...

    Well, my government recently approved a requirement for ISPs to store metadata for 18 months, and I do not trust them to use that information responsibly. I personally don’t use a VPN but I am considering one just for peace of mind. I imagine it would be an additional hassle for my government to extract data from a foreign company.

    I also would use Tor for less than legal activity, if I were to do such a thing, but I have always imagined that security is more because of a lack of resources to pursue, say, small purchases of drugs for personal use, than a fundamental inability of governments to track activity given sufficient motivation to do so.

    5 votes
    1. arp242
      Link Parent
      You can get around this by using DNS over HTTPS (DoH) too (which you can self-host if you don't want to use any of the public providers); Firefox has built-in support for it, but I use...

      You can get around this by using DNS over HTTPS (DoH) too (which you can self-host if you don't want to use any of the public providers); Firefox has built-in support for it, but I use dnscrypt-proxy as I found it works a bit better and works for everything instead of just Firefox. I use it mostly to bypass the blocking of sites like Reddit and Netflix.

      1 vote
  4. Thra11
    Link
    One thing which is worth bearing in mind is that "your ISP" will typically vary based on whether you are using your home broadband, mobile data from your mobile network provider, a public wifi...

    One thing which is worth bearing in mind is that "your ISP" will typically vary based on whether you are using your home broadband, mobile data from your mobile network provider, a public wifi network, or your friend or relative's wifi. For each of these individual ISPs, you need to make the judgement on whether you trust them with your destination metadata.

    2 votes