The Dangers of using VPN
VPN (Virtual Private Networks) are privately run encrypted proxy services that protect privacy by masking the IP address of their users replacing the original IP address with a different one that can be located anywhere in the World.
Besides hiding your IP from server logs in the websites you visit, a VPN service protects you from your Internet Service Provider spying on you, in countries like the United Kingdom where the law requires Internet Service Providers to keep a record of what URLs a user has visited , they will be unable to see anything if you are behind an encrypted VPN tunnel. A VPN service will also bypass censorship, if your Internet Service Provider is filtering websites, like they do in Russia, by using a VPN, the filter is rendered useless. Another use of VPNs is to access georestricted content, online TV and music only available to certain countries, can be accessed by faking your country location with a VPN.
Almost every VPN provider claims to either keep no logs, or to keep logs for only a very short time. This is what the VPN operators say, but there is no way to determine the truthfulness of their claims. Should they not be telling the truth, then any BoyLover using such a VPN may be exposing himself to serious risks.
There is no method to determine what provider is telling the truth about logs and which one isn´t, you must rely on open source information (friends, forums, etc) to pick the best VPN provider, try to pick a company with a record of not handing over logs to law enforcement , this confirms that it is truly impossible for them to facilitate something they haven´t got.
How to pick a VPN
When picking a VPN, if your main interest is making sure that your government does not illegally spy on you and that your Internet browsing remains private, you will want to consider the following:
- Pick a VPN provider that has been around for sometime and has good reputation
- Pick a VPN provider that does not keep any kind of logs and their focus is on privacy
- Pick a VPN provider that will block your Internet connection if the VPN disconnects, this is known as a killswitch
- Pick a VPN provider that is not located in the same country where you live, it makes it more difficult for your government to abuse their powers
There are various ways to uncover the original IP when you are behind a VPN, if you download a file with a virus, this can be used to uncover your home IP. A more common way to out your real IP is when your VPN suddenly disconnects in the middle your Internet browsing activities, this can happen for many different reasons, like a weak Wi-fi signal or a network card bottleneck, home Internet connections are usually set up to re-connect automatically if the signal drops, automatic re-connection makes your real IP visible, to avoid this from happening the VPN software you are using must have a killswitch, this little setting instructs the firewall to stop all of your Internet activities unless the VPN is switched on, it avoids leaking your IP.
There are other ways that could leak your real home IP when on a VPN connection, you should look out for DNS leaks and WebRTC IP leaks. VPN software from reputable companies will stop that from happening but you should still carry online tests to make sure that your home IP can not be uncovered.
The Internet Assigned Numbers Authority (IANA) reserves certain IP address blocks for use as private IP addresses , this means that the IPs are not visible on the Internet, if one of the online tests tells you that your real address is visible and it lists it as being in the range of 10.0.0.0 to 10.255.255.255 | 172.16.0.0 to 172.31.255.255 or |192.168.0.0 to 192.168.255.255, you should not worry about it, this are network addresses and can not be linked to your Internet Service Provider, only the VPN knows who is using them and if they keep no logs, nobody can trace it.
Payments for VPN services
There are free VPN providers but they cost money to run and if you are not paying for it then somebody else is, they might be selling your data to recoup the cost of running the service, or display advertisements while you surf the Internet, another way free VPNs can exist is by getting you through the door with a restricted free offer, limited bandwidth and low speed and push their paid services all the time in the hope what some of the free users will end up paying.
A VPN service is usually affordable even for low income people, if you use it daily, it is worthwhile to pay for it. A downside of paying for a VPN is that it can be linked to your account, but not all VPN providers link payments with accounts, some of them allow you to use cryptocurrencies and others remove identifying information from the payment records, it is possible to sign up for a VPN service without giving away your name and address, it will depend on the provider, but nearly always you will need an email address to receive the username and password, make sure to sign up using an E-mail provider that respects your privacy.
Generally speaking, if the VPN provider does not keep logs of your activities, it wouldn´t matter if the company has your name address and payment details since they can not be linked to any Internet browsing, but it is always a good idea to reduce personal data to a bare minimum so that if something goes wrong, like a VPN being hacked or a server stolen, the data will not be compromised and illegally stolen.
- Britain Investigatory Powers Bill: https://www.independent.co.uk/life-style/gadgets-and-tech/news/investigatory-powers-bill-snoopers-charter-passed-royal-assent-spying-surveillance-a7445276.html
- VPN Provider’s No-Logging Claims Tested in FBI Case: https://torrentfreak.com/vpn-providers-no-logging-claims-tested-in-fbi-case-160312/
- Internal IP addresses explained: https://www.lifewire.com/what-is-a-private-ip-address-2625970