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     I honestly never seen the need for that type of service. I understand the purpose, but so far been able to do without.

 I'm also a bit annoyed with deceptive marketing selling those as some kind of firewall for complete anonymity. It doesn't work that way and doesn't protect you from getting exposed or prosecuted for questionable activities.

    Worth it If want access to region locked content. But for online security, staying away from questionable websites and shady businesses will minimize potential problems.

    6 VPN myths busted - here's the truth | TechRadar

    

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1 hour ago, Greenteal said:

  Worth it If want access to region locked content. But for online security, staying away from questionable websites and shady businesses will minimize potential problems.

Fair... and nothing makes you 'completely' anonymous... its an arms race... I deploy things that obscure, others deploy technology to look. I like VPNs for regional content (not just movies, but banking, shopping, and news (some places show different articles, depending). I also prefer my browsing habits (like this site) stay out of the logs of my local partial-monopoly ISP that would monetise it, or inject ads, and outside the logs of my local coffee shop's. While this older article has some elements that have aged-out... I like the easy-to-read overview... https://www.infoworld.com/article/2925839/code-injection-new-low-isps.html .

 

I tend to do all of :  Harden my (non-Windows) OS, patch regularly, use, VPN, use AV, use non-US-based end-to-end encrypted email and messaging (Proton and Signal), use mailinator to lower spam count, and password management to increase the quality and quantity of my passwords... none is perfect... but all contribute to safety.

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7 minutes ago, clearbluesky15 said:

Fair... and nothing makes you 'completely' anonymous... its an arms race... I deploy things that obscure, others deploy technology to look.

     Again, it all depends on applications.

    It only takes the signature from a judge to expose people behind illegal activities.

NordVPN: Actually, We Do Comply With Law Enforcement Data Requests | PCMag

  

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51 minutes ago, Greenteal said:

It only takes the signature from a judge to expose people behind illegal activities.

Well, not quite that easy 🙂

from your article from your quoted vendor:

  • While NordVPN is based in Panama, where data retention is not required and gag orders are not legally possible, we want to give you extra assurance by publishing our own warrant canary, updated daily.
  • We, NordVPN, confirm that we take full control of our infrastructure. We have never willingly disclosed any user data or provided any access to user traffic to any third party. We do not collect user traffic logs and have never been compelled to do so by any third party. We have not disclosed any private keys or any information of our users, and we have not been forced to modify our system to allow access or data leakage to a third party of any kind.
  • As of 2022-06-22, we:
  • Have NOT received any National Security letters;
  • Have NOT received any gag orders;
  • Have NOT received any warrants from any government organization.

 

So agreed, in theory its not foolproof but I feel better with a company on my side, and a business-stake in my privacy and lawyers using concepts like warrant canaries, innovations advocated by EFF and EPIC, among others... vs. my ISP which works against my interests (see my link above).

I think of it as wearing a bulletproof vest... it won't help a headshot, and there's always a bigger gun for a given panel or Kevlar thickness... but its not bad within the scope of the original intended design.

 

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One other detail... I like ProtonVPN's new secure core... so that even if they get an order in Switzerland... they have components in multiple jurisdictions... so all those jurisdictions would have to be served successfully... from their website.

Under Swiss law, Proton VPN is not obligated to save connection logs, and we adhere to a strict no-logs VPN policy. Therefore, we are unable to comply with requests for user connection logs, even if they are legally binding. 

With US and UK servers, the hosting companies themselves may be compromised which is why enabling Secure Core will put a ProtonVPN run server either in Switzerland, Iceland or Sweden in between you and any potentially compromised server. 

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   This kind of reminds me the explosion of firewall software from the late 90's. The vast majority were garbage, capitalized on fear and quite often created more problems than actual good.

    Not saying VPN services are equally as bad, but the aggressive ad campaigns likely sold those to users who don't actually need this.

    Will also be interesting to see how the decline of Netflix will affect the future of those services.

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I think we agree on marketing... promising silver bullets in security belies the complicated nature of the field... and I suspect for most categories of security tools then and now, you'd find a marketing campaign that promised their one tool does it all... by marketing Firms that likely don't understand the tech in the first place.

 

That said... using your example... firewalls have blossomed into a regular and valuable staple of corporate and personal network security. Similarly as we continue to see companies and vendors continue to innovate in how they monetize and distribute our private information, things like VPNs are a useful tool. I think its nice that concepts popularized by TOR-Onion routing (also used by Hidden Services AKA the "dark web") are getting pulled into more robust paid services like Secure Core.

 

-cbs

 

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18 minutes ago, clearbluesky15 said:

Similarly as we continue to see companies and vendors continue to innovate in how they monetize and distribute our private information, things like VPNs are a useful tool.

  At best, VPN services only slow the spread. Information shared with online services, businesses and social media will always be vulnerable.

Edited by Greenteal

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28 minutes ago, Greenteal said:

  At best, VPN services only slow the spread. Information shared with online services, businesses and social media will always be vulnerable.

I don't disagree... but when you intentionally share data with an online service, you're getting outside the design of what a VPN is supposed to help with.

I'd phrase instead as "VPNs do not solve every information leakage problem, but they do solve the problems they were designed to fix."

Other unreasonable things to expect of a VPN:

  •  is unreasonable to ask a VPN to protect my interaction with a website the way an in-browser extension like PrivacyBadger does.
  • Trying to use a VPN to keep the hackers out of your network... that's what a firewall is for.

 

Use screwdrivers for screws and hammers for nails... use VPNs to mask your traffic from the ISP and network providers between you and your virtual destination.

-cbs

Edited by clearbluesky15
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Just bumped into this thread and figured I would add my 2 cents. I would highly recommend using MullVad. They offer 100% anonymity including cash payments. Even FireFox's VPN offering using them as backbone.

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