Andrew Breese

Musings of a professional geek

VPN Viable for Privacy? Yup

I had a bit of a rant about SOPA recently, and thankfully some really influential websites and folks did too. That little bit of political silliness is crawling to a halt (I’m still waiting for the real death announcement), and hopefully the people involved stop and think, consider, ask, and then learn before they have another go. I’m all for solutions that help, but it is better to change behaviour, business models, commercial agreements, etc to resolve the issue than legislate. Particularly when that legislation has far more negative effects that positive.

As part of the rant I looked at VPNs to enable online privacy. I’d read that it is an effective way to work around regionalisation, neutralised changes like SOPA would bring, and generally pritect your online identify more – and it needed a good test.

It worked. It’s nice.

The service I purchased gave me a stable and health VPN connection (speeds up to 955kb/s) which made all the auto-detect functions I visited see me as a user from Sweden. Australia to Sweden is a long darn way, and the internet was none the wiser.

  • Visiting Google initially came up in a different language.
  • Tracking IPs found only the VPN end-point.
  • Bittorrent connections (for legal epubs by the way) were seeing the VPN IP.

An interesting trick I found too was using the Firewall rules in Windows 7 to ensure that your browser only worked while on the VPN. I did this by:

  • ensuing that my home network was set as a private zone,
  • configure the VPN connection as a public zone,
  • setting up a new Firewall rule for Firefox (my browser of choice) so that it was not allowed to access the internet on the private zone,
  • then setup a firewall rule for Firefox which allowed it to access the internet on the Public zone.

This has the effect of killing Firefox’s browsing unless the VPN was active.

But why you ask?

Well if you happen to be doing something suss (say bit torrenting), and you want to make sure that the application doing that suspect activity can only be traced to your VPN IP (in Sweden), then setting up the app (uTorrent et al) instead of Firefox in the example above will do just that. All BT connections will appear to be to Sweden.

Happy hacking folks, may your internet stay private.

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4 responses to “VPN Viable for Privacy? Yup

  1. Mike March 23, 2012 at 10:59 pm

    SOPA is just the next step in electronic surveillance. Tapping your phone isn`t simply enough for these people, they want to control your online social life too. I`m all for catching the “bad guys” that use Internet for theft, terrorism etc, but losing our right for privacy is really not the way to do it.

    However, there are some Internet services that can make a difference . I used http://www.sunvpn.com/ a while back from China, basically it`s a service to unblock Internet restrictions, but one can also use it to hide Internet traffic (it supposedly encrypts all your traffic to the government can`t log everything you do anymore). I`m really thinking to use it on a regular basis, even when I don`t travel.

  2. Howart Smith November 1, 2012 at 7:19 pm

    I am using Hotspot Shield Free VPN to Access all blocked websites and to surf anonymously.It encrypts network traffic, secures your web surfing sessions, stands guard against malware and protects your privacy while you surf the internet anonymously.

    Check it out here: http://www.hotspotshield.com

  3. typhoonandrew November 2, 2012 at 7:09 am

    I’ll check that out, interesting…although quick view of that site gives no actual information on how it claims to perform the VPN. At the moment it looks to provide the same VPN service that is built into Win. Can’t say I’d pay for that.

  4. aliza December 21, 2013 at 12:28 am

    I use www. primovpn .net it opens most of the blocked website in my college and it is easy to use and download.

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