Do you use VPN, which one, and why

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mike acker
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Do you use VPN, which one, and why

Post by mike acker » Wed Sep 25, 2019 7:57 pm

I havn't been setting up systems for folks io include a VPN. Today, I got pretty much a demand for one. So, I've been reading up on assorted reviews. But the puzzle is ? why ?

In some cases a VPN would make sense: anytime a system is going to be used over public-wi-fi such as in a coffee shop or similar public area it makes sense.

Or if I'm a dissident journalist in some troubled country then it might make sense or more than likely I'd use TOR.

or maybe if I'm reading naughty stuff, or maybe I just don't like being watched.

apparently there's two ways to approach starting a VPN: one is to subscribe to a VPN service and install their client; the other being to use a web-browser plug-in

any thoughts/guidance -- will be appreciated !!
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Re: Do you use VPN, which one, and why

Post by catweazel » Wed Sep 25, 2019 8:51 pm

mike acker wrote:
Wed Sep 25, 2019 7:57 pm
any thoughts/guidance -- will be appreciated !!
I use Vypr VPN, for online privacy. I used to use Nord but it's a terrible, terrible pain to use when you want to find a server.
"There is, ultimately, only one truth -- cogito, ergo sum -- everything else is an assumption." - Me, my swansong.

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Re: Do you use VPN, which one, and why

Post by ajgringo619 » Wed Sep 25, 2019 8:56 pm

I use Private Tunnel, for the same reasons as Catweazel. I only turn it off when a website needs to know my real location, and then only if the need is legally justified, like watching certain TV channels or sports sites (like Fanduel).
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Re: Do you use VPN, which one, and why

Post by majpooper » Wed Sep 25, 2019 9:21 pm

If you do a search on this topic on this forum you will find no lack of opinions on the pros and cons of VPNs to include which ones are preferred. There are plenty of so called reviews of VPNs on line, many by the VPN provides themselves, so be leery and make sure the review site actually independent of any particular VPN provider.

You hit some very good points - it really depends on why you feel the need for a VPN. I do think that the subscription VPN services are better than the freebee VPN offerings. I am just skeptical about the free offering and how the may monetize the data they collect from their users. And beyond that it seems their performance is lacking.

I guess it depends how paranoid you are - so you may want to investigate tracking policies (how long to they keep your data and who will they provide it to) and the availability of servers outside the USA. One thing that has come up on this forum is that some VPN providers leak DNS to your ISP so even if you have an encrypted tunnel to the VPN servers your ISP (as well as bad guys snooping around) can still track where you are going.

Personally I want an encrypted tunnel at least from me to the VPN provider to give me some measure of security and I suppose privacy (although I think the privacy horse got out of the barn eons ago) for my on-line banking and on-line shopping. And I certainly do not want DNS leak. I really do not have any "Big Brother" or law enforcement concerns so I prefer servers in the USA - I just think it helps in terms of performance but have no data to back that up so cannot say for sure. I really just want to make it harder for the "bad" guys to steal the few $$$ that I do have in the bank or to get my CC info. However I do fully understand nothing is 100% and the last leg from my VPN provider to my bank is not encrypted.

I use PrivateTunnel for a few reasons: https://www.privatetunnel.com/
1.) they are a collaborative effort with OpenVPN
2.) easy to set up and use on linux
3.) no performance degradation
4.) no DNS leak

For full disclosure: I also use PiHole https://pi-hole.net/ as my DNS server which incorporates DNSSEC and DoH (DNS over HTTPS) to Cloudflare (1.1.1.1) so I doubt I would experience DNS leak no matter which VPN provider I used however I do recall several years ago I tested for DNSleak with PrivateTunnel (no PiHole at the time) and it reflected the VPN servers IP and not my ISP i.e. no DNS leak.

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Re: Do you use VPN, which one, and why

Post by mike acker » Thu Sep 26, 2019 6:37 am

Thanks all, for the notes thus far. As suggested, I've been going over some reviews. This seems to be a pretty common answer:

Code: Select all

10 Reasons Why You Must Use A VPN Service
By Adarsh Verma /FOSSBYTES /April 3, 2017 //

https://fossbytes.com/reasons-why-use-vpn-service/

1. Hide your internet activity from ISP
2. Bypass your government’s internet censorship
3. Use public Wi-Fi without risks
4. Access full Netflix content anywhere
5. Bypass restrictions in office/school/college
6. Secure your VOIP phone calls
7. Stop Google from tracking you
8. Use if you’re a researcher/whistleblower/activist/journalist
9. Using BitTorrent
10. Privacy is your right
I think what actually happens here is: the VPN re-directs my internet activity to (probably) a virtual server. The virtual server then carries out whatever it is that I want on the 'Net and forwards the results back to me.
Let's say that "result" is a web-page -- loaded with trackers and java-script. Theoretically the only thing that java-script can read/write on my local machine without my permission is -- cookies -- and these are, generally sort of harmless. Even so, we know that web pages can be laced with malware -- some of which may run, even without permission. I would expect memory protection in Linux ( text on READ|EXECUTE ) pages would prevent "code injection" -- and -- users not having root access should not be able to make a downloaded program executable. So the malware risk on Linux should be a good deal less than on that other system that has a lot of troubles.

I'm still a bit puzzled over what protection the VPN is providing -- other than the anonymity. It's easy to see how it can help get around blocks and this could be helpful in some circumstances.

ExpressVPN seems to get good marks the the lit reviews

I just hesitate to have someone load a VPN onto their system unless one of the key advantages applies. Too, I note the caveat against "free" VPN services. While LMDE/Linux is free -- the VPN is not part of LMDE or Linux -- it's a separate service
Last edited by mike acker on Thu Sep 26, 2019 6:44 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Do you use VPN, which one, and why

Post by Pierre » Thu Sep 26, 2019 6:44 am

just to re-iterate a few things here:
- - Don't Use any Free VPN Service - - if you don't pay for it - - then you are the product.
- that Private Internet Access® is an Official Sponsor of the LinuxMint Project
https://www.privateinternetaccess.com/
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Re: Do you use VPN, which one, and why

Post by mike acker » Thu Sep 26, 2019 8:13 am

Pierre wrote:
Thu Sep 26, 2019 6:44 am
just to re-iterate a few things here:
- - Don't Use any Free VPN Service - - if you don't pay for it - - then you are the product.
- that Private Internet Access® is an Official Sponsor of the LinuxMint Project
https://www.privateinternetaccess.com/
Copy that, and THANKS!!

I notice that in my "Guest" machine -- on LMDE/3 -- that the OpenVPN client program came pre-installed. At least I think it did: I don't have any record of having selected and installed it.

I would normally start with software that is provided for me like this by the project. I'm going to create a new LMDE/3 this morning in the Research_Box to learn on.

What I expect to find is: the OpenVPN client, -- when activated -- should ask me what service I want to connect with. This is where I make the Critical Decision.

I'll start with our recommended "Private Internet Access" site
¡Viva la Resistencia!

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Re: Do you use VPN, which one, and why

Post by nakednorman » Thu Sep 26, 2019 10:14 am

+1 for Private Internet Access.
I've used it for a couple of years - no problems.
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mike acker
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Re: Do you use VPN, which one, and why

Post by mike acker » Thu Sep 26, 2019 12:06 pm

nakednorman wrote:
Thu Sep 26, 2019 10:14 am
+1 for Private Internet Access.
I've used it for a couple of years - no problems.
thanks. are you using a client program obtained from the Private Access page ?
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Re: Do you use VPN, which one, and why

Post by mike acker » Thu Sep 26, 2019 12:16 pm

nakednorman wrote:
Thu Sep 26, 2019 10:14 am
+1 for Private Internet Access.
I've used it for a couple of years - no problems.
I see their download/install is not a .deb file:

Code: Select all

pia-linux-1.4-03180.run

and they want it run with the root password. Needless to say: I don't have one; I use only sudo, as recommended.

this is getting into an area we generally try to avoid,-- (1) loading a program that's not from the repo, and (2) using a root password

I wonder if the OpenVPN -- that came installed on this LMDE/3 dist. can access a pia account. I'll dig around a bit more; ExpressVPN gets good press.
¡Viva la Resistencia!

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Re: Do you use VPN, which one, and why

Post by ajgringo619 » Thu Sep 26, 2019 12:20 pm

mike acker wrote:
Thu Sep 26, 2019 12:16 pm

Code: Select all

pia-linux-1.4-03180.run
and they want it run with the root password. Needless to say: I don't have one; I use only sudo, as recommended.

this is getting into an area we generally try to avoid,-- (1) loading a program that's not from the repo, and (2) using a root password

I wonder if the OpenVPN -- that came installed on this LMDE/3 dist. can access a pia account. I'll dig around a bit more; ExpressVPN gets good press.
Running sudo /path/to/pia-linux-1.4-03180.run accomplishes the same thing. Many systems (and Mint's by default) don't even have the root account enabled anymore.
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Re: Do you use VPN, which one, and why

Post by athi » Thu Sep 26, 2019 12:27 pm

mike acker wrote:
Thu Sep 26, 2019 8:13 am
I would normally start with software that is provided for me like this by the project. I'm going to create a new LMDE/3 this morning in the Research_Box to learn on.

What I expect to find is: the OpenVPN client, -- when activated -- should ask me what service I want to connect with. This is where I make the Critical Decision.

I'll start with our recommended "Private Internet Access" site
Not really sure what you mean by that statement. Just about every VPN services have client software for just about any platform (Windows, OSX, android etc.) that you can install to connects you to the service VPN sever, with kill switch option. In Mint Mate and maybe other Linux distribution, you can download preconfigured OVPN configuration from the VPN service and use the network manager to import the configuration to create a VPN server connection. You can then create a network connection and link previously created VPN server connection to it (give it a name so you know which server it is connected to). You can create as many of these as you want, so you can connects to any VPN server just by selection the linked network connection that you created. Personally, I do not like to use third party software given a choice, so I have about 8 linked VPN connections and a no VPN connection for various uses.
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Re: Do you use VPN, which one, and why

Post by mike acker » Thu Sep 26, 2019 12:34 pm

in diggin around in the ExpressVPN presentation it appears they want me to

Code: Select all

sudo apt-get install -y openvpn
hmmmmm

"openvpn" -- is already installed; perhaps all I need is the config file -- which is their next step.
plus credentials at Express VPN...

I much prefer to use client software from our own repos.

gotta take a time-out now --
¡Viva la Resistencia!

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Re: Do you use VPN, which one, and why

Post by Kirara » Thu Oct 10, 2019 7:55 am

This overview was very helpful to me: https://restoreprivacy.com/best-vpn/

Perfect Privacy works very well for me.

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Re: Do you use VPN, which one, and why

Post by Pierre » Thu Oct 10, 2019 8:01 am

as, has been noted before - - some of those "best VPN services" - - are on an commission .. .. for their recommendations.
:lol:

as another, general rule - - don't use an VPN service, that is based in your Target Area ..
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Re: Do you use VPN, which one, and why

Post by Pippin » Thu Oct 10, 2019 10:22 am

mike acker wrote:
Thu Sep 26, 2019 6:37 am
7. Stop Google from tracking you
Not really ... see (1). There are various ways to fingerprint you.
I'm still a bit puzzled over what protection the VPN is providing --
Don't be, it doesn't in your intended use case, redirecting traffic.

OpenVPN encrypts traffic between two (or more) endpoints (hosts), there's no more to it. (1)
Tunneled traffic isn't changed, possible ways to track still apply.
You put trust in VPN provider instead of ISP.

That's the basic.
Everything is electric.

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Re: Do you use VPN, which one, and why

Post by Kirara » Thu Oct 10, 2019 10:54 am

From what I can see this guy doesn't make any money by advertising VPN providers.
https://restoreprivacy.com/mission/

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Re: Do you use VPN, which one, and why

Post by Zeno7 » Mon Oct 21, 2019 3:12 am

Well I don't believe they don't make any money ... It's like all other VPN comparison websites such as https://the-bestvpn.com/ or https://www.vpnmentor.com/ ... They all live thanks to the commissions they get and so does restoreprivacy. We can't really blame them, they are doing some work for their visitors so it's normal they get paid for it ...

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Re: Do you use VPN, which one, and why

Post by coffee412 » Mon Oct 21, 2019 9:57 am

I use openvpn for my clients to access their remote servers shares. But I think that is a bit of a different application than what the OP is thinking about.

Personally, I use PIA on my system all the time. My isp doesnt need to know what Im doing while surfing the web. However, VPN's are a point to point encryption. So, It doesnt help you with other tracking problems. As for tracking me I have done some research and found the following firefox plugins welcome.

1. Adblock Plus
2. Cookie Autodelete
3. Decentraleyes
4. Facebook container
5. HTTPS everywhere
6. Startpage as my homepage.

So, A VPN really just stops throttling and not being able to access some web content depending on your country along with not seeing what you are doing. Tracking needs a different approach. While the above addons are not a perfect solution, Its what I use right now.

Jumping back to VPNs, I have heard some bad things about some like IPVanish and some others. I have found very little wrong with PIA as of now and enjoy them.
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