2 min read

The Truth About VPNs: FAFO

Virtual Private Network (VPN) technology has been around for decades, but only in the past decade have they been touted as a means of securing one's privacy.

We wanted to take the time to break down some common misconceptions about their ability to protect your privacy.

  1. A VPN provider doesn't know what I'm doing because too many people are using the shared IP.

This is false. As most VPN providers are using the standard networking stack, a trivial tcpdump on the interface will result in easily tracked packets from source to destination and back, wherein the source is a non-ephemeral local network IP address linked to the account. The only thing between your VPN provider and that command is trust across all within the organization that could have access to execute these commands.

Search around online for the interesting, and alarmingly intrusive, things you can do with tcpdump. Might make you shed a tear... sniff, sniff.

  1. A VPN makes me anonymous.

This is false on its own merit given our previous answer, but can be true. The only way a VPN can make you anonymous is by routing through 2 or more VPNs who are not in cahoots. While there may be connection degradation due to increased overhead with encrypted, encrypted packets, you will separate your original source IP from the egress, exit traffic.

  1. A VPN keeps my ISP's eyes off my traffic.

This is true. Your ISP will only know how much data you transferred to and from the VPN. Instead, the VPN, who is likely under less scrutiny than your ISP, will have the ability to gather this information unabridged.🤡🤡🤡🤡🤡

Frankly, a single VPN isn't a solution to privacy at all. It's like trusting your data with someone who is out there trying to figure out how to make the most money; this will mean that the chance that some kind of internal obfuscation mechanisms/packet laundering are in place is likely 0.

How can I be anonymous/private online?

In conjunction with another VPN, you will be anonymous online.

With Cloud Seeder you can host your own Anonymizing Proxy as an appliance and share access with others using our service, IPv6rs. What this means is that even if we were compromised and tried to spy on your traffic, we would only see the shared traffic of your VPN/proxy users, and have no understanding of who actually originated the traffic, effectively creating a double hop VPN (one of which, you control).

We've heard countless VPN and privacy companies say, "Don't Trust, Verify." For us, we say, "don't trust."

You should only trust yourself with your data. Self hosting, from VPNs to your blog, is the only way to guarantee your security and your privacy.