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interstateflyer 04-07-2016 05:20 PM

VPN...Virtual Private Network..Worth It?
 
I'd like to be able to use my Mac laptop on the road and use RV Park/Public WiFi. I've been told that I should use a VPN, Virtual Private Network to ensure security.

Has anyone had experience with VPNs and if so could you recommend a particular one?

SeaLevel 04-07-2016 05:29 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by interstateflyer (Post 1773384)
I'd like to be able to use my Mac laptop on the road and use RV Park/Public WiFi. I've been told that I should use a VPN, Virtual Private Network to ensure security.

Has anyone had experience with VPNs and if so could you recommend a particular one?

I use a VPN every day to connect to my employers network. A VPN basically extends a private network across a public network like the Internet. What are you wanting to do with your network connection?

Unless you specifically want to connect to another network over the Internet, I don't think a VPN is what you want. You should only connect to secure networks if you plan to use your connection and do things like banking etc. A secure network could just be a SSL (HTTPS) connection to something like your banks website. I wouldn't do that over an open Wi-Fi network though.

Minno 04-07-2016 05:46 PM

Did a google search and found this web site: http://www.thetop10bestvpn.com/

Info on it might help you make a decision.

Chris

interstateflyer 04-07-2016 05:50 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by SeaLevel (Post 1773387)
I use a VPN every day to connect to my employers network. A VPN basically extends a private network across a public network like the Internet. What are you wanting to do with your network connection?

Unless you specifically want to connect to another network over the Internet, I don't think a VPN is what you want. You should only connect to secure networks if you plan to use your connection and do things like banking etc. A secure network could just be a SSL (HTTPS) connection to something like your banks website. I wouldn't do that over an open Wi-Fi network though.

How would you assure security over an open WiFi network, such as in an RV park? Yes, private and financial communication.

I'd normally use my Verizon WiFi Jetpack but I'll be traveling in parts of North America where Verizon is not available or strong enough for a data connection.

SeaLevel 04-07-2016 06:09 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by interstateflyer (Post 1773394)
How would you assure security over an open WiFi network, such as in an RV park?

You can't. If the connection between your laptop and the Wi-Fi router is open, that means it's not encrypted in any way, and could easily be sniffed by anyone within range. You'd basically be passing your information for all to see. RV Parks should follow the lead of most hotels, where you need a password to connect to Wi-Fi, and encryption is being used. I would save the personal and financial traffic for when you can use your Verizon Mi-Fi device, which I hope you have setup with a strong password.

richw46 04-07-2016 06:16 PM

A VPN is a secure connection over an unsecured network to a target network, like your home or office network. From there you can go back out to the Internet if you wish, but you need to have a target network at the other end of the VPN tunnel. I've read in here where some have set up a VPN to their home network to use that machine to access their bank accounts etc. My company has a VPN for me to log into and access their systems.

I use a Verizon Ellipses Jetpack for all things personal and for work if the park's wifi isn't strong enough. When you are on a public network, one that doesn't require you to log into an assigned account, you are vulnerable. Public wifi is good for hooking up your Roku or other media player to access online videos. There's nothing for someone to hack into on those devices. Except for one just recently, my experience has been that park wifi has been too weak to support even the most basic type of connection for surfing let alone streaming video.

Verizon has several pay as you go options, from 250 meg ($20) to 10 gb ($100). A VPN is a good way to go if you're going to try and use a park's wifi but I just don't think there's enough bandwidth to support your needs. A portable hot spot is your best bet, or share you smart phone's hotspot.

chris_kelly 04-07-2016 06:26 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by interstateflyer (Post 1773384)
I'd like to be able to use my Mac laptop on the road and use RV Park/Public WiFi. I've been told that I should use a VPN, Virtual Private Network to ensure security.



Has anyone had experience with VPNs and if so could you recommend a particular one?


So it depends on what you want to use your connection for - the concern is a man-in-the-middle attack when the adversary is able to capture your traffic, and then gather required sensitive information from your network traffic.

As a previous poster mention https as a means to protect some traffic you should still not do anything sensitive over us trusted network access, wired or wireless. SSL traffic is only secure if you trust the public key infrastructure of the site you're connecting to. Always check the certificate authority providence.

Only you will be able to know your own requirements but take a look at the spreadsheet linked in the article to determine some needs.

http://www.lifehacker.com.au/2016/03...-best-for-you/

chris_kelly 04-07-2016 06:30 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by richw46 (Post 1773403)
A VPN is a secure connection over an unsecured network to a target network, like your home or office network. From there you can go back out to the Internet if you wish, but you need to have a target network at the other end of the VPN tunnel. I've read in here where some have set up a VPN to their home network to use that machine to access their bank accounts etc.


Not just home or business networks have this - educational institutions often provide a vpn to provide online access to paid resources. More importantly in this case, there are vpn providers that provide the service for a fee.

http://www.lifehacker.com.au/2016/03...-best-for-you/

interstateflyer 04-07-2016 06:42 PM

I guess I was under the impression that the VPN provided a secure network from your computer all the way along the line to the end of the tunnel and used their network to securely connect you to the web address that you desired, i.e.: bank.

alano 04-07-2016 06:47 PM

I use PIA at home and when travelling. www.privateinternetaccess.com. It's quite affordable and very solid. You can determine which exit point you prefer - even in other countries. This is quite convenient if you travel abroad and still would like to access Netflix/Hulu, etc.

tsunami 04-07-2016 06:56 PM

proXPN
 
I have been using proXPN for awhile now and am very happy with the performance and security. This software has a good number of VPN servers to connect to to ensure good service.

interstateflyer 04-07-2016 07:22 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by alano (Post 1773424)
I use PIA at home and when travelling. www.privateinternetaccess.com. It's quite affordable and very solid. You can determine which exit point you prefer - even in other countries. This is quite convenient if you travel abroad and still would like to access Netflix/Hulu, etc.

Do you feel comfortable conducting financial transaction using the PIA VPN?

alano 04-07-2016 07:42 PM

I feel much more comfortable with it rather than without it. I also run it on a Synology file server and haven't lost a connection for months. Perhaps I'd feel differently if they were using a non-standard protocol, but they support the latest VPN protocols.

Jim & Susan 04-07-2016 08:09 PM

Vpn 101
 
Check out this video. Leo is long-winded sometimes, but he's full of good info. We don't use public WiFi for "important stuff", but if we needed to (as in full timing, etc) we would have a VPN. Ya just never know what's going on in the background with WiFi Hot Spots.

I use VPN for work nearly every day (required to for most things). Very few problems with it. Setting it up can sometimes be a pain, just so you know.

Jim

http://techguylabs.com/episodes/1271/what-vpn

interstateflyer 04-07-2016 08:13 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by alano (Post 1773457)
I feel much more comfortable with it rather than without it. I also run it on a Synology file server and haven't lost a connection for months. Perhaps I'd feel differently if they were using a non-standard protocol, but they support the latest VPN protocols.

I admit that some parts of the conversation are a little over my head.

My scenario again if you please. In my Airstream, on public WiFi using a VPN, for example PIA.

Given that there exists nothing else under my control in the pipeline that leads to my bank, will my connection be secure?

alano 04-07-2016 08:23 PM

As I understand it, if you're only using your browser to access your bank via public Wifi using https, the connection is already secure. The VPN adds an additional layer of encryption that will make it more difficult for other folks on your shared public WiFi to hack back into your computer. If I am mistaken I'm sure others will shine in to correct me :)

Jim & Susan 04-07-2016 08:50 PM

Here's another Leo discussion on the topic: http://techguylabs.com/episodes/1268...hile-traveling

Good info. The internet is a really scary place these days. Not to deter anybody....just trying to through the information out there for thought.

Jim

ghaynes755 04-07-2016 09:14 PM

So I get the issue with public WiFi. But unless you are tethered (hardwired) to your MiFi device and simply connected via WiFi if someone really wanted to sniff your connection you are still exposed between your MiFi device and your laptop. VPN still isn't going to help unless you are hardwired to the device with your WiFi on the laptop preferably turned off.

Or did it get it wrong?

tsunami 04-07-2016 09:19 PM

Any device, either hard wired or WiFi, with a VPN software connection is secure. So if your laptop has VPN software connected and your passing data via MiFi to a public WiFi, your data packets are secure.


Sent from my iPhone using Airstream Forums

Brawny 04-07-2016 10:46 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by alano (Post 1773424)
I use PIA at home and when travelling. www.privateinternetaccess.com. It's quite affordable and very solid. You can determine which exit point you prefer - even in other countries. This is quite convenient if you travel abroad and still would like to access Netflix/Hulu, etc.

+1. I use PIA as well, more for anonymity than security, but it does a good job of both. I've used it for 2 or 3 years now on a daily basis with my home server without issue.

chris_kelly 04-08-2016 05:06 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by interstateflyer (Post 1773421)
I guess I was under the impression that the VPN provided a secure network from your computer all the way along the line to the end of the tunnel and used their network to securely connect you to the web address that you desired, i.e.: bank.

Only if your bank provided the VPN service to their servers - not likely since most believe that they are immune to an attack with just SSL - remember heart bleed a couple of years ago?

chris_kelly 04-08-2016 05:08 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Brawny (Post 1773527)
+1. I use PIA as well, more for anonymity than security, but it does a good job of both. I've used it for 2 or 3 years now on a daily basis with my home server without issue.

+1 on PIA - but we're thinking of moving since the service is susceptible to a national security letter.

chris_kelly 04-08-2016 05:11 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by ghaynes755 (Post 1773500)
So I get the issue with public WiFi. But unless you are tethered (hardwired) to your MiFi device and simply connected via WiFi if someone really wanted to sniff your connection you are still exposed between your MiFi device and your laptop. VPN still isn't going to help unless you are hardwired to the device with your WiFi on the laptop preferably turned off.

Or did it get it wrong?

Just ensure you have strong encryption turned on between your laptop and MiFi - WPA2 at least.

chris_kelly 04-08-2016 05:12 AM

Here's a good picture depicting what a VPN does:

http://howtoprotectyourprivacyonline...pn-diagram.png

waldosgone 04-08-2016 07:16 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by alano (Post 1773424)
I use PIA at home and when travelling. www.privateinternetaccess.com. It's quite affordable and very solid. You can determine which exit point you prefer - even in other countries. This is quite convenient if you travel abroad and still would like to access Netflix/Hulu, etc.

I just spent 5 months abroad and you can not access Hulu or Netflix using PIA, or any VPN as I understand it, anymore. Hulu "knows" when you're using one of their servers IP addresses and blocks the content. Netflix started doing the same as of January/Febraury of 2016. Netflix went "international," except China and Syria and you can access Netflix "normally" as you would at home. The major difference is there is a limited catalogue depending on where you're located. For example, in the United Arab Emirates I couldn't watch Friday Night Lights or the new season of House of Cards. I had PIA btw.

Brawny 04-08-2016 08:50 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by waldosgone (Post 1773609)
I just spent 5 months abroad and you can not access Hulu or Netflix using PIA, or any VPN as I understand it, anymore. Hulu "knows" when you're using one of their servers IP addresses and blocks the content. Netflix started doing the same as of January/Febraury of 2016. Netflix went "international," except China and Syria and you can access Netflix "normally" as you would at home. The major difference is there is a limited catalogue depending on where you're located. For example, in the United Arab Emirates I couldn't watch Friday Night Lights or the new season of House of Cards. I had PIA btw.

Good Information!

My current usage is on my home server, and occasionally on my cell phone (there's an app for that) if I'm on a public wifi network and doing online banking, for example.

I'm in Canada, and my future VPN usage with the AS will be in Canada and the US, and my use case will be the same - mostly to provide anonymity when necessary, and security for online banking, etc. I'm not worried about Netflix, etc - I pay for an account, and I expect it should work whether I'm in Canada or the US without the VPN - although its been about 2 years since I've tried to access Netflix inside the US (hotel with free wifi, from my iPad), and it worked fine at that point.

KJRitchie 04-08-2016 09:20 AM

While the connection from your laptop to a VPN server is safe the connection from VPN server to the internet isn't safe. Having VPN is just like if you are working from your company network and you have access to the public internet. You can still hit a site that is infected. Happens at my job occasionally. My colleagues and myself have hit infected sites without knowing and have received a call from our network security department instructing us to unplug the laptop from the network immediately and then shut down. The laptops were replaced.

Kelvin

richw46 04-08-2016 09:32 AM

Excellent picture that shows VPN is a tunnel between you and a facility (business, school, home network, etc.) There has to be a VPN connection on both ends, that's what creates the tunnel. What passes through the tunnel is secure.

With unsecured public wifi networks, when you aren't in the VPN tunnel, you are at risk. People, if they want to, can have access to your computer, regardless of whether you are at an HTTPS site because while your connection to the HTTPS site is secure, your computer on the public network isn't. Some bad people even set up "free wifi" spots that will allow you to connect and get to the internet while they are looking through the files on your hard drive.

When you are on your home network you can see your other connected devices. The same is true for an unsecured network. If you connect to it, your computer can be visible to others on that same network.

So unless you're using a VPN connection to another network, it's best to leave public networks alone. You never know who is on there.




Quote:

Originally Posted by chris_kelly (Post 1773583)
Here's a good picture depicting what a VPN does:

http://howtoprotectyourprivacyonline...pn-diagram.png


bci 04-08-2016 01:01 PM

My family uses a VPN for all communications outside a secure area (i.e.: home, trusted work, etc...). My home Internet routes has a builtin VPN server. For our laptops, phones, and tablets we setup a VPN to our home router via a dynamic DNS it maintains. Select the option to "send all traffic through the VPN" and we are secure. Even email that is downloaded by our email clients will use the VPN for all traffic from our device to our home is secure. No cost is involved other then power for your home network. It has an added benefit of getting past most router blocking I've been seeing in more and more RV parks.

Looks something like this:

[Home router] --- {Internet} -- {Park WiFi} -- [Laptop]

Traffic flow (all traffic):

[Laptop encrypted] -- {Park WiFi} -- {Internet} -- [Home router] -- {Internet unencrypted}

Our equipment:

{Home ISP}: Verizon 75/75 mb/sec
[Home router]: Cisco Meraki Mx64w
[Laptop]: Macbook Pro

If we did not have a router that supported a VPN server, I would VPN to a host on the inside of my network or use a 3rd party VPN provider. There are currently VPN services that are offering Lifetime Subscriptions for $39.00 - $99.00. Read the reviews ;)

EvelynDickinson 04-08-2016 03:18 PM

Another recommend for PIA as a IT consultant and developer working with very large/lard clients I don't leave home without it.

alano 04-08-2016 05:01 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by waldosgone (Post 1773609)
I just spent 5 months abroad and you can not access Hulu or Netflix using PIA, or any VPN as I understand it, anymore. Hulu "knows" when you're using one of their servers IP addresses and blocks the content. Netflix started doing the same as of January/Febraury of 2016. Netflix went "international," except China and Syria and you can access Netflix "normally" as you would at home. The major difference is there is a limited catalogue depending on where you're located. For example, in the United Arab Emirates I couldn't watch Friday Night Lights or the new season of House of Cards. I had PIA btw.

waldosgone is correct, you can no longer access netflix or hulu with PIA - even in the US. I read somewhere that the VPN providers were working on a solution so perhaps we'll just have to wait and see how it shakes out.

interstateflyer 04-08-2016 05:17 PM

I understand that PIA will serve a maximum of 5 computers/phones on your account. Do you PIA users know whether PIA will allow you to toggle each computer/phone on or off individually? I was hoping that the access restrictions with services like Hulu/Netflix didn't apply to your computers/phones who's VPN services were toggled off.

alano 04-08-2016 05:21 PM

PIA supplies an app that resides in the tray (for Windows machines). You can easily enable/disable and select which server you would like to connect. Not sure about Macs or phones though.

andreasduess 04-08-2016 05:46 PM

We use tunnelbear.com VPN servers for any connections to unknown networks, for security and anonymity.

I even use it at home to strip ad trackers out of my traffic.

Tunnelbear is a Canadian company headquartered in Toronto.

interstateflyer 04-08-2016 05:50 PM

Thanks everyone for your input and enlightenment. What a wealth of information in our Airstream community.

I'm going to go with PIA for our journey through British Columbia, Yukon Territory, Alaska and Alberta.

John

Jim & Susan 04-08-2016 06:59 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by interstateflyer (Post 1773862)
Thanks everyone for your input and enlightenment. What a wealth of information in our Airstream community.

I'm going to go with PIA for our journey through British Columbia, Yukon Territory, Alaska and Alberta.

John

Just wanted to say "THANKS" for starting this thread. There's a bunch of good information here.

Also a hardy thanks to all the industry professionals who contributed your comments. You kept the information understandable and took most of the "geekiness" out of it. :brows: GREAT job, folks. (I'm a minor league geek, in the lower part of the sub-minor league, actually, wanna talk about MetroE protocols?) :lol:

Jim

rideair 04-08-2016 08:50 PM

Why not just buy a Verizon LTE card and skip the WIFI all together?

https://business.verizonwireless.com...4gltefaqs.html

Not sure it's perfect, but it ain't bad.

Enjoy,

DaveCamp 04-08-2016 10:29 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by alano (Post 1773457)
I feel much more comfortable with it rather than without it. I also run it on a Synology file server and haven't lost a connection for months. Perhaps I'd feel differently if they were using a non-standard protocol, but they support the latest VPN protocols.

Curious if your Synology is in your Airstream? If so, where do you keep it? I'm looking for a place to put a custom built NAS but can't think of anywhere good.

BoldAdventure 04-08-2016 10:30 PM

This thread is so entertaining.

I use PureVPN, have been for years.

alano 04-08-2016 11:03 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by DaveCamp (Post 1773944)
Curious if your Synology is in your Airstream? If so, where do you keep it? I'm looking for a place to put a custom built NAS but can't think of anywhere good.

Sorry I keep my Synology at home. I sync a 1TB drive of my Plex media folders so I have something to watch while on the road! I highly recommend the Synology device, it's so much better than the previous two Drobos that I previously had.

chris_kelly 04-09-2016 04:59 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by alano (Post 1773839)
PIA supplies an app that resides in the tray (for Windows machines). You can easily enable/disable and select which server you would like to connect. Not sure about Macs or phones though.


iOS / Mac OS devices have an app from PIA as well. Easy to use and can switch between tcp and udp easily. Ports are easy to change as well.

paiceman 04-09-2016 06:50 AM

Our son is an IT person with an internal network of probably 100,000 + users he is partially responsible for. They have a VPN. When we retired and were starting our trips he took my wife's laptop and put a VPN that he has on his own onto her laptop as she does all the banking and bill paying. He specifically told her do not connect to any WiFi, be it a campground, store or my Android hotspot without first opening the VPN. Then he put it on mine and told me the same thing.

He assured us, if we follow "his" rules of connection we are secure. Generally we use the hotspot on my android to connect as it's almost always much faster than anything provided in campgrounds. She checks all accounts daily as prior to the VPN we had been hacked and it all ended ok, but was a painful process.

Bud

DaveCamp 04-10-2016 12:14 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by alano (Post 1773961)
Sorry I keep my Synology at home. I sync a 1TB drive of my Plex media folders so I have something to watch while on the road! I highly recommend the Synology device, it's so much better than the previous two Drobos that I previously had.

Agree with you about the Drobos, I had one, bad mistake. I like your idea of syncing Plex as well. I don't have Plex Pass though, maybe this is a good time to consider getting it. Do you have an Apple TV or similar inside your rig to play the actual streamed files?

alano 04-10-2016 10:18 AM

I haven't bothered with Plex Pass and have tried, unsuccessfully, to access Plex remotely. I don't have Apple TV but the Samsung TV and DVD in my trailer both can stream Hulu/Netflix among others but I don't bother. Every time I've tried with a park's WiFi connection I've been disappointed and even though I have a 15 gb plan, my daughters don't leave me much by the end of the month! Either way, I found it easy to simply sync a harddrive before our journey.

andreasduess 04-10-2016 10:32 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by DaveCamp (Post 1774444)
Agree with you about the Drobos, I had one, bad mistake. I like your idea of syncing Plex as well. I don't have Plex Pass though, maybe this is a good time to consider getting it. Do you have an Apple TV or similar inside your rig to play the actual streamed files?

Yep, I too wasted money on a bunch of drobos before I came to my senses. Terrible product, worse customer service.

interstateflyer 05-09-2016 01:17 PM

We settled on Express VPN. It got the best reviews with Mac users and reviewers. Works flawlessly with very little speed degradation.

Btw. We also have a Verizon Jetpack which is fairly secure. However it is not covered as part of the Verizon TravelPass that we'll be using in Canada thus we need to use public wifi.

dhroberts 07-09-2016 09:28 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by interstateflyer (Post 1773384)
I'd like to be able to use my Mac laptop on the road and use RV Park/Public WiFi. I've been told that I should use a VPN, Virtual Private Network to ensure security.

Has anyone had experience with VPNs and if so could you recommend a particular one?

VPN? Yes! I use the service offered by PIA - Private Internet Access. All of my devices and my wife's are covered by one subscription: cells, tablets, laptops and a desktop. PIA was named as an Editor's Choice by PC Magazine in its June 13, 2016 edition.

Bottomline: you just can't be too secure particularly when you tap into unknown wifi sites regardless if you are in your hometown or on the road.

Good luck.

interstateflyer 07-09-2016 09:51 PM

expressvpn has great Mac compatibility. I've used it in US and Canada.

Rocinante 07-09-2016 10:35 PM

We use Cloak VPN on all our Apple products whenever we're on public wi-fi. Works great!

https://www.getcloak.com/

elgo 07-10-2016 03:12 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by interstateflyer (Post 1773384)
I'd like to be able to use my Mac laptop on the road and use RV Park/Public WiFi. I've been told that I should use a VPN, Virtual Private Network to ensure security.

Has anyone had experience with VPNs and if so could you recommend a particular one?

I use ExpressVPN. Its installed as a default now when I use wifi on my phone, laptop or tablet so there's no need for me to reconfigure every time. I don't consider myself paranoid but its a good policy.

Some have suggested that it isn't necessary unless you visit sensitive sites (such as online banking), but I can't tell you the number of times I have read an email from someone (usually from work) and within the email they transmit something sensitive (such as bank account, SSN, credit card numbers, etc.) You would think people have more sense, but sometimes they just assume you are going to read it in a secure environment. If you're on a public wifi, that info will end up in the hands of anyone nearby with ill intent who is moderately sophisticated. So anyway, its like wearing a seat belt - sometimes you do it to protect yourself from the actions of other drivers, not to protect yourself from your own actions.

rmkrum 07-10-2016 11:23 PM

My usual comment is: Just because you are paranoid does NOT mean they are not out to get you.

Reasonable paranoia helps protect you from the bad guys.


Sent from my pocket Internet using Airstream Forums

Motown 04-24-2017 09:59 PM

Cloak VPN is great for all Apple devices. I can also recommend Nord VPN, available for pretty much all platforms.

paiceman 04-25-2017 06:23 AM

VPN s are worth it. We have our own operating on our own server. Accessable from anyplace we have a cell signal.

dhroberts 04-25-2017 06:33 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by interstateflyer (Post 1773384)
I'd like to be able to use my Mac laptop on the road and use RV Park/Public WiFi. I've been told that I should use a VPN, Virtual Private Network to ensure security.

Has anyone had experience with VPNs and if so could you recommend a particular one?

Thanks for the question - IMO, a very important one. Basically, I can't imagine accessing ANY wifi signal from ANY source without the benefit of a virtual private network (VPN). As I understand it, a VPN disguises the identity (i.e. the devices' IP addresses) of your laptop, cell phone and/or tablet making unauthorized access (i.e. hacking, etc) VERY DIFFICULT from potentially questionable wifi sources. Why take this unauthorized access risk with either 'known' wifi sources (i.e. home, etc.) or unknown sources (i.e. Starbucks, RV parks, etc.)?

I have been using PIA for several years while at home and when travelling. Not expensive, install it and PIA automatically does the rest. No degradation of wifi speed. www.privateinternetaccess.com. All of my and my wife's devices are covered. Even used it during a recent trip to South Africa.

Hope this helps. Travel safe. See you on the road. Dennis

Rocinante 04-25-2017 10:59 AM

VPN...Virtual Private Network..Worth It?
 
Another good VPN provider: Private Internet Access. Just started using them a couple of weeks ago, trying them out because they are cheaper than Cloak. They seem just as easy to use, with the added advantage that they do not keep any logs (e.g. they cannot track your history or sell it to advertisers). Cloak keeps a 16-day log, as a rolling window, though they promise not to sell it to advertisers. However, some websites block some of the IP addresses used by PIA and on those occasions I've had to switch the access port around from Seattle to New York City. That works, though it is a little bit of a pain at first. With Cloak, on the other hand, I've never seen a site block that VPN.

alano 04-25-2017 11:35 AM

Perhaps Cloak gets away with it because they're not on the radar screen yet. With the exception of Netflix and Hulu, I haven't had any issues with PIA. I have a Synology box connected via PIA for months at home and it's rock solid.

Tsunami-v2 04-25-2017 01:30 PM

VPN Info
 
I use a VPN for security and anonymity. Keep's my ISP from attempting to collect and sell my browsing info/history, for their profit. I also use my VPN to connect to site that have HTTPS (Hypertext Transfer Protocol over Secure Socket Layer) for financial transaction and to stop anyone from intercepting my IP packets as they move across the internet. Just a layer approach to thwart/slowdown hackers.

http://newatlas.com/search/?q=VPN&sa=Search

One last thing, look for a VPN provider that does NOT save their router/server VPN logs. Keeps the government from getting access to your browser history.

Brawny 04-26-2017 07:28 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Rocinante (Post 1940761)
Another good VPN provider: Private Internet Access. Just started using them a couple of weeks ago, trying them out because they are cheaper than Cloak. They seem just as easy to use, with the added advantage that they do not keep any logs (e.g. they cannot track your history or sell it to advertisers). Cloak keeps a 16-day log, as a rolling window, though they promise not to sell it to advertisers. However, some websites block some of the IP addresses used by PIA and on those occasions I've had to switch the access port around from Seattle to New York City. That works, though it is a little bit of a pain at first. With Cloak, on the other hand, I've never seen a site block that VPN.

+1 on PIA. I've used them at home and on my i-devices for a couple years now without issue. Never had problems with being blocked from sites, and being able to select the far endpoint can be helpful.

joshjack 05-10-2017 11:31 AM

I was holding off on chiming in, but since the thread has calmed down a bit I'm going to go for it.

You can follow the "you can't have too much security" protocol; or you can just be smart. Use a good web browser (not IE) that is up to date. Make sure the website you are on is showing an HTTPS connection with a good security certificate. Chrome is good for this because they flag sites that have valid certificates but are expired; or everything is correct but their security protocols are out of date.

If you have a secure, HTTPS connection to a known and valid website your traffic is not visible to anyone else even on a public Wifi connection. All of the traffic is heavily encrypted. This is true of most of the major social media sites as well; not just finance and ecommerce.

Man in the middle attacks try to fool you into thinking you're connected to a known site; but using a good browser and checking that the security is valid will help lower the risk.

alano 05-10-2017 12:21 PM

Josh, this makes sense for information that you're accessing via secure sites. However, I don't want anyone sniffing around in my computer. I have work product that could conceivably be accessible without a browser's involvement. For me the added security is well worth the cost and inconvenience.

Mollysdad 05-10-2017 12:29 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Tsunami-v2 (Post 1940814)
One last thing, look for a VPN provider that does NOT save their router/server VPN logs. Keeps the government from getting access to your browser history.

I was with you until this part.
Regardless of the rules or laws, if the government wants it, they will, get it. And your provider will give it to them if needed.

joshjack 05-10-2017 12:47 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by alano (Post 1947834)
Josh, this makes sense for information that you're accessing via secure sites. However, I don't want anyone sniffing around in my computer. I have work product that could conceivably be accessible without a browser's involvement. For me the added security is well worth the cost and inconvenience.



Having VPN software on your machine is NOT the same as firewall software to protect your local machine. The only way to ensure protection on your local machine is to never connect it to the internet (or use a Mac :-) ).

VPNs privatize and secure the traffic, but do not protect the machine itself. Connect to a public wifi and the VPN will not help you in that regard.

alano 05-10-2017 01:00 PM

If I'm running a VPN tunnel, the intruder must encrypt and de-encrypt my packets knowing my SSH keys? Doesn't this add a significant barrier to any type of access?

DKB_SATX 05-10-2017 01:09 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by alano (Post 1947863)
If I'm running a VPN tunnel, the intruder must encrypt and de-encrypt my packets knowing my SSH keys? Doesn't this add a significant barrier to any type of access?

IF your local machine is configured to allow ONLY outside connections that go through the VPN, then while you're connected to the VPN you'd be theoretically safe. If your machine is misconfigured, though, there may be other attack vectors open to a hacker. Running a local firewall is a good idea, because even if properly configured there may be times your machine is connected to a public network but not yet tunneled into a VPN.

interstateflyer 05-10-2017 01:18 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by joshjack (Post 1947847)
Having VPN software on your machine is NOT the same as firewall software to protect your local machine. The only way to ensure protection on your local machine is to never connect it to the internet (or use a Mac :-) ).

VPNs privatize and secure the traffic, but do not protect the machine itself. Connect to a public wifi and the VPN will not help you in that regard.

So I'm to understand that a VPN is not effective in concealing my activity on public WiFi?

joshjack 05-10-2017 01:22 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by alano (Post 1947863)
If I'm running a VPN tunnel, the intruder must encrypt and de-encrypt my packets knowing my SSH keys? Doesn't this add a significant barrier to any type of access?



Yes, but a legitimate HTTPS website is already encapsulating your data stream (just to that website) using the same technology.

joshjack 05-10-2017 01:24 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by interstateflyer (Post 1947878)
So I'm to understand that a VPN is not effective in concealing my activity on public WiFi?



Yes it will, however the statement was made that he didn't want people sniffing around his personal PC because of sensitive work documents. A VPN does not provide that level of protection.

Think of a VPN like an armored car - it protects your data in transit. But it doesn't do anything about protecting the bank vault.

alano 05-10-2017 02:57 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by joshjack (Post 1947879)
Yes, but a legitimate HTTPS website is already encapsulating your data stream (just to that website) using the same technology.

Are you saying that if I'm already using HTTPS connections via my browser, that a VPN tunnel offers no additional security that would prevent an outside hacker to access other resources in my computer?

joshjack 05-11-2017 07:41 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by alano (Post 1947925)
Are you saying that if I'm already using HTTPS connections via my browser, that a VPN tunnel offers no additional security that would prevent an outside hacker to access other resources in my computer?



In short - yes.

richw46 05-12-2017 10:39 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by alano (Post 1947925)
Are you saying that if I'm already using HTTPS connections via my browser, that a VPN tunnel offers no additional security that would prevent an outside hacker to access other resources in my computer?

I agree with some of what Joshjack says, but consider this. When you are at an HTTPS web site you are safe, BUT, you could have been hijacked before you arrive at that site if you are on a public network. The VPN is a tunnel between you and another computer. The protection doesn't extend beyond that.

For example, if you have a VPN connection to your work or bank and then you have access to go through that connection by browser to a web site. The VPN can't protect you because you have left the protected tunnel. (Most VPN connections won't allow you to go out to the Internet after you have established the tunnel, so it's most likely not an issue.)

Another example would be if you are on a public WiFi connection, check your email, do some browsing, etc. and then go to an HTTPS connection, you may already be compromised before arriving at the secure site.

So it's best to avoid any public WiFi if at all possible. I do use it but only like stores I happen to be in, like Home Depot, Lowes, etc. If you're out somewhere and see a hotspot like "FreeWifi" or "PublicWifi", something that looks suspicious, it's probably someone that's looking to get into your computer.

If you don't have the option to use your cell phone as a hot spot, I recommend the Verizon Jet Pack ($50 for the hardware) with "pay as you go" access. It's a secure (albeit somewhat expensive) connection. I use one when I'm away from home and I don't have to worry so much. :D

OTRA15 05-12-2017 10:42 AM

Thanks Rich for this overview -- very helpful!

For everyone's information, here is a recent Verizon thread:

http://www.airforums.com/forums/f451...ed-162643.html

Peter

waninae39 05-12-2017 10:46 AM

I am very happy with PIA

i have used it for years. all around the world


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