Don't use VPN services. GitHub Gist: instantly share code, notes, and snippets.

Thank god I saw this. I vehemently dislike the idea of paying VPNs.

I forgot proxies existed for some reason; I used them in the past.

@obsolete29@lemmy.ml
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I think it boils down to your threat model and who you trust eh? I trust Mullvad way more than I trust Comcast. The problem with not trusting anyone, including companies like Mullvad is that you’ve soon backed yourself into this weird corner where you have to become a C developer so you can review the code of your Linux distro and building your own routers with pfsense. Oh, don’t forget to review that code too. And how can you trust that your computer firmware doesn’t have some built in back doors or tracking features enabled? Before long, you’re living in a cabin without electricity, sending people letters with pen and paper… which sounds kind of nice.

Oh, here is a better post about VPNs: You want Tor Browser … not a VPN.

That article is a… bit conflating in terms of privacy and anonymity. The whole idea of a VPN has been discarded by the writer just because there is a paywall around it. People can use it for using SaaS like games, streaming platforms to acquire contextual anonymity and/or security.

A very popular use is for torrenting as well, and some trackers do not like same IP being abused by many people, so IP range blocks also exist. VPNs help bypass those as well.

Tryp
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In Canada you can get letters from your ISP on behalf of a media company essentially stating it was detected that the IP for this address has been downloading copyrighted content. They are unenforceable but if you wanna avoid them then a VPN works like a charm.

Those are just hired people sitting and watching IPs connecting to the big popular torrents. And so VPN works well, yes.

@ree@lemmy.ml
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Vpn service are just encrypted proxies with extras.

It has a lot of purpose but those are pretty niches compared to the marketing deployed. Afaik most people just use them for torrents.

Btw some vpn provider offers proxies as well.

Also you don’t have to deploy wireguard or openvpn on a server by yourself. There are collective that does it.

@DPUGT2@lemmy.ml
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Afaik most people just use them for torrents.

It’s the only thing they could be useful for. While obviously commercial services are insufficient protection against state-level actors if you were Alquaeda (does anyone believe that the US intelligence agencies don’t have undersea fiber taps everywhere?), it’s even insufficient for the purposes of run-of-the-mill whackjobs making bomb threats. A few years ago some jackass was doing those to get out of final exams at some US university. The FBI got him within a half-hour.

How is that possible if these places “don’t keep logs”?

So, even routine criminal activities can’t be safely conducted via commercial VPN.

Privacy nutcases are shit out of luck too. Ever tried to access your bank account with VPN? They go absolutely apeshit if their shitty GeoIP library thinks you’re trying to look at it from Romania. Same with Facebook. Google’s barely usable, unless you like putting in a captcha every 10 seconds.

Still useful for torrents, but that could change. We’re less than 5 years away from either legislation forcing VPNs to do the sort of tracking the copyright maximalists would love, or these commercial VPN services voluntarily doing so. Basically, by the time the hoi polloi became aware that VPNs were useful, that was already turning out to no longer be true.

It’s the only thing they could be useful for.

No, it’s the only thing you think it’s useful for because you don’t realize how many other uses a VPN has. Tons of people play videogames like GTA: Online and use a VPN to avoid potentially being doxxed by some script kiddy with a mod menu.

This article IMO is clickbaity and just relies on the author being wilfully ignorant and… like… needlessly smug/hostile?

Tons of people use VPNs for region restricted services like Netflix, Hulu, etc. Did the author of this post just somehow forget about that?

IMO, this post (by jopie, not you) was just written by someone who seems more interested in flexing their knowledge on why VPNs can be useless, instead of genuinely trying to understand why for many people using a VPN does make sense.

The reality is, if some regular person just wants to torrent stuff, or watch content on Netflix/Hulu, or play GTA without having to worry about some kid trying to dox/DDoS them, a VPN makes absolute sense.

This is the classic IT guy post (jopie’s post) and it’s actually kind of funny. So painfully out of touch with the average user. It’s like guys in the lockpicking who think it’s super insightful to say “A lock does no more than keep an honest man, honest” when in reality if they knew anything about how things work IRL, deterrents can and absolutely do work. I’m sure the lockpicking lawyer can pick just about any padlock I have, but most thieves aren’t the lockpicking lawyer so theory doesn’t exactly equate to reality.

If I were a media corporation, I would make a post like this to dissuade people from using a VPN so that things like torrenting becomes a pain in the ass until they switch to Disney+/Netflix/Apple Music. I’m just sayin

Tons of people use VPNs for region restricted services like Netflix

I was going to criticize your choice of units there, but after thinking about it some I decided this was probably correct and that my criticisms were in the wrong. Touche, you win again.

If I were a media corporation, I would make a post like this to dissuade people from using a VPN

There’s no need. They’re using one of a half-dozen obscure commercial services that mapped out all the exit point IP addresses and have blocked them half a decade ago.

There’s no need. They’re using one of a half-dozen obscure commercial services that mapped out all the exit point IP addresses and have blocked them half a decade ago.

Not true. There’s plenty of VPNs that have IP addresses that aren’t blocked by streaming services. The one I use has plenty that still work with Netflix, etc.

Amicese
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No, it’s the only thing you think it’s useful for because you don’t realize how many other uses a VPN has. Tons of people play videogames like GTA: Online and use a VPN to avoid potentially being doxxed by some script kiddy with a mod menu.

Why not just use a proxy server?

This article IMO is clickbaity and just relies on the author being wilfully ignorant and… like… needlessly smug/hostile?

How is the article clickbait? (It goes against the status quo.) How is the author ignorant?

The reality is, if some regular person just wants to torrent stuff, or watch content on Netflix/Hulu, or play GTA without having to worry about some kid trying to dox/DDoS them, a VPN makes absolute sense.

What if the VPN service logs the activity? Then copyright holders can still interrogate you, just through your VPN instead of your ISP.

How do you confirm that the VPN service does not log your activity? It would be difficult to prove the lack of logging.

The person could have a higher attack vector than just using their IP; it’d make more sense to use a proxy than a VPN. (Virtual Private Network.)

Why not just use a proxy server?

Great question. I’ll just tell my friends to use a proxy server instead of their VPN so they can go on Netflix/Hulu or torrent stuff.

Then when they roll their eyes and ask "what the hell is a proxy server?", I’ll waste a bunch of time telling them what a proxy server is and how to set one up, only for 95% of them to ultimately say “ah that’s okay I’ll just use my VPN”. The other 5% will try to set up a proxy server, understandably run into some issue, then go back to their VPN.

How is the article clickbait?

Because it’s a painfully one sided critique of why using a VPN is useless, that makes near zero genuine effort to honestly explore the reasons why most people use a VPN instead of creating their own proxy server.

What if the VPN service logs the activity? Then copyright holders can still interrogate you, just through your VPN instead of your ISP.

Most VPNs aren’t going to forward scary copyright holders’ letters to their customers/users. Most ISPs will forward those scary letters to the users or worse, someone else who is paying the bill (i.e. a landlord). The letters may be meaningless at the end of the day but the reality is they work as a scare tactic.

How do you confirm that the VPN service does not log your activity? It would be difficult to prove the lack of logging.

Irrelevant, as this isn’t about logging-- it’s about not receiving threatening emails from copyright holders from your ISP.

Here I’ll tell you what-- I get the feeling my counterpoints won’t change your mind so you go tell your friends who use a VPN to access Netflix/Hulu/torrent sites, to stop using their VPN and use a proxy server instead. See how that goes and report back.

Arcaneslime
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That jackass used Tor and connected to his campus wifi on his laptop with his creds, started up Tor, and made the bomb threat. He was caught because he didn’t use a bridge and connected to Tor over their wifi with his credentials and he was the only one using Tor at the time. Had he went to some public wifi off camera he likely wouldn’t have been caught actually, or used a bridge, supposedly that would help. Also of course it doesn’t need to be said but I’m gonna: shouldn’t be calling in bomb threats anyway lol.

Not quite sure they are really that useful for torrents. There have been several announcements of VPN providers asked to block torrent searchers and trackers. So I think now a days, VPN doesn’t even live up to the torrenting functionality.

The best that can be done, I’d guess, for torrenting, is to use pseudo encryption, to prevent non sophisticated ISP snoopers detecting torrents, like for rtorrent:

protocol.encryption.set = allow_incoming,try_outgoing,enable_retry

Though I’d prefer:

protocol.encryption.set = require,require_RC4,allow_incoming,try_outgoing

But it doesn’t work, :(. I’m wondering if some more effective encryption would ever be achieved on torrents, without preventing finding seeders/leechers…

@ree@lemmy.ml
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Change vpn service and get one with port forwarding which will increase your upload ;)

I mainly use VPNs for accessing websites that are blocked in my country or any content that is not available in my country, it’s useful for that but yeah as far as privacy goes it’s not much use :(

ComradeRoomba
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I use ProtonVPN to mask my ip a bit (just to be on the safe side, just in case) and on public wifi’s. And that’s pretty much it…

@rek2@lemmy.ml
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VPS has its use but def is not the holy grail people need to separate marketing/disinformation so vpn can be used to bypass country rules and such, but not as to have a good opsec by using vpn alone for example.

Tryp
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Are you able to use proxy servers going from: you>Tor>VPN/Proxy>Destination?

I use this path when trying to appear normal online since Tor does anything but, there’s limitations sure but if you wanna be anonymous while not sticking out terribly then it’s a great method imo. Would be curious to hear if anyone does anything similar.

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