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Old 7 Mar 2010, 06:24 PM   #1
vans
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Do you use VPN providers?

One again showing that I am the least technically aware member I have a question about VPN for private use.

Like most people the family use online banking and have a WiFi network. I am also a WiFi hotspot user. I have Googled VPN providers like http://www.linkideo.com/aboutus and http://strongvpn.com/ and they seem to offer an extra layer of protection.

Do many members use VPN services or am I becoming paranoid?
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Old 8 Mar 2010, 09:04 AM   #2
n5bb
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Virtual Private Networks are mainly designed to allow a secure network connection between a business network and remotely located employees. This won't work when you try to access your bank for online banking.

All online banking services I am familiar with (at major institutions) now use secure connections, and many use other techniques such as user-preselected login images or catchphrases which let the user know they are connected to the true website for that institution. My guess is that your bank would not let you use one of those tools you provided links for, since they would make it easy for someone to log into the bank site and use your account with stolen login credentials. Most of my financial institutions only allow me to log in from computers whose IP and MAC addresses can be tracked and in some cases pre-authorized, so they can insure that a hacker isn't impersonating me.

Becoming anonymous isn't all good. For instance, if you went to a bank and tried to cash a check, would you want them to do this if you were wearing a mask? If someone called you and used caller ID blocking, would you give them your credit card details? If someone came to your front door and tried to get in to work on your phone or natural gas connection, would you let them in if they would not show you identification? Would you sit in an airplane seat if you knew that the person next to you was able to get onto the plane without a good identification?

And you might not want to trust some things I tell you here if I have 3 posts and created my account 15 minutes ago. But as you can verify I have been around here for a while and they haven't yanked my account yet.

Bill
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Old 8 Mar 2010, 11:24 PM   #3
xmailer
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Is someone ever going to ban this bombastic imposter???


Sorry...couldn't resist.

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Old 8 Mar 2010, 11:36 PM   #4
David
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Quote:
Originally Posted by xmailer View Post
Is someone ever going to ban this bombastic imposter???


Sorry...couldn't resist.

I don't know - I use a PFSense firewall (on a local radio station I help out with) to keep out intruders and set up VPN within that environment - but not at home.
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Old 20 Mar 2010, 12:43 AM   #5
JRobert
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(Coming in late, but...):

I don't think it's overly cautious to use VPN services and I do when I'm on networks or computers I don't control. Granted, the services I most want secured already use SSL, but I still send passwords to sites that only protect the login transaction - if even that. And even if those were fully protected, do I really want the guy hunched over his laptop in the corner watching where I surf, or figuring out that I'm currently not at home and where home is?

Some of the services require downloading an application; at least one, publicvpn.com, works with the VPN software built into most OSes. I use them for that reason, and because I can buy in - or not - whenever I need them. They were very helpful when I was first getting set up, too.

If you're more comfortable to tunnel through an otherwise transparent WiFi network, these services make sense and aren't terribly expensive at a few dollars for a month's access.
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Old 20 Mar 2010, 02:10 AM   #6
janusz
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If you use WiFi with some sort of encryption, plus ssh/https to sites which require information you consider sensitive, what's the additional protection offered by VPN?
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Old 20 Mar 2010, 06:15 AM   #7
webecedarian
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No, Vans, not by a long shot. I am by far less techie.
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Old 20 Mar 2010, 09:15 AM   #8
nbarr
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Quote:
Originally Posted by vans View Post
... have a WiFi network. I am also a WiFi hotspot user.

Do many members use VPN services or am I becoming paranoid?
Absolutely, I would not use either of the two mentioned circumstances or a Hotel connection with my Laptop when traveling without using a VPN.

I use HotspotVPN, I use the HotspotVPN-2 option. but what ever provider you use it is my opinion that a few dollars per year for the extra security in this day and age is prudent.

Each to his own of course.
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Old 20 Mar 2010, 11:11 AM   #9
David
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Quote:
Originally Posted by janusz View Post
If you use WiFi with some sort of encryption, plus ssh/https to sites which require information you consider sensitive, what's the additional protection offered by VPN?
Not a lot (I would think) janusz. The primary focus of VPN (as I see it) is to protect a network of computers (sitting on a LAN) The way VPN is usually set up, is that a server (running OpenVPN or similar) utilizing a Firewall, will let nothing through (from within or without) unless it is able to decipher the keys of the appropriate encryption, of the machines (requiring inside or outside access) In order to be most secure, the server (running VPN) should be set up with two network cards - one for the WAN the other for the LAN.
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Old 26 Mar 2010, 08:16 PM   #10
vans
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Thanks for all the helpful replies.

I thought I might as well try a one month subscription to Lamnia which I think is a UK based VPN provider. My motivation was because I am going through a phase of being very mobile and using lots of WiFi hotspots. Also, curiosity got the better of me.

Lamnia is very easy to use, just a matter of copying a network connections dialer icon to the desktop. Hit the connect button and I am connected within a couple of second. Network performance seems unaffected.

So my non technical feedback is it is very easy to use, takes a couple of minutes to setup and does not seem to affect performance and is relatively cheap.

Reading their site, this technology seems to be mostly marketed towards user who want to appear to be from another country. So if you live in a country with internet censorship it is possible to connect in via a US or UK server and avoid local restrictions.

I tried this by using Google to identify US sites that restrict access to non US IP addresses. I found the ABC TV site. Trying normally I could not watch any of the streaming videos, but after connecting via a US server I could watch an episode of Lost. So is works. Wow, what a lot of advert, I think I will stick to BBC iPlayer.
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Old 27 Mar 2010, 06:54 PM   #11
janusz
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I've bought a month's worth of Lamnia VPN too, and so far so good, no visible degradation of speed and it does what it says on the box (IP address in another country, I have no means of testing any extra security).

When the month I paid for is up, I'll try another service offering a monthly subscription (strongVPN mentioned earlier). <dream>I may even post something here comparing the two</dream>
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Old 28 Mar 2010, 04:08 AM   #12
DrStrabismus
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Quote:
Originally Posted by David View Post
Not a lot (I would think) janusz. The primary focus of VPN (as I see it) is to protect a network of computers (sitting on a LAN) The way VPN is usually set up, is that a server (running OpenVPN or similar) utilizing a Firewall, will let nothing through (from within or without) unless it is able to decipher the keys of the appropriate encryption, of the machines (requiring inside or outside access) In order to be most secure, the server (running VPN) should be set up with two network cards - one for the WAN the other for the LAN.
That not really it.

The point of using a VPN in this context is that all your traffic is fully encrypted until it reaches the VPN hosting company - the idea being that your traffic is less likely to be spied on there than at a wireless hotspot.

If you access the internet through your own wireless router, and it's using a secure form of wireless encryption, there's no real benefit in the VPN.
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Old 28 Mar 2010, 06:58 AM   #13
janusz
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... unless you are in, say, Germany and want to watch British or American TV shows over the Internet .
At least two of the VPN providers mentioned in this thread make IP-spoofing one of their main selling points (without using the technical term).
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Old 2 Apr 2010, 05:23 AM   #14
mister
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You're not paranoid .I'm not sure if a VPN would help in the event of an attack like this
http://www.wonderhowto.com/how-to-sn...tercap-160726/
http://www.wonderhowto.com/search/ettercap/
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Old 6 Apr 2010, 04:20 AM   #15
vans
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mister View Post
You're not paranoid .I'm not sure if a VPN would help in the event of an attack like this
http://www.wonderhowto.com/how-to-sn...tercap-160726/
http://www.wonderhowto.com/search/ettercap/

What I found amazing from following your link is just how easy it would be to download a programme that tries to find other peoples passwords. I don't know if it works but there is obviously a community out there that is looking for just this type of software.
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