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  1. #1
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    Risks of using a VPN

    Just wondering if there are any specific risks in using a VPN. I understand that it may impact on the browsing/downloading speed and some of the marketing is probably hype but are there any specific risks when installing such a program? Any recommendations on what to do or not to do?

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    You only need a VPN if you plan to perform sensitive tasks from public wifi spots - or you're extremely paranoid.
    Public wifi is OK to use as long as you are careful to only use https and check that the site certificate matches the site you are expecting.

    If you require a VPN you have to put up with the relative lack of speed that going through an extra layer involves, but if you are only browsing / doing some banking it's not an issue. You shouldn't use it for large downloads or video streaming.

    Note: using a VPN does not absolve you from the responsibility of checking certificates on sites you are using.

    cheers, Paul

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    Thanks Paul, just two follow up questions:
    Do you do banking from public wifi (using https)? I never dared and thought in this case using a vpn would be providing additional security (assuming I can trust the vpn provider).
    When I install the software of a provider like pureVpn or SlickVPn or similar, does that mean they only potentially see where I am surfing or am I perhaps opening a backdoor into my pc?

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    I don't, but only because I have not needed to. If I did I would use my tablet as it has a banking app, which I assume - possibly incorrectly - is a little more secure than a browser. Banking is done from home on my computer.

    Assuming the client software is legitimate there will be no back door.

    cheers, Paul

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    thank you Paul

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    Aside from the enhanced security of a VPN, the main use for many is to bypass regional restrictions or "geoblocking".
    By connecting to a VPN server in a specific Country, one is able to access local websites that would otherwise be blocked owing to your real IP address.

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    If I were going to do sensitive work, I would not do it over a public wifi, even if I had VPN. I would use my cell phone's hotspot, or a secure connection, but not the public wifi.

    Most people at WS Forums would disagree with me on the risks of using a public wifi if you have VPN.

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    Yes, using a VPN gives end to end encryption - your PC to the VPN host - so no data on the public wifi network is readable. Unless you don't trust your VPN provider.

    cheers, Paul

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    Quote Originally Posted by Paul T View Post
    Unless you don't trust your VPN provider.

    cheers, Paul
    But that was exactly the point - how do you really know which VPN provider you can trust? I have seen some offers for VPN lifetime subscriptions at 88% off - so instead of $ 597 you pay $69 ( PureVPN) or instead of $ 1434 you pay $ 39.99 (Ivacy). Seems ridiculous to have discounts like these - one or the other of the prices are unreal.

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    Super Moderator Rick Corbett's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by beethoven
    But that was exactly the point - how do you really know which VPN provider you can trust?
    At the end of the day a VPN is just a secure tunnel between two endpoints. For more info about which provider you can trust and respective benefits, etc. then I suggest reading reviews at places like http://whatismyipaddress.com or bestvpn.com.

    Hope this helps...

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    Quote Originally Posted by Rick Corbett View Post
    At the end of the day a VPN is just a secure tunnel between two endpoints. For more info about which provider you can trust and respective benefits, etc. then I suggest reading reviews at places like http://whatismyipaddress.com or bestvpn.com.

    Hope this helps...
    Both those review sites receive financial compensation from the Companies whose products they review, so some caution needs to be shown.
    A lot of VPN providers provide free trials, which is how I made my choice: trial and error.

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    There are countless VPN comparison sites out there!

    They all have one thing in common, being paid referral fees by the products they 'review.'

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    Quote Originally Posted by Trev View Post
    Both those review sites receive financial compensation from the Companies whose products they review, so some caution needs to be shown.
    A lot of VPN providers provide free trials, which is how I made my choice: trial and error.
    Would you mind sharing the outcome of your testing, ie which provider you can recommend?

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    I found Private Internet Access to be one of the best I tried and the price is at the low end; If you pay yearly it works out at $3.33 per month.
    It's not too technical and the support is pretty prompt in responding.They have servers in Australia and offer a 7 day money back guarantee, so worth trying in my opinion.

    https://www.privateinternetaccess.com/

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    Today, online secure access should not use http, instead, use https (secured and scrambled transmission).
    Using a VPN further scrambles the already scrambled.

    In that, your security is protected from VPN owner snooping, if ... they are snooping.
    For file transfer via VPN, you can also scramble (encrypt) the file first, or secure zipped first, in case you do not trust your VPN.

    You must trust someone eventually. Only a lone wolf needs no trust.

    Most financial institutions detect your location when online. Deny access if from foreign country.

    Say, travel away from USA and you may be denied access. Or may require all kinds of verification. Your home cell phone may not work either in a foreign country, to receiving temporary pass code.

    Using VPN, say, select a VPN server located at home city/location, the bank will assume you are still local at home area. Then online access would post no problem. It is important to check credit card status while traveling.
    Option is to use remote access to your home PC. It is slow, as remote access must pass back-and-forth massive video data (display). If you do not trust VPN, how about your home PC is powered on 24-7 unattended, and all those massive transmission in the public lane?

    Another VPN use is to prevent your Internet Provider tracking you, collecting data on you, snooping on you. A partial solution is not to use your Provider's DNS servers, instead use public open DNS servers (e.g. OpenDNS). VPN is still more private and secure.

    Depending on how you use VPN service, you may want one having many servers, in all the places you travel/surf. Or you want one providing fast servers.
    Some VPN providers have low hardware resource. Their servers are overloaded. The delay maybe unbearable for video streaming or even surfing.
    You can check delay by pinging the VPN server you want access, and see the delay (usually in 100's ms. I have seen seconds!). Some VPN services provide app/software listing their server delays. Some VPN can be used by both Android cell phone and Windows, even TV set-top box. Some only for Windows, etc.

    Be aware though, some server delays seem OK but it has too many accesses (many users on it). You are as if in a crowded highway. Though fast and low delay, at some point you will hit congestion and a large temporary delay/hiccup. And it maybe right at the key time of a movie or sport event!

    I suggest use VPN trial period. Be aware, though, my experience is that some VPN services assign high priority to trial accounts. Or, pay for a short term period. Sometimes, time of the day, etc. affects specific VPN service. It is worth a little more expensive to know the service well.
    Last edited by scaisson; 2017-03-25 at 05:57.

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