Secure VPN - Are they worth it?

I keep getting Avast popping up with “Eveyone can see you”, take out our Secure VPN service today.

But who has them and are they worth it?

Advice sort - cheers

Yes. and No.

Yes - (in my uneducated personal opinion - we do have some proper security experts here…) a VPN makes you more anonymous to the world than not having a VPN does. If you’re doing something ‘dodgy’ and want to hide your IP, it is useful. If you are looking to access content that is outside your geographical region, then it is equally useful.

Will it protect you from the standard methods of attack that hackers focus on like injected malware in attachments or dodgy links? No. definitely not.

Will the firewall in your home router protect you from a majority of attacks from external sources. I believe the answer is yes as long as you have it setup correct and you don’t create any holes yourself.

Based on that a VPN won’t provide any additional security.

Will it stop the government spying on you? Maybe. Unless they forward your details.

Will it reduce your internet speed? Possibly - especially if you have superfast broadband.

Overall. Is it worth it?

Probably not.

I use OpenVPN to tunnel stuff occasionally. Last time I did was when I went to Ireland to be able to watch some UK stuff that wouldn’t work outside the UK.

If I was to do it, I certainly wouldn’t use Avast.

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I’m a firm believer that everyone should use them for perfectly innocuous stuff. The latest round of laws the government has pushed through mean your ISP will store your search history, browsing history, online chat records etc.

This may not worry you if you trust your ISP (because of course they are trustworthy, right) but what happens when their storage is compromised … for example the way Equifax’s was…

At that point, it’s in possibly the public eye, but definitely in the control of criminals. Anything blackmailable? Dismissable conduct? Or at least embarrassing?

You don’t need to be a criminal to want to use a VPN - and in fact, if you just use them to get around controls, that makes it more obvious where you are breaching regulations.

Use them. They are a good thing.

But don’t use Avast.

I have a not-to-be-mentioned-service with ‘Tordguard’ for a not-to-be-mentioned purpose and have built up some credit with them and have considered a VPN.

I’m tempted to set one up because it’s peanuts and I’d set it up on my tablet which I use almost exclusively for purposes-not-to-be-mentioned and it would open up some more options for the activity that is not-to-be-mentioned.

As far as security goes: By this point there is that much data available on me that making like a hole in the water is fairly redundant unless I planned to go to the effort of taking myself ‘off the grid’ permanently and VPNing/Proxying everything and choosing to cut off all types of social media/social online interaction. I’m a known quantity that won’t be forgotten because it’s trivial to keep hold of the already collected data and later re-link it to any online interaction I accidentally or otherwise choose to expose ‘publicly’.

In summary: Sailin’

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Any particular issue with Avast?

I agree with you to a point. If you just google ‘big-titty-fun’ and someone finds out and tries to blackmail you - I’d personally be like ‘go for it. tell the world’ - like anyone would care. It’s 101 of calling the bluff to bullies. If of course you’ve decided to have a 5 finger shuffle on a webcam and someone has recorded it and blackmailing you - then a VPN is no use whatsoever.

Here’s a question for you @Frog51 - If you have superfast BB (say 100Mbps+) that you pay a King’s ransom for to Mr.Branson - then how do you find a reliable VPN. If you google for the fastest available, they may give you the speed you require… but then, a lot of them are companies I’ve never heard of. Who is to say they are not monitoring and recording your traffic? None of these things are “official” - so how do you get a VPN that is fit for the connection you have and trustworthy? – because if you don’t trust your ISP, who can you trust?


Additionally, not all VPNs are transparent in their own privacy. Some will keep connection logs - so data can still be extracted… You need to do lots of research into what they actually do as they are not all the same.

So, thinking that I might be being a bit harsh, and actually interested in having a permanent and good VPN setup - I googled and read up on who might be good for speed and privacy. I read good things about IP Vanish - so decided to give them a 1 month blast. I agree with everything you actually put about privacy - anonymous VPN should be a standard.

So, paid £6 for a month - installed the little tool that connects… looks pretty good.

Connected to a London Server - so that’s about 30-40 miles away. Ran a speed test…

124ms Ping. 20mbps down. 10mbps up. bollocks.

Compared to my normal connect, 21ms Ping, 80+mbps down and 10-12 up.

Seemed strange after the number 1 top reviews of them being amazing with their Tier 1 CDN setup etc etc etc. Then I found the poor reviews… the “these guys have zero support”. “the speeds are nothing like advertised”. “They charged my account 3 times” (oh joy)

So there you go. I’m the real world guinea pig of what a shot in the dark it is… and my point remains. If you have superfast BB - there isn’t much point.

As I discovered in my jaunt on Newsgroups with Giganews, the big names can’t be trusted because they’ll sell you out to save their business (Giga carrying our DCMAs, some accusations that they actually cooperated with law enforcement from various countries to get big pirate players) where as the smaller names in places that don’t give a fuck about most laws (IP, extradition, etc) can’t be trusted because you’re throwing your vulenerable personal details at a complete Delboy who have set themselves up in bandit country…who the fuck are you going to tell if they ride in to the sunset with your cash? The authorities? lol no.

I don’t download epic amounts (anymore) so for the sake of hiding my IP address behind enough barriers so as to make my comparatively small-fry sailin’ self just enough work to not bother with, a torrent proxy works for me. If I were to get a VPN it would be out of curiosity for the most part but also to just take the edge off the risk of being swept up in the random “Let’s go after a random bunch of downloaders to send a message” sweeps for which a torrent Proxy won’t garuntee you protection.

A side benefit of a VPN would be Kate being able to access streamed content from other parts of the world where the content has been gated behind arbitrary (at least as far as the internet goes) territorial borders like with Netflix US - even then though, Netflix aren’t stupid and do keep tabs on VPN and proxy hosts, recording those who don’t randomise or otherwise frequently change up their IP addresses.

Well I use VPN on a weekly basis here in Korea, lots of sites are restricted and I don’t trust the goverment too much either with my data. I mainly us it for games and encrypting my data stream for browsing and the paid version was simply more reliable and stablefor the prior mentioned. They can also be distinguished between encrypted and not encrypted versions. The later simply doesn’t work on some websites (Netflix) but is the intended useage. You want encryption on your data stream so even if people pick it up they can’t just see whats going on directly, takes some effort.

I use it a lot for IP region change, either to access other websites blocked by the goverment or simply to buy games (Steam for example). Lots of games are not registered for use in Asia, doesn’t matter if you’re playing on european servers. for this purpose, free VPNs work fine as you just buy them over the VPN. Recently this becomes more difficult as lots of the services try to prevent this (Steam … again).

I used two main GUIs till now, OpenVPN is simply easy to use but doesn’t has lots of options. You get however lots of plugins from paid services which makes connecting to them very easy. I also used SoftEther VPN (open source) which has massive amounts of free servers, for occasional use very conveneint but most of the conenctions aren’t particular stable. I used two paid services till now, the first I can’t remember. I wouldnt have recommended that anyway, dodgy servers and questionable service. The latter, IronSocket, works mostly fine. Reliable, decent ping in most games but not outstanding. It was also a bit cheaper. Bandwidth is kinda an issue, works fine for the oocasional youtube video when I forget to switch the VPN off, I barely notice it (unless its peak time in Europe). Comes with plugins for OpenVpn and is therefor very easy to use!

In short it boils down to what Jester already said.

1 - For occasional use they are perfect and you can use a open source vpn with no trouble
2 - For Ip region change it works fine too, open source is enough
3 - Playing over VPN, here I advertise paid versions, long distance they worked better, were more reliable and had less lag spikes.
4 - Watching a movie with normal to midrange bandwith usage works mostly fine, but trying to push the bandwidth to its maximums doesn’t. In most cases, if you NEED high bandwidth, don’t use a VPN.