Reality of VPNs, Proxies, and Tor
This is my first article for null-byte and its about staying anonymous on the Internet. But the question is why would you want to stay anonymous online?
- May be you are an vigilante hacker like me?
- You don't want companies logging your Data (Also like me)
- You don't want the NSA to spy on you (Definitely like me )
- You don't want your girlfriend to find out what you do online (not like me)
- Your just really paranoid for some reason (Definitely not like me)
What ever the reason may be I hope this guide can help you.
Ok let's start with the simplest.
What happens when theres no VPN or Proxy : Lets say you want to visit youtube.com. Now in this senerio your the client while youtube is the server. A direct connection will be made between the client and the server.Thus your public IP(source) and the server IP(destination) will be logged by you ISP(Internet Service Provider),the server(youtube), and maybe or most likely the Goverment.
Proxies : The way a proxy works is that there is a proxy server between the client and the destination. The client connects to the proxy server , and then the proxy server forwards it's request on the clients behalf.So basically the client request is "fetched" and forwarded to you. You IP is concealed as the proxy makes contact with the destination.
VPNs: The way a Virtual Private Network works is similar to proxies but the connection you make is encrypted with usually 256-bit encryption.
Tor : The way Tor works is that your data transmitted is made into an encrypted packet. Tor strips the part of the Headers which include your address(Your real IP) and the packet goes through multiple servers known as relays and your data packet is decrypted at the end relay know as exit node. The fact that your data packet is routed through multiple relays makes it (almost) impossible to show your real location.
Let me tell you the harsh truth in simple terms, NO!!!
Firstly lets look at proxies.
Proxies : Before we go ahead, we have to understand that their are different types of proxies. Something like transparent proxies forward your ip using X-Forwarded-FOR HTTP header which plainly gives out your real IP. Also you even can be traced back from the extensions you may be using in your browser. Some proxy servers also store logs.
VPNs : Matter of the fact is that most VPNs also store logs. Some examples I can give is hotspot shield or hidemyass . These VPNs store logs thus the authorities can simply ask for the logs and these VPN services will have to give up their logs. And one more thing never trust the "No log" claim most VPNs make. The best example I can give for this is http://www.wipeyourdata.com/other-data-erasing/no-logs-earthvpn-user-arrested-after-police-finds-logs/
When connecting to vpn or proxies you ISP dose not see much. Firstly they see that your connecting to a server. Now if it is a simple proxy server then they can see your data that is transmitted. If it's a encrypted VPN or Proxy then they can see your making an encrypted connection but nothing else. But I must point out the fact that although your ISP wont see anything , your VPN can see what is being transmitted. Although you never know if the VPN your using is being run by the goverment or NSA intentionally designed to store your information. So i would be really suspicious when using VPNs and proxies.
Well, I wish I could say yes. But i can't. But I'm not going to say No either.
I'm going to start out by saying the Tor is better than VPN and Proxies but your real identity can still be compromised. For one that at the exit node your data is decrypted. Who ever controls the exit node will have access to your data. That wouldn't be a part of my concern unless the exit node is being run by the government(Its possible). Also if you have ever used a Tor browser you will notice that flash plug-ins are disabled. This is because Flash based plug-ins can be exploited to show your real identity. The same goes or VPNs and Proxies. But there are still ways to stay anonymous online. Although i won't be able to promise complete anonymity but it will be a lot better and safer. Im going to do an other post on staying anonymous online.
- How to properly use Tor
- When it's Okay to use VPNs and Proxies
- When not to use VPN and proxies
- How to create a completely different identity online
- How to send encrypted Email
- Why to use Linux Tails
Thanks for reading my post. I know that since it's my first post , I might have made a few mistakes. If you find any please reply. Also please leave a comment down below if this post was worth your time and if you liked it. Thanks again.