Are VPN'S really 100% private, even with torrents?

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asusfan

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Hello. This post is for the sake of knowledge and is in now way soliciting advice on breaking the law!!! I am more concerned with how protected we really are when we spend $ on VPN software. Torrents are a perfect example because if we are protected in this way then I would feel protected in normal usage such as banking.

Regarding downloading torrents while connected to a VPN what is the difference security-wise between downloading with and without the VPN?

Also, do the ISP'S that we use to connect to a VPN network have records of our usage? If I am in a hotel connecting to a VPN and download a torrent or do banking, what info would the hotel ISP have?

Also, would the VPN have records of the usage; for example, banking that contains logons, etc.?

Any clarification would be appreciated.
 

blazorthon

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Tom's hardware does not support illegal use of technology (nor anything else) in any way. If you are asking questions related to using VPNs for illicit downloads, then we can't help you.

Besides that, absolutely nothing short of unplugging your computer and taking it apart is 100% secure.
 

ex_bubblehead

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There's no such thing as absolute security when connected to the Internet. As stated above, the only way to assure absolute security is to remove all possible network connections. Everything you do while connected to the Internet leaves tracks in one form or another. It's just a matter of whether or not you are important enough for someone go to the effort and expense to trace it.
 

asusfan

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Understood. I put the question that way because most VPN sites seem to make us feel that we are 100% protected. Changing over to normal VPN needs and usage. Is a VPN very helpful for everyday home usage? I can understand the need for wireless and roaming but for normal broadband modem connects at home, what are the risks of not using a VPN? Forget the torrents, I mean banking, surfing safe sites (not netflix, country-specific or shady sites), e-mail and general usage.
 

blazorthon

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VPNs could make things like online banking safer when you're on an open WiFi network, but it's really better to wait to do things like that until you're on a secured network.
 

asusfan

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I agree with blazorthon and this is why I'm wondering if I really need a VPN for home use.

1) Do secure activities become safer via VPN at home? Again, not location-specific sites, but banking, e-mail, etc. requiring passwords and or credit card purchases.

Actually, that was my next question ScottyBoyK1. :)

2) I read about Hola the other day and am worried that the VPN will steal info and/or do other activities. Has anyone heard anything bad about Cyberghost, Tunnelbear, or another VPN (especially the freebies) stealing info, tracking, etc? Not the service itself being slow but risks to the user.


 

blazorthon

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I don't think a VPN will make things safer when you're already on a secure network. A secure WiFi network will have at least AES 128 encryption and online banking is done through HTTPS with additional encryption. This is not impenetrable security, but a VPN is unlikely to change much.

I do not keep very up to date with information about specific VPN services and what they do with customer data.

If you're really paranoid, then you can try using something like TOR, but that's only useful if you always use it (using it sometimes is basically the same as not using it at all) and even then, it's not perfect.
 

asusfan

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I see, thanks. I tried the free Cyberghost a little and even though it took a minute or so to connect due to the waiting list that they have, it worked pretty well EXCEPT a CG warning showed me that they do not hide IPv6. When I confirmed my ip, most sites didn't show my real one but what's my ip showed it as a IPv6. What does this mean?
 

blazorthon

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Disabling your computer's IPv6 and reverting it to IPv4 is easy, but I don't know if that will affect how your computer is seen from the internet. You could try it, it is easily undone if it doesn't help.

This is done by going into control panel, administrative tools, services, and right clicking on the service IP Helper, clicking properties, selecting disabled from the drop down menu, and then clicking stop. It'll take a few seconds, then you can hit ok and no more IPv6.

IPV6 is supposedly a bit easier to track than IPv4. I don't remember all of the specifics, but this might help:
https://gcn.com/articles/2012/06/07/fbi-wants-ipv6-hard-to-track-ipv4-with-nat.aspx
 

asusfan

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If I understand it correctly then IPv6 is easier to trace but is more beneficial? If I turn off the IPv6 could there be any negative impact on my PC and/or internet usage? I'm using W7 with Firefox if that matters.
 

blazorthon

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I leave my computers using IPv4 out of habit and I don't notice any detrimental impacts on performance, but I haven't tested it extensively against IPv6 to be sure. I'm not aware of a difference between the two that is directly relevant to the home user.
 

blazorthon

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I'm not sure if IPv6 versus IPv4 really makes a big difference in security either way. For hotel use, a VPN is should be better than no VPN, but don't overestimate the value of it because it's still not as secure as a home or work network ought to be (assuming the network is set up properly). However, as noted above, the value of the VPN is reliant on how much you can trust the VPN provider... If they are really doing things they shouldn't be like some seem to be, then they aren't helping you.

Short answer, nothing you do on an open network is secure.
 
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