Some thoughts on VPNs, unrelated

NOTE: THIS IS NOT AN ENDORSEMENT OR ADVICE OR ANYTHING REALLY. IT'S NOT EVEN PROOF_READ. JUST SOME RANDOM THOUGHTS ON VPNs. TAKE IT FOR WHAT YOU WILL.

This is mostly unrelated to the Kiva Logic software. I currently use Private Internet Access (PIA) for my VPN. They have a nifty little 'kill switch' that works on Linux, so if the VPN disconnects, all internet access is completely blocked. I use a VPN 24/7 on my laptop, but I'm a slacker on my phone.

A couple quick points for ya:

Security

When you use public wifi, it is ridiculously easy to get hacked. A hacker can sit in the same coffee shop as you, watch your wifi traffic, and easily sniff out your facebook, twitter, bank, or any other account user/passwords that you access while connected. You might as well just say your password out loud if you're using coffee shop wifi without a VPN.

After connecting to a VPN, a tunnel is created between your computer and the VPN's computers, which helps stop these 'main in the middle' attacks.

Privacy

When shopping for a VPN provider, I can read their terms, see what country they're in, see if they keep logs, read reviews on their privacy statements, etc etc... and I can choose one of hundreds that suits my purposes.

For my home internet connection, I'm out of luck. It's "INTERNETCOMPANYHERE" or nothing. I don't trust INTERNETCOMPANYHERE, and they have a proven history of selling their customer's browsing data. BUT, since I use a VPN, all INTERNETCOMPANYHERE sees is that my computer is sending traffic to one computer somewhere in the internet, and they can't see what sites or services I connect to or use.

What it isn't

If a three letter agency is after you, this won't do anything to protect you. They're probably already in your computer and you're already done for. If you're doing something illegal, VPN's won't help either. Also, don't do illegal things, dummy.

What they help with is securing your actual connection to the internet, especially in public, and they offer a bit more privacy than your local internet provider.

Will it make you anonymous? Nope. Being anonymous on the internet is pretty much a lost cause.

Can PIA still see my web traffic? Probably. But PIA's entire business depends on me trusting that PIA won't sell it off. INTERNETCOMPANYHERE could care less and will sell my history to anyone to make a buck. AND now the people that INTERNETCOMPANYHERE just sold my history to probably also know my home address. yay.

Why it sucks

It's slower. On a phone, it's super slow AND it sucks the life out of your battery. I have to do 'captchya' things all the time. Sometimes websites will detect that I'm coming from a known VPN IP address and will block me. Netflix won't let you watch anything.

But, I like the trade-offs, so to me it's worth it. I could go on and on, but I think that covers why I use a VPN, which I also consider to be the most common reasons.

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