Tag Archives: VPN

Stop VPN and Tor Bias

In an age where governments spy on it’s own, common carriers such as AT&T and Comcast want to sell your data for profit and the NSA can spy on every communication channel that we have — is it so much to want a taste of anonymity online?

VPNs, Tor and other privacy tools have become synonymous with the “dark web” and online hacking; however, these tools are built to protect users; however, intelligent individuals can also use them to get away with certain activities online.  But what about the sophisticated user, who simply wants to protect his internet traffic from prying eyes and be safe online?  Why do some look at those people as if they are doing something wrong when they aren’t?  It’s simple: they are biased and ignorant.  Not only are they biased, they may not fully understand the technology if they only limit it to one side of the equation.


I’ve spoken in depth about how VPNs (Virtual Private Network)s work and how I really don’t believe you should connect to the internet, especially any public WiFi without first being connected to one because it sends all of the traffic from your device through an encrypted tunnel to another host that allows you to browse the internet in that fashion, making your traffic look like a jumbled mess to anyone trying to snoop.  (Of course remember to sign up for a VPN provider that doesn’t log, such as Private Internet Access).  So, what is Tor?  Tor is a protocol that was actually implemented by the US government that sends your traffic, encrypted, through a series of relays (relays are formed from machines that are volunteered to the Tor network), usually thousands before reaching the final destination.  Usually browsing the web through Tor is a little slow because of this.

The one thing that a VPN and Tor has in common is that when viewed on a network where no one else uses these tools, your network traffic will look quite different, which could lead to someone believe that you are doing something insidious; however, now that you know how these tools work, you won’t think that way anymore, right?

TLDR; Since our electronic landscape is becoming scrutinized more and more to serve us ads, track us down and garner our personal information without our consent, users have the RIGHT to protect themselves, we’re not all hackers, most of us just want our information we transfer online to be private — deal with it.

Senate votes to undo Internet Privacy laws?

Let’s give a round of applause to our excellent administration, huh?  Crickets.

When you think of lawmakers, you think of people, who have the best interests of the people in mind, not the best interests of businesses; however, this is exactly what we are seeing with the most recent news from Washington.

The Senate voted to repeal a set of rules that were established to keep consumers (me and YOU) data safe by barring ISPs from selling and sharing usage data.  Nowadays, everyone wants to be the next Google or Facebook and have all of your data.  Some companies are straight-forward with what they do with your data, like Google — others are a little more nefarious.  It is clear that this is a move to sponsor more business activities on the sides of AT&T, Comcast, Verizon and others — not protect the people.
Isn’t our data going through enough channels already?  Now, we additionally have to worry about what are ISPs are going to do with our information — while they should be doing nothing more than providing the pipe for access.
This is nothing more than a pathetic money grab.
What should you do?
  • Read/Scan all End-User License Agreements (look for keywords and phrases such as “data”, “share” and “other companies”)
  • Limit what level of access social media accounts have to your data
  • Use a VPN when possible, especially on public and untrusted WiFi (lean more about VPN, here)
TLDR; Senate votes to kill internet privacy, let’s hope the House stops it.

Your Guide to VPN and Online Security

Privacy on the internet. At times, it’s almost blasphemous to think we can attain it, right? We hear about company A getting hacked and service B scanning all of your outbound data for reasons they don’t disclose all the time, then you have the government who thinks It’s ok to know your exact location, thoughts and details at all times — but I digress. So what can you do to protect yourself? Should you only open private sessions in your favorite browser (which conceals NOTHING from your ISP or network admin — you’re only fooling yourself), should we be terrified of the technological world around us and never take advantage of these mind-blowing tools around us? No, don’t be silly. Although, there are a wealth of ways to be tracked online without your consent or knowledge, there’s also a wealth of tech and tips to help keep you flying under the radar.
What are two helps?  VPN and increased scrutiny of your online habits.

What kind of tool is a VPN, really?  Source Webopedia: ” A virtual private network (VPN) is a network that is constructed using public wires — usually the Internet — to connect to a private network, such as a company’s internal network. There are a number of systems that enable you to create networks using the Internet as the medium for transporting data. It secures the private network as these systems use encryption and other security mechanisms to ensure that only authorized users can access the network and that the data cannot be intercepted.”  Nowadays, with US citizens and those of other nations constantly being watched, a VPN is almost a must to maintain privacy and ensure that you can access the internet that YOU want to access — not one that your ISP or anyone says you should access.  What’s worse, now, is that many regulations that have been successfully put in place in the FCC to protect the privacy of consumers are on the brink of being reversed by politicians, who want to put more money inside these large corporations pockets.  Essentially, we are entering a state of extreme monitoring by government bodies that infringes on our rights in more than enough ways to count.
So what VPN should you get?  VPNs come in a variety of “flavors” and tiers.  There are free options that can incorporate into your browser, via an extension, such as BetterNet.  In addition, there are other VPNs that require a yearly subscription, but offer far more server options (good if the servers you connect to are full of other users — more users equals more traffic going through that host, which can make your overall connection slower), more bandwidth, no ads and overall greater performance.  Some popular paid VPNs are PrivateInternetAccess, IPVanish, ExpressVPN, NordVPN and more (please find a valuable VPN article, Source: PCMag, here).

What’s an example of scrutiny?  Have you ever read a EULA (end user license agreement) to see how a company actually uses your data?  (Pro tip: Read every EULA you can, but do it efficiently.  Open the “Find” feature by hitting Ctrl + F on your keyboard and keyword search for things you are concerned about, such as “data”, “information”, “privacy” and “ads” to see what you’re really signing up for).  Companies are very clever and most people are so anxious to use the latest app or service that is free — they forget to read what they are giving up in order to get that service.  After all, it’s fun getting an inbox of unsolicited emails and having all moves you make on your devices tracked, right?  NOPE.

TLDR; We have officially entered an age where we all need to carefully watch what we do online, apps that we install and more.  It’s always been something to think about; however, at this point we are at the greatest risk of losing our right to privacy while traversing the internet.  The surveillance state is becoming something that could soon be upon us.  Please arm yourselves with the necessary tools to keep your data safe.