Privacy is becoming more and more in demand these days. A lot of people thought that they were perfectly safe and their private stuff was indeed private.
Unfortunately, that is something we can no longer consider an accurate statement; not after 2013 and all the info Edward Snowden leaked confirming that the US government had been spying on their citizens for years without their consent. The Internet gives us all the good stuff that we love like social media, YouTube, Wikipedia, online gaming, blogs, news and much more. Those things have great importance to a lot of us and it’s impossible to imagine life without using them. ‘Is there a way out?’ you might ask or ‘what do I do to reclaim my privacy?’
In fact there are ways to hide your web-life from peeping Toms. VPN’s and Proxies are the most widespread solutions. ‘I use a VPN every day, am I safe’ could be your next question. The general answer is ‘Yes’. There are some additional points to take into account, and in this article we provide seven highly recommended tips to ensure your VPN is not compromised.
1. Make sure a Firewall is up and running.
Despite how trivial this may sound, Firewalls should be on at all times, generally even when you are not using a VPN to avoid unauthorized incoming connections over the network. Most MS Windows anti-viruses come with built-in firewalls. Those have per-configured presets and do not allow you to change the settings. This sounds convenient but does not give you 100% assurance that all your ports are closed (except for manually added rules).
That is why we recommend using something like UFW firewalls or IP tables (both are native for Linux) which will provide a decent level of customization but will also require a little expert knowledge to configure. You may also be interested in something like zonealarm. It is one of the most popular anti-virus + firewall programs available today.
2. Stay Incognito
3. Disable Geo-location services
Most of us use tablets and smartphones for everyday stuff like YouTube, Facebook, Netflix, your Google account, etc. Those who want to use these devices for private operations better watch out as your device is outfitted with numerous tracking features, like GPS, and it can easily leak your actual location without you realizing it. So it’s safer to keep all those turned off if anonymity is your priority.
4. Manage your cookies
We do not pay attention to cookies nowadays, they’re everywhere and often perceived as something trivial that we should not worry about. Well, for most regular Internet users that somehow holds true. “What do cookies do?” Well, by design, cookies try to improve recurrent web-browsing, that is to say if you often visit same web-sites, cookies try to remember your preferences and store pieces of a website for faster access at a later time.
“Well, there’s nothing wrong with that!” True, however, cookies can be easily modified and transformed into tracking scripts which will monitor your activity and network information often to be able to sell it to advertisers. That does not mean it cannot be used for other purposes. Those who value privacy and anonymity should avoid using and most importantly storing/caching cookies or at least filter their cookies while looking for potentially unwanted ones.
5. Use L2TP/IPsec security
There are a number of ways to get a functioning VPN. Those can be narrowed down to encryption/tunneling protocols and algorithms. Most VPN providers commonly use: PPTP, OpenVPN, L2TP/IPsec, SSTP, IKEv2 for traffic tunneling. We will concentrate on only two of those, namely PPTP and L2TP/IPsec. PPTP is one of the pioneers in tunneling technology. It is also the most vulnerable one.
Microsoft has officially stated multiple times that this protocol has been compromised, henceforth, we do not recommend setting up a VPN implemented by means of PPTP. L2TP/IPsec, on the other hand, shows a decent level of security. It is basically a 2-layer tunneling system used to double the traffic security. No major vulnerabilities have been reported while using this method. People often praise Openvpn for the use of SSL.
It is possible that some users don’t want to install extra software; which is required by Openvpn. L2TP/IPsec, on the other hand, can use native network manager capabilities. Privatoria mostly uses L2TP via IPsec to provide you with the best level of security possible and doesn’t force you to install third-party software.
6. VPN over TOR
If you are reading this article, you probably know what the word TOR means. It was a big deal when this technology came out and a lot of us have used a TOR browser to use Facebook at work. You can rely on TOR itself. It is a great open-source solution available for all platforms.
However, using a combination of VPNs with L2TP/IPsec along with TOR makes it virtually impossible to get to the real thing (if TOR is an onion, L2TP/IPSec are two extra onions on top of it). Currently, Privatoria is in the process of integrating TOR with its main architecture to provide top-level security. It already provides users with Tor integrated Proxy.
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7. Pay for Your VPN with Untraceable Currency
This may seem a little too paranoid for some but it’s better to be overprotected than exposed. Being incognito, not only on the web but also with your financial operations, pushes the boundaries of the anonymity concept as such; VPN providers can know about your payment details. If you have paid for it with Bitcoin, those details cannot be handed over to someone. Most people will agree that this is secure and logical.
Privatoria accepts Bitcoin as payment. Feel free to use it to pay for your secure and reliable VPN.
Overall, there seems to be quite a few things to keep in mind if you want full-fledged security and be anonymous on the web. A good portion of it has to be done before you even activate a VPN and start browsing.
Things like cookies and firewalls make you vulnerable to attacks and, therefore, have to be set in an optimal way to make it harder, if not impossible, for the intruder to get into your PC. The VPN itself can be vulnerable and you have to careful when it comes to protocols and how they are built in general.
Additional security measures, like Bitcoin payments, make it literally impossible to track your Internet traffic and help you remain safe.
While doing all that, do not forget to look around and make sure there’s nobody looking at your monitor from behind you.
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