A Newbie Question about VPN

Discussion in 'privacy technology' started by justwonderingby, May 27, 2008.

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  1. justwonderingby

    justwonderingby Registered Member

    May 27, 2008

    First off, I apologize if this question has been answered before (I have read many of the entries in this forum, but I'm still a bit confused) or seems very basic (I'm not a computer expert by any means).

    I am very concerned about computer privacy for a number of reasons. Mainly, because my job entails that I work with sensitive information. I also travel a lot and rely on public wi-fi hotspots for internet access (I know, they're very insecure). So, I've been thinking about using a commercial VPN. My questions:

    1. If I use VPN is it really secure insofar as I could confidently send sensetive files via email or use my credit card online?

    2. There are so many of these commercial sites and they seem to offer different technologies (secure tunneling, etc). I'm only familiar with CISCO VPN which I used at my previously employer - do these commercial sites use a VPN similar to that? (I ask, because CISCO seems very easy to use).

    Also, at home, I'm wondering about all this talk I hear about ISP's logging my internet use, or worse, accessing the actual data I'm sending to others. Does a VPN prevent that? Does Tor? If either of these do, why on earth would anyone use anything else?

    Thanks in advance for any info!:D
  2. fuzzylogic

    fuzzylogic Registered Member

    Mar 12, 2008
    Welcome to the forums,

    1. NO!, never send sensitive information unless you trust the source and destination of information, sensitive information via email should be sent in at least a passworded zip file with a good password, credit card information should be done via a https and only on a trusted website.

    2. both a VPN and TOR will protect against ISP's data retention but is at the mercy of anything beyond that.

    Most offer a PTTP VPN, which is ok to use but has several weakness due to bugs in its protocol. for a more secure VPN choose one that uses OPENVPN or IPSEC. these include vpntunnel and vpnout. Location of a server is also a factor if you are concerned about snooping and data retention ie the US has several departments which will target anonymous services specially if you P2P on them, also they have weak legal defences when they are issued a subpoena.

    Have a more indepth search of TOR and VPN services, specially have a look at the Choosing a VPN thread.
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