Anonymous Services - Can We Get A List Going And Feedback?

Discussion in 'privacy technology' started by DasFox, Nov 2, 2010.

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  1. overworkedmonkey

    overworkedmonkey Registered Member

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    So how do you place faith it the security of the server short of performing a penetration test? Surely there must be some way to test the security. Also how do you test for a DNS leak which I am assuming is the same as DNS entropy?

    No, what I meant was a port address that is assigned to say a torrent client and that port address being logged e.g. http://forum.encryptica.com/index.php?topic=24.0. Be keen to understand what this means.


    So are you saying it is harder to piece everything together if there is a multi-hop service? Also what do you mean it won't give me any extra protection against malicious hacker-y types?
     
  2. traxx75

    traxx75 Registered Member

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    I am yet to see a comprehensive online service that will test your VPN server's security properly. The best you can do is perform tests to see whether you're leaking information yourself. Checking your DNS is one way because it not only checks entropy but also determines which DNS servers you are using. If your ISP DNS servers appear then you're leaking DNS requests.

    The concern raised in the first post of that thread appears to be relating to a permanent port-forwarding configuration used by CryptoCloud. iVPN do not do any port-forwarding unless you specifically request it.

    It is harder when it's multi-hop and the hops are in different countries. It's even harder when hops are provided by multiple providers (eg. iVPN -> StrongVPN -> HideMyAss). It won't give you much extra protection against hacker-y types because they are unlikely to employ tactics that involve compromising your VPN server or "tracing" your connection through the server. They are more likely to use tricks and techniques (especially browser-based like the leak tests) to get you to inadvertently reveal information about you, your PC, or your actual ISP.
     
  3. overworkedmonkey

    overworkedmonkey Registered Member

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    Thanks traxx75. Very helpful to understand how I can check on any leaks. I was however curious what the difference between DNS entropy and a leak

    Ah right. Didn't appear to me about port forwarding but I assume the mention of ports refers to port forwarding. Is there anything else it can refer to?

    How can I test for browse based leaks?
     
  4. luciddream

    luciddream Registered Member

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    Thanks Rudyl... of course. I can't believe I didn't think of that, considering not long ago I was explaining to a buddy how their port scans were really testing his router, not his firewall for much the same reason.

    From what I've read it's fairly simple to protect yourself against DNS leaks. Just don't use the DNS server(s) your ISP gives to you. Your VPN will assign it's own DNS servers, and for your ISP use alternate ones. I use Comodo Secure DNS.

    iVPN does have a DNS fix tool on their site. I've downloaded it and followed the directions. Not sure how well it protects you though.
     
  5. DasFox

    DasFox Registered Member

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    Don't mess around downloading apps from 3rd parties like this that have no real credibility anywhere that can be established...

    You're going to get yourself in trouble one of these days if you keep downloading their apps.

    I mentioned all this before...

    For someone who has some establishment as a developer you should instead check out VPNCheckPro...

    http://www.guavi.com/vpncheck_pro.php

    Also you could simply get into Linux if you're really into security, Unix/Linux has proper routing and doesn't leak like Windows, so does OSX.

    Cheers
     
  6. luciddream

    luciddream Registered Member

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    I discussed that product you mentioned (VPNCheck Pro) in other threads. It's glitchy and it doesn't work half the time. It gave me error messages and terminated itself without notice. Added a blank startup value. It definitely needs more time to mature. It also is a 3'rd party app no established cred, so you're really not applying your own logic there. A rep from iVPN told me to give them feedback about it because they want something to recommend to customers until they build the functionality into their own client (which they're working on). I told them I wouldn't recommend it.

    The tool they directed me to, on the other hand, is stable, and doesn't try to take any liberties on my system or connect out. It simply removes the DNS servers from your ISP's connection and flushes the DNS cache on VPN connection & disconnect. I can see everything it's doing from the command line. I trust it hands down over VPNCheck Pro. And the iVPN rep that told me about it helped write it, so if I'm putting my trust in them for my VPN service (which I am), then trusting that app as well becomes moot. If they were untrustworthy that ship has already sailed by using their VPN anyway. But I don't see any less reason to trust them than any other provider. You have to place your trust somewhere, and after establishing rapport with them they have gained my trust. VPNCheck Pro has not. Not only is their product buggy, but their support is non-existent. I emailed them and never received a response. So I'm learning who/what to trust through first hand experience.

    And like I said before there are just too many things I can't do on Linux, namely gaming. And dual boot isn't practical since I'm not only jumping from one thing to another rapidly (like gaming & browsing), but sometimes doing it simultaneously, like looking at a walkthrough online whilst playing a retro game on an emulator. I won't sacrifice functionality for security. My goal is to have as much of the latter as possible while still being able to do everything I want to do easily (multimedia, gaming, P2P, ect...).
     
  7. 0strodamus

    0strodamus Registered Member

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    Finally had time to get OpenVPN set up and running. I decided to start with Mullvad as it is cheaper for the month than iVPN. I wasn't sure if this little experiment would be a success or not, so I decided to start small. ;)

    In the short time I've been using the service, I'm getting faster download speeds which is a pleasant surprise. I usually average around 700k tops from my ISP and with Mullvad I'm getting 1.3M at times. I've also had no disconnects. :thumb:

    I'm visually using the OpenVPN tray icon and the IPLogger extension in Firefox to make sure I'm connected. Next up for me is to see about automating some things with AutoHotkey (autostart and monitor for disconnect). And to give iVPN a try.
     
  8. luciddream

    luciddream Registered Member

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    You say you're using the OpenVPN GUI then? Mullvad has it's own GUI. I figured you would be using that if you paid for it, since using Mullvad is free through the OpenVPN client. In fact I thought Mullvad's GUI was the only thing you're paying for because of this? I remain confused about this.

    If you happen to use the Mullvad GUI, could you test to see if the option to disconnect your internet when the VPN drops (in the tick-box of the GUI) works? I was curious about that. If so, you should be taking advantage of it. I didn't get to test it because it wouldn't let me get that 3 hour trial, it kept saying it was expired as soon as I'd try.

    Also, when you go to disconnect Mullvad does it work properly? When I'd try to disconnect it wouldn't.
     
  9. 0strodamus

    0strodamus Registered Member

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    Yes, I'm using the OpenVPN GUI. I'm going to stay away from the custom installers. I didn't know that Mullvad is free. 5 € seemed reasonable enough to give it a try, so I didn't bother with the trial. Now I'm curious what is going to happen after my 30 days is up. I did have the disconnect error that you mentioned. I think I got that fixed by editing the OpenVPN configuration file. It disconnected ok after, but I only tested once so far. In the OpenVPN config try commenting out "service mullvadopenvpn". I think this is the cause of the hangs. I also commented the 2 ping lines out. I didn't see any of these in iVPN's configs, so I thought I would try excising them too. I really need to go read up on what these commands all do.

    I tried out iVPN today and so far I like it. When I went to sign up for a month trial, they asked me to take a very short survey. It was just a simple rating of the reasons why I was choosing to use a VPN service. Afterwards, they gave me a 15% discount which I thought was pretty nice. I hope you got the discount too.

    Speedwise, the single hop iVPN servers are giving me the same results I was getting with Mullvad. The multi-hops have been markedly slower. Overall, I'm pretty happy with both so far.

    Using the vanilla OpenVPN GUI makes it so easy to try the different VPN services, I may have to take a few more for a spin. :p

    EDIT: One thing I have noticed is that Mullvad continuously sends ICMP type 3 outbound. I REM'd the ping lines out of their config hoping to stop that, but it hasn't made a difference.
     
    Last edited: Aug 25, 2011
  10. luciddream

    luciddream Registered Member

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    Yeah I'm still a little confused as to what exactly one pays for with Mullvad. I can only reckon that fee is just to use their GUI. I was just hoping for some feedback about the tick-box to disconnect your internet connection on VPN drop... as I've yet to find any 3'rd party software that accomplishes this task reliably. If it worked flawlessly, then that GUI might even be worth paying for.
     
  11. luciddream

    luciddream Registered Member

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    Individual results obviously vary. For me Mullvad was just about as slow as TOR. Sometimes the pages would load quickly (just like iVPN), but usually not. Often they would hang and never finish loading. But I figured, for free, I'd still prefer it over TOR all things considered.

    With iVPN single-hop I notice no difference whatsoever compared to my ISP, and multi-hop only the slightest impact (pages might take a half-second longer to load).

    The info. you provided about modifying the Mullvad config file was very helpful :thumb: works like a charm to eliminate the disconnect problem. This really makes it a solid free VPN, and especially if people are getting the same results (speed wise) that you are. The only reservation may be the ICMP attempts you mentioned. I have ICMP blocked both in & out, but I'd still like to know what it's trying to do.

    So my recommendations:

    Free - Mullvad
    Paid - iVPN

    Other solid contenders: VPN-Tunnel, Anonine

    And of course TOR is great as an anonymity service, which is what this thread is about, not just VPN services.

    I would also like to throw Ixquick in there. A great, private search engine (doesn't record IP's), and built in proxy. Combine this with the VPN of your choice and viola... anonymity & privacy.

    I've learned a lot in the past 1.5 months. I'd like to thank everybody who contributed to this thread and others like it. Happy anonymous surfing my friends...
     
    Last edited: Sep 2, 2011
  12. 0strodamus

    0strodamus Registered Member

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    Glad to hear that the config file tweaks helped you out. I found a way to automate the logon process for iVPN using a password.txt file and editing of the config files. It makes connecting much easier than typing in your user credentials every time.
    I decided to try Anonine, but was having issues connecting. I need to have another go at it when I get some time. I'm going to try VPNtunnel.se too. I'll post back some feedback on these two next week.
     
  13. luciddream

    luciddream Registered Member

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    Yeah, you can modify any config file to auto-login by adding the " --connect" command to the files. Then just take the OpenVPN GUI and add it to the "startup" folder. That's how I did it anyway, but ultimately I decided that I don't want it to automatically connect at startup.

    So how is the Mullvad trial going for you? I was thinking before they might give paid customers better (less crowded) servers, and after hearing your experience (regarding speed) compared to mine, it further makes me wonder.
     
  14. AdamL

    AdamL Registered Member

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    I am very interested to hear how your trial with VPNtunnel.se is going?
    How does the service compare to iVPN?

    :)
     
  15. 0strodamus

    0strodamus Registered Member

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    @AdamL: Not too good so far. I'm still waiting on my activation email from VPNtunnel. As I'm typing this, I got an email from them regarding an account activation for their support center, but nothing for the actual VPN yet. It's promising to see the very quick response to my support email (I barely sent it 5 minutes ago) and hopefully I'll have an account to try soon.

    I'm still waiting for a reply from Anonine support regarding my connection issues. They don't make it very clear as to what you are supposed to use for your logon credentials and I still can't connect. The username and password for their website work well enough and I can see my 30 days slowly trickling away into the ether.

    I was impressed by Mullvad initially, but I still can't get rid of the endless pings after a disconnect. It is annoying to say the least. I don't think I'll be renewing.

    At this point I think iVPN is a very good choice. They've delivered exactly as promised and didn't make me wait a week to connect. I was up and running literally within minutes. :thumb:

    I made a mistake in my prior post regarding my download speeds. My network monitoring software was doubling my speeds because of a misconfiguration on my part. :oops: I'm getting speeds very close to what I get without the VPN on the single-hop nodes.
     
  16. pcdoctor36

    pcdoctor36 Registered Member

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    A few items I think are worth mentioning:

    1: TOR - The shared bandwidth has improved substantially since 2006. A lot faster now.

    2: Golden Frog - Starts a native tunnel from your socket out.If I am understanding Golden Frog correctly your ISP will only be able to tell how much your are d/ling. No knowledge on content what-so-ever. I believe Golden Frog has a special deal with Giga News members.

    3: Quick Silver Lite - Anonymous Re-mailing software.
     
  17. luciddream

    luciddream Registered Member

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    Thanks for the feedback on VPNTunnel & Anonine. They were 2 others that graded out high for me based on their tech & privacy policy. It took a long time for them to respond to my emails as well. That's a good litmus test. Even if you really have nothing to ask, just make up some things to test their response time. It's an indicator of the type of customer service you can expect. Plus VPNTunnel's client requires .NET Framework, which eliminated it for me from the get-go.

    When all the info. gathering was done, iVPN became the obvious choice. And I didn't see the survey you mentioned when I signed up for the month. I think they may have just started that since then. But I do see it now, and will be applying it toward my yearly subscription. That'll make it $85, or $7.08/month. Very fair price for their service. So to anybody looking to try them out, if you don't see the survey at first refresh the page until you do. I think it was just 5 questions, fill in the dot style. Gets you %15 off.

    So, the best anonymity options IMHO:

    Paid

    iVPN OpenVPN

    Free

    Mullvad - OpenVPN
    TOR - Proxy
    Ixquick - Search engine/built-in proxy
     
  18. bryanjoe

    bryanjoe Registered Member

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    is there a free version of Mullvad?
     
  19. luciddream

    luciddream Registered Member

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    First download the free OpenVPN client here:

    http://www.openvpn.net/index.php/open-source/downloads.html

    Then come here to get the Mullvad config file:

    https://mullvad.net/en/openvpn_conf.php

    > On that page click on "Create a new account"
    > On the next page download the file that has random numbers with a .zip extension (ex. 59439574.zip).

    Extract the contents of that folder into the "bin" folder in your OpenVPN directory (ex. C:\Program Files\OpenVPN\bin).

    * Tip - delete this line of text from the Mullvad config file to fix disconnect issues:

    serverping-exit 60# Daemonizeservice mullvadopenvpnping 10


    ... please post feedback about your experience (speed, stability, ect...) to help others make an informed decision. So far there's been conflicting testimony about Mullvad. Some claim it fast, but I myself experienced lots of lag.
     
    Last edited: Sep 5, 2011
  20. luciddream

    luciddream Registered Member

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    I'm curious if anybody else has tried Mullvad, and what are the experiences?

    Also interested in hearing feedback about Comodo TrustConnect, as I've seen a few members mention they've tried it recently. Maybe this one gets added to the fold of recommended solutions as well?
     
  21. 0strodamus

    0strodamus Registered Member

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    I thought I would post my observations regarding the VPN services that I have been trying the past month. Hopefully, this will be of some value to someone out there. ;)
    I've listed the services in the order I would rate them from best to worst.

    iVPN: This service is top notch. The sign up process was easy and went without a hitch. I have had good service speeds and no disconnects. I also experienced no glitches with OpenVPN using this service. Highly recommended.

    Anonyproz: Even though the sign-up process says your login name "must be 4 or more characters in length and may only contain small letters, numbers, and the underscore '_'" don't use an underscore or you will be delayed in using the service until their support deletes the underscore from your login name. I also had to have my password reset to just numbers and lower-case letters because I still could not connect with my initial complex password. Once the username / password kinks were worked out, the service performed as advertised. It was quick and I had no disconnect issues. Also recommended.

    Mullvad: The sign up process was easy and I had no issues connecting. The problem was disconnecting. I had to edit the OpenVPN config file before I was able to disconnect from the service successfully. The service is quick with no disconnects. The only issue I experience is that I need to kill OpenVPN after disconnecting to stop endless outbound pings. This was the first service that I tried that repeatedly pings out like this. Not a show stopper, but it is disconcerting to continue seeing activity on my network monitoring software when there should be none. I found this to be the case with all of the Swedish services that I tried.

    VPNtunnel.se: Perhaps I missed this during signup, but after a few days and not hearing anything regarding my account I emailed support. They responded quickly and I had to provide the username I used during signup to get a username and password for the VPN service. Keep this in mind if you use this service and send them an email right away. Connecting was no problem and the service was as good as any of the others I've tried regarding speed. As I mentioned above, this service continually sends ping requests (type 3 outbound) until OpenVPN is exited. I don't normally use DHCP and with this service I had continuous DHCP traffic the entire time I was connected. I'm not sure what it was trying to do because once I was assigned a DHCP address, I would expect that traffic to cease. None of the other services listed above exhibited this behavior.

    Anonine: I had high hopes for the service based on postings I've read on this forum, but in my experience Anonine was the worst of the bunch. Like VPNtunnel.se, I had to email support after signing up to get my account for logging into the VPN. The replies from support would take a day at a minimum and weren't very helpful. If you're looking for a service provider who will be vague and elusive to any inquiries then this is your service. I know that this could be seen as a plus in the VPN market, but it was just frustrating. I ended up squandering close to 2 weeks of my 30 day subscription going back and forth via email with support before I had an account. Once I was able to connect, the speeds were good and disconnects were non-existent. With this service I experienced the same endless ping requests and DHCP traffic as with VPNtunnel.se.

    Disclaimer: I didn't run any speed tests, so my opinion regarding the actual service speeds was arrived at by limited casual observation during various file downloads.
     
  22. NRProia

    NRProia Registered Member

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    Hello,

    I used the Perfect-Privacy service for a while:
    http://www.perfect-privacy.com/

    I stopped using it because of speed. I mostly used the Montreal server as it was the closest in proximity to where I live. Since I left the service before my term was up, I requested a refund several times and never received a response.

    Regards,

    Nathan
     
  23. luciddream

    luciddream Registered Member

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    I wonder what's up with the Swedish services & endless pings after disconnect? That strikes me as more than sheer coincidence. I don't like it.

    Anyway, I'm certainly happy with my choice. Thanks for that rundown 0strodamus, very helpful.
     
  24. 0strodamus

    0strodamus Registered Member

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    I wonder about the pings too. Perhaps they're being used as a ping of life to see if the client is still connected so that if not, the IP can be released for another user. Just a guess, but whatever the reason I don't care for them either.
     
  25. DasFox

    DasFox Registered Member

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    Well Boys & Girls, ever since this post and even going back about a year, I've played with quite a few VPN providers and emailed many of them, picking their brains to get a feel of professionalism and to see what they know and will tell...

    Let me tell you this is not an easy road to go down, finding a decent professional VPN provider, there are just to many of them out there that look decent, but as they say, looks can be deceiving and with a lack of experience, it makes this journey even harder...

    So after all this time, a VPN that I'm using at the moment that I would recommend is BolehVPN, plus the fact they specialize in P2P, which is nice for those into this, getting something extra for your money and they also offer several types of VPN configurations which are nice...

    I'm not saying a lot of the other VPN providers listed on here are not good, it's just been my experience with many of them, I would not bother wasting my time, or risking my security messing with them...

    So if you are still at a cross roads and undecided, I'd say give BolehVPN a go, also they are in Malaysia, even though they have servers around the world, I have not heard of anything related, as a negative about Internet Privacy with Malaysia, as there seems to be problems more with the USA and Europe, so maybe their location is another plus...

    Cheers...
     
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