VPN and VM (Virtual Box) question

Discussion in 'privacy technology' started by discs, Aug 30, 2012.

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  1. discs

    discs Registered Member

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    Hi,

    I am new to VPNs. Starting out, I thought it would be easier to manage my anonymity and privacy if I compartmentalized the OS system the VPN works on - and accessed that system for my VPN needs.

    In this view I would then use my guest OS Win 7 Home Premium x64 for my VPN needs (the host is also Win 7 HP x64). The guest OS would hopefully always start in VPN mode. The VM is Virtual Box.

    Could someone please help me with the dynamics of installing the VPN:
    • Are there advantages/disadvantages to installing the VPN on the host vs guest
    • Can it be installed on the guest OS; if so would it then have complexities in configuration
    • Are there implications for anonymity and privacy in choosing a host or guest instal of the VPN

    Thank you.
     
  2. PaulyDefran

    PaulyDefran Registered Member

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    I can't answer your questions, as I haven't dipped into the VM pool yet, but I *believe* you can start up a VPN on the host machine, and *then* start up a VPN on the guest (from another VPN provider) and get yourself a 2 Hop VPN set up....if that interests you. I think Mirimir does the VM thing, so he can clarify/elaborate.

    PD
     
  3. mirimir

    mirimir Registered Member

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    If you'll be using just one VPN, it's best to run it in the VM. Doing that, there's less risk of leakage between your real identity and VPN-using pseudonyms (via flash cookies, email web bugs, malware, etc).

    As PaulyDefran said, you can also run a different VPN on the host. That will route the VM VPN through the host VPN. If you pay "anonymously" for the VM (inner) VPN, it will be harder for attackers to deanonymize you. In that case, you wouldn't use the host VPN for anything except the VM (inner) VPN.

    I don't recommend using Windows (or Mac) for the VM, unless you've obtained it "anonymously". It's better to use Linux, which can be obtained without providing any personal information.
     
  4. discs

    discs Registered Member

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    Thank you, PaulyDefran and mirimir. You have both just about covered what I needed to find out at this early stage of developing my personal approach to VM use.

    I will give serious thought to the Linux question, mirmir. Sometimes one knows what's the right thing to do but evades it somehow! I know very little about Linux you see - enough to set up a Linux VM :).

    Are their any considerations in choosing a specific Linux distribution for use with a VPN?

    Philosophical point: My use of VM will be minimal; in certain areas of my life I simply do not want a trail. I don't use torrents,P2P etc., and I don't do anything illegal. In fact I fall right into the category one senior Google exec labelled, 'nothing to hide'.

    But I am really not sure which way the battle of the internet, and the world will go. Things are changing fast - in fact change seems to be speeding up! In future years there is in my mind the possibility that clear battle lines may be drawn when there is an attempt to micro-manage each of us with the new technologies. Sides will then have to be chosen - and at that time it would be advantageous not to have details about ones 'politics' (ideas I prefer to call them; 'politics' seems to have become a dirty word!) linked back.

    I trust I haven't been too melodramatic - but as pointed out in other 'privacy' threads there is scant regard toward personal privacy and freedom in the majority of people. As long as their 'entertainments' are provided they are happy to be 'managed'. I do feel that the freedom of information and communication that the internet provides is a wonderful opportunity for each of us.
     
  5. mirimir

    mirimir Registered Member

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    Thanks, discs :)

    I recommend Ubuntu. If you can't stand the Unity desktop, you might like Mint, which is very similar, but comes with more traditional desktops. Both are based on Debian, which is arguably the most user-friendly of the main Linux hierarchies.

    Many here share your philosophical concerns :) But some of the rest think that we're clinically paranoid ;)
     
  6. ComputerSaysNo

    ComputerSaysNo Registered Member

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    Yes go for Ubuntu, best linux distro because it's easy to manage. Automatic security updates is a huge plus for Ubuntu.

    Mint is also good, and I'd like to mention Fedora. Go to distrowatch,com and do a bit of reading to see what distro's are out there. Linux has come a long way in 5 years. So many quality distro's like openSUESS, Charkra,PinguyOS, Crunchbang, Talis, & Liberte are out there.

    If your host has the VPN make sure virtualbox is set to NAT to stop anythink infecting your network. I don't think you have to have the VPN in the VM, host is fine if you have Virtualbox setup right.
     
  7. mirimir

    mirimir Registered Member

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    Which is best depends on your concerns and goals. If you're concerned about risks in the VM, and protecting the host from them, it's best to run the VPN in the host. If you're concerned about keeping your host and VM identities separate, it's best to run the VPN in the VM. An attacker who compromises the host can see everything in the VM, of course. But host-VM isolation is good enough to prevent web tracking.
     
  8. discs

    discs Registered Member

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    Firstly, thanks to all your support :).

    Reading I am doing on Linux does give me an some understanding of the different distributions and their approaches; I am likely to opt for a Debian one, and so now I will look more closely at these, starting with Ubuntu and Mint.

    Thanks for reemphasizing the differences and implications. My main priority is about maintaining a clear distinction between my host and VM identity, and to minimize any chance of compromise between the two. In this sense I would see the host as representing my day-to-day life where my identity may be revealed, but is protected from misuse. The VM identity would be one which is anonymous.

    So if finally I opt for a one VPN solution (rather than a host and VM, 2 VPN solution) I will opt for a VPN on the VM.

    Thank you.
     
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