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VPNs ---- Not the Free Kind

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posted on Mar, 3 2021 @ 10:38 AM
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Alright, I'm chiming in here because there's a bit of misinformation out there. Since this field is a specialty of mine, I like having accurate info as it stops myths from being pushed on to newer users as facts.

"I thought about it some more and wondered if you could do online banking with a VPN without raising concerns on their end"
- You can do online backing with VPNs, it's a very common thing to do. Beware though, since many VPN services can mask and/or show you coming from another countries IP address, this can cause issues with banking anti-fraud systems. If you decide to use a VPN provider that has a VPN node/server in a sperate country, you will be connecting to that server first, then to your bank. This makes it look like you are coming directly from said country. Just be mindful of that an be ready to contact your bank so they can unlock your account.

"Then there is the speed factor."
- If you have a slow internet connection, sometimes VPNs can make it worse. When you use a VPN, you are essential making a connection from your computer to the VPN server. We call this a tunnel. After your connection is made, all traffic is routed through that tunnel and pops out the other side (where the server is) and then connects to whatever you were trying to access. From the outside, it looks as though the VPN server is making all the requests, not you. This is the anonymity people speak of. Adding this tunnel increases throughput on your internet connection. Most high speed connections really won't see a dramatic drop-off, but if you are using something similar to dialup/old DSL speeds, you might run into issues with lag or dropped connections.

Some background on the NordVPN hack. Someone spoke up about it, but it wasn't 100% accurate. Here is a link for anyone to read if you want to know how much was actually accessed. techcrunch.com... Nord is still a good product/company. Yes, it was hacked, but they fixed the issues and I haven't heard much since. Most other VPN companies have been hacked, but they keep their mouth quiet about it, it's better for their business that way.

"flashing the MAC is illegal (or used to be)"
- Speaking from first and second world countries, I don't know of any time the act of flashing/changing a MAC has been illegal. It's the equivalent of changing your phone number. No one cares. Now, if you change your MAC address and commit a crime, the act of changing the MAC will indicate you were trying to avoid detection and can be used against your case.

"EVERYTHING is tied to the MAC .Even ANY IP"
- IP addressing is separate from MAC addressing. MACs are used on local networks to identify and talk to other machines/devices on the local networks. If your connection is required outside of your local network, IP Addressing is then used. The MAC address provides a separate function from the IP address.
www.guru99.com... for more info.

"OK, but what can the MAC address be used for?? I know it identifies your computer, but so what? Do all your posts travel with the MAC?"
- Your specific MAC address is only used in your local network (your router and the computers it services). After your connection leaves your local network, IP addressing takes over and gets you to where you need to be. At no time will a distant device (outside of your network) care or know about your MAC address unless it has the ability to scan you.

The MAC address (68:54:5A:7E:87:90 in my case) is a unique identifier assigned to a network interface controller (NIC) for use as a network address in communications within a network segment (local network). It doesn't identify a computer, it identifies the specific NIC. The first 6 digits (68:54:5A) refer to the manufacturer. The last 6 digits (7E:87:90) is a unique number that each NIC is given. If you put 2 of the same MAC addresses on the network, there will be issues with communication between those two+ devices. I've done this a few times with Virtual Machines and laughed at how many hours I spent trying to look for the issue when it was simply a cloned MAC address.
I'm thinking the posts you are referring to are for ATS. In this case, no, they are not.

Having someone's MAC address is about as useful as having their BestBuy refrigerator warranty number. Unless you are on the same network, it's pretty much useless.

"You are adding a middleman with a vpn....maybe several"
- Yes, this is the hook of a VPN. It creates a middleman which protects you from direct snooping. The world sees the VPN node as the source of the request and not your specific computer. VPNs aren't the end all of security/anonymity. If you are looking for serious security, you have to combine multiple technologies and/or tactics. VPNs are just one item in that toolbox.

"You still have a MAC address , though , that cannot be altered."
- If you ever take classes on hacking or pen-testing, MAC manipulation is one of the first things that's taught. For Linux-type operating systems, it's very easy. For Windows, you have to use software (a few of them around) because Windows makes life hard sometimes. Almost every NIC out there supports modification. I've used MAC manipulation a few times to get my Roku working at hotels which implement MAC filtering/security. I simply identify the hotel devices MAC, unplug the hotel device, plug in my device, and set my device to the hotel devices MAC. After that, the hotel's network trusts my device as it's due to MAC filtering.
www.online-tech-tips.com...

There are a few old and some proprietary devices out there that can be a beast to change the MAC. If you are messing with these, there's usually a very good reason not to change it as it will make the device inoperable. Mind you, these are very rare.

Ok, I'm going to shut up now. Just though I'd add to the conversation. Hopefully this helps clean some things up. Good luck out there!



posted on May, 7 2021 @ 07:34 AM
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VPNs are for privacy-concerned people, not everyone uses them. But I must say don't use free ones, go for paid services. And yeah, if you connect to different countries then speed may decrease. It's up to you which one you want.



 
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