My VPN Thoughts

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There are a ton of great articles out there about a VPN. I’m not going to try and compete with what they have to say. I think having a VPN is an important part to anyone’s online security. I have a VPN connected to each one of my running computers when I’m home or away from home. I use my VPN on my iPhone when I want semi-complete privacy. When I’m working out, my gym doesn’t need to know what music I stream, nor do they need to see I just made a transfer of fiat from one bank account to another. Those are my thoughts, but they don’t have to be yours.

At the end of my VPN rant, there are a few linked articles I’d recommend reading. They have some good information that you might find helpful.

I decided to go full time VPN after my local fiber provider was sold to a much bigger company. I had met the owner and knew his company was not mining my data and selling it. But I couldn’t say the same for our new fiber provider. AT&T, Xfinity, Cox, Frontier, HughesNet, etc, do collect and sell your data. Your data is just another revenue stream for them. I’m a private person and I expect my data to be mine and no one else’s.

I’ve had quite a few people ask me about who I’d recommend as a VPN provider. If you would have asked me a few months ago I would have said NordVPN. They have been great for years. I can’t say that anymore. Not that Nord has changed, or that they are a bad company. But a company doesn’t know what it doesn’t know. They didn’t realize that there was a back door into one of their servers. You can read from both angles below:

This fall I sat under the silver maple in my back yard. I pondered about life and technology. I came to the conclusion that if I wanted to be my own crypto exchange, be my own bank, I also needed to be serious about securing my own data. I decided to become my own VPN provider. Why would I want to be my own VPN provider? So I know exactly who is and who is not looking at my data.

Some of us understand Sutton’s Law. Why would someone rob a bank? Cause that’s where the money is. The same goes for VPN and Data. Someone uses a VPN to secure their data and keep it private. That’s not illegal, but some would like it to be. When you use a large VPN provider everyone knows where you’re coming from. There are companies that sell IP ranges of IP Proxies and VPN providers. Clause D made a statement in Telegram that struck a note with me. “I used VPN for a few years and now, NordVPN. But from what I know already I feel it’s almost pointless, and using a VPN might actually attract additional attention – like a honey pot.” – Clause D.

There are countless examples out there about Big Tech saying one thing publicly and doing another thing privately. I personally experienced these types of business practices and it became the norm. It’s what you had to do if you wanted to remain “part of the team”. The question is, can you trust what a company says. That’s for each one of us to decide on our own.

There is one more experience that has forever changed my view on power. I was working for a small company that its main focus was communication via the internet. A couple times a year we would be contacted by the Secret Service or FBI due to some type of threat made via our service. It became pretty routine. The law enforcement agency would call and tell me what they needed, I would ask for a subpoena, I would give them the information they wanted, I would get a copy of the subpoena and our deal was done. We felt the subpoena would cover us for handing over someone else’s private data to law enforcement. We felt we couldn’t be sued by our client or our client’s clients for the information we disclosed. This procedure morphed over the years. I got a call from an FBI agent, he informed me on what he needed, I asked for a subpoena, ect. Three days went by, no subpoena, I called. Four more days went by, still no subpoena, I finally got him on the phone. I asked him where the subpoena was, I was informed that they would no longer need to get a subpoena for me. That he just needed the Patriot Act. He told me to read it. I told him I wanted the subpoena he promised me. He told me to read the Patriot Act and he would email me the link. That was it, and the conversation was over.

The next time they asked for something, I told them I needed something first. That didn’t work either. Instead of a call, I had people knocking on my door. Lesson learned and noted.

These are my experiences that I can talk about. But what about the ones that no one can talk about? Have you ever heard of a Gag Order, a National Security Letter? If a company is hacked and your data is stolen, you legally need to be notified. But no so if it’s your own government. Secret F.B.I. Subpoenas Scoop Up Personal Data From Scores of Companies

So why my VPN rant?

** Update: I had this article 95% complete and was ready to make it public. However, Claus posted an article that I just had to read. It led me down hours worth of rabbit holing. After that read I’ve come to the conclusion that I won’t be renewing my NordVPN service. There were too many things I stumbled accross which left more questions than answers. You can go rabbit holing too if you want (see links below). You can also read how US Senators Demand Probe of Foreign VPNs Over Spying Risk . I don’t feel the need to turn this article more negative then it already is. This information is not to induce fear, but to educate so you can make your own decision based on knowledge. Don’t listen to me, don’t listen to a YouTuber, listen to your inner voice. I feel that always leads anyone on their best path.

These two three examples convinced me of the following:

  • I have distrust of Big Tech.
  • I expect that my personal data will be shared if asked for by any law enforcement agency.
  • I’m not sure I should trust my VPN provider. **

My Solution

So that’s why I’ve been running my own VPN servers for the last 6 months. I’m a small target, not a big one like NordVPN or other VPN provider. No one has a clue I’m running my own VPN.

I have a connection in the USA (one that I connect to 24x7x365). I have a connection in London. At this point I feel I’m covered in whatever I need to do. But time will tell, and I’ll let you know how it’s working out.

Helpful Articles

This article came to the same conclusion I had this summer – https://theconversation.com/

What is a VPN – https://restoreprivacy.com/

Best VPN Services 2019 – https://restoreprivacy.com/

5 Eyes, 9 Eyes, & 14 Eyes Countries – What You NEED to Know – https://www.vpnmentor.com/

Why you might be a moron – Humor Helps – http://www.collegehumor.com/

Rabbit Holing with NordVPN

There appears to be some good evidence on this site worth reading and verifying for yourself. This was my starting point. https://vpnscam.com/nordvpn-protonvpn-proton-mail-owned-by-tesonet-ceo-darius-bereika/

Tesonet with the CEO named removed from the page. The letter has the same date. https://archive.is/CcjGy

Tesonet with the CEO named on from the page. The letter has the same date. https://archive.is/DAVmm

https://www.linkedin.com/in/darius-b-42726848/

https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=19242377

Wyoming Secretary of State CloudVPN, Inc.

Who really owns NordVPN? – Tefincom S.A., according to my NordVPN receipt.

Tefincom S.A. owns NordVPN. Alina Gatsaniuk ( Linkedin Page ) is the Director & Secretary. She is also the Director & Secretary for 5 other companies. Her mail.ru page shows she is 32yrs old and lives in Kiev, Ukraine and not Panama. To get an idea of what some companies registered in Panama are designed for, watch The Laundromat on Netflix.

It’s pretty easy to state that Tefincom S.A. in a Panamanian shell company. My latest invoice (2019) from NordVPN stated they were in Nicosia, Cyprus. If they have a shell company in Panama, but offices in Cyprus, what jurisdiction would they really fall under?

Everyone Loves Images In a Webpage

This gives you a visual idea of how a VPN might help protect you.

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4 comments

    • Binj2020, that’s a great idea. I was thinking I might, but wasn’t sure people would want it. I’ve been experimenting with things and trying to add more value like ad blocking and malware blocking to it. I’m about to have a couple people here test it for a few weeks before I feel comfortable finalizing it.

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  • Hey CryptoLab,

    I read thru your VPN section after reviewing some web security info from a guy named Rob Braxman. He recommends Bytz VPN (cloud vpn with ad blocking). I think it might be something he created but I’m not sure. Have you heard of it or know if it’s any good? Currently I’m using ExpressVPN and have been for the past 3 years. I haven’t had any issues with them but I’m considering switching to something less main stream as I don’t want to be caught up in a “Honey Pot” as Claus has mentioned.

    Thanks!

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    • Yes, I am aware of Rob Braxman. I think he has some great ideas and thoughts. However, I don’t agree with his thoughts about the 4th amendment. I have personal experience that a 3 letter agency does not need a subpoena to get some things they want. They throw up “The Patriot Act” instead of going through the legal process of a Judge signing off on such a request. I think Rob is a little naive about the whole process of how things run in these United States. A small company will not spend $10k to call their legal team to fight giving out information about someone who pays them only $6.95/month. There are also reasons why we would want to come from a connection outside of the US.

      I prefer to run software that is open source and reviewed by my peers. The software I use is Algo which is open source, code viewable and anyone can run it on their own or VPS hardware. I have been playing with it for over 8 months now and fine tuning some of the features. My current installs run with customizable ad blocking capabilities. I have installs around the globe and I’m thinking of offering it to people if there is interest.

      In my quest for the perfect VPN I’m studying what identifies a connection coming from a VPN. As time passes I’m learning more and more about the whole process and industry. More on this later, but on my list of projects is one called “Real IP”.

      Thanks for your feedback, I really appreciate it.

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