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rant about so-called VPN services


Many video channels are promoting so-called VPN services to get some extra bucks. What annoys me is all that nonsense they claim, the services and the promoters.

What are the so-called VPN services? They are actually a NAT service, i.e. you establish an encrypted tunnel to a selectable NAT server and your actual IP address will be hidden behind the NAT server's address. Does it sound familiar? Your router at home does NAT too, just without the VPN and without the option to select the router.

What is it good for? One feature is to hide your IP address or to pretend to be somewhere else. This helps with circumventing geolocation based blocking of clients, like watching content licensed for a specific region. Or if you are a bad guy, making it harder for law enforcement to catch you. Another feature is to defeat state-sponsered filtering and blocking of internet services.

What it doesn't provide is privacy or protection against security threats. Besides web cookies there are several ways to identify users. Simply changing your IP address doesn't help in any way without applying additional measures. If you enter your credentials on a phishing web page or click on 'install me' the NAT service won't protect you either. Though, there can be benefits, like the NAT server taking a DOS attack meant for you.

Be aware that some of the so-called VPN services keep logs for law enforcement and other purposes. A few were cought saving logs despite claiming otherwise. So much for privacy. Also, restrictive content platforms are mapping the NAT servers and add them to their ACLs. And the Great Firewalls try to block them too. A game of cat and mouse.


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