VPNs and TOR: Anonymity on MESO-Rx

Discussion in 'Security, Privacy & Anonymity' started by Millard Baker, Dec 11, 2013.

  1. Millard Baker

    Millard Baker Member

    I highly recommend that everyone utilize TOR or a VPN.

    Information about TOR can be found here:

    TOR Project

    There are also several VPNs that don't maintain logs of user activity. Here is a list of some of the ones I've come across that meet my own criteria e.g. no logs, bitcoin, etc. (Disclosure: I receive a commission from some of them.)

    Private Internet Access

    • Logs: None.
    • Jurisdiction: United States
    • Information-sharing: “We will not share any information with third parties without a valid court order. With that said, it is impossible to match a user to any activity on our system since we utilize shared IPs and maintain absolutely no logs.”
    • Payment: Bitcoin

    EarthVPN

    • Logs: None.
    • Jurisdiction: Northern Cyprus
    • Information-sharing: “Under no circumstances we will provide any personal or private information to the third parties.”
    • Payment: Bitcoin

    NordVPN

    • Logs: None.
    • Jurisdiction: Panama
    • Information-sharing: “Requests are ignored because we do not comply with those laws.”
    • Payment: Bitcoin

    IVPN

    • Logs: None.
    • Jurisdiction: Malta
    • Information-sharing: “We do not share data with 3rd parties. If law enforcement served us with a subpoena and compelled us to log traffic we would shut down the business before cooperating, and relocate to a new jurisdiction.”
    • Payment: Bitcoin

    BTGuard

    • Logs: None.
    • Jurisdiction: Canada
    • Information-sharing: “We do not communicate with any third parties. The only event we would even communicate with a third-party is if we received a court order.”
    • Payment: Bitcoin

    TorGuard

    • Logs: None.
    • Jurisdiction: Nevis, West Indies
    • Information-sharing: “We don’t share any information with anyone regarding our network or its users and won’t even consider communicating with a 3rd party unless they’ve first obtained adequate representation within our legal jurisdiction. Only in the event of an official court ordered ruling would we be forced to hand over blank hard drives. There’s nothing to hand over but an operating system.”
    • Payment: Bitcoin

    Source: Which VPN Services Take Your Anonymity Seriously? 2013 Edition | TorrentFreak
     
    corageon, artex, 1forthegeeks and 5 others like this.
  2. 1forthegeeks

    1forthegeeks Member

    Millard,

    Out of the VPNs listed, which is your favorite?

    I have my eye on the one out of panama. ;)
     
  3. Millard,I am very interested in this topic. For my self and for others on this this forum. Im not familiar with companys that offer these services. Nor do I trust them. Any help would be so appreciated.
     
  4. Im sorry I didnt see your name at the top of the post. I see you recommend those. I will look into further. Thanks Millard! :)
     
  5. bltchemistry

    bltchemistry Junior Member

    Great Post. Especially since certain sources are accepting orders via PM. IMO, that really draws too much negative attention to this site. Source reviews and discussions are one thing, but open price lists and taking orders on this site seems risky to say the least. Perhaps I am paranoid, but I create a new email account for every order I make, and never access it from my regular IP address.
     
  6. Millard Baker

    Millard Baker Member

    My favorite is Private Internet Access. In addition to the points above, I like the fact that the founder (Andrew Lee) is an outspoken privacy advocate; he's passionate about the issue:

    Source: https://www.bestvpn.com/blog/7319/an-interview-with-private-internet-access-founder-andrew-lee/

    Source: UK Considers Opt-in Freedom Of Speech - Falkvinge on Infopolicy

    Also see: How one small American VPN company is trying to stand up for privacy | Ars Technica
     
    Carlos Danger and 1forthegeeks like this.
  7. Millard Baker

    Millard Baker Member

    Something to remember - you can't completely trust VPN providers. There is no independent way to verify that they do not maintain logs. TOR is the only practically guaranteed way to be anonymous. You can make your best choice concerning VPNs based on their public statements, their transparency, their stated philosophies, etc.

    Source: How one small American VPN company is trying to stand up for privacy | Ars Technica
     
  8. Cryptobolics

    Cryptobolics Junior Member

    I like how the fellow juice heads are becoming more educated about things like this. I'v been on a lot of boards and their has certainty been an evolution in the precaution taken when it comes to this game
     
  9. geauxtiger

    geauxtiger Member

    ty
     
  10. mands

    mands Member AnabolicLab.com Supporter

    I'm having problems with my TOR browser. It will log me out of MESO sometimes when I switch to another thread or section. Is this common?

    mands
     
  11. flenser

    flenser Member AnabolicLab.com Supporter

    I'm pretty sure the Meso forum is logging you out, because your apparent IP address changed.
     
  12. Millard Baker

    Millard Baker Member

    I think I found the solution. Dynamically-changing IP addresses generally don't matter with vbulletin authentication. I know this happens when you use TOR with something like safe-mail.net.

    Vbulletin does allow administrators to block access to specified IP addresses; MESO had a few dozen such IP addresses in the blacklist. I suspect that most of those may have been TOR exit nodes that were used by spammers. As a result, members who were logged in would randomly and unpredictably be logged out once TOR switched to those blacklisted exist nodes.

    I have removed these IP addresses from the blacklist and I think this has solved the problem.

    I await confirmation from Mands and anyone else who was affected.
     
    pumpingiron22 likes this.
  13. Millard Baker

    Millard Baker Member

    I think I found the solution. Dynamically-changing IP addresses generally don't matter with vbulletin authentication. I know this happens when you use TOR with something like safe-mail.net.

    Vbulletin does allow administrators to block access to specified IP addresses; MESO had a few dozen such IP addresses in the blacklist. I suspect that most of those may have been TOR exit nodes that were used by spammers. As a result, members who were logged in would randomly and unpredictably be logged out once TOR switched to those blacklisted exit nodes.

    I have removed these IP addresses from the blacklist and I think this has solved the problem.

    I await confirmation from Mands and anyone else who was affected.
     
  14. mands

    mands Member AnabolicLab.com Supporter

    I'm logged on now Millard. We shall see how it goes today.

    mands
     
  15. mands

    mands Member AnabolicLab.com Supporter

    Still having issues with MESO logging me out.

    mands
     
  16. heavyiron

    heavyiron Member

    TOR is super slow and terrible all the way around. I tried using it numerous times and the load times were insane. I wish there was something like TOR but better performance.
     
  17. ballerstatus

    ballerstatus Junior Member

    No need for Tor, VPN is just fine.

    Been using Witopia for years and great service. Also, they purge logs every few hours, so even subpoenaed, not much info they could offer to federal government. Additionally, you can choose to connect to about any city US wide and even plenty international. Service is about 70 per year.

    NSA likely is more concerned with terrorist. Drug enforcement agencys more then likely to target sellers, not consumers, so most on this forum are fine.

    Also, for those of you wanting free games, movies, ect. (torrenting); its nice your ISP cant see what you do and throttle your service and the NSA can't see what you do without significant effort.

    "Can VPN protect me against NSA spying?

    To a certain extent…

    When you use a VPN service you create an encrypted tunnel between your computer and a server run by your VPN provider. Your ISP cannot ‘see’ what data is being transmitted (i.e. what you are doing), but can see that you are connected to your VPN server, when you are connected, how much data is transmitted, and usually also the fact that you are using encryption.

    Anyone watching traffic on the internet can easily trace the IP of website visitors back to the VPN server. The VPN provider can then connect a user with the traced IP if it keeps logs of such activity.

    So in the normal course of things, if you do not volunteer personal details to an internet website or service, and you are using a VPN service that keeps no logs, then VPN will do a good job of maintaining your anonymity.

    Giving the game away yourself

    One of the most shocking things about the scandal is not that the US government spies on its own citizens, but that pretty near all of the leading US tech companies, who in many ways form the backbone of the internet, are complicit. This means for example, that if you usually stay signed in to your Gmail account (and thus into Google), all your internet searches using the Google search engine are likely to be harvested by the NSA. Similarly, there is little point having a secure connection to the Skype servers, when these servers are wide open to NSA monitoring.

    The simplest solution is to cancel your accounts with, and not use any of the affected services. In fact, given the reach of the NSA, we would suggest not using any US based internet service. However, for many this is not a realistic option, as most of us rely too heavily on these services for our day-to-day internet life.

    Even if we are willing to go to the hassle finding alternative, more secure services (see below), these also generally rely on the person at the other end of the line having the will and tech savvy to cooperate. There is no point in having a secure, PGP encrypted email set-up if you’re Granny, who has a Gmail account, can’t even program the microwave! Similarly, for the tens of millions of users out there to whom Facebook is the internet, and whose friends are all on there and have no intention of leaving it, simply leaving Facebook is not an option."
    https://www.bestvpn.com/blog/6484/the-nsa-prism-scandal-and-how-vpn-can-and-cannot-help/
     
  18. Millard Baker

    Millard Baker Member

    Witopia is one of the fastest VPNs in my experience. I like it for purposes like a (legal) home media streaming network. But if I recall correctly, they keep logs for 30 days and they block torrent webs. I don't know if this has changed recently.

    https://www.ivpn.net/blog/vpn-privacy-policies-decoded-witopia

    As far as VPN vs TOR is concerned, it all boils down to: Do you trust your VPN? They remain the "weak link" in your anonymity quest.
     
  19. ballerstatus

    ballerstatus Junior Member

    "Do you keep logs of my activity? Can you monitor my web surfing?
    We are not set up in any way to directly view an individual customer’s activity, nor do we monitor, capture, or store logs that are directly attributable to any individual customer. Some indirect data, and the other bits that are cached during the regular course of running an Internet business, are regularly destroyed, mostly during our weekly maintenance windows. In fact, we only keep this minimal and temporary “trailing log” of indirect data in case we learn a user is violating the terms of use, e.g. spamming, committing crimes using the service, etc. In that specific case, we will report this to our abuse team, determine the guilty party through a laborious matching process, terminate their service, and take further action, if necessary."


    Also, told in email by staff "we don't keep much" by a tech support guy.

    And no, I have never been throttled or block of any torrent sites. Been with service 3 years now.
     
  20. carpetpisser

    carpetpisser Junior Member

    For a crash course on VPN's check-out lifehacker. Easy to read articles for non-techies, a ton of good advice and vendor-neutral. You can be up and running in about 10 minutes....