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VPNs and Tor

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Prism-break (PB) recommend a number of anonymizing networks. Of these two are most likely to be used by a general user. The first is Tor which is rightly well-known as the chief method of browsing the internet securely. These days one can simply use the Tor Browser bundle (Firefox with Tor integrated): https://www.torproject.org/projects/torbrowser.html.en

There are a few crucial things to keep in mind when using Tor:

(a) to remain completely anonymous you must avoid using services that require your actual identity (e.g. an email with your name!). Even when you do not use your actual identity, and adopt another username, remember that pattern-of-analysis might be used to identify you in the same manner one can do a 'taint' analysis on Bitcoin transactions. (There are also issues concerning exit nodes and man-in-the-middle attacks for those who are uber-security conscious).

(b) Tor is a target for the NSA who have used malware injection attacks to identify Tor users. They achieved this by injecting malicious code via javascript which should be *turned off* on Tor (I would say try to browse Tor with minimal bells and whistles to be very safe). Be aware that using Tor is considered suspicious and the NSA or your ISP can see you are using Tor but not what you are using Tor for.

(c) Be extra vigilant on the deep web. It's full of good people but also home to a higher ratio of hackers than one might be used to. The deep web wiki is today full of scams so do avoid them.

The other option is i2p. This is another interesting service and has the virtue of offering an almost back to basics vision of the internet. However it can be a little slow and tricky to configure. I've not used it too much but I have no major issues with it either.

Now in choosing a VPN there are a number of issues to consider. When you are about to purchase a VPN read their site to discover the following:

(a) do they keep logs which could be used against you at a later date. If so what is the point in hiding your IP address if it is simply replacing your ISP with the VPN provider.

(b) where are they located? This does not just mean avoid the U.S. but what laws apply in each country. Broadly speaking it seems Swiss-based providers come under solid privacy laws and off-shore providers are not as regulated as most.

(c) do they mention what they would do when faced with court orders, etc.? Check to see whether they explicitly mention they can do nothing because of (a) namely they do not keep logs.

(d) take a look at exactly what specifications they are offering (how many servers, how many options, type of encryption, server security). A good company will be proud to provide lots of detail.

(e) do they take Bitcoin? Never buy a VPN with a credit card or Paypal since this provides the VPN with all your details (address, etc.).
I prefer not to mention the VPN as it then gives away the one I use (it was a conscious decision to avoid naming explicitly). However one might say that the following sample fit many of the criteria set out above though you need to weigh up what works best for you: proxy.sh, airvpn and for those in the States willing to use an American service (albeit with a good reputation) Private Internet Access.

I would exclude, and assume most of you do anyway, Cyberghost, Hidemyass and any free service.
I can suggest you some top most VPNs which works in many countries. They also work with all social media websites, local news, streaming like netflix, hulu and many other websites. You can go for Express VPN, Nord VPN, Cyber ghost VPN and Surf Shark VPN. They all are available in free trials. So it will be easy for you to pick one.
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