VPNs Are Not Private

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A common misconception you will see repeated online is that VPNs make everything you do online “private” or “secure”. The people repeating this myth are unfortunate victims of advertising psyops.

In addition to VPNs having active advertising campaigns on television, they make outright claims in said advertisements that are simply untrue.

It should be obvious that any product that can advertise itself on television doesn’t actually offer “privacy” or “security” which of course they vaguely define and redefine as needed to sell you on their product.

VPN services effectively have two main features and that’s it, anything beyond them is marketing. These are packet / protocol obfuscation and bypassing region locks or ISP blocking. Any claims to “privacy” or “security” are poorly defined and assume that the user in question is an expert on internet protocols, fingerprinting, etc.

Can VPNs be used for privacy? Yes. Do VPNs offer privacy out of the box? No.

In fact, using a VPN service as is for all of your web traffic makes you easier to track as it is another piece of metadata that can be used to identify you.

Using a VPN out of the box but then using it for everything tells every service you connect to that you are on a VPN, which VPN it is and that you use it for everything.

Here are some valid uses of a VPN service:

So there are still valid uses for VPNs but for anything privacy or security related you need to know what you are doing. Otherwise you just make yourself a bigger target.

VPNs are useful tools and have valid uses, they can be used for privacy if you know what you are doing. Just be careful which one you pick and how you use it. Many VPN companies are owned by companies or in territories that are hostile to a free internet. Always research what you are buying.