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How do VPNs Work?

In this video, you will learn how VPNs work. It is important to note that not all VPNs will work the same.
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In this video, we’re going to be getting to know everything about VPNs. Now a typical connection is going to be, your computer goes out to your ISP and then to wherever we’re going. Now the problem with this is, whoever’s sitting in the middle– generally, your ISP or it could be a open Wi-Fi connection– they have a lot of control over what they see and how the traffic is handled, meaning that they can log the information, they can sell the information, they can redirect us. And this is going to be a lot more common on open Wi-Fis like Starbucks, we connect to an airport, and what not. And they also get malicious traffic injected in there.
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Likewise, wherever we’re going to could also be likewise stealing information, logging where we’re at, uncovering who we are, location wise, identification, and what not. Also, if you’re in another country, say Russia or China for example, things tend to be a lot more restrictive, where you go out to get your information. And this could be dangerous for things like journalists who are reporting. If they try to upload a story somewhere, ISP or government or anyone else snooping on the information could grab the information, whistleblowers. That traffic could potentially be seized and intercepted. This is where VPN is going to come in really handy. So a VPN can either be a software solution or it can be hardware resolution.
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And a VPN is a virtual private network. So that in itself means it’s going to take our information or take our connection, it’s going to encrypt it. And also, VPN tend to have different servers scattered throughout the country. That means that we can pick and choose whichever server we’re going to in most cases. So I may, in the United States, in California, I could choose a VPN say in Australia. This is especially handy if I’m doing a open investigation and, say whoever I’m searching for target wise is an Australian forum. If I’m going out to the forum with my regular ISP, they’re going to see I’m from the United States, possibly from California. And that might raise some red flags.
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Whereas if I go in on my VPN, I pick an Australian server, I jump in the Australian forum. They’re going to see that my connection and location is going to be in Australia. Likewise, if you’re a journalist, a whistleblower, what not, your traffic is encrypted. Generally, they’re not going to be able to tell what it is. And they should even have a hard time seeing words coming out of it. Because you’re going through the VPN server to wherever you’re going to end up. So a VPN again is software/ hardware, and typically it sits on our computer, our phone, or it can be a hardware device sitting in front of, say our PS3, Xbox, what not.
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And what it does is when we make a request, it goes through the VPN, routes that through wherever internet connection we have and out to whatever server we’re going to. Now what this does is it helps prevent the ISP from knowing where we’re going, what traffic we’re sending, and it helps obfuscate on the end of the website or server, identifying who we are, what our real location is, what our real IP is. Because IP is going to be our VPN IP, not our actual computer IP. So all in all, in short, all that means is it’s going to confuse your ISP or wherever server that we’re going to, from knowing what we’re really doing and where we’re really located.
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And wherever that traffic will still flow back to your computer properly or your console or whatnot. Now when it comes to VPNs, there’s no shortage of VPNs. So there’s a lot of VPN out there, a lot of them are really good. There’s CyberGhost, PIA, TunnelBear, ProtonVPN, and NordVPN to just name a small few. And again, there’s VPNs for Windows, Linux, OS X, iPhone, Android. And again, there’s hardware devices that have VPN. And we could set up even open source VPN. One very important test you want to run with any VPN. It’s going to be a DNS leak test. Now DNS leak test essentially makes sure that your DNS is not leaking.
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In other words, right now I’m running a VPN, so running a DNS leak test should not reveal my real ISP or my real IP address. It shouldn’t even give my real location, provided that the VPN that I’m using is in a different location. So right now I have my VPN running. And I can see the IP address here actually would match that to my VPN. So once we go here, and this test is a browser-based test and you can find it www.dnsleaktest.com. And it’s pretty simple. So make sure your VPN is running. And if you want a run before and after comparison, you could do that.
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Simply don’t run your VPN, run this, see what it comes up with, and then turn your VPN on, refresh the page, and rerun the tests and you can see what happens. So I’m going to do a standard test. There’s a standard and there’s an extended test that you could do. So let’s see what happens. OK, so first off, it has the 192.96.230.71 IP address, and let me zoom in here a little bit so it’s a little bit easier to see. And Hostname– none, which is great. And ISP is leaseweb-usa-wdc.
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So this is all really good. So first of all, the IP address is not my real IP address. Hostname is not displayed. And ISP is the VPNs ISP, not mine. So all in all, this shows that it’s not leaking my DNS with this particular VPN. So again, whatever VPN that you’re going to run, give it a test. Run a standard test or an extended test and make sure that none of the information that’s being fed back to you leads back to you. If it is, that means that particular VPN is either not configured right or it’s leaking the DNS, which is all bad and you don’t want to use it. So wrapping up, protect your privacy.
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A VPN can help protect your privacy. A VPN can also route our traffic to other states or even other countries. Not all VPNs are going to be the same. So make sure you do your research before you start using them or buying them. VPNs are sometimes used to fight censorship. And always run a DNS leak test on whatever VPN that you’re thinking about using. So this was all about VPNs. In the next video, we’re going to take a look at how to change our DNS connection to avoid ISP snooping. Thank you for watching. I’ll see you in the next video.

In this video, you will learn how VPNs work. It is important to note that not all VPNs will work the same.

For example:

  • some VPNs will have servers in different countries
  • some VPN providers will be more compliant with law enforcement
  • some VPN providers will not encrypt the traffic properly
  • costs or subscription costs will vary
  • free VPNs may sell your data

Over to you: It’s important to research VPN types before buying or using them. Research and run your own VPN.

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