Computer Related > VPN Computing Issues
Thread Author: Lemma Replies: 13

 VPN - Lemma
I find I am managing more and more financial and other information on my desktop and other internet kit. I have heard a few horror stories from friends about being hacked etc. One had his identity stolen and it took three years to sort out the issues.yikes!

I only use Apple kit, but want to make sure it is as secure as possible. I have checked out the idea of using a VPN and have come across Surfshark. It gets good write ups and there is a deal available for less than £2 a month.

I have no experience or real idea about these tools, but what’s not to like for a couple of pounds? I would welcome any views one way or the other?

Many thanks
 VPN - No FM2R
Most stuff is lost by stupid, unwary or clumsy users.

Look at your internet habits, consider your approach to opening emails & attachments, consider your anti-malware approach, consider your software installation habits, consider your password discipline, and then consider your habits again.

A VPN stops your ISP detecting what you are doing. There is little guarantee of much else, though plenty of promises, hope and optimism.
 VPN - Stuartli
I use ProtonVPN (free version) and it works fine for me others to who I've recommended it. No data limits and no noticeable download speeds being affected.

 VPN - smokie
I use NordVPN, who have had some very cheap two year deals (though not as cheap as you mention for suresurf or whatever it was).

I suppose I'd be interested to know if other VPNs have the same problems as I intermittently get:

1) occasionally can't reach my usual sites at all as their servers must go down or something
2) more frequent I get rejected by sites because NordVPNs server IPs are known, and are a source of spam (which is what many use VPN for) - so are blocked

It's meant I do not use VPN constantly, I have a desktop icon and turn it on as needed, but only turn it off when I run into problems (it has a suspend button where you say to pause it for 5, 15, 60 minutes then it auto resumes).

When I used some free trials ages ago, many seriously knackered my bandwidth - which may not matter so much for mail and browsing but it made the additional cost of my fast connection pointless.

Having said that, if you follow Mark's advice above strictly then a VPN is really not that necessary for most users.
 VPN - No FM2R
On NordVPN you need to remember to clear the cache or browsing history when rejected by a site, otherwise the cookies will keep you blocked for some while even if you connect to a different server.

I get blocked every now and again, less than weekly, and I clear the cache, connect to another server and away it goes for another week or so.

THe issues are usually caused by a DNS leak. There's a link on the NordVPN site to a test. In my case I had a leaky Torrent client.
 VPN - Lemma
Thank you all for the feedback and comments. I am a conservative internet user and am pretty particular about password usage etc and don't visit any dodgy sites etc. A few years ago I picked up some nasty malware that safely disrupted my Vista machine. I was so fed up with the problems that this caused that I switched to Apple kit and have been very happy with my choice ever since. That is about the only problem I have had, but never say never of course.

So I am not sure that there is an overwhelming and compelling reason to add this extra tool to the armoury, more a nice to have. My concern was prompted by the fact that in addition to our own finances I have now moved quite of a lot my mother's affairs to digital and that too is housed on this machine (she is in her 90s and I have power of attorney). I am particularly concerned to ensure as high a level of safety as possible as the stakes are now raised higher.

I think the idea of a recommended and free site sounds the perfect solution. whilst it is only available on one machine, this is the one that is used exclusively for all the heavy lifting. Some experience gained here would be a good pointer to future decisions.
 VPN - smokie
One thing you could try Lemma is setting up a safer DNS server. Cloudflare and others have DNS servers which prevent you receiving pages which they've deemed dodgy in some way, when browsing.

I'm currently trying out Quad9, read about it here

Cloudflare here

Free and easy to implement and manage (and readily reversible)
Last edited by: smokie on Wed 26 May 21 at 09:11
 VPN - Lemma
Thank you Smokie, I am delighted to have another suggestion and even more so if it is free!
 VPN - No FM2R
I run the paid version of Malwarebytes on our PCs/Laptops. It seems to stop everything, including unwise web choices. Nothing has gone wrong since we got it.

Touch wood, touch wood, touch wood, touch wood, touch wood, touch wood, touch wood, touch wood, touch wood, touch wood, touch wood, touch wood, touch wood, touch wood.
 VPN - No FM2R
>> I am not sure that there is an overwhelming and compelling reason to add this extra tool to the armoury, more a nice to have.

I think the question is, what do you expect it to stop?

1) It prevents your ISP from seeing what type of traffic you're causing and throttling you. Useful for torrent downloading for example.

2) It gives you a VPN LAN that you could access remotely if you chose

3) You can avoid GEO blocks - watch iPlayer form another country, for example.

4) It *may* offer higher levels of encryption/security (mostly relevant when using public WiFi for example).

It does not offer any guarantees of anonymity, it does not protect you from malware and most importantly of all it will not protect you from your own misbehaviour, mistakes, habits or carelessness.

It certainly won't make your security any worse so there is no downside, though do be aware that some can slow your connection speeds.

Personally I use a VPN when I wish to conceal my location and the rest of the time make sure I am being smart, with anti-malware stuff as a backstop.

However, I am probably "password paranoid", never open attachments or files without thought and care. I don't browse "dodgy" sites and I don't download stuff without checking it out.

As far as I can quickly think pretty much everything I use and care about requires something I have and something I know and all sensitive files on my computer are not actually on my computer they are stored on a small, and very old, NAS which is not, by default, online.
 VPN - smokie
I suppose the extra thing I do is back everything up frequently, including the C drive.

So if it goes corrupt for any reason I can easily roll back a week. I don't keep every week though, because it doesn't change a lot. I tend to keep the one from immediately after a major upgrade then last week's and a random one from somewhere in between.

It helps that my C drive is just Windows and apps (compresses to about 25Gb so do-able to a USB stick but better to an external USB drive), and all data is on the D drive.

But then I have plenty of disk space and time to waste :-)
 VPN - No FM2R
I back up only data. Not windows or any apps.

I usually have a system back up somewhere around but for a variety of reasons a re-install is usually the course I choose. I guess the exception is if changing disk when I will do a clone or copy or restore or something.
 VPN - No FM2R
Also, I have a "sandbox" directory on my C: Drive which tends to be little links, or files, or pictures that I will get around to doing something and other stuff I'm dicking around with.

That tends to be quite volatile and I have been burned before, so that directory is mirrored in the cloud and thus always secure from failure.
 VPN - Kevin
>so that directory is mirrored in the cloud and thus always secure from failure.

Ha,ha,ha,ha ha!
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