Can foreign-based VPN apps be used to spy?

Discussion in 'Smartphones, Computers, Gaming and Networking' started by Denton, Feb 8, 2019.

  1. Denton

    Denton Bronze Member Donor Top Poster

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  2. CJ

    CJ Bronze Member Admin Top Poster

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    That's WHY I use one. GFY.

    Uh, if government employees can connect to government systems on an unencrypted connection that is the government's fault for running astonishingly shitty security. I'm working from home as I type this. If I run my work connection through a foreign VPN they can't see shit. Either federal agency security is dog shit or these Senators don't have a fucking clue what they're talking about. Probably both.
     
  3. Denton

    Denton Bronze Member Donor Top Poster

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    Then there's this: Trump administration eliminates top cyber post
     
  4. DustinDavis

    DustinDavis Well-Known Member

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    CJ don't you have to trust the foreign VPN not to be doing anything nefarious? Sounds like that is the concern here, that the foreign VPN provider cannot be trusted to give you a truly private connection.
     
  5. Carl V

    Carl V Bronze Member Donor Top Poster

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    Two friends who are well informed and well connected. They are deep into cyber security and data authentication. Simply smiled. “There are degrees of trust and security. Sorta like Dante’s inferno.” Ask mr. amazon dot com. Some of their former colleagues are working overseas applying their knowledge for foreign govts.
     
  6. Drew

    Drew Well-Known Member Top Poster

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    Trust them more than say, cumcast, verizon, TW, etc? This was a rhetorical question, right?
     
  7. DustinDavis

    DustinDavis Well-Known Member

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    Correct, trust them more than those. What information does one have to say the "Chinese VPN" is more trustworthy? The word "private" in the software name? More direct knowledge of what the VPN is doing with your data either in transit or at rest?
     
  8. Carl V

    Carl V Bronze Member Donor Top Poster

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    China is ever vigilant with VPN crack downs. And the next gen. 5g from China and their ever expanding network linking/ app. Will always have access. “ great firewall” and we chat
     
    Last edited: Feb 9, 2019
  9. Mikael Soderholm

    Mikael Soderholm Active Member Donor

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    That is no different from domestic VPN providers.
    Or rather, what you trust is the CA issuing the certificates used to encrypt. The whole PKI infrastructure is based on trust, and trusted certificate issuers, basically. And that goes for anything protected by certificates, not just VPN, also, for instance, SSL.
     
  10. DustinDavis

    DustinDavis Well-Known Member

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    Right, that would also be my understanding. What I don’t follow is why one would think that a domestic VPN provider would be more inclined to be in cahoots with the US government, or otherwise being monitored without knowledge, than would the Chinese counterparts. That just doesn’t even pass the sniff test to me.
     
  11. Mikael Soderholm

    Mikael Soderholm Active Member Donor

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    Well, putting my tinfoil hat on, I basically don't trust anyone, especially anyone having the US government behind them:

    >10,000 Windows computers may be infected by advanced NSA backdoor
    Snowden: The NSA planted backdoors in Cisco products
    Help End Backdoor Searches of the Internet
    Exclusive: NSA infiltrated RSA security more deeply than thought - study | Reuters

    Basically, US govt can and will do whatever it takes to the the info they feel they need. I don't expect other governments to be any different, only perhaps less skilled and able ...
     
  12. CJ

    CJ Bronze Member Admin Top Poster

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    That's why you pick your VPN carefully. I wouldn't sign up with a Chinese no name VPN. I use PIA and they have a pretty sterling reputation. They also tell you what they do and don't do. They could be lying but at least they are sticking their necks out. Their statements are pretty security expert friendly... I have to imagine if they were full of shit someone would have exposed them.
     
  13. DustinDavis

    DustinDavis Well-Known Member

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    I guess at some point one has to choose. I am still not more keen to give China the benefit of the doubt than whatever US company.

    Speaking of sterling reputations—do we know the truth about Kaspersky? I only recollect the accusations leveled against a company that prior to them had a likewise sterling reputation.
     
  14. CJ

    CJ Bronze Member Admin Top Poster

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    We may be talking across each other. PIA isn't a Chinese VPN and you couldn't pay me to use one.
     
  15. DustinDavis

    DustinDavis Well-Known Member

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    You are right, I was under the impression that you were espousing use of a Chinese VPN and hence had rationalized a higher level of trust for it. Couldn’t figure it.
     
  16. CJ

    CJ Bronze Member Admin Top Poster

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    My response was more to the fear mongering of congressmen who don't understand technology and have ulterior motives for not wanting people to secure their internet usage.

    PIA claims to log no user activity and if you pay with an anonymous payment method they don't even know who you are as a customer. They have nothing to turn over to law enforcement or the government even if they wanted to, which they do not. Are people using that anonymity for illegal activities? Absolutely! I'm not and that's not my problem any more than it is if someone commits a gun crime.
     
  17. DustinDavis

    DustinDavis Well-Known Member

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    I see what you mean but I doubt ulterior motives are really at play here. After all their comments are targeting foreign providers, leaving the obvious domestic options out of the conversation. If this is all a gambit to scare people off VPNs altogether...these fear-mongering not-understanding politicians would really have to be smarter than we think because that’s playing the looooooooong game.

    Anyhow I don’t mean to sound like I have a bone to pick with you on this. Reading more books lately on the cyber security topic. Just very interesting on so many fronts, especially when you get away from common hackers and into what nation-states are doing.
     
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  18. CJ

    CJ Bronze Member Admin Top Poster

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    Not at all! We're good.
     
  19. JeffC

    JeffC Well-Known Member Donor

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    Very few people know what nation states are doing (not implying I do, I don't either), but the USA, China and Israel are leading the way. Nobody else is even close as far as I've heard. However, I'm a network engineer and not a security expert. But I do work with them daily and I slept at a Holiday Inn Express last night. :grin:
     
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