Ask LH: How Can You Trust A VPN Provider?

Ask LH: How Can You Trust A VPN Provider?

Hey Lifehacker, It seems that VPNs are about to become a lot more attractive to Australian downloaders. Some claim not to keep any logs of any traffic or meta-data, but how can one trust that this is actually the case? It would be a perfect honeypot for a government agency or media organisation to set up and catch people specifically trying to hide their traffic. Would there be any recourse if that happened? Thanks, Paranoid Android

Picture: Maksim Kabakou/Shutterstock

Dear PA,

Short answer: You probably can’t trust anyone, unless you’re privy to absolutely every endpoint they have and their entire inner network infrastructure. Which they’re not exactly going to line up to show you. That’s an absolute kind of position, however, and back in the real world this is something we’ve looked at before.

Why You Need A VPN (And How To Choose One)

[related title=”HOW TO VPN” tag=”vpn1″ items=”4″]

The tl;dr version of that is that while you can’t absolutely “trust” any given VPN that you don’t personally control, some VPNs are far more open in their policy documents about what they do and don’t track and where they’re operating, which at least gives you a starting point for developing some level of trust.

Yes, there’s a risk inherent in using a VPN that it might be a government honeypot, but that’s a somewhat nebulous risk in terms of your overall data usage.

If you’re concerned, it’s almost always going to be a lesser risk than the now-passed metadata legislation, which will most certainly be harvesting data as a matter of law.


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    • I have used IPVanish and ExpressVPN and i trust them. They both do not keep logs and are torrent and p2p friendly, one can also find this from the other customer reviews from different platforms. They provide extra security and protection. They have amazing features and fast connectivity and 24/7 customer support. Though i would suggest that you can go through the list of best VPNs and get the best from it according to your need.

  • Yes, there‚Äôs a risk inherent in using a VPN that it might be a government honeypotReally? Is this Government really that dystopian? Surely not!

    • The Government is all about information and control. As MK once said, “There is no knowledge that is not power”. I dont doubt that if the government hasnt already set up a VPN honeypot, they will soon enough (ie before this year is out).

  • We’d love to see LifeHacker do an in-depth study on the top VPN services, which looks beyond their marketing buzzwords and the PR from their affiliates.

    For example most of the “no logs” VPNs are actually logging peoples home IP address (in their VPN connection logs or their website/support systems). Some are even using Google Analytics and sharing peoples home IP address and purchase info with Google, who has a poor record on respecting privacy (plus the IP anonymization/masking takes place AFTER data is received by the Google Analytics Collection Network so the assumption that it’s anonymous is flawed). Just search for “google privacy lawsuit” for a few examples.

    One of the top criticisms of the TorrentFreak survey is that it heavily favours the sites sponsors and is not impartial (see the comments on their site for the 2014 + 2015 editions).

    How many “no logs” VPNs actually log your home IP address? You’d be surprised.

    • User with name of popular vpn provider and no comment history tries to inspire vague fear of other vpn providers without supplying names or evidence (circumstantial or otherwise).

      If you have evidence for your claims, please provide it. I’d love to be have more known-dodgy services to steer people away from. A lot of other people would too.
      If you do not have evidence, I’m going to have to class this as either fearmongering or paid astroturfing and ignore it.

  • I don’t know if you can trust any VPN provider completely unless you set it up yourself. I ended up not caring so much about absolute security and more about speed and price. If you’re just torrenting and want to stay off the general radar i found Pure VPN to be an incredibly good provider. I also set it up on my router so all network traffic is secure, never had any issues.

  • If VPN hides your IP from web sites visited, why then when I visit “Whatismy”, thay are able to tell me my IP address?????/ (I’m using Ttunneltear VPN)

  • Please Don’t use I am getting 50 to 70 kbps speed. I tried all of their servers but only one or two server give me speed of 100 to 150 kbps sometimes. I purchase 1 year plan and unable to use even a week and i giveit up. Sometimes you will not be able to open websites. its cheap and speed is also cheap. I use lots of vpn but this one is shit.

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