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Proxy ARP Protocol

One of the most common requests that a router will get on a busy network are ARP requests.  They can easily overload hardware so it’s important to have facilities which can share the burden.  Proxy ARP allows a router to answer ARP requests on one of it’s networks for a host on another network.    This involves fooling the sender or the ARP request into believing that the router is the destination host where in fact the destination host is actually on another interface of the router.    The router is effectively acting as a proxy agent for the destination host relaying packets across adjacent networks.

One of the best ways to illustrate proxy ARP is by means of an example.  Imagine a system connected to ethernet networks.  They may look connected but in fact they’re not merely connected by a router operating on two different subnets.  The router will perform the hardware ARP requests across both of the networks which means that they will appear as a single entity.  You can even cross country borders and hide two networks for example a French and a UK proxy like this.

The router will perform complex calculations in order to determine which networks the datagrams need to be sent to.  At the core of the calculations are the network IDs which are essential in order to keep track of source and destinations of the network data.  The router will build up a large table of the various hardware addresses across all connected networks.  Then it can use this information to effectively route data through the most efficient interface like a fast VPN.

You can use various tools to troubleshoot both ARP and proxy ARP functions. One of the most useful is obviously the arp command which will list the various addresses stored in the table, use it with the -a switch for easy reference.  You can usually pick up the communications that will commonly take place when proxy ARP is being used fairly easily.

Other commands that are useful include the ifconfig command which can list IP addresses for ports and interfaces.  You can also reconcile hardware addresses, serial links and interface information using this command.  Effectively though you can understand proxy ARP by the simple fact that it tries to hide two physical networks from each other.   IN fact when it is configured correctly you can actually have a single network id to represent two distinct networks.

 

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Hey How do I Hide My VPN Connection?

The problem with being a super sneaky ninja surfer and using a VPN is that anyone with a little IT knowledge and access to ISP logs can see that you are using one.   For the ordinary user, internet logs are a myriad of calls and get requests to hundreds of different web servers and IP addresses.  However if you’re using a VPN then it all get’s channeled through a single IP address, that of the VPN server.

hide my vpn
Of course, it’s all encrypted and hidden so your actual web activity is hidden.  However signalling the fact that you’re using a VPN does kind of decrease the feeling of privacy somewhat.  So is there a way of becoming a little more discrete and hide VPN connection from various nosy people?   Well it depends on which VPN service you’re using but the most secure services have configuration options that enable to make the fact you’re using a VPN almost invisible too.

Even the best proxy server isn’t going to have these options at least not unless you’ve full administrative access .  However a few of the proper secure VPN download for PC have customizable interfaces that allow you to configure these security settings.

Hide My VPN – Demonstration

Here’s a video explaining the options in Identity Cloaker – entitled Hide my VPN, where you can see how to make VPN use invisible.

The key factor in hiding the use of a VPN or proxy is to make your browsing look similar to everyone else’s and that involves rotating your internet addresses that are used. If your connection simply uses a single IP address all the time it’s fairly easy to identity it’s a VPN or Proxy server being used. However if this IP addresses is rotated slightly then your connections will sink back into the shared anonymity of the logs.

Identity Cloaker also allows you to configure some applications to be encrypted and redirected whilst others operate as normally. For instance you can configure one browser like Firefox to be encrypted and routed through the VPN server, whilst Chrome operates like a normal insecure browser. You then switch to the secure browser when you want some privacy and to hide your browsing whilst everything else is normal. Activists use this technique to just switch to their secure browser when posting on social media or making controversial posts.

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Best VPN for Anonymity

Have you ever wondered what is the extent of your digital identity and if  you can control it?  Mostly people completely underestimate the scale of their digital imprint and imagine they have some control over it.  Firstly they imagine that if you delete or remove something about you online that it’s then gone, unfortunately that it is rarely the case.

best vpn for anonymity

The problem with this concept is that there’s rarely a single location where you can delete information.   If you send an email, it will transfer from your client through your ISP (Internet Service Provider) and then routed through a variety of shared hardware, servers, routers and switches until it reaches it’s destination.  At any point the data can be logged, recorded or copied so that email doesn’t only exist on the senders and recipients computers but potentially in many other places too.   Effectively you would have to delete every single copy wherever they may be.

It’s the same with anonymity, it’s reassuring to think that what you do on your computer is completely private but it’s simply untrue.   Most data sent from your computer shares some important properties which make anonymity online difficult –

  • It’s traceable back to your computer and location via your IP address.
  • Most of the data is in clear text and easily readable.
  • It’s transported via other people’s hardware.

In many ways using and communicating via the internet is like sending a postcard through the mail – everyone who comes across it can read it (and copy it if they so wished).   Understanding this makes at least possible to increase your level of privacy online.

There are of course a whole host of tools which can help reduce the risk however one of the most essential is to use a VPN (Virtual Private Network) or perhaps an EU based proxy. Although a VPN doesn’t guarantee complete anonymity it’s without doubt the biggest single step you can take to protect your data online.  So it makes sense to find and purchase the best VPN you can find but remember it does depend on your requirements, for example many don’t allow anonymous torrenting .

The crucial protections that a VPN gives you are many, but these are probably the highlights:

  • Encrypts all your data being transmitted which means although it can still be intercepted, none of the content is readable.
  • Stops your internet activity being logged at your ISP.  Without a VPN every website you visit, every file you download or video you watch is recorded and logged at your ISP.
  • Stops websites you visit from recording your address and location.

There are other areas you would need to protect of course to minimize your digital footprint but most are irrelevant unless you use something to protect the internet connection you use.  Make sure you use a VPN that is run by a company who take security seriously.

The best VPN for anonymity is one where security is paramount and under no account will they log any of your data, at  the moment the best legal protection comes from European privacy legislation  so it’s worth considering companies based there.  It’s tempting to pick a more obscure location, but if you start routing your connection through something like a Russian or Indian proxy make sure you know them well as there’s likely to be little legislation protecting your rights and their conduct.

Our recommendation for the most secure service and the best VPN for anonymity would be ..

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The Return of US DNS Netflix

It’s been a few months now since Netflix instigated it’s comprehensive and extremely effective VPN and Smart DNS block.  Overnight literally millions of people found that they were blocked from accessing their Netflix version of choice as suddenly their VPN or US DNS Netflix solutions simply stopped working.  When they connected to Netflix by using one of these methods instead of being redirected to their selected version as soon as a movie or video was played – this was the message most users received:

US DNS Netflix

Most people used these solutions to access different versions of Netflix, generally the US, UK or Canadian versions simply because they are much bigger and better.  The US version of Netflix for example has thousands more movies and TV shows than some of the smaller countries have access to, despite the subscription cost being fairly standard across the world.  For expats or travellers this was even more inconvenient as their US Netflix subscription suddenly was inaccessible and they were redirected to whatever the local version happened to be.

It looked like the media giant had won and the internet had got a little bit smaller again.  However there is hope, we’ve already written on these pages about one residential VPN system which now works after some serious upgrade work.   Now there is a Smart DNS solution too, implemented by the company . .   I believe it is the only US DNS Netflix based system which currently works with Netflix and it works very well indeed.

Smart DNS systems are actually preferred by many users because they don’t require any software and you can install them on all sorts of devices.   They work by only redirecting part of your internet connection and only when you’re using a region blocking media site like Netflix.  Remember though they provide no real anonymity, so if that’s a requirement you’ll need a VPN.  All you need to do is to use the Unblock-US DNS servers instead of your normal ones.  They’ll work normally until you visit a website like Netflix at which point you’ll be redirected through a server in the country you have specified.

usdnsnetflix

Here’s the screen where you specify which country to be routed through.  In this example I’ve chosen Canada as Canadian Netflix has some great shows not available on any other Netflix regions, although I usually leave this set to US Netflix.  If you’ve changed your DNS settings, that’s all you need to do – simply specify which region you wish to use.  You can use this on virtually any device as long as you are able to access the DNS server settings – including phones, smart TVs, media streamers and games consoles. You can even assign these settings on devices which restrict access to the network settings like the Roku. However it can be a little trickier as you have to assign the DNS settings via a DHCP allocation if your router or access point supports that facility.

You still need a valid Netflix subscription of course, but it effectively gives you access to any version of Netflix instantly from anywhere in the world.

However don’t take my word for it, simply click here – . and try it for yourself.   Remember all you need to do is to change your DNS server address and select your Netflix Region and that’s it.

 

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Anonymous Torrenting – What’s the Best VPN in 2017

When you join a swarm of people happily downloading the latest blockbuster or best selling album, it’s kind of easy to feel pretty safe.  After all you’re hiding behind a piece of software built for anonymous torrenting, right?  You don’t need to know how to hide ip address when downloading, do you? Well no that’s wrong and for the clue you only have to take a little look in the menu of most torrenting software – here’s a useful screenshot to illustrate the point.

anonymous torrenting

See those details?  Those are the IP addresses of your fellow down-loaders, their location and which client they’re using.  So if you’re downloading a pirated version of some movie – you can see everyone else who is downloading that movie too.   Is it a big deal?  Should you hide IP address utorrent or any other software.  After all you’re not likely to use that information as you’re doing the same thing so do you need anonymity?   Well imagine that information is available to any legal or copyright holder simply by attaching themselves to the download.

What they can produce in seconds without any skill or knowledge is a huge list of IP addresses who are infringing the copyright on a particular download.  Which will include you unless you have some ip address protection.  Worse, those addresses can easily be turned into real names, addresses and phone numbers with a letter or legal notice to your ISP.   It’s worth thinking about that sitting in your ISP is a log with full details of everything you’ve downloaded via torrents for anyone to see, the logs are usually kept for up to two years although that varies on local laws.   Sure some will be false addresses perhaps one or two from a public anonymous proxy, but the vast majority will be real addresses and names.   The name that will be associated with the download will be whoever pays the bill for the ISP – makes you think doesn’t it, is an anonymous bittorrent solution only for the paranoid – definitely not.

So what’s the risk, well there is a financial cost if you get caught often set at a low cost per infringement – but $20 per download can get expensive if you get caught for 20 songs or movies.  What’s worse it can rise to thousands if they decide to make an example by taking legal action.  The costs of even the best ip blocker quickly becomes fairly irrelevant compared with these sort of numbers. It’s a false economy to search for the best free IP hider because there really isn’t one that is reliable and safe. It can also be kind of embarrassing to being prosecuted if your downloads are of the adult entertainment variety, especially worrying if your parents or wife pays the bill!

The risks are so extensive and the likelihood of getting caught so significant that maintaining your anonymity whilst downloading torrents is  not just advisable but arguably essential.

Methods of Anonymous Torrenting

There are a few options, some much more technical than others.  The free methods using online anonymous proxies or things like Tor are covered online but involve some technical skill and lots of patience as your download speeds will plummet.  They’re covered extensively online but make sure you check you have implemented them correctly, it’s very simple to think you’re using an anonymous proxy but you’re really not!  Just selecting an Proxy EU service doesn’t guarantee privacy although using a paid service is usually a good sign as companies will normally delete all their logs.

Safety and speed really relies on using a Virtual Private Network (VPN) provider to both encrypt your download and shield your IP address from any prying eyes.   The best VPN for  anonymous torrenting depends on a variety of reasons including speed and security.  Most of these are pretty easy to use, simply click a button to connect then start your torrent client and everything should be protected.

There are some important caveats though:

  • The IP address of the VPN provider will appear associated with the torrent so any DCMA notice could be forwarded to them (with a request for your identity) – make sure that your VPN provider doesn’t comply with these or better still doesn’t log any data which means they can’t identify you.  There are a few providers who do this.
  • Use only a professional service.  A badly set up VPN connection simply won’t hide your identity and worse will make you look more guilty, choose an established provider who knows what they’re doing.
  • Torrents devour bandwidth – make sure your VPN provider allows this, many don’t.

It’s not complicated to keep your torrenting anonymous but it doesn’t happen without action.  Sitting and downloading torrents in the clear has a real chance of getting you into real legal problems.  Even if it’s just a $150 DCMA infraction notice, is it worth the hassle.   If you do want to take the risk use an random, anonymous internet connection from a cafe or hotel.  Also it’s well worth avoiding downloading the latest blockbuster as these high profile films are often monitored and people downloading aggressively prosecuted.

Try IPVanish for the best VPN for anonymous torrenting,  they don’t log, allow torrent services and you can even pay in bitcoins if you’re really cautious.

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Netflix Unblocker – Battle of the VPNs

For many years there has been a sort of techno battle going on between the big multimedia giants like HBO, HULU, BBC and Netflix and the proxy/VPN providers.   Why? Well the answer is simple, most of these media companies deliver their content over  the internet but need to control where it can be accessed – sometimes due to copyright issues or simply as a profit maximisation technique.   Using a VPN service bypasses these blocks and allows access to any content irrespective of your location

Hence the battle with the media companies trying to block access from these services whenever they can mostly with limited success.   The problem is simply the scale, there are so many of these services being used any attempt to manually block IP ranges simply results in a temporary block as new addresses are reassigned.    The previous tactics were too simply manually identify IP address ranges being used by these services either through firewall and server logs, plus simply using them – which is why the bigger, more high profile VPN services got hit hardest at least initially.    It was fairly simple to switch addresses through the VPN servers though and it became a never ending game of catch up.

Until Netflix decided on another tactic, which although fairly simple has proved devastatingly effective.  What they’ve done is to block based on another classification of the IP addresses we all use – commercial or residential.  They have blocked any commercial IP address from accessing the service so blocking out virtually every VPN service.   Unfortunately for the VPN providers it’s not easy to switch to residential IP addresses as they are hard to source outside standard ISPs.  Although in this video – Netflix Blocks VPN you can see  that some have found a way.

The program in this video is called Identity Cloaker and it has updated it’s infrastructure to cope with these issues. What happens is that when the software detects a request for the Netflix website it then redirects to a server with a residential IP address. This means that these servers can be limited and the company can provide a residential VPN service but only when specifically required.   Most companies won’t be able to do this though, because these addresses are very difficult to obtain, one things for sure the days of using a proxy for Netflix are long gone!

It’s unclear whether other of the media giants will adopt hit approach, although it seems an effective way of enforcing region locking quite cheaply.  There are some problems in that many people have to use VPNs for security reasons, and also it will make accessing Netflix at work difficult as corporate networks will mostly be classified as commercial IP ranges.