Sunday, February 19, 2017

Private Tunnel VPN: trying it. Hey, what the heck.

Makes as much sense as the wacky commercial VPN service providers mentioned in previous posts.

Private Tunnel VPN, of course, does not support the Chromebook but the "pricing" makes it reasonable for the device I'm most likely to use outside of home: my tablet.

Setup was mysterious and any comments would not be helpful to another human. Check it out.

VPN service providers: global empires or two guys in their underwear churning out "locations" on 1 or 2 servers?

This post is more concerned with where they work, not whether they work. They don't, at least not on a Chromebook.

VPN: do any of these damn things work? TUESDAY, FEBRUARY 14, 2017

A couple of years ago I tried PureVPN. I wrote a bunch of posts. You can click on the VPN label to the right to read them.

This week I tried two more such services ...

I wanted to be able to protect a Chromebook and an Android tablet.

ExpressVPN (based in Bermuda) ... free trial did not extend to the Chromebook app. Dropped free trial. (before trying to pay.

NordVPN (based in Panama; billed to Latvia) ...

My bank challenged both (PureVPN and NordVPN). I should have taken the hint.

Finally, how the heck would you know what, if any, protection they are providing? Do they really have servers all over the planet or are they a couple of guys in their underwear with a server hooked up to a generator? Are some a giant scam that uses customer info to rob them even more blind than the money charged for "service"?
___________________

PureVPN

https://support.purevpn.com/vpn-servers

​502 finds on this page for pointtoserver.com using browser function. Lends credence to my two guys in their underwear theory. It's the only domain I noticed.

I'm guessing that they simply defined 502 IP addresses on this one server and provide them to paying customers. Maybe like creating control cards in a JCL deck running an IBM utility in years gone by.



Organization: Domains By Proxy, LLC
Mailing Address: DomainsByProxy.com, Scottsdale AZ 85260 US
​​DomainsByProxy.com, Scottsdale AZ 85260 US

​So is PureVPN un Arizona or in Hong Kong as they present?​
​_______________


Organization: Go Daddy Operating Company, LLC
Mailing Address: 14455 N Hayden Rd Suite 219, Scottsdale Arizona 85260 US

It gets curiouser and curiouser.

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Domains_by_Proxy

Domains by Proxy (DBP) is an Internet company owned by GoDaddy founder Bob Parsons. It offers domain privacy services through partner domain registrars such as Go Daddy and Wild West Domains.

Over 9,850,000 domain names currently use the Domains by Proxy service.
_________________


OK, so maybe PureVPN has two servers, one for each guy in his underwear.
_________________
_________________

NordVPN

https://nordvpn.com/servers/?gclid=CjwKEAiAoaXFBRCNhautiPvnqzoSJABzHd6hbndMQ2EQ0sK61fGgqz0VZ5M-ulp1jHH4_3ooeCWCkRoCPDjw_wcB

Wow, so many locations. Yeah, but only one domain.

Two different guys in their underwear.

https://www.whois.com/whois/nordvpn.com

Luxembourg, not Arizona like PureVPN, which uses GoDaddy.

REGISTRANT CONTACT
Name:Whois Privacy
Organization:Whois Privacy (enumDNS dba)
Street:BPM 333868, Rue Gabriel Lippman 34
City:Munsbach
Postal Code:5365
Country:LU
Phone:+352.27720304
Email:email@whoisprivacy.com
________________
________________

ExpressVPN

https://www.expressvpn.com/vpn-server

Hides its domain names behind country icons.


REGISTRANT CONTACT
Name:Domain Admin
Organization:Whois Privacy Corp.
Street:Ocean Centre, Montagu Foreshore, East Bay Street
City:Nassau
State:New Providence
Country:BS
Phone:+1.5163872248
Email:email@5225b4d0pi3627q9.whoisprivacycorp.com

Bermuda.
________________
________________

All three service providers I considered present a choice of "locations", suggesting that they have servers there, but I think it's just many IP addresses that pretend to be at those locations.

It seems like deceptive advertising. Too bad reviews and oversight don't seem to know or care.

PureVPN: OK with Windows 10 and Android 7 but still fails with Chromebook.

For the Chromebook I twice tried the generic instructions:

https://support.purevpn.com/chromebook-chrome-os-l2tp-setup-guide

Then from a chat:

You are requested to please use server address:

1) us2.ptoserver.com
2) uk2.ptoserver.com
3) au2.ptoserver.com
4) nl2.ptoserver.com
5) it2.ptoserver.com
6) sg2.ptoserver.com
7) au-sd1.ptoserver.com
8) ru-tv1.ptoserver.com
9) es1.ptoserver.com
10) hk1.ptoserver.com

_________________

I tried us2.ptoserver.com. All three attempts had the same result: connected, then dropped after a few minutes.

But it got me thinking about the essence of these VPN service providers and whether they are two guys in their underwear renting a server or two. More in a subsequent post.

Thursday, February 16, 2017

PureVPN being tried again at its invitation.

Previous post:

VPN: do any of these damn things work? TUESDAY, FEBRUARY 14, 2017

A couple of years ago I tried PureVPN. I wrote a bunch of posts. You can click on the VPN label to the right to read them.

This week I tried two more such services ... modest objective: protect my devices when away from home from garden variety pain in the ass intruders...

I wanted to be able to protect a Chromebook and an Android tablet...

ExpressVPN (based in Bermuda) ...

NordVPN (based in Panama; billed to Latvia) ...

Do they really have servers all over the planet or are they a couple of guys in their underwear with a server hooked up to a generator? Are some a giant scam that uses customer info to rob them even more blind than the money charged for "service"?
____________________________

The link was sent to the three companies:


from:Ken
to:support@nordvpn.com,
support@expressvpn.zendesk.com,
PureVPN
date:Tue, Feb 14, 2017 at 6:43 PM
subject:Tech Thoughts: VPN: do any of these damn things work?

Surprisingly, PureVPN replied and offered a three day trial. I accepted.

EpressVPN has an app for installing its stuff on a Chromebook. NordVPN and PureVPN offer instructions, which are their screenshots implementing generic Google instructions. Here are the links:




Only PureVPN mentions: 
  • Check Save identity and password
NordVPN does not show that on its screen shot.

All three seem the same.

Last night I got on my Chromebook as a guest. I then successfully implemented PureVPN. The IP address that it used to represent y computer was in Chicago. I learned this from independent software.

After a while I stopped using my Chromebook and when I went back to it a couple of hours later, the VPN connection had dropped, according to a Chromebook message.

Feb. 16, 2017, 9:00AM loading PureVPN app (5.6.0) onto tablet running Android 7.1.1. It displays as "Best Free VPN". It's not free.

I'm prompted for ID and password, then mode and I select privacy.

I appear to be connected. It shows United States and an 108 IP address, which traces to Bayside, which is local.

With no guidance and after viewing settings, I click on the plug icon, figuring that it will disconnect but instead it brings up location options. I click the icon to select location. I select Italy and when I find my way back to the main screen it shows in the lower left: Italy and a 172 IP address.

When I ask Google for my IP address, it initially shows the Bayside address and "Your public IP address". However, iplocation.net shows 172 ... Milan, Lombardi (IT).

whatismyip.com also shows Milan.

OK, so PureVPN has me in Italy. Let's see how long the connection lasts.

Feb. 16, 2017, 9:30AM Windows 10: From the PureVPN website, I'm downloading the app. Installing. Stealth. OpenVPN. Blah, blah, blah. It's been "finishing" for almost twenty minutes; appears to be stuck.

Oh, in another window there's a prompt for approval to install:

MICROSOFT SOFTWARE LICENSE TERMS
MICROSOFT VISUAL C++ REDISTRIBUTABLE FOR VISUAL STUDIO 2013

I clicked OK. C++ finished and then so did PureVPN.

I logged in and selected "security and privacy" as I had done with the Android app. Then I requested a server in Canada. The PureVPN Windows app shows that my real IP address is hidden and that Montreal is were my IP address is. Cool.

Now let's see how long these connections last. Android is still in Milan, Italy since 9:20 AM.

I also need to try my Chromebook again.

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

VPN: do any of these damn things work?

A couple of years ago I tried PureVPN. I wrote a bunch of posts. You can click on the VPN label to the right to read them.

This week I tried two more such services, this time with a much more modest objective: protect my devices when away from home from garden variety pain in the ass intruders. I'm not concerned about the NSA. In fact I hope that the NSA is running some of these sites to track bad guys.

I wanted to be able to protect a Chromebook and an Android tablet.

ExpressVPN (based in Bermuda):
- supposedly the only service with a Chromebook app
- seven day free trial
- free trial did not extend to the Chromebook app
Dropped free trial.

NordVPN (based in Panama; billed to Latvia):
- no free trial; had to pay to play; promised refund in 5-7 days; will dispute with bank ASAP anyway
- detailed instructions to deal with a Chromebook
- Chromebook instructions did not work; chat and email advice descended further and further into tech hell where no customer should be asked to go
- even the Android app failed to connect.

My bank challenged both. I should have taken the hint.

Finally, how the heck would you know what, if any, protection they are providing? Do they really have servers all over the planet or are they a couple of guys in their underwear with a server hooked up to a generator? Are some a giant scam that uses customer info to rob them even more blind than the money charged for "service"?