A powerful VPN service, Hotspot Shield is ideal for those who enjoy using public Wi-Fi. It is basically a free VPN that comes in the form of an application or as a browser extension. Security is assured as the service uses OpenVPN , which makes use of the same encryption as HTTPS does. This feature is particularly effective in protecting credit card information during online purchases.
IP binding is a valuable precaution to take if you want to ensure that all torrent downloads take place over the P2P VPN. Binding your torrent client to an IP address limits downloads to a specific IP address. This means you can set the client to only download torrents while connected to a certain P2P VPN server. If the connection to the VPN drops or you disconnect, the downloads stop, adding a kill switch to your VPN without affecting other apps and services. This prevents any torrent traffic from leaking onto your real IP address.
At a minimum, your ISP keeps track of every IP address it assigned you, often for six to 18 months. ISPs mostly use these records to respond to specific law enforcement requests, often to catch truly awful criminals. But no protections are in place to guarantee that it’s the only way ISPs use these logs. In 2017, the US Department of Justice unsuccessfully demanded that a Web host hand over more than a million IP addresses, namely that of anyone who accessed a website that helped organize protests during the presidential inauguration. Compliance with that demand would have allowed the DOJ to in turn request identifying information from ISPs on anyone who visited the site—including journalists doing research, bored Twitter users clicking a link, or people against the protests who wanted a hate read. A good VPN would spare the innocent the trouble and the invasion of privacy in such a situation.
In light of that information, when asked if even the best VPN services could secure communications against government intrusion into private traffic, Amul Kalia, an analyst for digital privacy and online advocacy group the Electronic Frontier Foundation, said, “If you mean the NSA, there are probably ways that the agency can get to you if they really want to. But if you’re interested in preventing passive snooping of your Internet traffic, then you’re probably fine using a secure VPN.”
These VPNs all keep zero logs, and use shared IP addresses. All but AirVPN also have anonymous SOCKS proxy service as well (some include it free, others sell it separately). Several of these VPNs (Torguard, BTGuard) offer preconfigured torrent clients with the proper SOCKS proxy settings already installed. Learn more about VPN vs. Proxies for torrenting.
Borders still exist on the web, in the form of geographic restrictions for streaming content. The BBC iPlayer, for example, lets UK residents watch the Beeb to their heart's content. The rest of the world, not so much. But if you were to select a VPN server in the UK, your computer's IP address would appear to be the same as the server, allowing you to view the content.
We like that the company offers a connection kill switch feature and, for those who need it, there's an option to get a dedicated IP address. VyprVPN is a standout in their effort to provide privacy, and thwart censorship. When China began its program of deep packet VPN inspection, Golden Frog's VyperVPN service added scrambled OpenVPN packets to keep the traffic flowing.