To VPN or NOT?

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MichaelRSorg

Well-known member
Nov 1, 2020
46
6
RouterSecurity.org
VPN vs. Tor is interesting. Both encrypt data before it leaves your computer. Simply put:

A VPN provider can see most of what you do online, just as an ISP can when not using a VPN. So trust is shifted. But, you can shop around and try to find a trustworthy VPN provider. Here in the US, thanks to the corruption in our government, most people have no choice when it comes to ISP.

Tor tries to get rid of the need to trust a VPN provider. Like a VPN, Tor sits between you and the ultimate destination of your data. Tor involves three randomly connected computers (out of a pool of thousands), the one you connect to (Tor entry node), a middle one and the third one (Tor exit node) which does the final decryption and sends your data out to the Internet in the same form it would have been without Tor. The Tor entry node knows who you are (from your IP address) and the Tor exit node knows where your data is really going, but no Tor computer knows both. The down side (other than speed) is that you can not shop around for a trustworthy Tor exit node. It is reasonable to assume that spy agencies run some of them.
 

PHolder

Well-known member
Sep 16, 2020
550
2
268
Ontario, Canada
Tor *could* work like a VPN, but it relies on you placing too much trust of the exit node. Accordingly you probably still want to use HTTPS traffic over Tor and be extra cautious and suspicious.

Anyone can operate a Tor exit node... including such undesirable people as Russian or Chinese or North Korean hackers, the NSA (or equivalent TLAs from other countries) or just ne'er-do-well malware toting hackers. They could theoretically alter your content on exit (to include maliciousness) or they can add content to your inbound download. Say you thought you were downloading a safe .EXE and they replace it (man in the middle style) with something that attacks you.