VPNs

How can I minimize my footprint online and be anonymous?

Google

Episode 1641

José from Modesto, CA

José would like to be anonymous online. How can he minimize his online footprint with Mac addresses? Rich says that most systems are encrypted now, and Google is pushing all websites to update to https. So your traffic gets more encrypted. If that's not enough for you, then randomizing your Mac address is a good way to do it. In iOS 13, for instance, Apple devices generate randomized Mac addresses while online. That's a good way to keep yourself protected. You may try using a VPN, or you can browse privately.

Why Do Some Sites Block My VPN?

BBC

Episode 1632

Dan from Orange County, CA

Dan signed up for a VPN recently, and he can't use it with his banking, Netflix or other apps. Leo says that the bank is probably blocking it. VPNs can break IP-based authentication. BBC iPlayer, for instance, blocks VPNs, because you're not paying for the TV license fee. Netflix does it because it doesn't want another region to be watching content that isn't available for licensing reasons. Banking activity is encrypted, so you don't really need a VPN for it. Google has also been pushing for HTTPS encryption with every site, so if every site is encrypted, there's no real need for VPNs.

How should I install my VPN?

Tiny Hardwire Firewall

Episode 1631

Karen from Olympia, WA

Karen wants to know if putting a VPN on her router would keep her secure. Leo says that it would encrypt stuff in your network, but in order to get your traffic encrypted going out, you need to have the software on your desktop. Leo likes to use the Tiny Hardware Firewall VPN because it's in between your computer and the outside world. It's a great way to go. 

Can I Use VPNs with Linux?

Arch

Episode 1626

Joey from San Diego, CA

Joey wants to know if Linux has a built-in VPN. Leo says no. He will need a provider to handle VPNs, not just software. Leo recommends visiting the Wiki for ARCH, a version of Linux. There's a great list of clients, carriers and servers that will run on Linux. That's the best place to start. Where can he get apps to download for Linux? Leo says that PopOS has its own "store," called the PopShop, which is an app that will help to install software.

What is a VPN and do I need to use it?

VPN

Episode 1621

Rene from Vancouver, British Columbia

Rene wants to know if she can use a VPN to keep herself safe and still log into sites like Facebook. Leo says that a VPN is an encrypted tunnel for your traffic that masks your data as you use it. You should be able to still log in, but some sites don't support it. How about using an airport WiFi with a VPN. Leo says that's a very good place to use a VPN, but he generally doesn't use public wifi, especially in an airport. And you NEVER want to do banking or eCommerce on one.

Why can't I navigate to my own IP in my VPN?

ExpressVPN

Episode 1620

Brett from Fort Worth, Texas

Brett has moved to ExpressVPN, but he's having issues surfing to his own IP. It worked fine with his old VPN, but not ExpressVPN (who is a sponsor of the TWiT Network). What can he do? Leo says to check your router settings. It may be that in your devices, there could be a security issue that's blocking it. Leo does that with his network for his NAS. Leo also says that Brett's problem may be due to his previous VPN being less secure.