VPN, DNS And Privacy
In our current world scenario we are being spied on at almost every turn. Home Networks are just not very secure for most people. Solutions to harden those networks require some technical skill and usually involve additional costs. Additionally, most people think they are too boring to be spied on. But the reality is that we all need a VPN, and encrypted DNS.
Increasingly it seems that 1st Amendment laws regarding Free Speech are being tossed aside and so called “Hate Speech” is a crime. Some things you read about on the internet can be cataloged and factor into your Social Credit Score. It is darn near a crime to be a White, Christian, Veteran, and a monogamous person. Refusal to use bizarre pronouns can get you in a world of hurt in some circles.
We’re not quite there yet but things are easing towards that direction. Additionally, your searches, your lifestyle and your opinions may well matter greatly one day.
A Crude Example
I sometimes listen to a bizarre radio station called Republic Broadcasting Network. If I had to categorize the content in one word it would be “Prepper”. Some of the content on that station is downright anti-semitic. However, there are exceptions. John Moore is one such radio host. He has a website called TheLibertyMan. John was a Green Beret, and a career homicide detective. This guy is red, white, and blue. However, I once tried to link an article of his on Facebook and it was flagged for being known hateful commentary. Or some other such BS. I forget. But anyway, he is on some magic list.
It’s really no ones business if you visit his website, nor should it count against you in life. But folks, this is the way the internet now works.
What Can You Do?
There are a couple easy things you can do. One is to use a Virtual Private Network (VPN). A VPN will create a tunnel between your computer and the VPN and information flowing through it is hidden. Also, you can even set up your own VPN for free and then you can be sure that no one is selling your data or searches.
Domain Name Service, or DNS is the internet phonebook. It resolves the name of the website to its actual IP address. DNS is largely unencrypted. Let me preach on it. Additionally, whatever you search for on the internet can be seen by visually everyone. Those queries are plain text, and unencrypted.
Conversely, you can encrypt those searches and requests. One method is called DNS over TLS. One common provider is called Cloudflare.
You can set up their service and then verify proper operation.
I won’t get into the nuts and bolts of how to do that here. But, having encrypted DNS is almost a must.
Do you look at offensive memes? Just because you think something isn’t offense doesn’t mean some group somewhere with more political power than you have does.
Do you donate to certain political groups or candidates? Are you active in certain social causes? Do you do medical searches online? Do you visit news websites that lean one way or the other? Finally, do you like guns? NONE OF THESE THINGS ARE ANYONE’S BUSINESS BUT YOURS.
A lot of apps that you think are secure are not. Your email is wide open for all to see. Ever listen to real crime stories or podcasts? The first thing they do is go for the unencrypted text messages on your phone.
Yeah, if you commit a horrific crime someone should read your texts. I’m not advocating using these tips to hide a criminal enterprise. I’m just advocating for personal privacy protection.
For VPN and DNS I recommend the following:
- Create your own VPN server. OpenVPN or Wireguard can be installed on most home routers or firewall appliances. Having your own VPN at your network entry point allows you to access your entire network from anywhere.
- Buy a VPN service such as NordVPN or ExpressVPN. Even though ProtonMail is free, I pay for additional services. One such included service is ProtonVPN.
- For Encrypted DNS I recommend Cloudflare as mentioned above in this blog.
We are definitely reaching an era where people are looking at what you are looking at. Protect your privacy.