Incognito and similar Internet programs
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Thread: Incognito and similar Internet programs

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    Incognito and similar Internet programs

    Just wondering if any of you are using a specific program, such as Incognito, to provide anonymous internet and phone communication capabilities. Apparently they use their own network of secure and encrypted servers and provide protection from "monitoring" and the access of your systems use and history, location, etc., by others. I am specifically concerned about protecting my computers access regarding my online investment accounts and account management program use.

    I am interested in knowing if anyone has had any service issues or trouble with such a service. Friends of mine who are "hackers" have demonstrated to me several times how easy it is to steal communication information and also to access others detailed use and history, which then enables someone to use programs to obtain log in information and password information, etc. When I mention such programs as these to my hacker friends, they all talk about these very complicated methods they use to use multiple servers around the globe and changing their I.P. address every few seconds and it sounds far more complicated than I want to get involved in. They love the "techy stuff". I just want protection which is comprehensive and easy to use.

    There are several of these programs out there and I have read good reviews from anonymous users about Incognito, but I was curious if anyone on GTT was actually using them.

    Also I am curious how these types of services work with GTT membership as I know the I.P. Address is critical in identity and log in as well as usage of the GTT site. I wonder if this would make using GTT more difficult or cumbersome because of the methods they use to block I.D. information.

    Thanks in advance for your response.

    Here is a link to their website. Their service costs between $4.99 and $6.99 PER MONTH and the $6.99 provides coverage for up to 5 devices.



    https://www.incognitovpn.com/features

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    Many years ago I used a similar type of service through a site called "The Church of The Swimming Elephant".

    Their proxy services worked with forums and such without problems. Most forums (like GTT) rely on cookies to keep track of your status once you have logged in. With COTSE, they just store your cookies and such on their servers linked to your user account. So once you log in to their site, all of that data is there instead of on your local device.

    Anyway, I haven't used it in a few years because Web sites started blocking them. Lots of site want your info and they are aware that these sorts of services exist. If they figure out what IP addresses the services use, they block them using IP blocking so you are forced to drop using the service if you want to get to the site. Amazon was doing that for a while. Not sure if they still do or not.

    I think COTSE is pretty similar price-wise to what you mention but they don't have any limit on the number of devices you can use.

    I finally dropped it because I felt it was kind of self-defeating in the eCommerce world. Any time you go to buy anything online you're pretty much forced to give up any type of anonymity anyway. You can log into a site like Northern Tool or Amazon with the service but then you need to create an account on those sites and give them all your name, address and credit card info anyway so any anonymity is gone.
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    One thing to point out is that Incognito VPN Service should not be confused with something like Incognito mode in the Chrome browser or In Private Browsing in IE. They are very different. Basically all the browsers do is prevent any cookies from being stored or internet history being stored. Not much more than that. There is no encryption going on so you would be just as vulnerable.

    VPN Services like Incognito are different. I have used them but not that one in particular. Some allow you to do some interesting things like select what country you are from. So in terms of accessing the internet that could impact your usage. For instance maybe you connect to Netflix. Well the Netflix content may be different if you connect to the service from the US vs connecting from a VPN service in say the UK. Also you will notice things like your CNN homepage will likely be tweaked to better service people from a given country which may not be your own. In the case of a news site, you may see different headlines. Some VPN services are run as a client on a phone or computer. Others have their configuration in your router if it is supported. Now doing it that way will force everything to use the service.

    Yes using a VPN can be more secure. For instance I really try and avoid connecting to internet service a say a hotel or coffee shop. Maybe my phone doesn't have coverage and I need to check work email. I will fire up a VPN on my phone before connecting to any services. The gamble is that now you are sending all your data through a 3rd party. If someone is listening there, they will see all your information. So finding a reputable solution is key. Or host your own private VPN. In the case of my phone and laptop when traveling that is what I do. I connect back to my house and encrypt everything going across the untrusted network (hotel/coffee shop) to my home network then I am going across the trusted network to my ISP.

    Another low cost option for the super paranoid would be an old laptop with no hard drive running Tails off a bootable thumb drive. Just be prepared to get your name added to some lists when you start down that path.
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    Connecting though hotels, coffee shops, in-flight WiFi, and any other network that you don't "own" has risks associated with something known as "bump mode" transparent proxy. Basically, when you access an unencrypted web site, a proxy server can be used without your knowledge to deliver the content. Hotels and such have value in doing this because it allows them to serve more people with less bandwidth.

    The problem comes in when that hotel or coffee shop is using transparent proxying (without your knowledge) to ALSO capture and control encrypted content. Some sites, like Google's mail and such, will tell you that something is wrong with the connection but it isn't always obvious. When companies use any form of proxying for encrypted sites, they can see all of the data you pass back and forth.

    If I'm somewhere that has a network I can't trust, I use my phone as a hotspot and connect through there.

    VPN services do NOT offer you anything other than the ability to tunnel traffic out through a network to ensure that THEY can't see what you're doing. The VPN service could still be snooping.
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    Quote Originally Posted by meburdick View Post
    If I'm somewhere that has a network I can't trust, I use my phone as a hotspot and connect through there.

    VPN services do NOT offer you anything other than the ability to tunnel traffic out through a network to ensure that THEY can't see what you're doing. The VPN service could still be snooping.
    Yeah, I do the same thing as my primary option. The majority of the time the hotspot option is what I will do. The only time I really go to a "public" hotspot is when I don't have coverage. For instance I was up fishing near the Canadian boarder a few weeks ago and my coverage was pretty spotty but the resort had wifi for the guests. Pretty low risk at a small resort but still, I fired up the VPN connection to home on the cell phone. Never used the laptop as I only needed basic email support back to the office.

    In fact another tip: You are going to want to go into your phone settings and configure the hotspot settings. You don't want to use the defaults which may set up an open Wifi connection for anyone. I have mine set up to create a network using the same hidden SSID and with the same WPA2 wireless encryption settings that I use at home. Now when I turn it on, not only is my laptop already set up to use it, but also other devices like my tablet as well as the kids' devices can all connect. I don't have to go around to everything and set it up which makes life easier.

    I agree with the VPN comment, I guess what the OP needs to do is evaluate what his intent is. Maybe I missed or it wasn't stated. Is the intent to have a service where your browsing is protected while on the road? Or is he looking at also being more anonymous while at home? As I mentioned there are ways like what I do to set up a VPN tunnel coming back to my house. Or my work has VPN and I could VPN into my office. Now all traffic goes to one of those two places on an encrypted tunnel to what I consider a trusted connection to an ISP. However if security was compromised at my home or my employer did network monitoring, which they do, then where I am going and what I am doing could potentially be exposed. If your intent is to obscure what you are doing in general is the desired outcome, a VPN service can be better but as mentioned before and above, if you go with a shady VPN service, you are potentially exposed there. You are also looking at a service fee for that type of service. Where the home option may mean you need some equipment but once set up, most solutions don't incur a monthly/yearly type fee structure.

    Also there is another factor to consider. Performance. There is going to be some overhead to a VPN tunnel that isn't there simply by connecting. Also Lets say I open a VPN tunnel to my home in Minnesota while I am on vacation in Florida. Since I am on vacation, lets say I am looking up places to eat and I go to a restaurant's website to look at the menu. Well the traffic would potentially need to go from Florida, all the way to Minnesota on the tunnel, then jump out of the tunnel and go all the way back to Florida and then back the other way. You may not notice much difference while browsing but it will be a little slower. Same goes for VPN services. This is partly why many times the services let you pick where you are connecting. So if you are in Florida, the service may have a location you can connect to in Florida or maybe Georgia. You could select the closest location to where you are physically at the time. Or maybe your intent is that you want to appear to come from a certain location. Going back to my earlier post. Lets say you were a Top Gear fan. Well if you connect to the BBC website they allow streaming of episodes of Top Gear but only if you connection is in the UK. Well if you are in the US and select a VPN in the UK they would see your connection coming from the UK and would allow you to stream the video. Also most home ISP connections are limited on the upload speed. So that will impact performance. If you are sending an email you don't really care how long it takes to go out compared to how long it takes to download something. This isn't always the case but normally it is with most service plans. The point is that you will have a performance hit doing a home VPN service. It is hard to say how much of a hit. I really don't notice it in what I do but I have a pretty good connection to the internet. That said most likely the performance hit on the paid service will be a little less but still a slight hit.
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    For me, VPNs serve one purpose - the ability to "appear" like I'm somewhere that I am not. If I am in Italy, and I wish to connect to Google Voice, I would need to terminate a VPN connection somewhere in the US so that GV "thinks" I'm US-based.

    Yes, there's overhead on a VPN. Sometimes it's negligible. Sometimes it's not. It depends on the kind of data you're moving through tunnel.

    I have a Linux server at my house. I used to run Squid on it as a proxy server and would use SSH to "tunnel" into it and redirect my browser to it through SSH. This would give me the ability to bypass firewalls and such and use "my own rules" for browsing the web".
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