Watching BBC outside United Kingdom

Business VPN, General, TUVPN News, VPN & Security News, VPN HowTo, VPN Types, VPN Uses No Comments »

Now we get a lot of questions considering “How to unlock BBC outside United Kingdom”. That would be the topic for my blog.

The British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) is a British public service broadcasting statutory corporation. “Our mission is to enrich people's lives with programmes and service that inform, educate and entertain” – as they are saying. In simple words BBC are the Worldwide last news, programs and s. o. It is the largest broadcaster in the world by number of employees all over the world. The Headquarters are situated in London.

Even though the online version of BBC is great service with the latest worldwide news, it comes with a severe limitation. The BBC One programs and TV shows are available only inside United Kingdom. So if you try to go to see live news from any other country, you will see a Content Unavailable message.

The BBC is now one of the most popular and biggest channels, but it doesn't have rights to broadcast its programs outside UK. That is why it uses special techniques to set the location of its users.

We see the prohibition from our countries, but anyway it is possible to watch BBC programs outside UK. The most important thing we need to know is that you only need to have the UK IP address. TUVPN (the VPN provider) has servers in 7 countries all over the world! Including United Kingdom. It has two servers in London what is more then enough.

All you need to do is to follow some simple steps to set up the VPN provider TUVPN:

1. First you go to «BUY» page to order the service.
    DON'T FORGET TO TRY TUVPN WITH 60% DISCOUNT!
2. Download the application using the tutorials.
The link is required.
3. After setting up choose the server you need. In our case we need london1.tuvpn.com or london3.tuvpn.com

Enjoy your programs!

Find the Best VPN Protocol for you: VPN Comparison Table

VPN In-depth, VPN Types, VPN Uses 2 Comments »

As the number of VPN technologies supported by TUVPN grows (with the new addition of SSH2 Tunnels), we have deemed it appropriate to provide the TUVPN users with access to a simple table. This table details the different VPN protocols available, highlighting strengths and weaknesses, use cases, level of security, speed etc. In summary, all the information that we think should help our users to decide what is best for their needs.

We think this information is very interesting too for the wider VPN user community, many of whom without being TUVPN users, are readers of our blog. So here you have a screenshot of the table. Just click on it and you will have access to the full table.

Hope you find it enlightening!

VPN Protocols Comparison Table


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Typical VPN (OpenVPN, L2TP/IPSec, PPTP, SSTP) vs SSH2 Tunnels vs High Anonymity WEB Proxies

VPN In-depth, VPN Types 1 Comment »

With the recent addition of SSH2 Tunnels, TUVPN is fast becoming one of the most complete VPN providers in the VPN ecosystem, offering a wide range of VPN protocols and security tools that can cover any possible user, from newbie to seasoned.

As we offer so many options/choices now, we have decided to summarize in this blog article the difference between the technologies offered so you can better decide which type is most appropriate to what you want to achieve. Primarily we want you to clearly understand how your traffic is protected, which traffic is protected and the level of anonymity provided by each technology. This of course applies to any VPN provider, not just TUVPN, so if you are not yet a TUVPN user it will be useful knowledge all the same!

 

Typical VPN Protocols (OpenVPN, L2TP/IPSec, PPTP, SSTP)

A common characteristic of these VPN protocols is that they modify the default gateway on your computer/device to redirect ALL INTERNET TRAFFIC over the VPN.

You can't choose which applications are routed over the VPN and which are not.

You can see it graphically here:

Typical VPN Protocols Communication Process

This of course has advantages, i.e. you don't have to worry about which traffic is protected and which not, all is by default.

But it also has some limitations i.e. you can't enjoy your full Internet connection speed for applications that don't require high security or anonymity. Using encryption and accessing the Internet through a remote VPN server instead of your local ISP will always add some extra burden to the communication process. The precise amount of extra burden, and so the difference of speed while running your applications, will depend on a number of factors – processor and memory of the client device, the distance to the VPN server with which you are connected, and the available resources at the VPN server level. By the way, you can test our server speeds with a new tool we have just added to the website – try it here.

Further, if you want to make sure that no traffic will reach the internet in the case of the VPN connection going down, you need to rely on third party products (i.e. firewalls) or have this feature integrated in the VPN client provided. By default and if nothing is done, when the VPN connection goes down, traffic will reach the Internet unprotected via your ISP.

With respect to anonymity, all typical VPN protocols will substitute your normal IP with the IP of the VPN server with which you have connected for ALL applications.

 

SSH2 Tunnels

SSH2 Tunnels offer more flexibility than the typical VPN Protocols for the people that need it.

The internal workings of an SSH2 tunnel are quite different from the typical VPN. Let's see it graphically and then we will go over it:

SSH2 Tunnel Communcation Process

To establish an SSH2 Tunnel first we will need, as with typical VPNs, a client e.g. MyEnTunnel for Windows.

Typically, this client once connected, will provide a LOCAL SOCKS5 PROXY (so a SOCKS5 Proxy running on our computer/device). But what on earth is this?! Plainly speaking, it is simply a program that will act as a broker for the Internet communications of the applications that we configure to use it.

So once our client is running and the SSH2 Tunnel is up, no application is protected by default, as happens with typical VPN protocols.

Now we need to configure the applications that WE WANT TO BE PROTECTED to use the provided SOCKS5 Proxy on our computer/device. This is fairly trivial and implies just changing a setting in the desired applications.

Now you see where flexibility comes into play. As long as an application supports using a SOCKS5 Proxy, we can protect it while leaving others outside of the SSH2 Tunnel and so without the extra burden that a VPN implies. This may be seen as a huge advantage by many users.

Moreover, you will clearly see that if the SSH2 Tunnel goes down (so the SOCKS5 Proxy goes down too), NO DATA FROM OUR SELECTED APPLICATIONS WILL EVER REACH THE INTERNET. This is quite obvious as they are configured to use the SOCKS5 Proxy to reach Internet and without it no data can be transmitted in any case. Again, this 'by default' behaviour is a strong plus for the SSH2 Tunnels.

When we look at anonymity with an SSH2 Tunnel, it will provide the same level as any typical VPN protocol for the SELECTED APPLICATIONS. For the rest of the applications that we are running outside the tunnel, no anonymity will be provided.

 

High Anonymity WEB Proxies

Finally we will discuss how High Anonymity WEB Proxies fit into this picture. Again let's see graphically their working:

High Anonymity WEB Proxy Communication

Everything is much simpler here. WEB Proxies as its name implies just work with WEB browsers (https/https traffic), no other application can use them.

Moreover, no traffic is protected (so no encryption is present in all the communication path). Just anonymity is provided by changing our IP with the IP of the proxy server.

You can read more about Proxies vs VPNs here.

 

And that should be it! Hope all of this is enough to let you choose your best vpn connection method and enjoy Internet in a more secure way! As always, we welcome your comments and thoughts.


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TUVPN unveils SSH2 Tunneling Support

TUVPN News, VPN Types 9 Comments »

TUVPN SSH2 Tunnel Support

After some weeks of hard work, we have the first beta server (erfurt.tuvpn.com) supporting SSH2 Tunnels ready for you to try!

In our pursuit of providing maximum choice for our users, we felt that SSH2 Tunnels would be complementary to the currently supported VPN protocols (OpenVPN, PPTP and L2TP/IPSec) due to its special characteristics.

 

Let's see what makes SSH2 Tunnels special:

  • Ability to protect just certain applications (encryption through the tunnel) on an individual basis while leaving others unencrypted (using your normal internet connection). This will allow you to enjoy full speed of your internet connection for applications where data encryption is not necessary.

For example: You could protect (so send through the SSH2 tunnel) just VOIP communications (e.g Skype) while using your normal internet connection for all other internet related services such as web browsing, online gaming etc.

  • Complete assurance that if the SSH2 tunnel goes down no additional traffic will reach the internet. This is something that many of our users have asked us how to do and a feature that is inherent to the way SSH2 Tunnels are built.

These two features make SSH2 Tunnels quite interesting and an answer to many user's needs. Additionally, SSH2 tunnels offer extreme encryption using AES cipher with 256bit key. This is the strongest encryption offered by TUVPN and is on par with the encryption offered with our OpenVPN solution.

We have created a tutorial for Windows 7 operating system:

Windows 7 SSH2 Tunnel (Protecting Standalone Applications)

Tutorials for other operating systems will follow.

 

And remember, as with all TUVPN feature enhancements, SSH2 Tunnels are available to all our account holders immediately at no additional cost!

Feel free to test SSH2 Tunnels on our erfurt.tuvpn.com VPN Server. Remember that this is still in beta phase. If you confront any issues, please let us know by way of comment here, in our forums or through support. We always really appreciate your feedback.

Enjoy!


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PPTP vs L2TP/IPSec

VPN In-depth, VPN Types 1 Comment »

PPTP vs L2TP/IPSecWe have just introduced a new VPN protocol in our VPN network: L2TP/IPSec

So, currently we support PPTP, OpenVPN and now L2TP/IPSec.

In a previous article we already highlighted the differences between PPTP and OpenVPN. Today we will focus on PPTP versus L2TP/IPSec.

 

L2TP/IPSec

L2TP is a tunneling protocol that allows us to create VPNs. L2TP uses UDP protocol (in contrast with PPTP that uses TCP protocol).

It is important to understand that L2TP doesn't provide by itself any protection (i.e. encryption) to the data being transported. We need to add another layer that provides this service, in our case IPSec.

So, in a typical L2TP/IPSec communication, first IPSec establishes a secure channel between the client and the server and then L2TP takes care of further authentication of the client and establishing the tunnel to securely transport client data to the server within the secure channel provided by IPSec. So IPSec "wraps" L2TP communication and keeps our data safe from prying eyes.

 

PPTP vs L2TP/IPSec

The main drawback of PPTP versus L2TP/IPSec is the encryption strength (for a good introduction to what is encryption strength and why should you care, check this).

PPTP maximum encryption is 128bit using Microsoft Point-to-Point Encryption (MPPE). IPSec can provide much stronger encryption with more up-to-date ciphers. Typically (as in our case) the cipher used will be AES with 128bit keys.

Moreover, L2TP provides data integrity (protection against modification of the data between the time it left the sender and the time it reached the recipient), authentication of origin (confirmation that the user who claims to have sent the data really did), and replay protection (which keeps a hacker from being able to capture data that is sent, such as the sending of credentials, and then “replay” it to “trick” the server) all of which PPTP is unable to provide.

Due to the additional security features provided by L2TP/IPSec, the overhead involved can result in slightly slower performance than PPTP. But this is negligible most of the times.

PPTP is very easy and quick to deploy as it is supported by default by most operating systems. However, L2TP/IPsec is also easy, but does not have such widespread support and so can require a little more effort to set up.

Finally, L2TP/IPSec is more "firewall friendly" than PPTP, meaning that it has more chances to work where PPTP is not supported/blocked.

 

Summary

If security is your priority, then definitely use L2TP/IPSec over PPTP when comparing the two protocols.

Also, you will not have any other options when you find PPTP blocked or unsupported by ISPs.

If you want a quick solution, easy to deploy and that will work on most devices without much overhead, then PPTP is the recommended option for you.

OpenVPN remains our No.1 ranked protocol of the three we offer – OpenVPN, L2TP/IPSec, PPTP.


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Dedicated VPN Server for Your Business

Business VPN, VPN Types, VPN Uses No Comments »

Dedicated VPN Server

Many big enterprises have started from small-business companies. They grew step by step meeting new challenges on every stage of their development. For many of them technically progressive solutions for newly emerging questions were the key to achieving a sustainable development. Nowadays, timely information update and secure online communication seem to be the most topical issues in the business world. Using a VPN service brings business communication to a new level. It enables a company to securely connect multiple users of its corporate network via the Internet. The variety of VPN services opens new possibilities for business development.

Today we will examine the advantages of a dedicated VPN server particularly for business purposes.

First, let’s see the difference between a shared and dedicated VPN server.

Shared VPN server is a server that you share with other VPN users. Usually, shared VPN is used by private individuals for secure access to websites. Shared VPN services can however present some limitations: number of ports and protocols to use. Other users of the VPN server can have the same IP address as you. That is why the Shared VPN is not appropriate for corporate users. Sometimes you can buy a dedicated IP address, but still use the shared VPN server. 

A Dedicated VPN Server is a remote server just for you and your fellow workers. You are not sharing it with unknown people. Basically, the service is similar to the shared VPN server, but the dedicated server is shared ONLY by the employees or affiliates of the company that sign up for the service.

Dedicated VPN Server solves a bunch of challenges that a growing business usually meets:

  • Access organizational network securely: The worker can access documents, read emails, submit reports, and use other common applications on the office network.
  • Use business applications: Using the dedicated VPN server, it is possible to run solely corporate business applications, use emails, work with business documentation, etc.
  • Work remotely: Remote users that provide support at your customers’ offices can access the enterprise network and perform their job tasks as if they were on-site.
  • Use applications you need: The shared VPN provides you with limited ports. With a dedicated VPN server, you have the possibility to use all applications without limitations. Its set up allows working with services which require opening of additional channels from the server to the client, for example, Microsoft Netmeeting, ICQ file transfer, etc.
  • Open your LAN to partners: A Dedicated VPN Server gives an opportunity to open your corporate network for your partners and affiliates. Security and total control over the server operating system are still kept.
  • Work together: A Dedicated VPN Server enables customers to modify secure access for collaborators and at the same time provide them with the benefits of using a VPN when roaming.
  • Manage corporate network: A Dedicated VPN Server leaves room for custom options in managing the corporate network. You can administer access to the network by adding other servers or other users as VPN clients. And you still have full control on the intact network. “Client to client” communication is also available.
  • Do not spend time and money for installation and support: A company does not need to have a special hardware to install the VPN server. A company does not need to hire system administrators in each office. The VPN provider solves all installation and support tasks instead of the customer. The sensitive data stays unavailable to the VPN service provider via encryption.

A true life example can add colour to the picture of a dedicated VPN server. Let’s take a small retail company which has a number of shops across a country, or several countries. The network of shops requires simultaneous information updated for the purpose of accounting, resupplying, and regulation. The company has a couple of local servers to run the applications, store databases, etc. They sign for a dedicated VPN server and thus find a cheap and secure way to create a “virtual LAN” between the shops. So, every shop is able now to access the information on the server, run corporative applications etc. Remote workers can also reach the server from any point of the Internet. The company has no need to hire more people to support the network. Even one part-time system administrator can connect to the VPN remotely and securely troubleshoot any issue in the shops. The flexibility of the service helps to meet the company’s current needs: they can connect just shops, or add servers; choose the type of VPN, number of users, etc.    

IMPORTANT: No information is stored on the shared or dedicated VPN Servers. The VPN Server acts as a gateway for the traffic of the clients', so information that is safely encrypted crosses the VPN Server, but nothing is stored within it.

One of the foremost advantages of the dedicated VPN server is the combination of 'high security level and low cost'. WiFi hotspots at cafes, hotels, train stations and airports have become a popular way for employees on the move to connect their computers to the corporate network via the Internet. The risk is that data could be intercepted by the hotspot provider or a hacker between the hotspot and the destination server. The need to safeguard sensitive company data is obvious. A Dedicated VPN Server offers this service at an affordable price.

A Dedicated VPN Server is very suitable for small or medium-size businesses. Large corporations usually use local complicated hardware to keep the corporate information and manage the network. By adding a VPN server to your business strategy you can not only commit to corporate privacy, it helps your business coordinate a growing list of informational demands –  keeping the communications of partners, co-workers and employees stable and secure.     


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Dedicated vs Shared IP VPN Services

VPN Types 7 Comments »

In this blog post we will examine another feature that differentiates VPN Servicesthe type of IP that you are assigned (dedicated or shared) and the advantages / disadvantages of each option.

 

What does a 'Dedicated IP VPN Service' mean? This type of service will map to your VPN account a dedicated IP address, that is, an IP address that is reserved just for you and your activities.

 

Now, what is a 'Shared IP VPN Service'? Here you are sharing the same IP (or a small set of IPs) with all the other VPN users of the VPN server your are connected to. So all the activities of all users seems to come from the same IP.
 

The biggest advantage of having a Dedicated IP (as the name implies) is that the IP will be used just by you. And now you would say, what are the advantages of this ? :

  • There is no risk of your IP being banned/blocked/blacklisted by any Internet service as some times can happen with Shared IP services.

  • All the ports are open to the Dedicated IP that you have been assigned. There is no need for Remote Port Forwarding as in Shared IP environments. Because you have one IP for yourself, all the connections to all the ports will be open for that Dedicated IP, so you can run any service that you want in that IP (a web server, remote access to your computer etc …).

  • Further, it is interesting if you want to offer a service as if it was provided from a given country but you have your server somewhere else e.g. you have a server in the USA and want to offer some Internet service as if your server was in Spain. You just get a VPN Dedicated IP Spanish service, set it up in your server and that's all.

 

So, why I would like to use a Shared service then? Well, there are also answers to this question :

  • Generally with a Dedicated IP service you just get access to a given VPN server in a given country i.e. if you buy an American Dedicated VPN Service, then you can just connect to a given American VPN server that will provide you with your assigned Dedicated IP. On the other hand, with a Shared IP VPN service (in general) you have access to a wider set of VPN servers worldwide that you can use. So if there is an issue with a particular server you can just move to the next.

  • Further, and very importantly, you get much much more anonymity using a Shared IP VPN Service. As your activities are mixed with the activities of hundreds or thousands of other users, then of course you become much more anonymous. So if you are concerned about privacy and anonymity online, a Shared IP VPN Service is a better option.

 

So in short, you need to be clear about which are your needs and priorities for a VPN service and then you will be able to easily decide on either of these two options.

 

We hope this has been helpful.


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PPTP or OpenVPN ?

VPN Types 3 Comments »

The main uses of a VPN service are to provide ANONYMITY by hiding your IP address and to mantain PRIVACY by sending encrypted data across the Internet. There are various types of VPN connections available but in general many VPN providers offer PPTP and OpenVPN connections due to their simplicity and efficiency. They both provide different levels of encryption, in addition to anonimity.

PPTP

The Point-to-Point Tunneling Protocol (PPTP) is a method for implementing virtual private networks. PPTP uses a control channel over TCP and a GRE tunnel operating to encapsulate PPP packets.

OpenVPN

OpenVPN is a free and open source software application that implements virtual private network (VPN) solutions for creating secure point-to-point or site-to-site connections in routed or bridged configurations and remote access facilities. It uses SSL/TLS security for encryption and is capable of traversing network address translators (NATs) and firewalls.


 

PPTP vs OpenVPN ?

One of the biggest issues that drives our choice between PPTP and OpenVPN, and an issue that we have no control over, is that sometimes ISP block PPTP connections. There is nothing to be done about this, and in this case using OpenVPN is your only alternative. PPTP has some unique advantages, but a change to OpenVPN may be a good thing.

PPTP works with almost all the Operating software and not requires any software to use. It also works with many mobile devices such as Iphone, Ipad, Windows mobile and can easily be setup on them. In contrast, OpenVPN setup can be a little more complicated compare to PPTP, but with the right directions you should be able to setup the connection without much difficulty. Note that OpenVPN does not work with mobile devices.

PPTP encryption method uses the password as the key and it’s datastream carries a retrievable hash password. If someone in middle intercepts your traffic and cracks the encryption (which is not easy though possible) then he can decrypt your traffic. Where as OpenVPN uses a very strong encryption (blowfish) method. Even if someone does intercept your traffic, they can do nothing with it. This makes OpenVPN more secure than PPTP. To read further about OpenVPN security encryption keys follow this link.

Which to use ?

If you're looking to get high security and are more concerned about the secure transfer of data, then you should use OpenVPN. If you're looking for easy setup OR VPN usage on mobile devices then PPTP is the one for you. There are other protocols available such as L2TP or IpSec, but they are not as user-friendly or cost-efficient. 


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Proxy vs VPN…. Who Wins?

VPN Types 4 Comments »

This could potentially get into a very technical discussion! However, we will try to avoid this, and keep this discussion focused on what we think you want to know. If we don’t cover areas you would like to understand better, please post your thoughts and questions.


We believe the question is as follows;


I want to secure my communications over the internet and protect my identity. I want to do this with the least impact on the speed of my internet connection, with maximum levels of security/anonymity and with the most cost effective solution. What is the difference between proxy server and VPN (Virtual Private Network) solutions?


Proxy Solutions

A proxy server is a server that acts as an intermediary, relaying your request for connection to a webpage, file, or service on the Internet. The location of the proxy server could be physically anywhere in the world. The recipient of the request (e.g a website, service or file) will only see the request for connection coming from the proxy server. The recipient will not know that you were the source of the original request.

proxy, proxy howto, proxy how it works, proxies, web proxy, web proxies, ip change, ip hide, anonymity ip

The main use of anonymizing proxy servers are:

  1. Protecting the identity of the computer behind it.
  2. Avoiding geographic restrictions.

Pros:

  • Many free solutions.
  • Anonymises your web browsing.
  • Unlocks geographic restrictions.

Cons:

  • There is generally little or no encryption provided, so all information being sent by you through the proxy server is completely transparent and can be intercepted. With an SSL proxy, communications from the client to the proxy are correctly protected.
  • Connection speed with free proxy servers is generally slow. Bandwidth costs money.
  • Plenty of free solutions require software installs, and or display intrusive adds to pay for the running of the service.
  • Many proxy server IP addresses are known as sources of spam and are blocked by the end destination site.
  • Beware anonymizing proxy services declaring themselves VPNs.


VPN Services

In a previous TUVPN blog article entitled, What is a VPN service? we throw light on what a VPN service provides, and how it works. We also cover this in our FAQs. So we will not repeat ourselves again here, but rather we will spend a little more time highlighting a VPN’s ‘Pros and Cons’.


In a following blog post, we will go into a more detailed explanation of the differences between PPTP and OpenVPN solutions.


Pros:

  • Anonymizes and encrypts all communications over the internet. Not just web browsing as is the case with Proxy solutions. VPNs protect emails, VOIP, chat applications…. i.e. ALL your Internet traffic.
  • Wireless Hotspot protection. See our blog article, Protection for WIFI Connections (hotels, airports…).
  • Subject to the quality of the supplier, high connection speed.
  • Solution to geographic restrictions.
  • With PPTP solutions you don't need to install any software as clients are provided with most Operating Systems or mobile devices. PPTP has limitations vs OpenVPN – we will look at that later as previously mentioned.
  • Stable and Reliable.

Cons:

  • There is a cost to high data speeds.
  • As with Anonymous proxy providers, trusting your VPN service provider is vitally important. There is a growing source of VPN services, but not all are trustworthy.
  • Most types of VPNs require a software installation.


So in summary, proxy services DO have a use, but they have limitations and risks attached. Reliable VPN services will generally have a cost attached to them. You must judge for yourself if the added security and convenience provided is worth that extra cost.


Please dive in with your thoughts or questions.


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TOR vs VPN Services…. Who Wins?

VPN Types 8 Comments »

Finally, and as we promised some time ago :D, we will address this important question:

Why not use TOR, which is a free service, for providing anonymity and privacy online?

 

To the layman, TOR is defined as:

TOR is a free software and open network that helps protect you from all forms of online surveillance and threats to your personal freedom and privacy. Tor protects you by routing your communications through a network of servers distributed around the world and provided / managed by volunteers.

 

In this sense, the objective of TOR and a VPN service such as TUVPN.COM is the same. Protecting the security, privacy and anonymity of your communications. One of the differences, as you may have already noticed, is that there is usually a small fee attached to accessing a VPN service, while TOR is free. In this difference lies the core advantages / disadvantages of both options.

 

Let us now graphically look at the TOR network structure. It is important to emphasise again that this is a network created from servers offered and run by volunteers. Looking at the implications of this is point:

 

TOR vs VPN anonymity and privacy service

 

As we can see, our communication enters the TOR network through an entry node, then it tumbles from one server to another within the network and finally reaches a TOR exit node, and from there to our Internet destination. The communication is encrypted from your computer to the exit node that decrypts it before sending it to its destination.

Anyone can create a TOR node and add it to the network. This can be for honest and selfless reasons, or not. You can't choose whether your node will be an entry, exit, or intermediate node as this is random in each communication but it will probably go through all the roles at some point.

Imagine now that we are very bad and we decide to create our own TOR server node and add it to the network to serve our own purposes …  Let's see how much evil we can do depending on the role of our server in each communication. Lets use innocent "John" in this example. Remember, our server will go through all the server node roles according to TOR's random design:

 

1 – Our server acts as a TOR input node for John's communication.

As the communication we received from John is encrypted, the only thing we know is that John is connected to the TOR network (we can identify his IP). But knowledge of this alone is not important enough to feed our bad intentions.

 

2 – Our server acts as an intermediate node in John's communication on the TOR network.

Our evil intentions are not satisfied here either. The communication we recieve is encrypted and all we know is that it has come from a node on the TOR network before reaching us. Hopefully the next role our server can play on the TOR network will provide food for our evil appetite! ;)

 

3 – Our server acts as a TOR exit node for John's communication.

Now things get interesting for our evil intent! Our mission here is to decipher the communication through our exit node and send it to your destination. In so doing, we can see all data communication. We cannot know who sent the now transparent communication, we only know that we received it from an intermediate TOR node.

We can argue that by protecting the communication with the target (eg our bank or our e-mail or …) with SSL, there is no way for us to get to know the contents of John's communications.

Wrong again. As security researcher Moxie Marlinspike showed at the last  BlackHat Europe, we can mount a man-in-the-middle attack from our beloved TOR exit server and crack John's SSL communications.

Moxie gave a real-time demonstration of this attack that obtained a large number of passwords for all kinds of services from many users whose traffic was going through his TOR node. For more complete information about this topic: http://blog.phishme.com/2009/02/moxie-marlinspike-un-masks-tor-users/.

 

So we can see that the very nature of decentralised and distributed communication on the TOR network brings some problems.

 

Another drawback, in our humble opinion, of TOR vs a VPN service, is speed. Anyone who has used TOR for something more than just reading emails will know what we are talking about. Unfortunately, bandwidth has a price. Free and open services like TOR just cannot deliver this bandwidth.

By contrast, a VPN provider such as TUVPN.COM, has the resources to secure and supply this bandwidth for their services, and allow its customers to enjoy streaming and other bandwidth intensive activities. Something that is unthinkable with TOR.

 

There is no doubt that TOR has its uses, if one is aware of its limitations. All the same, VPN services also have their uses and , most probably, their limitations. It is just a matter of being able to choose and with the right information come the right decisions !

 

PS: Not to add fuel to the fire, but this week has seen TOR in the news. It has asked its users to upgrade their software as a result of attacks on its servers that run TOR directory authorities. More information:  http://news.zdnet.co.uk/security/0,1000000189,40004185,00.htm


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