It is very hard to track a virtual private network because your IP address is changed, and your internet activity is encrypted. Some ISPs or sites may know that you are using a VPN, but they cannot see your actual online activity.
Why do hundreds of thousands of people all over the world use VPNs? Reasons differ, but many agree that it helps them to feel at ease on the internet. It is becoming increasingly hard to have privacy online, and a virtual private network does a perfect job of protecting its users from tracking, digital spying, data collection, invasive advertising, and cybercriminals.
But is a virtual private network a comprehensive solution to the invasion of internet privacy? It is natural to raise these queries. In this blog, TechNinjaPro will answer them.
- What does a VPN hide?
- How can your VPN be traced?
- Can You Be Tracked With a VPN
- How Can I Be Tracked When Using a Virtual Private Network
- How To Avoid Being Tracked Online
- Is a free VPN Service a Feasible option for privacy?
- If a VPN disconnects, can you be hacked or tracked?
- Can a VPN be hacked?
- Which VPN to Select to Prevent Tracking
- Best VPNs to Prevent Tracking
What does a VPN hide?
When you connect to a server, your IP address changes and your system’s internet traffic gets encrypted. Changing your IP address changes the location associated with you online: if you are using the internet in Australia but connect to a virtual private network server in the United States, you will appear online with an American IP address. In the meantime, encrypted scrambles data, making it look like garbage to anyone who tries to read it. If you are using a consistent VPN service, your internet browsing activities become illegible to snoopers.
However, this does not mean you are completely untraceable online. ISPs, sites, and even governments can determine whether you are using a virtual private network. They might not know what you are up to online, but they will have no difficulty with VPN detection, So how can a virtual private network be traced?
How can your VPN be traced?
The best virtual private network services will not let your IP identify you. However, there are many ways to identify virtual private network traffic:
- VPN IP Address: The IP addresses of virtual private network servers are not hard to recognize. Databases specialize in VPN detection that tries to determine whether an IP belongs to a particular provider. When you access a site with a VPN on, it may identify that you are using a virtual private network using your IP address. However, this does not mean the site will know the identity of the person behind the IP address.
- Port Number: Some virtual private network protocols use specific port numbers to establish a connection.
- Deep Packet Inspection: DPI is a method that involves inspecting the structure of each passing data packet. It has many helpful apps, like blocking spam or malware. However, it can be used to identify virtual private network traffic.
Can You Be Tracked With a VPN
When you use a virtual private network, it is hard to track you. The sites cannot see your actual IP address, and your internet service providers do not know what you do online. But, even if a virtual private network masks your IP address, it does not make you anonymous. You can be tracked with a virtual private network by advertisers because they use different ways of tracking.
How Can I Be Tracked When Using a Virtual Private Network
Using a virtual private network makes it difficult to identify or link internet activity back to you. There is a missing link with a virtual private network so that ISPs, site owners, and governments cannot connect to the dots.
But you are entirely anonymous. Many popular techniques allow sites to track and identify you online. Let’s have a look at the way you can be tracked when using a virtual private network:
1. Website tracking cookies
2. Browser Fingerprinting
Browser fingerprinting is a common technique used to track you to high accuracy. Once you visit a site, your internet browser sends a lot of data about itself. This includes browser parameters like language, plugins installed, screen size, version, and operating system. All these internet browser parameters are common. But digital fingerprinting combines this information to the one unique identifier.
3. VPN Logs
Virtual private network logs are the most crucial part when tracking someone online. Some VPN services keep logs of all internet activity that happens on their servers. It is possible to link internet activity to a person from this information. And such virtual private network services should be avoided.
4. DNS Leaks
When using a virtual private network, you can experience a DNS leak. This typically happens with technically poor VPNs. A DNS leak means that it is likely to see which site you tried to reach, even when on a virtual private network. Internet service providers watch and log the DNS queries all the time. With a DNS leak, you are not secure even with a VPN.
How To Avoid Being Tracked Online
A VPN service is one of the most efficient protection tools. But, it alone cannot stop all types of tracking. You need to use a blend of methods to stay anonymous online. Here is how to stay anonymous:
Use a No-log VPN
A no-log virtual private network is essential to protect yourself from being hacked or tracked. Without any logs stored on a server, it would be impossible to link internet activity back to you. Only reliable virtual private networks with a proven no-log policy can be trusted. They are based in countries with user-friendly data retention laws. Some VPN providers run their servers on RAM disks. This is an advanced privacy feature that deletes all information on a server once it is restarted.
Use Incognito Window
Incognito Window is effective at protecting from cookie tracking. It avoids storing or sending cookies to the site or other third parties. Incognito mode clears all cookies once it is closed and deletes the internet browsing history too.
Use a different browser
Use Trails OS
Trails Operating System is a unique operating system that is designed for anonymity. It does not take much space, and it runs on computer RAM. Once the system is restarted, it deletes itself and all the information on the RAM disk. Trail OS is used by journalists, spies, and intelligence agencies. Trail OS leaves almost no digital footprint.
Is a free VPN Service a Feasible option for privacy?
In the past few years, virtual private network popularity skyrocketed. That is why there are hundreds of virtual private network applications promising privacy and security online. Every day needs a piece of a VPN market pie. It is critical to be cautious when selecting your VPN. While a free VPN might seem okay, you should know that a secure VPN needs many resources and investments.
How do they make money if users do not pay for the service? Usually, it means that your information is being sold to marketing companies. Some can have access to your complete name, phone number, or even address. Sometimes these free applications are so invasive that they get more out of you than your online habits, purchases, and visited websites. If you are anxious about being hacked or tracked with a virtual private network, TechNinjaPro suggests not going for free choices.
If a VPN disconnects, can you be hacked or tracked?
When a virtual private network disconnects, your information is no longer encrypted, and your actual IP address is exposed. Your internet service provider has access to the activity of your IP address, so you are a much easier objective for tracking when you disconnect from a virtual private network. A result of this issue is a so-called kill switch feature that some VPN providers offer.
Can a VPN be hacked?
While anything can be potentially tracked or hacked, a reliable virtual private network is safe from tracking and hacking due to all the security measures required for it to work.
Which VPN to Select to Prevent Tracking
While a virtual private network protects you from tracking, you should be cautious when selecting one. TechNinjaPro strongly recommends staying away from free VPNs as they usually do more harm than good. The issue is that most free VPNs monetize their operations by collecting user data and selling it to third parties. Here are a few features to pay attention to when selecting a VPN:
- Obfuscated servers: Obfuscated servers hide the fact that you are using a VPN, so no one can block your internet connection if they find you doing this. These servers are especially helpful when operating from areas where VPN connection is limited.
- Kill switch: A kill switch feature terminates your internet connection if a VPN service is down. In this case, your internet activities would not be exposed accidentally.
- Strong encryption: Ensure a VPN uses the most updated encryption protocols with no backdoors or vulnerabilities.
Best VPNs to Prevent Tracking
NordVPN is famous for its no-logging policy and takes care of its user’s identity by masking their IP address and location via several state-of-the-art sets of security features.