Can You Trust Your VPN? (and could a decentralized network help?)

the biggest problem with our current methods of privacy and security is that they require us to trust at least one if not multiple companies to properly handle encrypt and store our data the power of bitcoin and other blockchain technologies however is this ability to create a somewhat trustless system that incentivizes a mutually beneficial network of users these blockchain networks are currently disrupting the financial services industry but today i want to explore with you what that might mean for your privacy and security online to all things secure my name is josh and i'm going to be honest with you here i'm wading into waters that are a bit deep for me i mean i understand the general concepts behind blockchain vpn encryption technology and even how tor works but i don't want to misrepresent myself here as an expert in any one of these three things my goal is to simplify these complex subjects by explaining them in ways that the average person like you and me can understand if you've watched any of my vpn reviews here on this youtube channel you know that my one soapbox who runs surf shark anyway it's not entirely clear who owns and runs nordvpn so who is purevpn the pet peeve that bothers me more than anything else about this industry is that we're being asked to place our trust in companies that won't tell us a single thing about who they are or who owns them if privacy is your primary concern then when using a traditional vpn it's not that you're using some magic technology that makes you completely anonymous essentially you're merely replacing your distrust of your internet service provider your network your government or whoever you're worried might be snooping on your internet activity with a trust in some random company that makes plenty of promises about security and privacy but for all intents and purposes has no accountability to those promises when you connect to a vpn server you're rerouting all of your internet traffic through that server to make matters worse in many cases these servers aren't even owned by the vpn companies themselves they simply rent the servers from data centers around the world now this in and of itself does not mean that vpns aren't trustworthy i'm just pointing out the fact that a vpn isn't a cloak of invisibility it's just a realignment of trust that's where something like a decentralized network begins to look enticing i'm going to back up here and mention that this idea of a decentralized network isn't anything new the tor project which was originally developed by the u.s navy to protect their own intelligence communications was released publicly back in 2002.

Despite some pretty far-fetched conspiracy theories most experts agree that although tor isn't perfect it is a viable trustless network solution you see tor which stands for the onion router is best explained by its namesake an onion as data is passed through a volunteer network of relay servers it's almost like an onion of security the first layer of security tells the first server or node what to do once this packet of data is sent along the next layer of the onion is peeled away revealing the instructions for the next node and so on and so on and so on until it finally reaches the destination since each node operates on a need to know basis no one single node can see the whole story of who is sending what data where but even tor has its limitations for example all of these layers of routing make for extremely slow internet speeds the extra privacy and security measures only apply to internet activity done from within the tor browser itself it doesn't cover any other app or programs on your computer or mobile device also your internet service provider can still see that you're connected to tor and your exit node which is where you leave the tor network can eavesdrop on the internet traffic even if it doesn't know where it came from it's connecting those two points that's extremely hard which is why tor has been considered one of the best privacy tools available today so if a vpn requires too much trust and tor is still open for eavesdropping what options are there well first you could run what's known as tor overvpn which simply means you're connecting to a vpn and then running that connection through the tor network or and here's what's been really interesting to me lately you could start looking at a newer development called a decentralized vpn or dvpn for short similar to cryptocurrency you're not placing your trust in a single company but rather in the distributed power of a global network for example i've set up my raspberry pi 4 to run as a node when i'm not in the office and it earns a little bit of cryptocurrency in exchange for sharing my unused bandwidth with other users around the world there are a couple of startups that are facilitating this push towards a dvpn including orcid and tachyon but the one i've been using is known as the mysterium network the way the mysterium works i'm still using wireguard or openvpn protocols to encrypt my data but then that data is sent through multiple nodes until it reaches a specific exit node run by mysterium as a user i pay these public nodes via cryptocurrency for the bandwidth i use and for my raspberry pi i receive crypto for the bandwidth i provide a couple of things worth noting here when it comes to the differences between dvpn a regular vpn and tor first dvpn is very similar to running a vpn over tor except that it's much faster and you can actually control your exit node so you have the ability to unblock streaming content which tor doesn't allow for dvpn is much harder to block because unlike a vpn connection or a tor connection your data is running through residential ip addresses such as with my raspberry pi here in my office it's like walking through a crowd of people in new york city you just blend in decentralized vpns or at least the mysterium network that i use uses an open source code base that has been reviewed and audited this is similar to tor but entirely different from the proprietary system set up by the vpns dvpn runs on a pay-as-you-go model based on the amount of bandwidth you use tor is free while a vpn is a monthly or annual subscription service finally since your data is running through a growing network of unaffiliated nodes unlike a traditional vpn it's technically impossible for any centralized logs to be kept through a dvpn so this is all fine and good but i'm also fully aware that technology like this even if it's developed with good purposes in mind is often used for unlawful or even immoral purposes you can't throw the baby out with the bath water but as a person who runs a public note on this network i also don't want to be complicit in criminal activity so i asked mysterium about this and their solution was interesting to me they've combated this in two ways first as a node i can choose to accept only white listed traffic meaning my node will only run streaming services like netflix pandora hulu and others this will limit my liability but also limit my earning potential as a node second mysterium takes on most of the liability by maintaining all exit nodes for the network i only act as a relay and theoretically at least none of the traffic can be traced back to my relay node all right like i said these are some deep waters and i'm trying to wade carefully here my point is this i've never been comfortable with the trust that we place in these vpn companies and i'm interested in how blockchain technology could change that in the future we may still be using services like nordvpn or expressvpn going forward but because of the work of startups like mysterium it could entirely change the way that privacy and encryption is run i'll be doing a full review of mysterium in the coming weeks but for now if you've come this far the next step i'd really like for you to do is to leave a comment on this video do you agree with me are you confused is there something that i'm missing or don't fully understand let me know and let's start a discussion until next time stay safe

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