Take the 2-minute tour ×
Information Security Stack Exchange is a question and answer site for Information security professionals. It's 100% free, no registration required.

I've read this similar question and it has some very good information. Can a site that has personal information about you be accessed by another site to determine who you are/where you are? For example if I log into Facebook (let's pretend it has my real name and location) then I go to another website (for example a forum and post something bad about the government), even though my IP is hidden could anyone find out that I made the comment on the forum based on the fact I had logged into Facebook in the same browser session which has my personal info? The VPN service I use protects itself using shared IP addresses, how does this affect privacy?

What steps can I take to mitigate such a threat, if one exists?

share|improve this question

2 Answers 2

Connecting thorugh a VPN does not provide anonymity. It just provides a different IP address. Any way in which you could otherwise be traced you still be traced.

If you want your VPN-redirected traffic to not be at all associated with your non-VPN-redirected traffic, then your best solution is to keep completely separate profiles for each use. The most complete way to do so is with two separate computers; the second most complete way is by using a separate OS on the same computer (also not that bad), and the third way is to separate out the browsers (not ideal, but less friction).

And then, of course, never do anything within the one profile that you do with the other. No shared accounts, no shared logins, no shared usage patterns, no shared anything. Don't even visit the sames sites.

Often when people's anonymous personae are tracked down (e.g. by a repressive government, etc.) and tied to a real-world person, it's by discovering patters in behavior, speech, timing, or other such side-channel details, or one one persona makes some reference to the other, or by both sharing some common offline characteristic (like the sound of your voice if someone talks to you). The more a given identity does, the more difficult it becomes for that identity to remain secret. The only safety (if there is any at all) is in keeping the anonymous persona sparse and very rarely encountered. It's an extraordinarily dangerous line to tread, so do so with the utmost caution.

Also, and here's a technical detail you don't want to forget: If a "content of interest" is seen by the government coming form a specific IP address, and YOU are seen connecting to a VPN at that same address... well then your secret is not so secret. If your only protection is a VPN, then you're not particularly protected.

share|improve this answer
    
With the two operating system approach, can one be in a virtual box? –  Celeritas Feb 18 '13 at 10:27

People usually confuse the function of a VPN as if they were designed for anonymity. A VPN is for secure connections in a public network i.e. Internet.

The fact that you can hide your ip doesn't make you anonymous. Let's say you are A, VPN B and target C, when you connect to C you are "anonymous" because you are connecting with B's ip. However if your goal is do harm in C, C can check the ip, see that this ip is from B, ask B for the original ip, and here you are caught. All depend on the power of C (you are talking about government so..)

Just remember, all VPN's store logs, even if they are advertised as they don't store logs (see HideMyAss and Lulzsec case).

share|improve this answer
    
HideMyAss never claimed not to store logs in the first place. According to here there are VPN services that claim not to store logs torrentfreak.com/… –  Celeritas Feb 18 '13 at 16:55

Your Answer

 
discard

By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.