As said in the PIA website they pretend to have the following VPN features:

  • PPTP, OpenVPN and L2TP/IPSec
  • SOCKS5 Proxy Included
  • No traffic logs

So my question are: Is Private Internet Access VPN safe to use? Is there any way to check or to be sure for instance if they truly keep no trafic log or am I supposed to believe them blindly ?

closed as primarily opinion-based by forest, Xander, Steffen Ullrich, schroeder Jan 13 at 20:33

Many good questions generate some degree of opinion based on expert experience, but answers to this question will tend to be almost entirely based on opinions, rather than facts, references, or specific expertise. If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

  • Totally anecdotal, but I've talked with some high-profile security researchers who have said that, at least in the past, PIA was one of the worst providers in terms of their network security. – forest Jan 11 at 3:06
  • Interesting, do you remember why? DO they have any better VPN in mind ? – Ced Jan 11 at 9:38
  • I don't remember the details. Something about how their firewall segmented users. And remember that VPNs are not meant for serious anonymity, so don't expect that. But if I had to recommend one, maybe Mullvad or IPredator? Only because they have a competent security team (the former is owned by a pentester, and the latter manages their own ISP). – forest Jan 11 at 9:44

When you are working with a VPN solution, you need to identify what it is that you are trying to protect. Are you trying to hide your traffic? Are you trying to appear as through you're working from a different part of the planet? Are you trying to protect data transmissions? There are many reasons to use a VPN, but there is a bit of a gotcha.

VPN tunneling is a great method to ensure that your traffic from point a to point be is encrypted. This is really what it was designed do to. This allows an end user on an encrypted network (like a coffee shop) to connect to a remote location, secure that connection and send only encrypted data. It's a great way to ensure that your local packet sniffer is unable to retrieve any of your transmitted data.

On the other hand, VPN tunneling is not meant to be a disguise for who you are or the activity you make. There are multiple ISPs involved, local host logs, remote host logs, and connection logs on your final destination as well. If we have learned anything from the many security leaks about the NSAs surveillance networks, it's that just knowing source and destination and frequency can be enough to spark interest.

Insult to injury, services like this cannot really guarantee that there are no logs. They probably can't even guarantee that they don't have a connection with a government to turn over access to systems if a warrant is served. There have been many precedents in fact when VPN services have provided logs to local authorities for review. It's just how the system works.

As a result, I don't buy in to the VPN/proxy solution for personal use. The only reason I could really think of having one is if I was forced to work out of coffee shops regularly and wanted to ensure the data I was transmitting couldn't be sniffed. You have to trust, but can't verify. It doesn't really protect your identity, and is only secure from your machine to the service. What they do beyond that is out of your control.

  • Even if the VPN is honest about not keeping logs, their ISP certainly will. – forest Jan 11 at 9:45

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