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I would like to know:

  1. How can they detect the VPN? Does installing the client mean they can see background processes and see the VPN software? Or is the only way that they use a blacklist of known registered VPN IPs?
  2. Is there anyway to prevent this detection? Would using a kind of sandbox like VMware player, with the client installed inside but the VPN setup outside the sandbox be sufficient? Would setting up the VPN via the router itself, rather than software be better? Or even setting the VPN up on a smartphone and tethering perhaps...
  3. Will installing my own OpenVPN on a VPS be a more secure option? (since this won't be on a blacklist of VPN IPS presumably)
  4. Any other methods of detecting I'm on a VPN that I am simply unaware of?

closed as too broad by schroeder, Stephane, Eric G, Xander, Mark Apr 8 '15 at 1:25

Please edit the question to limit it to a specific problem with enough detail to identify an adequate answer. Avoid asking multiple distinct questions at once. See the How to Ask page for help clarifying this question. If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

  • There is no way for us to know the methods a company might use to detect the use of a VPN. – schroeder Apr 7 '15 at 3:02
  • Of course, I am more interested in the general methods that might be commonly employed. – fpghost Apr 7 '15 at 3:05
  • Or rather what is possible and what is impossible – fpghost Apr 7 '15 at 3:17
  • 2
    DNS leakage, traceroute analysis, known VPN IPs. Once they install something on your machine, they could do a lot to determine if the IP you hit them with is the IP of your machine (or ISP). – schroeder Apr 7 '15 at 4:40
  • Even from within a sandbox? – fpghost Apr 7 '15 at 5:58
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They could try using background processes to check for VPN usage, however I strongly suspect that is not the case for two reasons:

  • Too much effort. Devs are lazy and an implementation like this would take a lot of effort (I wouldn't expect a simple poker game to do this).
  • Not everyone uses the same client (PIA, OpenVPN, Securpoint, etc.), though if they wanted, they could just target the most comment clients.
  • Like you mentioned, you could just use a VPN on another device and then bridge connections if you were really determined.

I would think that they would be using blacklists, in which case renting your own VPS will probably work, unless the VPS is already on a blacklist. If they are using blacklists, then you could try looking around to see if maybe there are VPN providers that aren't on the blacklist, but that would be hit and miss, so I wouldn't try it unless you could get a free trial type deal during which to test the program out on.

It's really pretty hard to detect VPN usage, and I haven't heard of any cases in which the implementation you mentioned with the system process monitoring has been enacted. If this is the case, you could try to circumvent it using what I listed above, or rename the process.

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