I was wondering if it's possible to chain many VPNs, and if it is, if it increases privacy at all?

My thinking was that each country has data retention laws. If all VPN keep logs (even if most lie about it), they are only required to keep them for a certain period of time. And by chaining VPNs you would make it harder for authorities to find you because they have to get a court order fom each VPN, right?

So initially they only see the IP of the last VPN. They contact them and ask them for the logs, they refuse until they get a court order. This takes some time, but they get it and contact the VPN. The VPN gives them the logs and now they obtain the IP of the next VPN and so on.

So when they finally reach the last VPN and get that court order for the logs, its data may have already been deleted due to the limited data retention rule.

Does anyone know if this is the case? I've seen this kind of scenario in movies (the chaining thing)

PS: I'm talking about VPNs across different countries. If they are from a single country I guess it would be very easy for the authorities to quickly go through all of them because they control the legal system there.

  • 2
    What you described sounds similar to (but not strictly the same as) the onion router Tor uses. I'm guessing the Tor network also depends on the fact that it's impractical to sub-peona the whole chain of ISPs across the globe. – tangrs Jun 24 '15 at 12:55

Remember that VPNs just encrypt your communications between point A and B. In other words, your connection is confidential but not necessarily private.

Assuming that you are using a VPN that has no known vulnerabilities (i.e. logjam) even if you chained VPNs - which would be much effort for little gain - there are a few scenarios where privacy might be compromised (this is not a full list):

  1. You used a payment method and contact info that is linked to you to sign up for the VPN service(s)

  2. Using fake payment and contact info, you used a PC and IP combination that is linked to you to sign up for the VPN service(s) and your ISP logged it.

  3. The target system (i.e. you remote server A remote server B target system) pushes or injects tracking code to your end-point.

Depending on what one would want to be private from, much law-breaking would have to take place (e.g. steal login credentials, hack into someone's wi-fi, pc, or server) to achieve a reasonable high level of anonymity and/or privacy.

Finally, "secrecy", "privacy", and "anonymity" are similar but different concepts. I recommend watching and reading as much as you can by Bruce Schneier to learn more about these concepts.

  • I disagree with 2, all you need to do is to pay with bitcoins, you can always use disposable emails (like getairmail.com/ylptcobb/WCYt ) and buy from someone else phone or computer on a public wifi like at coffee or etc. – Freedo Jun 24 '15 at 23:37
  • I don't get #2, what do you mean a PC/IP combination that is linked to you? The point of the VPN is to hide the IP. – Celeritas Dec 2 '15 at 7:13
  • @Celeritas BEFORE acquiring the VPN service if you use your home PC for example to signup for the service, your IP will be logged by your ISP and the VPN provider. That information could be used against you. VPN providers and ISPs will not go to jail for you. – user79331 Dec 2 '15 at 7:40

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