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I bought a new smart phone a few weeks ago and now have stumbled upon ads for a VPN.

I have a good subscription with my provider and use it for mobile within my country and WIFI at home. I rarely if ever use a local or free WIFI, just my provider for mobile.

Thoughts?


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What would be your use case for a VPN?

Most privately used VPNs are used to hide the origin of the user. In 99% of all cases that's either to circumvent a region lock (for example to access the US Netflix library from Germany) or to hide from copyright owners (when torrenting copyrighted movies or music). Or both.

Is that your use case?


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Originally Posted by JoBert
What would be your use case for a VPN?

Most privately used VPNs are used to hide the origin of the user. In 99% of all cases that's either to circumvent a region lock (for example to access the US Netflix library from Germany) or to hide from copyright owners (when torrenting copyrighted movies or music). Or both.

Is that your use case?


There are times when I want to view a video, typically one embedded in a news article, and my region is excluded.

Apart from that, I really have no need.


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The most important use of VPN for the phone is to safeguard against Man-In-The-Middle attack when you are using free Wi-Fi Hotspots. Anyone in your favorite coffee shop could look like they are working quietly on his laptop when he is in fact intercepting all the Wi-Fi traffic in the coffee shop or shopping center or whatever. This is a real valid use case for VPN on your phone, and I highly recommend you use it if you use Free Wi-Fi ever. If you don't have a VPN service you should NEVER use free Wi-Fi hotspots. Use your phone service provider's data plan instead.

Just think of it this way. Using free Wi-Fi Hotspot is like walking in public completely naked. The VPN service is like putting on clothing when you walk in public.

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So what have you got against walking in public completely naked? smile
Originally Posted by 8 Octaves
Using free Wi-Fi Hotspot is like walking in public completely naked. The VPN service is like putting on clothing when you walk in public.

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I would be worried they see my Big Mac.


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Originally Posted by 8 Octaves
The most important use of VPN for the phone is to safeguard against Man-In-The-Middle attack when you are using free Wi-Fi Hotspots. Anyone in your favorite coffee shop could look like they are working quietly on his laptop when he is in fact intercepting all the Wi-Fi traffic in the coffee shop or shopping center or whatever. This is a real valid use case for VPN on your phone, and I highly recommend you use it if you use Free Wi-Fi ever. If you don't have a VPN service you should NEVER use free Wi-Fi hotspots. Use your phone service provider's data plan instead.

Just think of it this way. Using free Wi-Fi Hotspot is like walking in public completely naked. The VPN service is like putting on clothing when you walk in public.

I just can't be shagged worrying about stuff like this. Happens so infrequently I might as well put my effort into worrying about doing a faceplant as I cross the street and getting hit by a bus.

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Originally Posted by ando
Originally Posted by 8 Octaves
The most important use of VPN for the phone is to safeguard against Man-In-The-Middle attack when you are using free Wi-Fi Hotspots. Anyone in your favorite coffee shop could look like they are working quietly on his laptop when he is in fact intercepting all the Wi-Fi traffic in the coffee shop or shopping center or whatever. This is a real valid use case for VPN on your phone, and I highly recommend you use it if you use Free Wi-Fi ever. If you don't have a VPN service you should NEVER use free Wi-Fi hotspots. Use your phone service provider's data plan instead.

Just think of it this way. Using free Wi-Fi Hotspot is like walking in public completely naked. The VPN service is like putting on clothing when you walk in public.

I just can't be shagged worrying about stuff like this. Happens so infrequently I might as well put my effort into worrying about doing a faceplant as I cross the street and getting hit by a bus.

+1

Besides, it’s very difficult to create a SSL man in the middle and even if they do so, your browser or applications will either stop it completely due to the rogue certificate or at least warn you. And most non-SSL services are those that I don’t care being intercepted anyway.


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Do you need a VPN for your mobile phone? No.

For using a mobile telephone as a telephone, virtually nobody needs a VPN.

When it comes to using a mobile telephone as a portable on-line computer, the situation pretty much remains the same - you/nobody needs a vpn - with the notable difference, exemplified by JoeT's post, being that it becomes a matter of - do you want a vpn?

VPN technology came into existnce as an alternative / work around for organizations that were unable to find a carrier to provide hard-wired "leased line" service between 2 private end points where, in many cases, at least one end point was rural or otherwise remote to the extent of being outside the reach of any common carrier's leased-line services ( AT$T/Verizon/Bell/MCI/Sprint/etc). VPN tech quickly grew into an alternative solution to dial up connectivity for organizations supporting RAS equipment for their team of on-the-road employees.

These days all kinds of reasons are advertised as to why somebody may want a vpn.


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Originally Posted by drewr


These days all kinds of reasons are advertised as to why somebody may want a vpn.

Most of them dodgy...

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Originally Posted by CyberGene

Besides, it’s very difficult to create a SSL man in the middle and even if they do so, your browser or applications will either stop it completely due to the rogue certificate or at least warn you. And most non-SSL services are those that I don’t care being intercepted anyway.

Agree with this as to why the naked in public analogy is overblown. https everywhere is being encouraged by more browsers to make the risk even slighter. Just be aware of what may be intercepted on public wifi. Or use a vpn crazy

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Thanks everyone.


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Originally Posted by ando
Originally Posted by drewr


These days all kinds of reasons are advertised as to why somebody may want a vpn.

Most of them dodgy...

And when we say dodgy, we mean potentially:
- mining your browsing behavior
- inserting ads
- not providing an encrypted VPN at all (no kidding, there are VPN apps that do basically nothing)
- ...
And it is actually really most of them, because there are so many of them and there are only a few reputable services.

So if you often are on a public wifi you can not trust, your best options are:
1. do not use it, use cellular instead
2. minimize its use and only use services that encrypt themself
3. use a VPN from a reputable service (or a VPN to your home router, if you know how to do that)


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Kind of amazing how so many take an attitude that it’s all good. Read this https://www.techradar.com/news/public-wi-fi-and-why-you-need-a-vpn

There are literally hundreds of articles that cites VPN is a necessity. Like this http://blog.privatewifi.com/harvard-business-review-dont-use-public-wifi-without-a-vpn/

Don’t take my word for it. Read what every security expert says on the subject. If you don’t know how easy it is to hack a phone on an open network you have not looked at the hacking tools lately.

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8 Octaves, just because I play piano does not mean that I am not a security expert, hmm?

"Hacking a phone" is something different than hacking a HTTPS connection. Some would say easier given that a lot of Android phones never get a software update after they have been sold.

Also, please understand that journalists writing about VPNs are not necessary security experts. A lot of that VPN related content are actually ads. As I have written above, there are scenarios whre you're better of with a VPN. But for most people, selecting a trustworthy VPN is like buying a used piano: they have no idea what to look for.

https://twitter.com/swiftonsecurity/status/847607986147041284?lang=en

https://krebsonsecurity.com/tag/vpn/

Friends just brought a digital piano for their daughters. They paid 500 EUR for a used Roland stage piano from 2003 attached to a 50 EUR stereo. You can probably imagine, how that sounds. (and its not even the Roland's fault)

Most VPN services are like that (see above, because there are so many of them).


Kawai CN35. Daughter wanted a piano, so we got one. Now who'll learn faster? ;-)

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