of you who frequent the darkweb should be familiar with VPN (Virtual
Private Network) services and have done some research to find a
trustworthy provider. For readers who are just starting to explore the
darker catacombs of the Internet a VPN is a mandatory tool for online
But not all VPN services are created equal. For n00bs
A VPN provides a secure connection between your computer and the VPN
servers. All communications between your computer and the VPN are
encrypted and sent through a secure tunnel over the Internet, preventing
outsiders from spying on your web activity. You can securely connect to
a VPN service and surf the web from their servers, using their IP
There are lots of reasons to use a VPN service such as establishing a
secure connection over an insecure network, accessing censored or
region specific web content, or hiding p2p sharing activity that is
often frowned upon in the US. But if you’ve made it to DDW you’re
probably starting to understand that there are parts of the web where
more nefarious things happen (which DDW acknowledges but does not
condone) and anonymity is of the utmost importance.
The connection between your computer and the VPN is secure, but the
connection between the VPN and the rest of the web isn’t. Your activity
on the web can be monitored and traced back to the VPN IP addresses, but
cannot be traced back to your own IP address. When you use a VPN no one
can trace your web activity back to you (insert obligatory meme).
A VPN service’s main selling points are security and privacy, but
privacy is interpreted differently among VPN providers. Just ask former
lulzsec member Cody Kretsinger (a.k.a. recursion), how private his VPN
Kretsinger used a popular VPN called HideMyAss and engaged in
activity that linked him, and his online persona “recursion,” to several
high profile hacks, including unauthorized access to servers controlled
by Sony Pictures. As it turns out HMA keeps logs of users’ IP addresses
and logon/off times. A UK court order was issued to HMA to turn over
the logs related to the offending account, which were then used to
identify and arrest Kretsinger.
VPN providers can log web activity over their network, but it is more
common to see VPN providers log users’ IP addresses, logon/off times
and bandwidth usage. This logging activity allows providers to identify
individuals abusing the service for fraud and spam, but in doing so they
acquire information that can be used to identify individual users.
You can be absolutely sure if a VPN provider is pressured to
cooperate with authorities and they have any information to identify you
as the suspect you will be up shit creek and you will be there without a
paddle. No one is going to go to jail for you.
This is why some VPN services go out of their way NOT to log any
information that could possibly identify their customers. They cannot be
forced to hand over incriminating information that they do not have.
The Devil is in the Details
It is mundane but it is so incredibly important when considering a
these documents need to be in plain English not lawyer-eese. A VPN
provider who legitimately cares about customers’ privacy will lay it out
in black in white what information, if any, is recorded and for how
Good VPN providers state that they store “personal information”
necessary to create an account and process a payment (for example: name,
e-mail address, payment data, billing address), but state that they do
NOT log users’ IP addresses, logon/off times, or bandwidth usage.
Great VPN providers go a step further to minimize the amount of
“personal information” required by accepting bitcoin or other
cryptocurrencies, eliminating the requirement for billing information.
This further insulates the user’s true identity by requiring an as
little information as an e-mail address to create an account.
An honorable mention must go out to VPN provider MULLVAD who do not
even require an email address. Visitors to the website click “create
account” and they are given an account number without entering any
information at all. VPN Providers to Avoid
If you intend to use a VPN to hide your p2p activity on the web or go
to the other side of the great virtual divide we recommend that you
steer clear of these VPN providers. We want to be fair, VPNs who make
this list are not “bad” VPN providers but they do participate in logging
activities that put their users at risk. These VPNs do not provide true
privacy on the web. Privacy Focused VPN Providers
The following is a list of ten VPN providers who openly state that
they do not log any information that may be used to identify anyone
using their VPN service. To be considered as a privacy focused VPN
provider the service must have the following qualifications:
Does NOT log any information that could be used to identify the user.
Requires minimal personal information to sign up.
You will note that there are VPN providers based in the USA on this
list. It is a common misconception that US VPN services are legally
required to log activity on their network. This simply isn’t true, but
they are still required to cooperate with US law enforcement while other
countries are not. Required cooperation is partly the reason they
dutifully do not log activity on their networks. These companies cannot
be held liable for withholding information they do not have. Choosing a
VPN service, and which country it is based in, is up to you, but we do
not want to discourage people from supporting small businesses in the US
based on hearsay
Anyone concerned with their privacy for any reason should consider
one of the following VPN services. As a DDW Disclaimer: You shouldn’t
rely on a VPN provider to protect you from the authorities. It’s really
best if the authorities don’t have a reason to be looking for you at
The best VPN Deal you can get at the moment is Cyberghos