Can you still be tracked when using a VPN?
Internet users use VPNs because they want to surf the Internet without third parties eavesdropping. It is comforting for most people to know that there is a tool that hides your online activity. However, are VPN connections discoverable?
This is a question anyone who wants to be anonymous online wants answered. Want to see if connections can be discovered. If they can, to what extent? How much of your online activity might be visible to others?
Can VPNs be tracked?
Your VPN pretty much camouflags your location. However, your ISP can still track service usage. This can be detected in many ways but the simplest is simply being aware of which server you are connecting to.
There are VPNs that come with features that make VPN traffic difficult to detect. This is known as internet traffic obfuscation technology and it allows you to bypass VPN blocks. Some countries constantly block VPN traffic and limit its use. You can Try the most secure VPN for free.
How can a VPN be tracked
There are several ways to track a VPN. Some are complex and some are very basic. The following methods are the most commonly used techniques for VPN tracking.
This is the simplest way to track VPN traffic. Your IP address is publicly visible on the websites you visit as well as by your Internet service provider. A quick IP address search will reveal that the IP address belongs to the VPN. There are lists of IP addresses associated with the most popular VPN services.
The port number appears when the connection to the server is established via a particular VPN protocol. There are a variety of protocols all using unique and different port numbers that are unique to certain protocols.
Detecting the connection associated with the port number makes it easy to tell that a VPN was used.
- Deep Packet Inspection (DPI)
This is an advanced technology used by projects like the Great Chinese Firewall. This project monitors the VPN and blocks it when it is detected. It uses complex algorithms to check each package structure.
DPI can easily detect any type of traffic including VPNs. Hence, many VPN service providers have come up with a way to hide their VPN connections to make them look normal. Thus, they can avoid VPN blocking and allow users to access restricted content.
How Law Enforcement Tracks VPNs
The police or the government may show some interest in some communications. They rely on ISPs to show them when and where connections were made. Then the ISP provides a log of the inspection.
This way, they find out that the connection was associated with the VPN server. However, the logs do not indicate which sites were visited.
It is not easy for individuals to know if someone is using a VPN or not. You will have to make a deliberate effort to find out the public IP address of your target first and foremost. This may include some hacking skills that very few people possess.
Is your IP address traceable if you use a VPN?
It is difficult to track your IP address when you are covered by a VPN. However, this is not impossible. Your ISP has access to your real IP. However, it cannot access the websites you have visited. The website you are browsing only sees your server address.
What about tracking with a VPN? Well, they may not be able to track you via your IP address. However, it is possible to use other methods to find you while using a VPN. There are tracking techniques that a VPN cannot avoid.
Some of the methods that can be used to track include:
- Cookies: When you click OK, website cookies, as well as third-party files, are downloaded and stored on your computer. They can then get to know you and follow you around the web.
- Browser fingerprinting: Your browser sends data about itself as soon as you visit a site.
- VPN logs: Some services keep logs of your online activity.
- DNS Leaks: If the VPN is not installed properly, a DNS leak could be the result when you are on the VPN.
- Money Tracks: When you pay for your VPN via PayPal or credit card, you leave a trail.
A VPN enhances your online privacy. It allows you to browse anonymously and access restricted content. However, there are still ways to track you down. However, you still have to use the internet, so your best bet is to get a good VPN and make it difficult to track you.