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  • I found a favorable online review via Google, with a fair amount of descriptive detail *

    The product is pretty new, so there's not a lot of user feedback reporting out there. At this stage, it's hard to say whether the few online reviews are legitimate or not, since some software companies (especially startups) have been known to 'stuff the ballotbox' with their own reviews, and only time will tell until other reviews roll in. Be sure to read the Chrome-version reviews at the Chrome store (they seem to have more data than the Mozilla extension store), especially the negative ones and the VPN maker's responses, to get a sense of various 'issues' that might or might not affect you. As with any VPN, always keep in mind that your ultimate security is in the hands of the service operator and his server integrity. Likewise, a user's ability to access a particular VPN is dependent on the server portals continuing to not be blocked by 3rd parties.

  • Among other things are you saying there might not be too much of a point?

  • I found a favorable online review via Google, with a fair amount of descriptive detail *

    Some the of the services Windscribe offers are free, starting with the browser extension and secure link generator. They also have a free VPN plan that normally caps at 2 GB of usage a month. During their launch period they are offering new users 10 GB of monthly VPN access free of charge. Free users are limited to certain server locations and can only connect with a single device.

    1. "Caps at.."? What does it mean?
    2. How do VPNs work at all? Having read that, I doubt I had an idea: I mean technically - for the user.
    3. Do I need to sign in to have it to work?
  • 1 Maximum usage. If you want more capacity, you have to pay for it.

    2 VPNs encrypt traffic to the server, and between their proxies. Just a basic proxy service, but encrypted until it leaves the proxy for the final connection. Whatever site you are connecting to sees only the proxy's address and not who it is handling the request for.

    1. I mean how does it work? WHAT IS that capacity? The capacity means what? Some traffic?
    2. I mean how does it work/look from the user's side? (It might be different for a browser plug-in (extension) and for a system client, will it?) Does it require the user to handle something special? Does it block something which usually isn't?
  • A usage cap (capacity limit) sets the maximum cumulative amount of data that can flow over the connection in a stated timeframe. Going beyond that either breaks the connection or sets a very low data transfer speed thereafter, depending on the arrangement with the provider. A 2GB/month connection means that's the max data you can route over it in one month. Normally, if all you're doing is browsing and a bit of posting, most of your data flow will be consumed in the download phase, with uploading consuming much less data flow (unless you're pushing pictures or video somewhere).

    A normal unsecured internet connection routes its data packets in-the-clear directly to/from a target IP address, via your ISP, the Internet backbone, and the target's ISP or domain server. This makes it fairly easy for the powers-that-be to block/censor/monitor your traffic flowing to various IP addresses. Using https encrypts the data that moves between you and the target site, but does nothing to hide who you are communicating with. In the case of a VPN, it creates a 'virtual private network' that tunnels data over the Internet by using a module on your system (in WS's case, a browser plug-in) to encrypt your traffic and route it to a WS server's IP whereupon it's typically relayed while still encrypted to yet another WS server in another region where it's decrypted and delivered directly to the target IP address. Return traffic from the target site is sent back to that regional WS server, encrypted, relayed to another WS server, and finally sent to you encrypted from the WS server to which you're connected, whereupon it's decrypted in your plug-in and displayed in your browser.

    Assuming the encryption is good quality, no outside 3rd party can tell what data you're sending/receiving or to/from what end-target site over a VPN, and the only connection they can see for you is the one to the WS server carrying encrypted data. For this to work securely, the encryption must be good, the server operator (in this case, WS) must be trustworthy, and your system must be clean (free of planted keyloggers, etc). In that case, if someone is snooping your connection, about all they can tell is that you're sending/receiving encrypted traffic via at least one of several WS VPN servers. However, where Internet traffic censorship is strong and sophisticated, the authorities will often attempt to block user access to known VPN server IPs (as well as other kinds of proxies) to prevent users end-running their censorship or IP prohibitions. More importantly, in certain repressive locales, use of any kind of proxy may be prohibited without special state license or permission, so that personal use of a VPN can lead directly and quickly to unpleasant 'legal entanglements' - often in the middle of the night. The wise user in such places will always carefully check out what he's up against before committing to using a VPN. Just sayin'

  • Not that I've heard of Russia being quite that bad ...

  • Steve, you're right.

    Black, I get VPNing slows things a bit, right?

  • Steve, you're right.
    Black, I get VPNing slows things a bit, right?

    Well, a VPN adds a couple of servers in the path to/from the destination, and it adds both encrypt and decrypt processing to the data flow, so there's bound to be an increase in latency. How much depends on the VPN service itself and the coding efficiency of the local encrypt/decrypt module.

    Indeed, at this point, Russia isn't a major problem. However, over the years, I've learned that other eyes may read threads like this at some moment of time. Particularly for users in certain locales of the Middle East and Asia, cautionary VPN/proxy notes are always prudent, just in case. I know personally of doors kicked in and people dragged away in such places, so it's a most serious issue for folks in those locales to fully understand the ocean in which they're swimming before they simply blunder into truly dangerous waters.

    1. Does it add to the CPU?
    2. Can they always know someone is using a VPN?
    1. I don't know, but I'd suspect it adds at least some loading, if only for the encryption/decryption activity.
    2. Your up-bound IP connection data has to be routed to the VPN proxy server, so if the snooper has up-to-date records of which IP's are associated with various VPNs, he would know a VPN was in use and which brand. The key questions really involve the quality of his snooping mechanisms, whether he tracks all the new VPN IPs out there, and whether he has incentive or interest in immediately blocking them all. In repressive locales where snooping is very extensive, two things can set off a snooping system's alarm bells: use of encrypted connections and accessing a known VPN or proxy IP. The two occurring together usually implies a user is probably trying to end-run the snooping system, so it becomes a matter of the authorities' policy in such cases as to what would happen next: block, simply ignore and allow, wait-and-watch, begin compiling a dossier, or kick down the user's door. Depending on locale and the current political atmosphere, YMMV.
  • So what should it look like really to use this VPN?
    I mean 1) should I "Sign up to Windscribe" as its icon wants me to?
    2) If there's 2GB or 10GB "cap", what exactly does it mean in terms of usage? Does it mean I can switch it on and off to save those 2 or 10? Or does it mean that I use it switched on default/automatic for a couple of hours/couple of days --- then what???
    😕

  • As I understand it, the 2GB option is free and requires nothing on your part other than setting up an 'account'. If you supply your eMail address, you would get the free option with a 10GB cap. The WS control panel updates a meter to show the remaining GB left on your plan as you go along. How readily and effectively one can switch WS on or off, I don't know. There are options to install just a browser extension/plug-in and an option to install into Windows to force all online connections through WS; there's also a firewall feature that includes a tunneling port. The problem is that it's unclear to an 'outsider' like me just how easily or cleanly each (or all) of these can be switched off. Ordinarily, a mere browser extension should be able to be readily disabled and have it drop out of functionality, but I've been unable to find any clear references to how easy it truly is to kill or bypass use of WS's VPN once it's been set up.

  • So, you mean it seems, that once I ''activate'' it somehow, it'll just tunnel everything - meaning I'll "cap" it all in a day. I've "capped" it - IT has 'capped' it -- then what?
    Well, and... Usually an extension, once installed (and 'turned on') plainly works by itself. Here you seem to mean, that one should ''register'' there first to '''activate''' it? So if I'm not ~registered~, the thing is just a decoration?
    I downloaded it, it kinda installed itself here (no reboot required), icon appeared, items in menus...
    In the icon menu though, there's only a ^screen^ to - as you say, log in or register. 😕

  • It's hard to tell with any certainty from the material I've read about it. To get it to work at all, you have to first register/create an account with WS which gives the product access to WS's servers thereafter, based on what I've read. The cap size depends on whether you give them your eMail address (or even pay for their service). As to what happens when you hit your cap, I don't know. Probably you'll be offered an option to raise the cap by doing whatever would be required to enter that category of service. Whether or not the product 'gracefully' gets out of the way (or how you manually move it out of the way) if you're at the cap limit, I again don't know.

  • Thanks, Bird.:)

    Now I think I'll just keep it installed. For a rainy day. 🙂

  • Oh now, there's this tub.
    Windows task manager.
    In my XP, when I open it, in its third tab there are 5 screens in 4 sections - the upper right section called something like "CPU's Chronology", has 2 paired ones: so just now, watching a video (trying to) I got surprised they showed very different data... I can see neither captions nor any tooltips around them, so I wonder - what the heck are they for and what is the difference? 😕

  • Since I don't have an XP system at hand, I'll make the educated guess that the paired ones you see are displaying a chronological record of your CPU usage, and that you have a dual-core CPU in that computer (hence 2 'screens' in the pair). In that case, the cores tend to run mostly independently of each other in the processing each is doing, so their history will differ as it unfolds. In multi-core processors, the computing tasks are split up and assigned to different cores, then brought back together for what you see on-screen.

  • Wow! :happy:

    Dual core. Kinda cool. 😉

  • In Opera 36, when I open a mail service (logged in), I'm getting a bar asking "Allow blah-blah.com to open all email links?", with two buttons on the right - Allow and Deny.
    My question being: what happens if I choose one of them? Well, there is a "close" cross next to them there, so far I usually just close it, but it reappears anew with every loading and reloading page.

    I use more than 1 email service. And currently I choose never to remember my login...
    😕

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