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Does AirVPN log its users' IP addresses?


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#1 deeperdot

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Posted 02 October 2015 - 11:18 AM

AirVPN's privacy policy states:

 

Air servers and software procedures acquire only personal data which are strictly necessary for the technical functioning of the service, for example IP address. These data are not collected to identify, through elaboration or any other technique, users' personal identities. These data are not transmitted to third parties. 

 
The wording of this clause is very unclear, and updating it with some clarification would be appreciated.
 
Naturally, a user needs to expose his (or some) IP address to you in order to connect to your service. Please specify how you handle this in the short term and in the long term.
 
Do you keep a record of the IP addresses used by your users to connect to AirVPN? In other words, do you log them? 
 
Looking forward to hearing back from you


#2 Staff

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Posted 02 October 2015 - 12:18 PM

AirVPN's privacy policy states:

 

Air servers and software procedures acquire only personal data which are strictly necessary for the technical functioning of the service, for example IP address. These data are not collected to identify, through elaboration or any other technique, users' personal identities. These data are not transmitted to third parties. 

 
The wording of this clause is very unclear, and updating it with some clarification would be appreciated.
 
 
We think it's crystal clear, please feel free to elaborate.
 

 
Naturally, a user needs to expose his (or some) IP address to you in order to connect to your service. Please specify how you handle this in the short term and in the long term.
 
Do you keep a record of the IP addresses used by your users to connect to AirVPN? In other words, do you log them? 
 
Looking forward to hearing back from you

 

No, it's written in the Privacy Notice that you have linked in your very message. "Data are deleted as soon as they are no more necessary for such purposes." Such purposes are specified in the Privacy Notice. This is a real, effective sentence against collection of data which can be exploited (or aimed) to disclose personal identity, even without logs. It is stronger than a simple "no logs" sentence, which in itself means nothing and is just a marketing sentence for gullible people. Everybody can keep no logs while transmitting data in real time to third-parties: no logging declaration would be true, but totally inessential. We keep no logs AND we do not use any data (in RAM or elsewhere) to disclose personal identity AND we do not send any data, not even during a connection, to any third party.

 

Kind regards



#3 deeperdot

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Posted 02 October 2015 - 02:04 PM

Regarding the clause:

Air servers and software procedures acquire only personal data which are strictly necessary for the technical functioning of the service, for example IP address. These data are not collected to identify, through elaboration or any other technique, users' personal identities. These data are not transmitted to third parties. 

 

This is ambiguous because it's equivalent to saying: "we acquire your IP but we don't collect it to identify you". So from that clause one can't actually infer whether or not you're logging IP addresses.

 

You mention that other parts of the privacy notice actually clarify the above, but they don't really:

 

Data transmission is performed between Air servers network exclusively in order to erogate efficiently the AirVPN service. Data are deleted as soon as they are no more necessary for such purposes. 

 

"Data transmission is performed between Air servers network..." is ambiguous. Is this the users' web traffic? If so, does it include the users' original IP? Or is this just ordinary server usage data that's relayed between the servers for the purposes of "statistical reports on servers usage, CPU stress, technical issues, in order to improve the service ..." as you then mention? 

 

Assuming the data is users' web traffic, again, that needs clarification: I thought I was connecting to one server at a time. Is my traffic being routed through more than one server?

But whatever this data transmission is, it's done to "erogate efficiently the AirVPN service". Now, I'm sorry, but "erogate" is not a word (it's neither in the Oxford English Dictionary, nor in Merriam-Webster's). So that also needs clarification (or rather, re-writing). 

 

You say that IPs are not logged but that "Data are deleted as soon as they are no more necessary for such purposes". Sounds contradictory: So you don't log IPs but you delete them? WTF? How can you delete something that you haven't recorded?

 

I'm actually more confused than I was before. 

 

Look, please don't take this the wrong way. I do believe that privacy is important to you, it's important to me too, I'm on your side here. But your privacy notice still has a few cloudy areas, please make it clearer, I look forward to hearing your clarification on the above points.



#4 Staff

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Posted 02 October 2015 - 04:50 PM

Regarding the clause:

 

Air servers and software procedures acquire only personal data which are strictly necessary for the technical functioning of the service, for example IP address. These data are not collected to identify, through elaboration or any other technique, users' personal identities. These data are not transmitted to third parties. 

 

This is ambiguous because it's equivalent to saying: "we acquire your IP but we don't collect it to identify you". So from that clause one can't actually infer whether or not you're logging IP addresses.

 

Actually to understand the above you should have a basic knowledge of how the Internet works and the meaning of logging. In a few words, any server must know your IP address to communicate with your node for all the time you remain connected to any service. This IP address, in our case, stays in RAM and no action, transfer, storage of it etc. is performed after the disconnection.

 

The data that are permanently stored are those that you inserted when you registered your account and subscribed it (examples: username, password, subscription start and end date).

 

 

But whatever this data transmission is, it's done to "erogate efficiently the AirVPN service". Now, I'm sorry, but "erogate" is not a word (it's neither in the Oxford English Dictionary, nor in Merriam-Webster's). So that also needs clarification (or rather, re-writing). 

 

It is an archaic transitive verb that means "deal out" in this case, as clearly reported by the Webster dictionary.

http://www.webster-dictionary.org/definition/Erogate

 

You say that IPs are not logged but that "Data are deleted as soon as they are no more necessary for such purposes". Sounds contradictory: So you don't log IPs but you delete them? WTF? How can you delete something that you haven't recorded?

 

 

Yes. You must be aware that "logging" meaning can't in any way be extended to "storing in RAM while the connection is active". Otherwise ANYTHING would be "logged" on the Internet and the meaning of logging would be useless. If nothing were stored in RAM there would be no communication and the Internet (or any other network) would not work at all.

 

Assuming the data is users' web traffic, again, that needs clarification: I thought I was connecting to one server at a time. Is my traffic being routed through more than one server?

 

 

We use frontend and backend servers, and we also have a "micro-routing" system as an useful feature, so yes. This is actually a good feature for privacy, because users data, certificates etc. are not stored on the VPN servers or on the web frontend servers. Additionally this lets you access various geo-discriminatory services even from VPN servers that are located outside the country of the service you access (example, you can watch BBC in UK from a non-UK VPN server).

 

I'm actually more confused than I was before. 

 

Look, please don't take this the wrong way. I do believe that privacy is important to you, it's important to me too, I'm on your side here. But your privacy notice still has a few cloudy areas, please make it clearer, I look forward to hearing your clarification on the above points.

 

We're glad to know it and we hope we have clarified your doubts now.

 

Kind regards



#5 deeperdot

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Posted 02 October 2015 - 05:51 PM

In a few words, any server must know your IP address to communicate with your node for all the time you remain connected to any service. This IP address, in our case, stays in RAM and no action, transfer, storage of it etc. is performed after the disconnection.

 

You have clarified my doubts. 

 

Thanks for your time, patience, and care. 



#6 deeperdot

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Posted 02 October 2015 - 05:54 PM

Addendum:

 

My doubts may have been clarified, but consider revising the wording of your privacy policy accordingly, as I'm not the only one who can get confused:

https://www.deepdotweb.com/2014/07/08/is-your-vpn-legit-or-shit/



#7 Staff

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Posted 02 October 2015 - 10:22 PM

Addendum:

 

My doubts may have been clarified, but consider revising the wording of your privacy policy accordingly, as I'm not the only one who can get confused:

https://www.deepdotweb.com/2014/07/08/is-your-vpn-legit-or-shit/

 

 

That's not a problem with the Privacy Notice... that article deliberately reported false data for reasons that are not worth the time to be investigated, and not only about us (you can easily cross-check other false claims in that table). Note also how the table is a picture, to avoid indexing by search engines.

 

Kind regards



#8 VpnAndMe

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Posted 16 October 2015 - 03:52 AM

Addendum:

 

My doubts may have been clarified, but consider revising the wording of your privacy policy accordingly, as I'm not the only one who can get confused:

https://www.deepdotweb.com/2014/07/08/is-your-vpn-legit-or-shit/

 

From all this i get the sense that you want absolute privacy and perhaps the reason for this is the darknet activities. My humble advice to you is to stay away from illegal activity, well at least from the kind that requires darknet usage. Just like there is no absolute truth, there is no absolute privacy either, a great many people find that out the hard way. I always thought that i was torrenting peacefully through my VPN connection after I made sure that there are no DNS leaks, and that my connection to internet is disabled in case VPN connection drops. To my dismay, i recently discovered a new technology (perhaps only new to me) called WebRTC detection (introduced thanks to google) which can detect your original IP address even if you are connecting through a VPN tunnel and your DNS servers are public. Thankfully there is a fix for that too and I now fixed it, but who knows how many times I torrented with that vulnurability thinking I was absolutely safe and anonymous.

The moral of the story is, there is no guarantee that a new technology won't be introduced behind your back and you will once again be vulnarable, there is also no guarantee that such technology doesn't already exist in the hands of law enforcement. So my humble advice to you if you want to be safe just don't do anything you would later regret.

 



#9 Staff

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Posted 16 October 2015 - 08:27 AM

 

. I always thought that i was torrenting peacefully through my VPN connection after I made sure that there are no DNS leaks, and that my connection to internet is disabled in case VPN connection drops. To my dismay, i recently discovered a new technology (perhaps only new to me) called WebRTC detection (introduced thanks to google) which can detect your original IP address even if you are connecting through a VPN tunnel and your DNS servers are public. Thankfully there is a fix for that too and I now fixed it, but who knows how many times I torrented with that vulnurability thinking I was absolutely safe and anonymous.

 

Hello!

 

If you had Network Lock enabled in our Air client, you have always prevented "WebRTC leaks", as well as any other packet out of the tunnel sent by any process binding to your physical network card. https://airvpn.org/faq/software_lock/

 

Kind regards



#10 gurejoks

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Posted 16 October 2015 - 07:27 PM

And BTW, @VpnAndMe: the IPLeak website (run by the good folks from AirVPN) checks and reports whether you're susceptible to the WebRTC leak.



#11 me.moo@posteo.me

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Posted 16 October 2015 - 09:55 PM

And BTW, @VpnAndMe: the IPLeak website (run by the good folks from AirVPN) checks and reports whether you're susceptible to the WebRTC leak.

Why the hell would the rest of us be here making testaments and telling how it is if what we say was not true?



#12 ogi

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Posted 15 December 2015 - 02:38 AM

Hi everyone

 

Sorry for reopening an old thread.

 

I was going through this thread because i found the same article/link (mentioned above) stating that Air is logging the personal user IP's.

I have understood Air's explanation saying that the IP is stored in the RAM only, which is great.

 

My question is the following:

I connect to an AirVPN server. Let's assume this server lies in the States.

This openvpn server stores my IP in the RAM to establish and maintain the connection. It verifies my login credentials over a backend db where username password and no. of active connections are stored (no IP)

But if I go to AirVPN.org  to the client area (which is located somewhere in Europe), I see all my open connections including my IP.

 

How does the website knows my real IP? It could ask the same backend db - but there is no real IP stored...

For each active connection it would have to go asking the corresponding openvpn server for my real IP (in this example the one in the States) in order to show it on the website? This sounds extremely inefficient to me...?!?

 

I am no expert but it would be great you could explain me this process for my understanding.

 

BTW: Thanks very much for this superb VPN service.

 

regards



#13 Staff

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Posted 15 December 2015 - 01:22 PM

How does the website knows my real IP? It could ask the same backend db - but there is no real IP stored...

For each active connection it would have to go asking the corresponding openvpn server for my real IP (in this example the one in the States) in order to show it on the website? This sounds extremely inefficient to me...?!?

 

I am no expert but it would be great you could explain me this process for my understanding.

 

 

Hello!

 

Actually it is, but the inefficiency is negligible in terms of overall performance and under any other aspect. We confirm that everything is kept in RAM. Basically usage of RAM disks is involved but we are not willing to enter into details, sorry.

 

Kind regards

 

 

BTW: Thanks very much for this superb VPN service.

 

regards



#14 me.moo@posteo.me

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Posted 15 December 2015 - 03:31 PM

Hello!

 

Actually it is, but the inefficiency is negligible in terms of overall performance and under any other aspect. We confirm that everything is kept in RAM. Basically usage of RAM disks is involved but we are not willing to enter into details, sorry.

 

Kind regards

 

Not only negligible but also safer than any alternative.



#15 iwih2gk

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Posted 15 December 2015 - 06:18 PM

deerdot (OP),

 

I have found Air to be extremely trustworthy and honest with the members.  However; with that said its important for YOU never to rely upon a single value trust such as AIR (or any vpn provider) alone.  In open honesty Air has mentioned numerous times to setup a partition of trust so that no one provider holds the key to your activity.

 

On the IP front, which is the thrust of your thread here, have you considered and planned for outside monitoring?  I assure you without any question that vpn datacenters are monitored for incoming IP's.  These can be and are likely recorded by authorities and NO vpn provider can control its occurrence.  That doesn't mean that Air's tunnel is broken or that your plain text data is visible to outside viewing, but it does mean that YOUR incoming IP is known to have connected to the vpn datacenter.  Your ISP also clearly sees this too if Air is vpn1 in your circuit.  Any single hop relay can be monitored and over a short time period it would be possible to isolate where you go using the vpn.  Its not Air's fault but how it all works, so construct a partition of trust.  Maybe Air plus TOR because this would give you 4 relays and make it quite unreasonable to track unless you are an EXTREMELY high value target.

 

I am only posting this to enlighten your mind to the OVERALL scope of how this all works, not to scare you.



#16 me.moo@posteo.me

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Posted 15 December 2015 - 09:43 PM

deerdot (OP),

 never to rely upon a single value trust

 

Sorry to single out such a short quote but it means a great deal.

Indeed it embodies mine and many in Jesus. We need no religous bigotry or any man made nonesense.



#17 amair

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Posted 17 December 2015 - 11:07 AM

"  Your ISP also clearly sees this too if Air is vpn1 in your circuit.  Any single hop relay can be monitored and over a short time period it would be possible to isolate where you go using the vpn. "

 

Could you elaborate more on this in layman term and a little bit more details ?   I really want to know for my knowledge.

Thanks.



#18 iwih2gk

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Posted 17 December 2015 - 09:14 PM

"  Your ISP also clearly sees this too if Air is vpn1 in your circuit.  Any single hop relay can be monitored and over a short time period it would be possible to isolate where you go using the vpn. "

 

Could you elaborate more on this in layman term and a little bit more details ?   I really want to know for my knowledge.

Thanks.

 

I am not certain what elaboration you are looking for.  Lets start with the first part of the quoted post.  Both your ISP (internet service provider) AND any authority monitoring the vpn datacenter can easily see that your IP XXX connects to an Air server.  If properly configured both your ISP and the outside monitoring authority CANNOT read or see the plain text.  They know that IP XXX is clearly connected.  In this example lets say Air functions as vpn1, and in fact lets make it a one hop one Air server circuit.  I never use something this simple but lets just stay with it for our example.  In this simple design an adversary of "authority" magnitude can oversee all IP's coming into the server via the datacenter and can monitor them over TIME.  Next they start observing activity on the net coming from the exit IP of the Air server and again TIME is their friend.  Remember they have money and resources and just keep logging both ends of the server starting to look for patterns, which will not be too tough to develop.  At your request I am keeping this simple and not technical as to HOW its done.  In the worst case scenario you have an Air member that connects to the same server all the time making their timing/observation child's play on a one hop circuit.  Reminding you I am talking about an adversary at the "authority" level not a script kiddie.

 

Only you can decide if what you are doing online is worth "their" effort to track you down.  To me this is a hobby and even though I am boring I study and learn like I really have something to hide.  Consider just adding TOR (running in a linux VM) over your one Air server, and you basically have graduated to catastrophic loss for the adversaries most will ever face.

 

There are many technical papers on timing attacks and such for monitoring one hop vpn's from the OUTSIDE.  I for one am assuming Air is solid and they are NOT on the inside of our tunnels.  Still, I use a partition of trust among several vpn providers and TOR because logic dictates I should.  You decide for YOU.



#19 amair

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Posted 18 December 2015 - 04:09 PM

 

"  Your ISP also clearly sees this too if Air is vpn1 in your circuit.  Any single hop relay can be monitored and over a short time period it would be possible to isolate where you go using the vpn. "

 

Could you elaborate more on this in layman term and a little bit more details ?   I really want to know for my knowledge.

Thanks.

 

I am not certain what elaboration you are looking for.  Lets start with the first part of the quoted post.  Both your ISP (internet service provider) AND any authority monitoring the vpn datacenter can easily see that your IP XXX connects to an Air server.  If properly configured both your ISP and the outside monitoring authority CANNOT read or see the plain text.  They know that IP XXX is clearly connected.  In this example lets say Air functions as vpn1, and in fact lets make it a one hop one Air server circuit.  I never use something this simple but lets just stay with it for our example.  In this simple design an adversary of "authority" magnitude can oversee all IP's coming into the server via the datacenter and can monitor them over TIME.  Next they start observing activity on the net coming from the exit IP of the Air server and again TIME is their friend.  Remember they have money and resources and just keep logging both ends of the server starting to look for patterns, which will not be too tough to develop.  At your request I am keeping this simple and not technical as to HOW its done.  In the worst case scenario you have an Air member that connects to the same server all the time making their timing/observation child's play on a one hop circuit.  Reminding you I am talking about an adversary at the "authority" level not a script kiddie.

 

Only you can decide if what you are doing online is worth "their" effort to track you down.  To me this is a hobby and even though I am boring I study and learn like I really have something to hide.  Consider just adding TOR (running in a linux VM) over your one Air server, and you basically have graduated to catastrophic loss for the adversaries most will ever face.

 

There are many technical papers on timing attacks and such for monitoring one hop vpn's from the OUTSIDE.  I for one am assuming Air is solid and they are NOT on the inside of our tunnels.  Still, I use a partition of trust among several vpn providers and TOR because logic dictates I should.  You decide for YOU.

 

Thanks for the explanation. It's very educational.



#20 Kissafrog007

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Posted 22 December 2015 - 05:28 PM

 

 

"  Your ISP also clearly sees this too if Air is vpn1 in your circuit.  Any single hop relay can be monitored and over a short time period it would be possible to isolate where you go using the vpn. "

 

Could you elaborate more on this in layman term and a little bit more details ?   I really want to know for my knowledge.

Thanks.

 

I am not certain what elaboration you are looking for.  Lets start with the first part of the quoted post.  Both your ISP (internet service provider) AND any authority monitoring the vpn datacenter can easily see that your IP XXX connects to an Air server.  If properly configured both your ISP and the outside monitoring authority CANNOT read or see the plain text.  They know that IP XXX is clearly connected.  In this example lets say Air functions as vpn1, and in fact lets make it a one hop one Air server circuit.  I never use something this simple but lets just stay with it for our example.  In this simple design an adversary of "authority" magnitude can oversee all IP's coming into the server via the datacenter and can monitor them over TIME.  Next they start observing activity on the net coming from the exit IP of the Air server and again TIME is their friend.  Remember they have money and resources and just keep logging both ends of the server starting to look for patterns, which will not be too tough to develop.  At your request I am keeping this simple and not technical as to HOW its done.  In the worst case scenario you have an Air member that connects to the same server all the time making their timing/observation child's play on a one hop circuit.  Reminding you I am talking about an adversary at the "authority" level not a script kiddie.

 

Only you can decide if what you are doing online is worth "their" effort to track you down.  To me this is a hobby and even though I am boring I study and learn like I really have something to hide.  Consider just adding TOR (running in a linux VM) over your one Air server, and you basically have graduated to catastrophic loss for the adversaries most will ever face.

 

There are many technical papers on timing attacks and such for monitoring one hop vpn's from the OUTSIDE.  I for one am assuming Air is solid and they are NOT on the inside of our tunnels.  Still, I use a partition of trust among several vpn providers and TOR because logic dictates I should.  You decide for YOU.

 

Thanks for the explanation. It's very educational.

HI iwih2gk, When you say' I use a partition of trust among several VPN providers,' do you mean that you use several different VPN providers at the same time?? How do you do this? How can I avoid this one hop detection if I use VPN mainly for P2P connections? I understand that Using TOR slows down the network and is not recommended.







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