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Tor versus a VPN - Which is right for you?

This article assumes you have a basic understanding of The Onion Router (Tor) and Virtual Private Networks (VPN), as well as a desire to protect your privacy on the Wild World Web.

Having chosen to not take refuge under a large, dense object for the last several decades (not that i'd blame you), you're probably aware of how fragile privacy and freedom has become in the digital age. At the network level a lot of people (including Ed) recommend The Onion Router (Tor) in order to protect ones privacy. Others prefer using a Virtual Private Network (a VPN is really more like proxy than a network) and still others recommend using both with a VPN preceding the connection to Tor. If you're wondering what i recommend, i don't; i'll leave that up to you since it's not a one-size-fits-all thing and, more importantly, i'm not qualified to make such a suggestion and neither are a lot of other people making such suggestions. What i would like to do however is point out some of the differences between the Tor and so-called VPN's as i see them because each has distinct advantages and disadvantages.

  • Using the Tor network is free, as is the Tor Browser, a privacy and security hardened version of Firefox used to connect to the Tor network. The Tor Project source code is public and the servers can be run by anyone, including bad actors, however there is debate as to how much impact a malicious operator can have.
  • Unless you run your own VPN, which which i suspect requires a god-like level of technical prowess and secured hardware to do it right, a VPN service will cost you roughly $5 to $10 per month and a lot of the companies providing service are highly unethical. As a rule of thumb, never trust a VPN provider offering their service for "free". Personally i also avoid the big names, like NordVPN. I simply don't trust large corporations, many of which have very poor track records, including Nord.
  • Tor advocates often describe Tor a "trustless", meaning that one does not have to trust the software since it's open-source, however this is misleading since no one really knows what a malicious Tor node operator can do or what exploits exist that have never been disclosed. While it is true that no VPN can be fully trusted regarding security or privacy, the same is true for the Tor network. See for example, Tor Network Compromised by Single Hacker Stealing Users' Bitcoin: Report and 'You Are Not Anonymous on Tor' - Study Shows Privacy Network Offers Superficial Anonymity. We know there is a massive amount of money to be made in malware and vendors, many of which sell exploits to governments and intelligence communities, have little or no incentive to disclose the vulnerabilities they discover. These vulnerabilities can remain secret for weeks, months, or years. Knowing this, i think it is dangerously illogical to conclude that anything is secure, including Tor.
  • Picking a bad VPN that doesn't respect your privacy is easier than getting your drone stuck in a tree, however there is only one Tor Project and one official Tor Browser and the source code for both is public and open to auditing.
  • When using the Tor network, it is strongly suggested to use the Tor Browser (a fork of Firefox) in its default configuration. Remaining anonymous on Tor depends heavily on uniformity and so, with few exceptions, you can kiss your beloved add-ons goodbye. With a VPN one has more choices as to what browser and add-ons they use, though these choices must be weighed carefully.
  • Avoiding browser fingerprinting and tracking is much easier to achieve with Tor, while preventing fingerprinting outside of Tor is quite difficult whether using a VPN or not. In both cases however, and assuming you've taken some precautions, the websites you visit will not know your physical location and they will be less able to fingerprint and track your browser. That said, nothing can protect your privacy if you log on to privacy toxic surveillance platforms like Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Google, YouTube, etc., using your real identity or the same credentials you used prior to using Tor or a VPN.
  • Because of the layers of encryption that Tor employs, bandwidth limitations, the load on the nodes, etc., Tor will generally provide a slower web experience, higher latency, and a less stable connection than a good VPN. This problem is exacerbated if one adds more nodes to the Tor circuit. File sharing is discouraged with Tor and latency sensitive traffic such as gaming is out of the question. Even watching high definition videos can be problematic.
  • Tor may insulate users from a malicious operator better than a VPN, partly because a Tor circuit is composed of multiple nodes whereas a VPN usually presents a single point of attack. Though some VPN providers offer an option to route traffic through more than one node, all the nodes are controlled by the same company. One could chain multiple VPNs, but at an added cost.
  • Different people require different levels of privacy. A journalist wishing to communicate privately with a source may be better off using Tails and Tor. On the other hand, someone wanting to download copyrighted content whilst avoiding nasty-grams from their ISP, or stream high resolution videos, or game, or most other non-sensitive and bandwidth intensive activities, may be better off with a VPN.
  • With Tor it is non-trivial and ill advised to choose what exit node you want to connect to, whereas any good VPN provider will allow you to swap between any of their servers and doing is usually just a couple mouse clicks away if you use their client software. One advantage of being able to choose among servers is the ability to access content which is blocked in a particular geographical region, such as certain videos.
  • VPN client software may not be open source and may not respect your privacy even if it is, however any good VPN provider will allow connections using other methods, such as with OpenVPN or, better yet, WireGuard. Setting up a connection manually to your VPN provider will require a bit of time verses using their app, though doing so is usually fairly easy. This issue is non-existent with Tor.
  • Both Tor exit nodes and VPN nodes are subject to having their IP addresses blacklisted by governments, corporate websites, and even private website owners which results in the inability to connect to them. In the case of a VPN this is fairly rare in my personal experience, however those who shop online are more likely to have trouble with either Tor or a VPN, though the problem may be exacerbated with Tor and the Tor Browser whereas with a VPN one can easily switch servers to try and solve the problem. That said, if you're shopping on-line and giving up personal information, there's probably no point in routing the connection through Tor or a VPN and in either case it is trivial to bypass them.
  • Choosing to use Tor is more of a simple yes or no decision, while choosing to use a VPN requires research in order to locate a trustworthy provider that offers a stable service. The VPN market is exploding and so are the number of ethically retarded providers. Be careful when reading VPN "reviews" because many of them are written by the providers themselves or paid bloggers. I've had several offers from VPN providers asking me to post content here in exchange for money (i always turn them down).
  • Unless you configure your network device to route through Tor, the only traffic routed through the network when using the Tor Browser is the web traffic generated by your browser, whereas with a VPN, typically all network traffic generated by your computer is routed through your VPN. With a suitable router you also have the option to set up the VPN on the router so that anything that connects to your local network is protected. This is fairly easy to do with routers which support it, such as the Peplink Surf SOHO, the Turris Omnia or the Vikings routers, or those for which you can install custom firmware, such as OpenWRT.
  • An entire Tor network, including the entrance and exit nodes, can be run on a single machine using software such as The Shadow Simulator. This may present very serious privacy/security issues that undermine network layering if such a configuration is employed by a malicious party such an ISP, law enforcement or the intelligence community.

Because of the garbage disseminated in the mainstream media, much of the public sees Tor as being synonymous with the 'Dark Web' which many believe is nothing more than a haven for criminals. Tor can be thought of simply as a service, such as your phone company provides, and, as with any service, it can be used by bad people to do bad things or good people to do good things. For the average person wanting to protect their privacy, Tor may provide a portal to access the same websites one visits every day, but in a more private and secure way. That said, yes, there is a 'dark' web that is accessible only through software like Tor and while some of the content available in it is indeed illegal and extremely offensive, there is also a lot of quality content which is otherwise censored on the open web.

Some people believe that using Tor will attract the attention of the intelligence community and that claim is not entirely unwarranted. While it is apparently true that using encryption may raise the eyebrow of 'The Man', such criminal spying on the public by governments is certainly not limited to those using Tor. More importantly, our inherent right of free speech is under severe attack not only by governments, but by ourselves as individuals who tend to self-censor simply because of the belief that we are being watched. This is a very dangerous situation because we cannot work toward a free and transparent society if our ability to communicate is compromised.

I'm hesitant to recommend a VPN provider if you decide to go that route, however in the interest of hopefully steering you away from much of the garbage out there, i will offer my personal insight.

NordVPN is a huge player in the VPN market and i have used them in the past, however the shear size of the company, their cheap prices, poor history, and a recent merger very much bother me. Nords service wasn't very good for several reasons, one being the stability of the connection and another being blacklisted IP addresses. Nord has had some serious security issues as well.

NordVPN, TorGuard and VikingVPN disclose security breaches

NordVPN, one of the most well-known VPN provider, had confirmed a security breach in early 2018. At fault, there's the data centre provider from Finland, where the server was hosted. The data centre provider used an insecure remote management system that NordVPN was "unaware" of. Although NordVPN seems to be playing down the occurrence, there's an anonymous post on 8chan, shared by Cryptostorm's Twitter account, that claims that the hacker had root access to the server. NordVPN states that the TLS key that was stolen was expired, and no VPN traffic could be decrypted.

The same 8chan user showed access to servers from two other VPN providers – TorGuard and VPNViking.

I have also personally found piles of user credentials on pastebin.com for NordVPN services.

Many speak highly of Mullvad VPN, however i have no experience with them. I have also used AirVPN which i rather liked, but it has its problems also.

After i gave up on Nord i started using AzireVPN, a smaller and somewhat unique Swedish company that focuses on the WireGuard protocol which has several distinct advantages over the older OpenVPN protocol. There are a few key reasons i switched to Azire, one being that they claim to own, secure and configure their hardware rather than lease it like virtually everyone else, Nord, Mullvad and Air included. They also claim to employ some interesting security measures to prevent tampering, including physically sealing unused ports and running everything in RAM.

More recently Michael Horowitz was kind enough to recommend OVPN to me which he writes about in his article, VPN's and Defensive Computing. The article is well worth a read. Like Azire, OVPN (they do WireGuard too) also claims to own, secure and maintain their own servers which are locked in isolated racks and run the OS in RAM. OVPN has a nice article on their Security page about all the measures they take to protect their customers.

All the hardware used to operate our service is owned by us and locked into isolated racks. All servers operate without any hard drives as the operating system only resides in the RAM memory.

Another interesting bit is that OVPN carries insurance to cover any legal fees.

Conflicts are expensive and complicated, especially when crossing country borders. We've decided to sign up for an insurance that covers legal fees as an additional layer of safety, which grants us the financial muscles to refute any requests for information.

In the case of any third party demanding information about our customers, we are fully prepared to go to court and will do everything in our power to prevent anyone from getting access to customer information.

Azire and OVPN are two of the very few companies i know of that takes these kinds of precautions, however there is no proof for some of these claims.

Regarding performance i have had next to zero trouble with Azire's service and latency and bandwidth has been excellent. Unlike Nord, i haven't had to switch server locations every few days because of network degradation or blacklisted nodes. Lastly, Azire accepts cryptocurrency so you can purchase and use their service anonymously without having to provide any personal information. If you choose Azire, please consider using my affiliate link which gives me some free time with them.

FreePN is also another interesting player in the privacy market. This project is building a free, open-source, distributed VPN service similar to the Tor network. There are caveats with this service however, so please do your homework. Read: FreePN: Free, open-source, distributed VPN.

Lastly, i recommend reading the following articles by Sven Taylor of Restore Privacy:

Regarding the article, Why Does Anyone Still Trust Tor?, it is my non-professional opinion that Sven goes a little overboard in attacking Tor. I think that you could swap out Tor with any VPN service or web browser or operating system and make several of the same arguments. There have been many bugs and vulnerabilities discovered in Tor that were patched and very likely many more that have yet to be discovered, or have been discovered but not disclosed, and the same is true for all software in general. In the end, privacy on the internet can never be guaranteed and is becoming harder and harder to achieve.

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Chlorine Dioxide: MMS, The Master Mineral Solution

The Master Mineral Solution has cured a huge variety of so-called "terminal" diseases and has saved many thousands of lives, yet it is virtually unknown to the public. Why is that?

Introduction

Chlorine dioxide, known also as the Master Mineral Solution (MMS), may be one of the most powerful pathogen killers around. This powerful and inexpensive product that has, in some cases, cured several so-called "terminal" diseases, and thus has saved many lives.

I can't accurately describe how chlorine dioxide works in great scientific detail, but i do know -- know, mind you -- that it does work. I've taken it many times and the results are often quite dramatic. Those experiencing life threatening diseases, such as cancer and AIDS, have reported very positive results. (i would categorize surviving "terminal" cancer as a positive result).

Video: Malignant Melanoma

Many other video testimonials can be found here.

Chlorine dioxide is a pathogen killer, plain and simple. I'm not a doctor and i haven't done a lot of in-depth research regarding disease, but to my knowledge a pathogen is a) bad, and b) a weak cell. Cold and flu viruses are pathogens and so are many other diseases like malaria, herpes, hepatitis, AIDS and many, many more.

When mixed with an acid, such as citric acid, the chlorine dioxide solution, which consists of sodium chlorite and water (not sodium chloride, which is salt), begins producing chlorine dioxide and it is this that is responsible for slaughtering pathogens. For the uninformed, chlorine dioxide may sound a lot like chlorine, however chemically they are not the same. Chlorine is Cl2, whereas chlorine dioxide is Clo2, having an extra oxygen molecule. Chlorine dioxide is therefore an oxidizer and though it is a very weak oxidizer, it is powerful enough to wipe out pathogens by rupturing their cells, which are then eliminated through normal bodily waste.

How chlorine dioxide works

In short, it is my understanding that chlorine dioxide is an oxidant that sort of super-charges your immune system by giving it an extremely powerful tool with which to hunt down the bad guys. The good cells, on the other hand, are not affected and so it is quite different than so-called "treatments" such as radiation and chemotherapy which indiscriminately kill any cell they come into contact with.

To my knowledge, chlorine dioxide has a 100% success rate in the elimination of malaria with well over 700,000 people treated, most of which feel better within hours. Chlorine dioxide has been used by hundreds of thousands of people around the world to treat AIDS, cancer, hepatitis A, B and C, herpes, colds, flu, Lyme disease and a plethora of other diseases, many of which one may not immediately associate with a pathogen, including certain types of arthritis, multiple sclerosis, Alzheimer's, epilepsy, hyperglycemia, osteoporosis and a pile more. In short, if a pathogen is preventing your immune system from doing its job, it is quite possible that chlorine dioxide can help.

Industry and government suppression

Recently chlorine dioxide became a blip on the radar of the Food and Drug Administration in the U.S. which has since issued warnings regarding its use. Apparently it has become well known enough that it presents a threat to the pharmaceutical industry who profits immensely from the toxic and often deadly chemicals they sell.

While the FDA warning may raise a red flag for some, to those who have a better understanding of how the health care industry functions ("industry" being the key word here), and are aware of the massive amounts of money pharmaceutical companies spend on lobbying congress to facilitate the peddling of their often toxic garbage, the only flag it raises is colored in money green. Worth noting is the fact that, as of this writing, chlorine dioxide has been used by millions of people around the world without killing a single one. Can the pharmaceutical industry make a claim like that?

Following is an interview regarding chlorine dioxide with Dr. John Humiston, MD, at the William Hitt Center in Tijuana, Mexico.

Video: Interview with Dr. John Humiston

Sometime around 1012 the Red Cross conducted a field test in Uganda where they treated 154 malaria patients with chlorine dioxide, all of which were tested to be malaria free within 48 hours. So far the Red Cross has not released the test results and, incredibly, has gone so far as to deny that the test even took place. Unfortunately for them the experiment was recorded by several witnesses:

Video: Red Cross 4 Day Trial in Uganda in Dec. 2012 Proved Chlorine Dioxde Is a 100% Cure for Malaria

Video: How to Cure COVID 19 with ClO2 a scientific aproach

This video explains the mechanism of Covid-19 and the scientific reason why chlorine dioxide (ClO2) works against the Covid-19 virus with impressive speed in providing oxygen and eliminating the virus at the same time as being the ultimate solution to end this terrible pandemic.

Educate yourself

Maybe the best way to introduce yourself to chlorine dioxide is to get a feel for the guy who discovered it, Jim Humble. This interview was conducted by Project Camelot in 2008:

In this 75 minute interview, Jim talks with Project Camelot's Bill Ryan about his life and work. Charming, engaging and passionate, Jim reveals his most interesting background in aerospace and mining engineering -- careers few users of MMS will be aware of -- and then goes into detail about how MMS works, his experience successfully treating not only malaria but hepatitis, cancer and AIDS, and his personal spiritual and philosophical perspective on everything he does.

I would also highly recommend purchasing the MMS Health Recovery Guidebook.

Personal experience

I didn't have any life-threatening diseases that would really put chlorine dioxide to the test, but i did have several minor health issues including an almost constant, mild pain in my neck that would sometimes flare up to the point where i was unable to turn my head to the left. This was the result of a chiropractor-gone-wild where he, an ex-football player, apparently applied too much force while adjusting my neck. I lived with this pain for approximately 25 years and was certain it was the result of permanent mechanical damage to the vertebra. It wasn't.

After just six hours of taking chlorine dioxide, i noticed the slight pain in my neck was greatly diminished and after only two days it was virtually eliminated. I knew chlorine dioxide obviously cannot repair a mechanical problem, so i did some research to learn why it had such a positive and almost immediate effect. It appears that when the body is injured, a protective layer can build up around the injured area to the point that it can block your immune system from being able to heal. All the chlorine dioxide did apparently was to remove this barrier and, once it was out of the way, my immune system took only hours to do its job. The pain, which could be triggered by something as trivial as washing my forehead in the shower, returned infrequently, however after shaving taken chlorine dioxide very occasionally to combat other virus issues, the neck pain has never returned since.

Chlorine dioxide pretty much wiped out any feeling of tiredness while i was taking it on a regular basis. I'm sure that several other benefits were a direct result of that, such as my attitude being better and my new found willingness to say more than two words to people. My ambition to write this and other articles are a direct result of feeling good again. At the time i originally wrote this article I was a hobby software developer who had coded an application that i used almost daily. It had long standing bugs in it and i knew it needed to be rewritten, but for more than a year i had no ambition to do so. Shortly after i started taking chlorine dioxide i dove back into my project with a vengeance and re-wrote the 2500+ lines of code which, for me, was a substantial undertaking.

What was actually causing the tiredness, laziness and lack of ambition? I can't say for sure, but i suspect that my body was using energy to fight something that could have been better spent simply living my life. Getting rid of the tiredness was a huge boost, but that's a relatively minor problem to what you or someone you know may be experiencing.

You do not need to take chlorine dioxide regularly, though you may if you wish. Personally i only use it when i'm feeling very ill, which is rare. For anything like a cold or flu, etc., i turn to high-dose vitamin C.

Instead of treating symptoms with expensive, dangerous and sometimes deadly chemicals which often have piles of side effects, learn about the chlorine dioxide and treat the disease.

Chlorine dioxide alternatives

I don't wish to pimp chlorine dioxide as though it was the only solution for any given health issue as there are many other alternatives. More recently i started studying vitamin C which, when taken in high doses, is also a powerful anti-pathogen, and by 'high dose', i don't mean a couple of 1000 MG tablets a day, i mean several grams per hour (1000 MG = 1 gram). The synthetic form of vitamin C is ascorbic acid and it works well enough, and it's cheap if you buy it in bulk, though there are other forms that are said to work better. As with chlorine dioxide, or any other non-pharmaceutical alternatives, you must do your own research to confirm safety and protocols.

Where to get chlorine dioxide

Chlorine dioxide is available in several different forms and costs roughly U.S. $30 for a 4 oz. kit, regardless of where you buy it. This is enough to last one person quite a long time if taken at a maintenance dosage. You can purchase it from several different suppliers, but the one i recommend, trust and buy from myself is KVLab - Keavy's Corner, the owner of which is Steve Pardee. I trust both Steve and their product and i particularly like the HDPE bottles they use which eliminate leakage and make measuring out the liquids very easy.

In the interest of full disclosure, the link i provided to KVLab is an affiliate link for which i would receive 10% of your purchase, however i have linked to KVLab for years without any financial incentive before Steve implemented an affiliate program because, again, i like and trust the company and i know chlorine dioxide is effective in treating many health issues.

My 25-ish year update

It is only rarely that i use chlorine dioxide, such as when i feel really sick, so i'm afraid i'm not a great source if you're looking for long term, consistent use results. That said, i am no less confidant in it than i was when i originally wrote this article. The neck pain issue i describe herein has never once returned and i would say that if i were facing a significant health issue such as cancer, etc., chlorine dioxide would very likely be the first product i would turn to.

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