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Is it possible for your personal IP address to be identified when using a VPN?
#1
I recently received a "Copyright Infringement Alert" from my ISP.  My concern is that I use a VPN (SurfShark) to protect my identity while online.  The possibility exists that the VPN may have been off when this file "may" have been downloaded, if it ever was. I am curious if others have received such notices when they too were using a VPN, and a BitTorrent client

I am a very casual file downloader and this is the first time that I have received a notice in the 20 years that I have been in the "hobby".  I would appreciate any feedback.  Thank you!
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#2
(May 07, 2022, 19:51 pm)didnt_doit Wrote: I recently received a "Copyright Infringement Alert" from my ISP.  My concern is that I use a VPN (SurfShark) to protect my identity while online.  The possibility exists that the VPN may have been off when this file "may" have been downloaded, if it ever was. I am curious if others have received such notices when they too were using a VPN.

I am a very casual file downloader and this is the first time that I have received a notice in the 20 years that I have been in the "hobby".  I would appreciate any feedback.  Thank you!

As far as your IP still being visible somehow, I wouldn't know; I have never used a VPN in the 15 years I have been doing this.  However, I do know that any copyright infringement notice sent by your ISP should at a minimum have told you 1) the name of the rights holder making the complaint; 2) the title of the content allegedly infringed upon; and 3) the time the infringement allegedly occurred (as a matter of US law, anyway).  This information plus the IP address involved must be forwarded to your ISP before they have any duty to give you notice of an alleged infringement, as per the DMCA. 

From the information you provide here, I cannot discount the possibility that the "Alert" you received was an error on the part of your ISP and may have nothing to do with your VPN.  These errors can and do occur (it has happened to me once before).  However, you should also be aware that a few rights holders and their agents abuse the DMCA as a regular business practice by sending out notices that are illegal.  Again, a properly functioning VPN would do nothing to stop that.
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#3
(May 07, 2022, 20:37 pm)CaptButler Wrote:
(May 07, 2022, 19:51 pm)didnt_doit Wrote: I recently received a "Copyright Infringement Alert" from my ISP.  My concern is that I use a VPN (SurfShark) to protect my identity while online.  The possibility exists that the VPN may have been off when this file "may" have been downloaded, if it ever was. I am curious if others have received such notices when they too were using a VPN.

I am a very casual file downloader and this is the first time that I have received a notice in the 20 years that I have been in the "hobby".  I would appreciate any feedback.  Thank you!

As far as your IP still being visible somehow, I wouldn't know; I have never used a VPN in the 15 years I have been doing this.  However, I do know that any copyright infringement notice sent by your ISP should at a minimum have told you 1) the name of the rights holder making the complaint; 2) the title of the content allegedly infringed upon; and 3) the time the infringement allegedly occurred (as a matter of US law, anyway).  This information plus the IP address involved must be forwarded to your ISP before they have any duty to give you notice of an alleged infringement, as per the DMCA. 

From the information you provide here, I cannot discount the possibility that the "Alert" you received was an error on the part of your ISP and may have nothing to do with your VPN.  These errors can and do occur (it has happened to me once before).  However, you should also be aware that a few rights holders and their agents abuse the DMCA as a regular business practice by sending out notices that are illegal.  Again, a properly functioning VPN would do nothing to stop that.

The alert was written as you have described and yes, the file was downloaded.  This alert was not sent in error.  I am trying to determine if my VPN is now useless to me (assuming that I remembered to use it).  Thanks for your reply.
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#4
Possible ideas I just want to suggest:

1. You used your VPN but then switched it off at some stage and forgot to switch it back on again while torrenting?

2. Somebody else used your computer while you were not there, maybe another family member and at the time the torrent client was still running in the background?

3. Your anti virus program that you use is leaking information on what sites you visit and what file sharing connections that are being logged by the company you use?

4. You are using something like Windows 7 or Windows 10 and telemetry from Microsoft is sending information back to them and telling them what torrenting you are doing which is being passed onto the authorities?

5. At some point you was having a drink or some kind of party where people in your household were having a few drinks together and due to not being careful the VPN was switched off as an accident and your IP address was exposed?

6. Somebody is sharing your Wifi connection in your home and sharing your broadband in your router as your password has been hacked or somebody knows how to log into your home network and is downloading traffic through your own internet without you realising and that this person, in most situations, a neighbour and they have downloaded content without protection from a VPN?
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#5
(May 08, 2022, 17:47 pm)RodneyYouPlonker Wrote: Possible ideas I just want to suggest:

1. You used your VPN but then switched it off at some stage and forgot to switch it back on again while torrenting?

2. Somebody else used your computer while you were not there, maybe another family member and at the time the torrent client was still running in the background?

3. Your anti virus program that you use is leaking information on what sites you visit and what file sharing connections that are being logged by the company you use?

4. You are using something like Windows 7 or Windows 10 and telemetry from Microsoft is sending information back to them and telling them what torrenting you are doing which is being passed onto the authorities?

5. At some point you was having a drink or some kind of party where people in your household were having a few drinks together and due to not being careful the VPN was switched off as an accident and your IP address was exposed?

6. Somebody is sharing your Wifi connection in your home and sharing your broadband in your router as your password has been hacked or somebody knows how to log into your home network and is downloading traffic through your own internet without you realising and that this person, in most situations, a neighbour and they have downloaded content without protection from a VPN?


I wish #5 was the answer.  Thanks for your reply.
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#6
(May 09, 2022, 11:48 am)didnt_doit Wrote:
(May 08, 2022, 17:47 pm)RodneyYouPlonker Wrote: Possible ideas I just want to suggest:

1. You used your VPN but then switched it off at some stage and forgot to switch it back on again while torrenting?

2. Somebody else used your computer while you were not there, maybe another family member and at the time the torrent client was still running in the background?

3. Your anti virus program that you use is leaking information on what sites you visit and what file sharing connections that are being logged by the company you use?

4. You are using something like Windows 7 or Windows 10 and telemetry from Microsoft is sending information back to them and telling them what torrenting you are doing which is being passed onto the authorities?

5. At some point you was having a drink or some kind of party where people in your household were having a few drinks together and due to not being careful the VPN was switched off as an accident and your IP address was exposed?

6. Somebody is sharing your Wifi connection in your home and sharing your broadband in your router as your password has been hacked or somebody knows how to log into your home network and is downloading traffic through your own internet without you realising and that this person, in most situations, a neighbour and they have downloaded content without protection from a VPN?


I wish #5 was the answer.  Thanks for your reply.
 
Your VPN may be leaking, if so you internet provider can see what you download, you can check this by going to ipleak.net or whoer.net
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#7
I will add up (better late than never). If a tracking resource uses JavaScript, like, it's a site, theoretically it can ping and test what the real IPs are, unless the machine is isolated. Another way may be is DNS queries. I think might be the latter of some sorts. Vectors are many.

I don't know the fullest context to say more.
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#8
I the US you don't get dinged for downloading things, but you do for uploading things directly to other people that you don't own the copyright to.
If you don't wish to use a VPN I would recommend getting a seedbox. You can freely upload to it and download from it using an FTP client and you can share with it at a greatly increased speed.

The copyright dingbats can't see what your downloading/uploading through FTP because they are not connected to you.
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#9
In fact, the answer is no. Nowadays Internet and particularly operating systems, even those considered "secure", have backdoors. But, try using a good paid VPN (there is no free lunch) and SimpleWall in your computer.
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#10
"Backdoors" in the Internet's ISP hardware come from bad security practices, outdated software, outright hacks. ISPs are a mess.

OS? Would you kindly show how and where my Debian 11 has a backdoor? Open Source, not unreal to check, roll out. What I could worry about is two (if I used, I'm on Linux/AMD): Windows, Intel ME. Windows is closed, a mystery box that only Microsoft knows what does; Intel ME is genuinely making me suspicious, may be twice as suspicious be I a US citizen, because it does look like a backdoor "feature" of a very questionable nature.

Paid VPNs may or may be better/worse. Obligatory payment doesn't define quality, the infrastructure & staff do, the income sources, other factors. My own VPN is private-run, I got it from an obscure chat of a cypherpunk group because ProtonVPN is totally blocked, and "thanks" to Visa/Mastercard corporate boycott-exodus, I literally cannot pay for a VPN to protect my human rights.

I think, the way to have both worlds, to have Windows' full compatibility and Linux's security is a hard one: Proxmox (Debian 11, QEMU/KVM) plus PCI Pass-through of a GPU. The hard comes from the requirement to know how-to and have a compatible motherboard/GPU. This leaves a user with 95% of the native 3D performance, full compatibility, with a higher level of security. The rest of the hardware for the inside OS is virtual, not unique. Proxmox has its own trustworthy firewall allowing to take Windows under control, that allows to block any access without a VPN on a lower level that the system inside cannot do anything about. This is the way to avoid by design without a router.
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