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All Private Internet Access Settings Explained The guide provides explanations for all settings and features of the Private Internet Access client for the Windows operating system. Private Internet Access is a popular VPN provider. The company has a strict no-logging policy which have been verified in court this year. Customers may download one of the available clients for their operating system. The Windows client ships with a list of features that you may enable to improve your privacy and security while being connected to one of the company servers. The following guide lists and explains all settings that the Windows client version of Private Internet Access provides currently. We have used the latest version of the client, version 0.65, for that. We will update the guide when features change. If you notice that before us, let us know in the comments so that we can update the article. Private Internet Access VPN Settings You can open the settings by right-clicking on the Private Internet Access icon in the Windows system tray area. Please note that you can only access the settings if you are not connected to the VPN at that time. If you are, you need to disconnect first before you can do so. The client uses three configuration pages of which one, simple, is not of much use. Advanced Settings The advanced settings page, which you see on the screenshot above, lists several options that you want to check out and configure. Username: your PIA username Password: the associated password of the account. Start application at login: whether the VPN software is started on Windows boot. Auto-connect on launch: whether the software connects to the VPN server when it is started. Show desktop notifications: whether notifications are shown on the desktop (e.g. on connection or disconnect). Region: The region you want to connect to. Tip: You can run speed tests for any server region to find out how well it performs. Connection type: Select UPD or TCP as the connection type. Default is UDP. Remote port: Set to auto by default, but you may specify a port there. Local port: Set a local port. Request port forwarding: The port that is being used is shown when you hover over the PIA icon in the system tray area. This can be useful to set it up in applications. PIA MACE: This is a new feature of Private Internet Access. It acts as a blocker for advertisement, malware, trackers and other undesirable elements. You have no control currently apart from enabling or disabling the blocker. VPN Kill Switch: This terminates the Internet connection if the connection to the VPN drops. Useful if you don't want your "real" IP address to be logged by services you connect to while using a VPN. IPv6 leak protection: This disables the use of IPv6 while connected to the VPN. Use small packets: If you notice connection issues, e.g. connections that drop frequently, you may want to enable this option to see if it resolves that issue. Debug mode: You may be asked to enable debug mode by PIA support. The log is written to C:\Program Files\pia_manager\log. While it is up to you and your requirements what to enable on the settings page, it is usually a good idea to enable all features but PIA MACE and Debug mode. Encryption A click on encryption displays options to set various encryption related parameters. Data Encryption: Select one of the available encryption standards. Available are AES-128, AES-256 and None. Data Authentication: Select one of the available cryptographic hash functions. Available are SHA-1, Sha-256 and None. Handshake: Encryption used to establish a secure connection with Private Internet Access servers. Pia uses TLS 1.2. The default is RSA-2048. The selection depends largely on your requirements. Want maximum protection? Select AES-256, SHA-256 and RSA-4096. Want all speed and no safety at all? Pick None, None and ECC-256k1. The default recommendation is AES-128, SHA-1 and RSA-2048. The client displays warning if you choose none for data encryption or data authentication, or when you chose ECC for Handshake. Now Read: Private Internet Access rubyw.exe connections explained Source
Batu69 posted a topic in Security & Privacy NewsPrivate Internet Access announced today to all its customers via email that it made the decision to shut down all of the company's Russian servers. The VPN provider, who operates servers in dozens of countries, cites a new Russian law that makes it mandatory for providers to log all Internet traffic for up to a year as the prime reason. Additionally, Private Internet Access mentions that some of the company's servers were seized by Russian authorities recently without "notice or any type of due process". Since logs are not kept by the company on the server it operates, no user information or data has been compromised. Private Internet Access shuts down Russian servers The company made the decision to pull out of Russia completely and cease operations in the country. Private Internet Access released an update for all desktop clients and mobile applications that rotates all company certificates. All client applications ship with additional security measures on top of that. The company notes that the measures are purely preventative. Private Internet Access customers on the desktop can download the latest client version from the official website. The mobile clients link to the respective application stores operated by Google and Apple respectively. Customers who use manual configurations to connect to Private Internet Access servers -- as opposed to using the software or apps -- may set up AES-256, SHA-256 and RSA-4096 algorithms The new desktop client version of Private Internet Access ships with a new feature that the company calls MACE. It is listed as an advanced option in Settings and will block advertisement, trackers and malware automatically when the device is connected to the VPN. Additional information about the new feature is not available at this point in time. It is unclear which list or lists PIA MACE uses to block sites. The feature is disabled by default and needs to be enabled in the settings though. Closing Words The option to connect to a Russian VPN server is gone after the update and it seems unlikely that it is going to return any time soon. Private Internet Access announced that it will evaluate servers in other countries as well. Article source
Batu69 posted a topic in Security & Privacy CenterIf you are using the popular VPN service Private Internet Access (PIA) and monitor outgoing network connections on your devices, you may have noticed that the program rubyw.exe attempts to connect to various Internet servers when you initiate the VPN connection to Private Internet Access. This happens only if you are using the PIA software and not if you have configured connections to the service manually or in third-party network software. Private Internet Access is a very popular VPN service thanks to anonymous payment options, unlimited bandwidth, impressive number of worldwide services, no traffic logging policy and advanced features such as a kill switch to drop the Internet connection when the connection to the VPN drops. If you monitor the outgoing connections on the device you will notice that rubyw.exe connect to various remote Internet hosts under the process ID pia_manager, which is the main process of the Private Internet Access application. The program connects to several remote hosts in a matter of seconds. Blocking the connections does not seem to have any impact on the functionality of the virtual private network connection. First, let's talk about the connection between rubyw.exe and pia_manager.exe. Rubyw.exe is the Windows Ruby interpreter, a program that Private Internet Access uses to run its software. The reason why the software is initiating all these outbound connections on start is that it pings PIA servers to check availability, reliability and speed. Since you can only select a location you want to connect to when using Private Internet Access' software, it is up to the program to find a suitable server in that region, and that is the reason why the connections are being made when you start the PIA software. If you check the IP addresses that are contacted on start of the VPN connection, you may notice that some are apparently not owned by Private Internet Access while most are. This is caused by rDNS (meaning remote DNS) errors according to a Private Internet Access representative. While you can block the connections from being made, you may be connected to a less-than-ideal server as the program has no way of determining a suitable server in regards to speed and reliability. Article source
Read about five most popular and chosen by community as the most secure/trusted VPN Service Providers: Private Internet AccessTorGuardIPVanishDIYCyberGhostThere is a vote as well in order to determine the winner. Source