Freenet vs VPN – Which one is Safer?


Freenet vs VPN: Freenet is basically an anonymizing peer-to-peer (P2P) network that covers website visitors’ identities. It also conceals the location of working sites. The websites that are on Freenet are described as “freesites.” You can’t open them right from the web. As such, many people compare this network to the Dark Web; being a secretive part of the internet that entertains criminals, child pornographers, and terrorists. Freenet offers a Darknet mode, where you can only grow connections by invites.(also see, The Ultimate Privacy Guide)

Freenet is a voluntary organization. It should not be misunderstood with the Freenet Group, which is a German media conglomerate.

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Freenet vs VPN

Routing Methods

Volunteers operate the nodes of both Freenet and Tor. Both systems support users to conceal their location. In the case of the Tor network, messages pass through an exit node, where the final layer of encryption is decoded to reveal the ultimate destination of the word. From this point on, the packet travels over the regular internet to its target. With Freenet, the goal of the message has to be within the network, so requests to those sites must come from a Freenet node, and not over the regular internet. Read on to know more about Freenet vs VPN.

Each member of the Freenet network uses a client program to search for files. This client continually polls for other members of the system. It sends out test packets and ranks all the nodes it discovers by the speed of the acknowledgment messages. This speed ranking gives Freenet a better sense of the proximity of other nodes. The client will always contact the fastest nodes first, and the speed of reply can be an indication of physical proximity. The Tor network’s random routing often results in requests bouncing all over the world before exiting the system.

The random nature of Tor’s routing makes it impossible to work out the exact location of a requestor of a file. Meanwhile, the implied proximity of faster correspondents in the Freenet system means that it’s possible to get a better idea of the actual location of that node operator. Freenet’s speed ranking algorithm makes the delivery of files much faster, while Tor’s illogical routing makes locating a user a much harder task.

Freenet Flaws

Both Freenet and Tor have demonstrated to be unreliable. Various police officials have succeeded to get into Tor.

Freenet was deciphered in 2011. However, that security weakness wasn’t disclosed until a court case in North Dakota in 2015. The North Dakota Bureau of Criminal Investigation utilized evidence that it had taken by the intrusion on Freenet to convict a University of Dakota officer for downloading child pornography through the network.

The Bureau of Criminal Investigation managed to track the activities of its target by putting up its nodes on the Freenet network. This method has been further increased throughout the United States law enforcement community by the Black Ice Project. The project educates US law enforcement agencies on the techniques needed to create Freenet nodes and trace the network’s users.

Virtual Private Networks (VPNs)

A VPN works as a proxy for a customer. The VPN entirely encrypts the data traffic from the subscriber’s computer. Consequently, it hides the routing information on the front of each message. A carrier packet takes that encrypted packet through the VPN server. The server then forwards the message on to its predetermined destination. The VPN server must package all the replies to requests. That’s because the VPN software on the user’s computer gets every message coming from the internet and will only concoct messages encrypted by the cipher agreed with the VPN server. Read on to know more about Freenet vs VPN.

To ensure that it receives all the replies to messages sent on account of the subscriber, the VPN puts its address in the header of the message to indicate its origin. All responses to requests made over the web are sent to the message’s source address. Therefore, sites and internet services contacted through a VPN can’t know the exact origin of a word.

VPNs don’t store any data– they merely pass through requests to locations on the internet and process the resulting replies.

VPN Vulnerabilities

A VPN can’t provide its customers absolute anonymity. To be completely anonymous on the web, you need to hide your tracks so that no one knows the exact origin of your messages. While you utilize a VPN to hide your location, there will always be one organization that recognizes your real identity – the VPN company.(also see, 5 Most Secure VPN Services 2018)

The relative potency of each VPN service lies in whether or not it retains logs, or would comply with a court order to track its customers’ activities. Most VPN companies say that they don’t keep logs. But, clients have to rely on the honesty of that retailing statement. In actuality, subscribers have no means to check the truth of the VPN’s declared activity logging policy. Consequently, there is always a prospect that a customer could be caught if the VPN provider cooperates with the authorities. Read on to know more about Freenet vs VPN.

VPN Benefits

A VPN is a single source of security. That makes its privacy services more potent than an open system, such as Tor or Freenet. There is no way that a third party or law enforcing agency could interfere with the connection between the VPN client on a subscriber’s computer and the VPN server. Internet traffic leaving the VPN server takes a regular route. However, by that point, the VPN has removed the identity of the originator of the messages.

The VPN provider has to map customers’ incoming messages to the temporary addresses set on outgoing messages as their source identifier. Doing so indicates the replies to those requests can be routed back to the right subscriber. But, there is no procedural requirement for the VPN to maintain those maps once the user ends a session. In fact, the storage and referencing of that information is an additional expense to the VPN company. Read on to know more about Freenet vs VPN.

VPNs with Freenet

A Freenet route only subsists to connect a web-surfer to secretive freesites. As such, alone VPN won’t be able to connect to one of those websites. If you use a VPN, it would be an addition to the Freenet route. You still have to follow that route to gain access to freesites.

VPNs control, encrypt and divert all traffic leaving a customer’s computer. Thus it is possible to implement a combination of VPN and Freenet. If the Freenet user has residential internet service, their ISP allocates their IP address at the point of connection. Freenet users don’t have permanent IP addresses. As such, the frequent alteration of a Freenet node’s IP address shouldn’t harm participation in the P2P network.

In a consolidated scenario, the VPN client captures all outgoing Freenet traffic, encrypts it, and sends it to the VPN server. The VPN server sends the Freenet communication on to its destination (a neighboring node in the Freenet system). The process also channels the administration messages that the Freenet client software uses to advertise its availability through the VPN server. This gives the temporary IP address as a method of contact, rather than the customer’s real address.(also see, VPN vs Proxies – Which Is Best?)

The VPN changes only the location and identifying the address of a customer. Thus all communications with the Freenet system carry on as usual. The VPN server becomes the official participant. It passes back all file segments, so the subscriber’s computer continues to store files, rather than the VPN server.
If the VPN company keeps no logs, this privacy front-end service protects the subscriber from susceptibility to the authorities. This applies even if the authorities insert a snooping node into the Freenet network to track members’ activities.

Conclusion -Freenet vs VPN- Which one is Safer?

The technology of these systems such as Freenet and VPNs can protect you from technical ways of intrusion. However, they don’t stop you from blowing your cover with loose talk. If you prefer Freenet to access unauthorized files and information, or contact like-minded people who couldn’t associate openly, you have to be vigilant about the information that you convey away about yourself. Otherwise, all of the added security Freenet provides is worthless.

Likewise, VPNs can’t shield you from imprisonment if you post violent or libelous content on social media websites or your blog. If you wish to start a revolution or expose government corruption, be sure you don’t disclose details about your everyday life that could tell the authorities where and who you are. A VPN can’t shield you from making indiscreet disclosures to “friends” in chat rooms. Nor can it stop you falling for email scams.


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