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I've been reading the news about Lulzsec and I was wondering why they use a VPN before connecting to Tor or proxy servers?

The latter 2 can be used for hiding your identity so why is the VPN used too? I thought that was only used for connecting to business LANs etc.

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closed as not constructive by Linker3000, Ƭᴇcʜιᴇ007, Nifle, studiohack Jul 16 '11 at 19:57

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TOR is designed to protect your anonymity (see this question over on security stackexchange) but it isn't tasked with providing protection over any information sent.

A VPN, on the other hand, provides an encrypted connection from the user to an endpoint, thus adding the confidentiality and authentication aspects to prevent others from gaining access to data and servers.

In the non-criminal world VPN's are used for exactly this purpose - restricting access to authorised users only, and protecting the confidentiality of usernames and passwords, sensitive data etc in transit.

The drivers are very similar in the criminal world - they too don't want others to see sensitive information, or carry out unauthorised connections.

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"VPN" is a generic term which includes various wildly different technologies (PPTP, L2TP, IPSEC, SSL...), whose common purpose is to access a remote network through the Internet, by creating a "tunnel" which lets a computer, or a whole network, talk to the remote network in a secure way. The basic idea is that a VPN can do the same job as a physical link, without the need to actually have that physical link built, by leveraging the independent Internet connections already existing at each end.

As you said, this is commonly used by employees to access the company network, or by companies to connect two geographical sites; but this doesn't mean VPNs can't be used by anyone for any purpose: VPN software is readily available in almost all operating systems and most consumer-grade routers; this is by no means an enterprise-only technology.

As to "why" they used it in this case... only they know. But as a VPN adds an additional level of security and encryption to any connection, it's quite understandable people concerned about security and privacy would use it.

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