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I have two desktop computers. One computer is connected to a VPN at all times. The other computer I use is for personal use, and is never connected to a VPN.

I want to use Syncthing to share files between the two computers, and plan on doing that through a local network connection.

1) Does this local connection reveal (to someone monitoring the traffic of the VPN-connected computer) the true IP/other revealing information about the computer connected to the VPN?

2) If not, would connecting over the internet reveal the true IP/other revealing information about the computer connected to the VPN? Say I wanted to also sync data with my laptop when I am traveling, and that laptop is obviously not connected to the local network the VPN-connected computer is on.

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I guess that you use the VPN to connect to your work, but would like to separate it from your private life.

If the VPN server is under the control of your employer, then they will certainly know your external IP address, which is the address that is allocated to your router by the ISP.

Otherwise, they will know about you as much as the VPN is set to provide them, especially if they are the ones that supplied you with the VPN client.

If you are using a standard VPN client supplied either by the operating system or by a reputable company, then the chances for data leak are much reduced.

In all cases, you should consider that some information might leak over the VPN, perhaps even because of your settings, for example by some application unintentionally communicating via the VPN.

One way of preventing any such leak is by using the VPN from a virtual machine, with which you may only share the folders needed for your work. I have used this solution to avoid a VPN server set to cut the client off the rest of the network, and it works very well.

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  • Thanks. Could you clarify how exactly a virtual machine prevents 'any such leak'? Also, would this virtual machine would be installed on the work or personal computer? – Hans J May 31 '19 at 18:03
  • The virtual machine is to be installed on the work computer, with inside the software required for your work and the VPN client. When connected to the VPN, no data from your work computer can leak via the VPN, since the VPN is isolated inside the virtual machine and can at most only see what you have allowed it to see (for example any work computer folders that you shared with the VM). A lighter solution on resources is to use containers, such as with Docker, but that demands more technical knowledge and has a learning curve. – harrymc May 31 '19 at 18:23
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You should really slecify the VPN protocol when asking a question like this.

If syncing is going through the LAN and the syncing program isnt phoning home the data will not leak across the VPN. Normally nothing would leak, but some uncommon common VPNs (using bridging/tap interface) may leak the identity of the devices to the VPN endpoint but no further - agaun, thus is unlikely but could carry the mac address and internal IP address of thr computer.

As far as Internet access to the VPN pc - this will depend on the PCs routing. Generally all internet facing traffic will go through the VPN (you would know if you had a different setup). The VPN provider will know your PCs real address and be able to see data flowing through the VPN. OIf you had 2 VPNs (one from each PC) to the same VPN server then no one else would be able to see the data - if only 1 side is has a VPN then ISPs between the other side and VPN provider would see the traffic but it would appear to come from the VPN IP rather then your actual one.

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