VPN beginner with a few hiccups - please advise

  • 8 February 2019
  • 2 replies

Badge +3
I understand from a business standpoint why a VPN is useful. As a home user, I was interested in keeping my data private.

I've had Wifi Security for about 3 days now and have been trying out a few things on it. I am not interested in doing anything illegal with it or violating copyright laws. After the first hour of being connected to the default server of Mexico:

1) Facebook wants me to verify my identity because it sees me logged in somewhere else
2) Microsoft wants me to verify my identity because it sees me logged in somewhere else
3) My bank warns me that I'm logged in somewhere else and wants to make sure it's ok
4) Netflix warns me that I'm logged in from a different country and then warns me that I'm violating terms of service if I'm logged in through a VPN)
5) Apple warns me about the same thing

So...if I'm not doing anything illegal or trying to violate copyright laws, is being threatened to remove my Netflix account and Apple account and having to verify my identity often worth trying to keep my data private?

2 replies

Userlevel 6
Badge +17
Netflix won't allow you to stream if they detect that you are using a VPN as they cannot be sure where you are connecting from, and thus cannot ensure that the content you are watching is something that they hold licenses for (or commercially offer) in your country.

VPNs have also historically been used by users to bypass restrictions on streaming content available in a country by making it appear that you are in a different country to the one you are actually resident in - and Netflix are well aware of this.

Although I imagine (you don't say where you are located in the post) you are trying to watch US Netflix whilst you actually are geographically in the United States, Netflix (and other providers) have no way of knowing where you are actually located to verify this.

WiFi Security is not marketed as a product to circumvent such restrictions (unlike some others) but Netflix will nonetheless block streaming if it detects VPN usage, simply due to the nature of VPNs and their inability to check your location. See Netflix says 'You seem to be using an unblocker or proxy.' .

It is possible that Netflix may work if you connect explicitly to the USA West or USA East locations but if the IP address is on Netflix's blacklist or they can otherwise detect that you are using a VPN then you should expect to be blocked from streaming as that is their policy.

With reference to the security checks you've been experiencing, Facebook, Microsoft, Apple and your Bank may all be less likely to regard your logins as suspicious if you use a VPN location closer to you - again I am assuming that USA West or USA East might be closer to your actual geographical location.

Depending on their implementation of the systems meant to spot suspicious or out of character activity it is also possible that the warnings might disappear after a short period of "getting used to" your apparent new behaviour patterns. In the same way that regular cross-border travellers are less likely to see credit and debit card transactions flagged by their financial provider than someone who had never used their account out of state.

In the short term though, with the exception of Netflix and similar streaming services, you will probably find many of these problems disappear if you connect to a server in the same country you are in at the time.

I hope that this has helped.

Great write up.  You really took some time to explain things.  However, it seems that the vpn can really screw with your normal computer usage.  Let me pose this:  I have a number of computers and also have the normal cell phones and notebooks.  If I use the vpn on one, but not the other, will I still run into these problems?

Based on your write up I’m thinking of not loading it on the computers we use when we travel, but just having it on the one I use most often when I’m at home.  Will this save me problems w/ a vpn?

More specifically, my wife and have a travel trailer which we use to tour around the US (and probably later Canada).  I’m thinking that having no vpn on the phones and computers we use when traveling might prevent running into the difficulties you describe.

Am I correct?  Thanks