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Can the ISP see your activity

With all the talk about Internet privacy, more and more users are choosing to use a VPN to protect their information, browsing habits and identity. The topic came back into play with the latest controversies regarding net neutrality and social media scandals.

I’is well known that an ISP (Internet Service Provider) can track data. The only question is how much online data tracking is actually done and what kind of data do they track. And is it really possible to mak your identity and activities with a VPN?

ISP and VPN Tracking

Because the VPN transmits only encrypted data, your ISP cannot track your activity. It can, however, see that you are using a VPN due to some identifiable traits that these networks use.

ISPs can see what port you are using, and they are aware that certain ports are exclusively used by VPNs. Even if the VPN changes the port, the ISP can still identify it as a VPN.

Your ISP will be aware that you are using a VPN because it needs to connect you to that network. This is an obvious thing, and one that cannot be hidden from the ISP. Remember that your Internet Service Provider is the one directing the traffic from your computer to the VPN, so that you can browse the Internet.

The nature of a VPN, however, is to protect your data from being tracked. It relies on encrypted tunnels to keep your information safe. In other words, while the ISP knows you are using a VPN, it cannot track what you are doing while you are there. This allows you to be safe while performing many online activities, such as:

  • Visit any site online: The ISP will only know that you are connected to a VPN, but has no idea what you are visiting.
  • Send secure emails: Because VPN’s encrypt data, your ISP will not be capable of tracking what you are mailing, who you are mailing it to, and what the email contains.
  • Use BitTorrent: You can be invisible and anonymous while using the BitTorrent protocol. Your ISP won’t know what you are doing.
  • Disclose sensitive data: One of the biggest reasons many companies use a VPN is to share secretive information and data to its members. Thanks to the encryption used, your files cannot be read by the ISP when shared via VPN.

Does a VPN Offer Bulletproof Protection?

You need to keep in mind that a Virtual Private Network only protects you when you are using a good VPN software. In that case, your information, files and data are safe. Some VPN providers are not reliable and keep logs of your activity while online. This information can be shared with authorities if requested. If you wish to remain truly anonymous, it is important that you choose a VPN that does not keep logs of their users.

To Sum it all Up

While an ISP may realize that you are using a VPN, they are incapable of tracking your information. A decent VPN software uses a high-level encryption, making it impossible to see your activity and keeping ISPs from tracking you. Just make sure you don’t go for free VPNs or other doubtful ones. Those tend to save user logs, which can compromise your activity.