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How to Tell If Your VPN Is Faking Your IP Address

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There are multiple reasons why virtual private networks (VPN) are being fawned over by all types of internet users, especially businessmen and employees. Its main function is to protect your privacy by encrypting your data to make sure that nobody, not even them, can decrypt it. Using a VPN can save you from hackers, scammers, thieves, and government spies who want to monitor and use your identity fraudulently.

One way of ensuring that all of your data are safe and secure is by letting you choose a different location from your real location, and making your IP address look like it is coming from that particular place. This will let you access geo-restricted websites and contents that you wouldn’t be able to view in your country. A good example are video-streaming sites, where the media library is limited if you are not from the US. By using a VPN and choosing a server that is located in the US, you will then be able to stream all the videos that are available to US residents.

Seems pretty great, doesn’t it? But how will you know if your VPN service is honest about their server locations, and not just using a fake VPN IP address? How sure are you that your IP address is actually located in a different place; that it is not just a false advertisement by your VPN service?

Fortunately, there are ways in which we can determine if the server locations that are available in your VPN are hoaxes or not. SlickVPN shares a few tips on how to do identify a fake VPN IP address.

 

How to Determine a Fake VPN IP Address

 

Using Traceroutes or Pings

            Here is a sample that SlickVPN has made if you want to determine the server’s real location using a traceroute or ping:

Example VPN is supposed to have a location in Auckland, NZ. If a traceroute (tracert) to its hostname is performed from Chicago, USA:

 

Tracing the path to Example VPN New Zealand IP location (104.250.161.3) on TCP port 80 (http), 30 hops max

1  10.1.2.25  0.479 ms  0.428 ms  0.556 ms

2  10ge-2.ge146.chi1.colocrossing.com (108.174.54.217)  0.684 ms  0.633 ms  0.595 ms

3  ae16-386.chi11.ip4.gtt.net (173.205.55.141)  1.156 ms  1.163 ms  1.137 ms

4  xe-9-1-0.chi11.ip4.gtt.net (89.149.131.229)  1.148 ms  1.161 ms  1.166 ms

5  be3027.ccr41.ord03.atlas.cogentco.com (154.54.10.21)  1.675 ms  1.621 ms  1.440 ms

6  be2461.rcr12.b002281-5.ord03.atlas.cogentco.com (154.54.29.238)  2.011 ms  2.192 ms  2.087 ms

7  38.122.181.114  1.695 ms  18.736 ms  2.145 ms

8  104.250.161.3 [open]  1.565 ms  1.565 ms  1.513 ms

 

 

It is apparent from the ping times and traceroute that the server is located in Chicago, not NZ. It’s impossible to go from Chicago to NZ in 1.5ms since that’s faster than the speed of light.

Similarly, SlickVPN used a traceroute for one of their servers that is truly located in New Zealand. This is how a genuine server location looks like using traceroute:

 

Tracing the path to gw1.akl1.slickvpn.com (45.125.244.99) on TCP port 80 (http), 30 hops max

1  10.1.2.25  0.488 ms  0.434 ms  0.422 ms

2  10ge-2.ge146.chi1.colocrossing.com (108.174.54.217)  0.568 ms  0.722 ms  0.503 ms

3  ae16-385.chi11.ip4.gtt.net (173.205.55.137)  1.162 ms  1.170 ms  1.137 ms

4  xe-1-0-0.lax21.ip4.gtt.net (141.136.111.93)  54.472 ms  54.403 ms  54.463 ms

5  i-4-peer.tlot02.pr.telstraglobal.net (134.159.63.181)  55.054 ms  56.239 ms  55.324 ms

6  i-0-7-0-13.tlot-core01.bi.telstraglobal.net (202.40.149.165)  57.810 ms  57.102 ms  55.917 ms

7  i-0-4-1-0.hptw-core01.bx.telstraglobal.net (202.84.142.158)  180.991 ms  182.778 ms  180.292 ms

8  unknown.telstraglobal.net (134.159.174.38)  180.154 ms  179.181 ms  179.039 ms

9  ie1-g-0-0-0.telstraclear.net (203.98.50.1)  179.047 ms  178.945 ms  178.957 ms

10  * * *

11  203.167.224.154  179.699 ms  179.549 ms  179.701 ms

12  45.125.244.99 [open]  179.544 ms  180.871 ms  179.610 ms

 

You can tell from the traceroute that the packet leaves Chicago, jumps to LAX, and then jumps over to NZ. Ping times are reasonable for the distance.

 

 

The Bottom Line

Virtual private networks are supposed to safeguard your privacy by preventing third parties from discovering your real location, because this makes it easier for them to track you. As a customer, you trust your VPN service to perform their jobs especially because you are paying for it. However, some VPNs are only making false claims about their server locations and use fake VPN IP addresses instead – what they labeled as a server in Russia might actually be located in New Jersey. And you are at a disadvantage with this – not only is your security compromised, but your money is also wasted as well.

It really pays to research and know better when it comes to sensitive matters such as your privacy, because some VPNs do not take your privacy as seriously as they should. It doesn’t take much to test if they are being transparent with their server locations to you by not using fake VPN IP addresses, and it’s only a small thing to do to gain your confidence that you are truly being protected

 

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