Most Dedicated VPN IP-Addresses Are Not Anonymous

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“Many VPN services advertise themselves as ideal tools to offer security, privacy, and anonymity. To ensure the latter, they often have no-logging policies to prevent individual users from being exposed,” writes Ernesto Van der Sar via TorrentFreak. “However, this is not necessarily true for the small group that use dedicated or static IP-addresses.” From the report:

Today, most of the top providers pride themselves on their “no logging” policies. They go to extreme lengths to ensure that anonymity is taken seriously, and some have hired third-party auditors to back up this claim. While we have no reason to doubt these results, not all VPN subscriptions are perfectly anonymous. Even companies with no-log policies can keep records that can link VPN IP-addresses to user accounts. That is, when they also offer dedicated IP-addresses, which are different from regular VPN connections.

With a dedicated IP-address, which is often sold as an add-on, users get a unique IP-address as opposed to a shared one. This can be very convenient as it reduces annoying captchas and can bypass regular VPN blacklists. However, it comes at an anonymity cost. By connecting through a single IP-address, monitoring outfits can build up a profile of the user’s online activity. The real anonymity tradeoff, however, is that the VPN provider knows the user’s IP-address and can connect it to other account information it has on record. This sometimes includes an email address. This may not be a concern for most people, but it’s certainly something to keep in mind for the small subset of subscribers that use a dedicated VPN IP-address.

Broadly speaking, we would say that the “no logs” policies of VPN providers don’t apply to dedicated IPs. That conclusion is backed up by several VPN providers we reached out to, which include VPNArea, NordVPN, CyberGhost, and Torguard. These providers all have a no-logging policy for their regular VPN service, which relies on shared IP-addresses. However, they see dedicated IP-addresses as a separate and different service, which is treated differently anonymity-wise.

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