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Can a VPN hide you in a university network and how?

by bernard2400 / February 26, 2012 7:17 PM PST

My question should be pretty simple. I'm getting internet via the university provided network. I'm curious if my VPN (OpenVPN) will allow me to browse anonymously. As I understand it my IP address is changed to one in Netherlands, which I believe is where my traffic is being funneled. My question is am I visible because I am registered to access the internet via my user name and not my IP address.

bernard2400 has chosen the best answer to their question. View answer
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All Answers

Best Answer chosen by bernard2400

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I would say yes.
by MarkFlax Forum moderator / February 26, 2012 7:50 PM PST

Whether you are on a VPN or Proxy, that browsing data has to reach your computer, so the University router, (or whatever method they use for their networking), will know the destination.

"VPNs typically require remote users of the network to be authenticated, and often secure data with encryption technologies to prevent disclosure of private information to unauthorized parties."

So, your ID may be hidden from the internet servers where you obtain your data from, but not from the University servers where the data is routed through. It has to be that way otherwise the University servers wouldn't know where to send the data to.

Mark

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Answer
Yes and no
by Jimmy Greystone / February 26, 2012 10:54 PM PST

They won't necessarily know WHAT you're doing, but they'll definitely know that you're doing it.

I'll also offer up that if you feel the need to hide whatever it is you're doing, then maybe you should reconsider doing it in the first place. Sounds to me like you're trying to circumvent some kind of restrictions placed on the campus network, and that would almost certainly be grounds for them to terminate your network access. So either pay for your own separate Internet connection where you can do these things, don't do them at all, or be prepared to suffer the consequences when someone in the IT dept at the school starts investigating all this VPN traffic. Odds are they don't need a very high burden of proof to kick you off the campus network, and the very fact that you need to use a VPN almost certainly means the intended purpose is something not allowed by the university.

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Answer
actually
by samzike / September 29, 2016 11:49 PM PDT

When setup properly a VPN will encrypt all your traffic and all they will be able to see is that you are connected to the VPN and how much bandwidth you are using. You would have to check the campus network policy to see if there are bandwidth limitations or restrictions against using a VPN. It sounds from your anecdote that he violated network policy against using filesharing sites, but it’s hard to say without actually reading the policy.

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