A VPN is used to keep our identities safe and secure; however, in this case, it’s the complete opposite. The popular VPN company known as PureVPN provided the FBI with one of its user’s logs, which helped the agency to his arrest.
The Bureau’s case files included information that was taken from PureVPN and resulted in the capture of Ryan Lin, who is a 24-year-old young adult from New Town Massachusetts. His charges – cyber stalking, cyber harassment, data breaching, and every worst possible thing a hacker can do to damage the victim’s reputation. Lin was arrested for harassing his former tenant along with her family members, her friends and almost everyone she knew.
According to the D of J website, Lin created fake profiles on websites that promoted sexual activity. The information he used creating those profiles was her real name, her intimate and private photos, her personal address and filled her profiles with irrelevant and fake sexual fantasies.
This resulted in many people coming up at her home.
Lin also swat-ed her house, by calling 911 and telling them that there was a bomb in the victim’s house, which naturally resulted in SWAT teams surrounding the house and bashing into her home.
The swatting process resulted in a damaged property and created an embarrassing situation around her surroundings.
“Those who think they can use the Internet to terrorize people and hide behind the anonymity of the net and outwit law enforcement should think again,” stated Acting Assistant Attorney General Blanco. “The Department of Justice will be relentless in its efforts to identify arrest, prosecute, and punish the perpetrators of these horrendous acts and seek justice on behalf of their victims.”
“Mr Lin allegedly carried out a relentless cyberstalking campaign against a young woman in a chilling effort to violate her privacy and threaten those around her,” said Acting U.S. Attorney Weinreb. “While using anonymizing services and other online tools to avoid attribution, Mr Lin harassed the victim, her family, friends, co-workers and roommates, and then targeted local schools and institutions in her community. Mr Lin will now face the consequences of his crimes.”
Even though the case is strong against Lin and no one should harass another human being, whether in cyberspace or in reality, but this does not change the fact that a VPN service or any company, in general, should go against their own policy.
FBI’s arrest of Lin is going to raise a lot of questions towards companies providing VPN and anonymity services.
A VPN or virtual proxy network is a system that allows users to send information in a secure and safe manner. The connection is established between your computer, then to VPN server and then to the website you want to visit and vice versa.
This allows for a safe and stable communication, meaning the data is concealed from prying eyes in the middle and also the internet service provider. And PureVPN provides such secure servers across the world, promising its customers that they do not keep logs of the user activity.
“We Do Not monitor user activity nor do we keep any logs. We, therefore, have no record of your activities such as which software you used, which websites you visited, what content you downloaded, which apps you used, etc. after you connected to any of our servers. Our servers automatically record the time at which you connect to any of our servers.” – As stated on PureVPN website.
However, whether or not their website says they do not keep any records, but the reality is that FBI got a lot of help from PureVPN and they did send their logs, which they were not supposed to keep as per their policy.
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