A company called SecureIX is offering a free VPN service which allows you to hide your IP address from peers in a BitTorrent swarm or P2P network. Not only that, the service also encrypts and tunnels your data, making it extremely difficult for your ISP to sniff or shape it.
SecureIX launched last year with almost no hype surrounding it. Even we only came to know of it recently. Why something so seemingly important went unnoticed, is unknown.
Update: SecureIX shut down but BTGuard is a great alternative.
What SecureIX offers is a whole package of ‘secure services’. An IMAP/POP SSL-enabled e-mail account with PGP encryption and 1 GB storage, Usenet newsgroup access, and an encrypted VPN service. All of this free for personal use.
Instructions to set up VPN access are sent to the e-mail address you get when you sign up with SecureIX. That way, there’s definitely no chance of anyone intercepting e-mails from the site to you.
A passage on the site talks about how SecureIX provides added piracy:
As soon as you connect to our VPN server your computer is assigned a new IP address, an IP address that is owned by us, not your ISP. Unless you are using one of our static IP packages there are no records that link a single user to the IP address. The IP address is shared by many users. Remote servers on the Internet that try to identify you by your IP address will fail.
What I don’t understand is why a company would give away a service like this for free. Although, the site reserves the right to change their policy in the future, their “current plans are to always provide a free service.”
But how safe is this free service? After all, they also offer Business VPN for a price, so it is a commercial service. And even if your ISP doesn’t have your data, it’s almost assured that SecureIX does, as you’re using their servers to tunnel. In this way, they’re taking over from your ISP. Great idea, but who knows if we can trust SecureIX any more than our ISPs?
Where SecureIX could really come in handy is if your ISP is blocking encrypted BitTorrent transfers. In Canada, Rogers is throttling all BitTorrent connections, encrypted or otherwise. BroadbandReports.com writes, “Rogers has updated Cisco traffic-shaping hardware to perform more sophisticated deep packet inspection to again limit BitTorrent bandwidth consumption. Some users are using VPN software SecureIX to get around the new traffic shaping efforts, with mixed results.”