Why can't Lookout Security's VPN work with my own VPN?
August 5, 2019 6:25 PM   Subscribe

Hello folks. I have Lookout Security Premium for my Android phone. I just learned that, as part of its Safe Browsing tool, it uses a VPN. I also have my own VPN. I asked Lookout if they would cancel each other out. They said, when Safe Browsing mode is on, their VPN takes precedence over my own VPN. I would hate to have to give up my own VPN without at least knowing if it's the best thing to do. Does anyone have any opinion on this? Thanks.
posted by holdenjordahl to Computers & Internet (4 answers total)
A) Networking is easy. B) Networking is hard.
If your VPN and the other VPN are true all-or-nothing VPNs two things can happen.

Either the second VPN is sending it's encrypted traffic over your existing VPN. Or the second VPN replaces your original VPN. Both are possible and there's a decent chance that LSP support doesn't really know and is just regurgitating the "all traffic is handled by our VPN and is safe" marketing line.

This is further complicated by just what you/they mean by VPN. Are they network interfaces that are routing all IP traffic, or are they web/socks/browser plugin type things.

I don't know how to tell what your phone is doing. Well without like rooting it and installing tools to poke around and look at bits of information. Being able to do that on a phone is hard-ish (where on a laptop it's trivial). And just looking at some things, turning on your VPN and looking at things, and then turning on the second VPN and looking at things... it would be obvious.

It may be that your original VPN is a true all-traffic VPN and is still there, and your LSP Safe Browsing tool is only doing browser stuff and is still also going over your original VPN. Maybe someone familiar with the product can help there.

It sorta sounds like Safe Browsing is a SOCKS/proxy thing for web traffic. If your original VPN is a full-blown-vpn then it's very likely that your browser is going through SB's servers and that is carried over your original VPN. While your facebook or other apps are also still going over your original VPN.

It really could go either way... some or all of your traffic is going through two VPNs, or part of your traffic is going through two but part isn't, or everything is going through the second VPN and the first one is sitting there doing nothing.
posted by zengargoyle at 11:11 PM on August 5

I'm not quite sure what you're intending to do here. Is it your intention that your traffic from your phone first go through their VPN, then be directed to your other VPN before finally getting to the destination? Or did I misunderstand your intent?

What is your other VPN? A service you're running on your home PC, or a different VPN service you're paying for?
posted by sotonohito at 8:38 AM on August 6

Hello sotonohito.
I've used Private Internet Access for 2 years. Works fine.
I've used Lookout Security for 3 years. I just realized two days ago that they also have a VPN. It didn't make sense that I could have two VPNs at the same time.
Lookout Security wasn't very helpful in explaining whether their service would work without their VPN.
I just did dnsleaktest.com on my phone. It says my traffic is routed through the PIA VPN.
So, to answer your question, I want my phone traffic to go through Private Internet Access while Lookout Security continues to monitor my phone.
I hope this makes sense.
posted by holdenjordahl at 12:37 PM on August 6 [1 favorite]

Hi zengargoyle.
Thanks for the explanation.
As you nicely put it, this is what I'm hoping is the case: "It may be that your original VPN is a true all-traffic VPN and is still there, and your LSP Safe Browsing tool is only doing browser stuff and is still also going over your original VPN."
The original VPN, Private Internet Access, is indeed a true all-traffic VPN. I just want to understand How Lookout Security's VPN fits in here.
Thanks again.
posted by holdenjordahl at 12:42 PM on August 6 [1 favorite]

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