Tutorials

Private Internet Access Mac Setup Guide

Private Internet Access’ latest version is now available on Mac OS X app. To get this amazing Virtual Private Network, all you have to do is to go to their website and go to the top of the page and click on Support and Client Download and Support. Then click the download button found on the X box on next page. Once you are done with this, a dialogue box will appear that gives you the option to save Max OS X client installer (.DMG File) to your computer. Take note that the requirement for this client is OS X 10.8 or newer version. Furthermore, if you are looking for a guide on how to set up and configure Mac OS X with OpenVPN, L2TP/IPsec+PSK, Viscosity or PPTP, Private Internet Access also has a manual that could be found on their site.

Now that you have downloaded the client, open .DMG file by double clicking on the Private Internet Access Installer.app. Once you are finish with installing the file, you will now need to enter your new Username and Password which you will receive from the welcoming email that Private Internet Access will send to you. In case you have forgotten your password, do not fret as all you have to do is click on forgot password option and they will reset your password. In addition to that, PIA also has several basic options available to their users and they are the following:

  1. Start application at login- this option allows you to be connected to Private Internet Access as soon as you turn on your computer.
  2. Region- This option allows you to choose which country server you would like to connect to automatically. Hence, if you set this option to auto, you will be automatically connected to the country of your choice and preference.
  3. Auto-Connect when app is started- this option will allow you to connect automatically to your chosen location as soon as you turn on Private Internet Access.

We highly recommend for you to set these basic setup options and once you are done, all you have to do is click on the save button which will prompt the client to finish the launching process.

This client does not use nor has a graphical user interface. It just loads its service onto your menu bar as an icon and by clicking on this icon, a drop down list of locations will be available to you right away. This action will grey out the Disconnect option and the connect and all locations will be available for you to click on. There is also a more option if you would like to wish to find more server locations. By selecting connect, this action will automatically connect you to the last location you have selected.

If the disconnect option is the only choice that you could click on this only means that you are connected to Private Internet Access network. The exit option that you will find on the drop down list is for shutting down the client and the “send slow speed complaint” button will alert Private Internet Access’ technical team of the mentioned issue.

The mentioned options above are only basic features and there are more advanced features and settings that Private Internet Access has and they are the following:

Connection type- this are the types of connections you could connect to with OpenVPN protocol over IP.

1. UDP- short for User Datagram Protocol. This is used with low latency connections which could tolerate a few losses in its packets. This protocol is best for most users.

2. TCP- or Transfer Control Protocol is the opposite of UDP. This protocol is perfect for high latency connections and does not tolerate any loss in packets. It checks errors for packets and resends packets if needed and necessary which makes it slower due to the tasks of error checking.

3. Local Port- allows you to set a port and send data locally which will be redirected to the remote port.

4. Remote Port- this allows you to choose remote port to the tunnel data through.

  • – Port 8080- alternative port to port 80 for HTTP services. It could be used as proxy port
  • – Port 53- used by DNS for requests.
  • – Port 1194- standard OpenVPN port
  • – Port 9201- used for Wireless Application Protocol for mobile devices.

5. Port Forwarding – allows you to set up an application that will allow remote users to connect to.

  • – Through gateways such as CA Toronto, Netherlands, CA North York, Switzerland, Sweden, Germany, France, Romania, Russia and Israel
  • – Once you have enabled the port forwarding, hover your mouse over the menu icon and you will see the port number that you will use on your application.

6. IPv6 Leak Protection- this setting will disable IPv6 request whenever you are using Private Internet Access.

7. Kill Switch- This will keep your connection secured and private even when your VPN connection suddenly drops.

8. Data Encryption – this feature will keep all your traffic secured.

  • – AES-128 – This encryption is chosen and tested by the National Institute of Standards and Technology and an encryption which is used by the government of United States.
  • – AES-256 – this encryption has the same algorithm as AES 128 but uses a 256-bit key which makes it more secured but a little bit slower. This encryption feature is used by the US government as well for their top secret documents.
  • – Blowfish – uses 128-bit key as an alternative to AES. It is one of the selections of NIST in terms of standards as well.
  • – None – this one does not encrypt data. The purpose of this is it hides your IP which makes your VPN as pseudo proxy.

9. Data Authentication – is an algorithm that could authenticate all your data and protect it from attacks.

  • – SHA1- uses Key-Hash Message Authentication Code and 160-bit key.
  • – SHA2- uses Key-Hash Message Authentication Code and 256-bit key which makes it a bit slower.
  • – None- this makes you more vulnerable to attacks.

10. Handshake – An algorithm which ensures your initial connections is secured and it also verifies that you are really connected to Private Internet Access VPN server and not anyone else.

  • – RSA-3072- uses Ephemeral Diffie-Hellman key and 3072-bit for key exchange and RSA certificate.
  • – RSA-2048- uses 2048 bit Ephemeral Diffie-Hellman key exchange and 2048 but RSA certificate
  • – RSA-4096 uses 4096-bit exchange and RSA certificate
  • – ECC-256k1- Ephemeral Elliptic Curve DH Key exchange and ECDSA certificate for verification. Curve secp256k1 (256bit)
  • – ECC256r1- uses curve prime 256v1
  • – ECC521 – uses curve secp521r1 for key exchange and certificate

Endpoint Encryption Settings

Default Recommended Protection – AES-128/SHA1/RSA-2048 – best balance of speed and protection

Maximum Protection – AES-2556/SHA256/RSA-4096 – perfect for maximum security for data and does not care about loss of speed.

Risky- AES-128/None/RSA-2048 – vulnerable to active MitM attacks wherein hackers usually uses to intercept messages

All Speed –None/None/ECC-256k1- vulnerable to active and passive attacks.

Conclusion:

Though some are not impressed with Private Internet Access Mac OS X client, they offer best mix of advanced features such as kill switch, small packets and disabling IPv6 Internet traffic which makes this VPN very appealing to technical subscribers and users. Through this guide we hope we were able to help you setup your Private Internet Access Mac OS X.

Renee Biana

VPN Pick brings you all the latest vpn news, reviews and discounts.

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