Internet privacy was once again thrust into the limelight recently when President Donald Trump signed a bill that would allow internet service providers to sell your browsing history to third parties like advertisers.

As much as the news rekindled concerns around internet privacy, little has actually changed. The signed bill is generally keeping things as they are. The outrage comes from the fact that the bill is rolling back an Obama-era measure to prevent ISPs from tracking and selling your browsing history, which didn't have time to take effect before he left office.

Still, some of you may be looking for ways to browse the web privately, and one of the most prominent solutions is to use a virtual private network, or VPN, which cloaks your online activity.

Here's what VPNs are, what they do, and what to look out for if you're an average person using the internet.

A VPN essentially hides your internet activity from your internet service provider, which means it has nothing to sell to third parties.

A VPN essentially hides your internet activity from your internet service provider, which means it has nothing to sell to third parties.

If the internet is an open highway, VPNs act like a tunnel that hides your internet traffic. The VPN encrypts your internet traffic into a garbled mess of numbers that can't be deciphered by your ISP or a third party. 

Most VPNs also hide identifying details about your computer from ISPs.

Most VPNs also hide identifying details about your computer from ISPs.

Any device that's connected to your ISP's network has an IP address, which looks like a series of numbers. Many Americans have multiple devices, so ISPs use IP addresses to see which device has accessed which websites and where.

Without an IP address, your devices wouldn't be able to communicate with the websites you want to look at, and you wouldn't be able to browse the internet.

VPN services hide the IP addresses on the devices you use with the VPN and replace them with IP addresses from one of their servers, which can be located anywhere in the world. So if you're in the US but are connected to a VPN server in Europe, ISPs will see the VPN's European server's IP address instead of your device's.

Can't ISPs track my browsing history through the VPN's IP address?

They could if you were the only user on that VPN server. But several users are usually using the same VPN IP address, so they can't determine whether a browsing history belongs to you, specifically. It's like searching for a needle in a stack of needles.

VPN services aren't perfect.

By using a VPN, you're still switching the trust of your privacy from your ISP to your VPN service. With that in mind, you need to make sure the VPN you use is trustworthy and doesn't store logs of your browsing history.

Certain VPN services say they don't log your browsing activity and history while you're connected to their servers. It means ISPs or a third party can't retroactively check your browsing history, even if it could decrypt the VPN's encryption "tunnel," which is unlikely in the first place.

For an extra layer of protection, choose a VPN whose servers are based outside the US. That protects against the possibility of legal entities in the US trying to access your browsing history through court orders.

They can slow down your internet speed.

The "internet" travels incredibly quickly around the world, but it's still bound by the laws of physics.

Since VPN services reroute your internet traffic through one of its servers somewhere around the globe, your internet speed could be slightly reduced.They essentially make your internet traffic take a longer route than it usually would, which means things can take longer to load.

The further away the VPN server is from your location, the longer the distance your internet traffic has to travel, which can end up in slower internet speeds. 

Most free VPN services may not be enough to protect your privacy.

Many free VPN services simply hide your IP address and don't encrypt your data, and it's the encryption part that protects your privacy more thoroughly.

You have to pay extra for privacy.

Paying extra for a premium VPN service on top of your internet bill so you can browse privately isn't very appealing. 

Should you get a VPN?

Should you get a VPN?

By getting a VPN in light of the recent events, you're preventing your ISP from tracking your activity and selling your browsing history to a third party to make more money out of your subscription. 

Some people don't want their browsing history to be seen by ISPs, nor do they want it to be sold to advertisers, even if it isn't tied to you personally. Some ISPs have said they value their customers' privacy and don't track their activity, but some of their language surrounding this subject can be vague.

Secondly, it seems fair to be recompensed for providing, albeit involuntarily, your precious browsing histories, as advertisers covet them to find out what you're interested in and show you targeted ads. If my ISP is making money out of selling my browsing history, I'd expect my monthly internet bill to be reduced, as I'm technically providing my ISP a service by browsing the web and exposing my interests. 

The likelihood of this happening, however, is uncertain and perhaps unlikely considering it's now an ISP's "right" to sell your browsing history to third parties. There's no law out there that forces ISPs to compensate their customers for providing their browsing histories, so don't expect them to anytime soon.

In a way, you can't blame the ISPs.

In a way, you can't blame the ISPs.

ISPs can see which sites you're visiting, anyway, because they can tell what internet traffic is going through which IP address. From their point of view, they might as well make money out of it. There's certainly a market for browsing histories, and after all, a business is in the business of making money.

Still, not everyone is comfortable with having their activity tracked at all — or having to opt out versus opting in — even if they have a squeaky-clean, legal web-browsing history.

 

Author: Antonio Villas-Boas
Source: businessinsider.com

Categorized in Internet Privacy

In light of the latest news that President Trump has overturned the FCC Internet privacy rules, discussions for and against virtual private networks (VPNs) have resurfaced. One of the biggest complaints with the repeal is that internet service providers are now legally allowed to sell your browsing data, if they’d like. While some ISPs have said that they won’t sell your browsing history for now, that doesn’t bar them from doing so in the future.

Proponents of VPNs believe that by utilizing such a service, you can obfuscate your browsing history so that your ISP won’t be able to build a “catalog” of your browsing habits. Opponents to VPNs dutifully note that by using a VPN service all you’re doing is migrating your browsing history from one ISP’s eyes to another. Browsing history data collection aside, benefits still exist by using VPNs, especially on your iPhone or iPad.

Why should I use a VPN on iOS?

Many iPhone and iPad users have come to believe that iOS as a whole is an incredibly secure platform. That may be true to an extent, but vulnerabilities still exist. More obviously, these vulnerabilities may not exist in iOS themselves but rather third-party apps that implement poor code.

A few months back we reported on how both Experian and myFICO mobile contained security vulnerabilities that potentially leaked user data onto connected networks. Simply put: launching your Experian app on iOS on an unsecured network meant your user credentials could be pulled maliciously. Once pulled, attackers could pull up all your personal and credit data linked to Experian.

In cases where third-party apps are insecure, using a VPN can add an additional layer for obfuscation. Instead of an attacker easily seeing your credentials, your credentials are now being passed through another network entirely.

Which VPN should I use on iOS?

This age-old question continues to be one of the more difficult aspects of VPN discussions. There are literally hundreds of VPN providers out there, but deciphering which to choose is one the most difficult challenges.

To begin, our first recommendation is do not use a free VPN service provider. Maintaining VPN data servers cost real money, so any company willing to offer free VPN servers to its users means it’s most likely selling that user data. Worse still, that “free” VPN provider may even not be actually securing your data but rather sending it out in the open.

The second recommendation is to not start with the App Store. Normally the iOS App Store is a great location to dive in and discover applications to solve problems you may have, but you should be extra careful here. In the case of VPN applications, you want to find one that hs been thoroughly vetted. Sites like That One Privacy Site have set out to build detailed comparisons against as many VPN providers as possible. Keeping in line with the President’s FCC ruling, looking for a VPN provider that doesn’t keep logs on data usage is a great start.

After that, we’d recommend testing out a few different VPNs for a few weeks. Different VPN providers have different experiences with data speeds depending on where their servers are located. In my personal testing, NordVPN has been fantastic for me and served as a companion when I traveled to South America last year. From our readers, we’ve received recommendations on CloakPrivate Internet Access, and Hide My Ass. By trying multiple different providers, you can learn which ones will offer a better overall experience for you.

Note: All four of the listed VPN providers above have well-built, and easy to understand iOS applications that directly integrate into iOS’ own VPN settings. 

What’s next for VPNs and iOS?

Discussions around VPNs will continue to occur so long as security is in the forefront of user’s minds. Until Apple rolls out its own VPN similar to Google, users will have to rely on their own intuitions on which to pick from.

For a list of VPN providers currently offering discounts, check out our 9to5Toys’ Specials page. Remember to cross-check providers with other resources to make sure it fits your personal criteria.

Do you have a personal VPN that you use on iOS that you love? Have any doubts you want answered? Let us know in the comments below!

Categorized in How to

SAN FRANCISCO — Protecting your Internet activities from collection and sale by marketers is easier said than done, especially after Tuesday’s vote to overturn pending FCC privacy rules for Internet Service Providers.

The move by Congress dismantled rules created by the Federal Communications Commission just six months ago, rules that weren’t slated to go into effect until later this year. President Trump is expected to sign the bill into law soon.

Broadband rules axed by Congress, headed to Trump

The decision, decried by consumer groups and Democrats and lauded by Republicans and telecom companies, sent those worried looking for a fallback plan. One possibility? Wider use of VPNs, which provide private end-to-end Internet connections and are typically used to keep out snoops when using public Wi-Fi.

"Time to start using a VPN at home," Vijaya Gadde, general counsel at Twitter, tweeted after the decision.

But such protection is limited. While VPNs keep broadband providers from seeing the sites users visit, that masking only goes so far — once logged into a website, an operator like Amazon tracks users' activities so it can suggest tailored products.

"All that a VPN does is hide what take place to get from point A to point B. Once you're on the other side, if you have credentials there — think Netflix — it knows who you are," said Matt Stamper, director of security and risk management programs at the consulting company Gartner.

Congress' decision essentially reverts to the status quo. The FCC argued that IPS’s like Comcast and AT&T should not face more stringent privacy rules than online companies such as Facebook and Google, which also collect information about users. Opponents countered that IPS's are different because they have access to users' full web browsing habits and physical addresses.

With the repeal, Internet providers won't be required to notify customers they collect data about or ask permission before collecting, sharing and selling data about what they do online, beyond the initial Terms of Service agreement. Information collected could include websites visited, apps used and physical location.

“Your entire clickstream, basically your life online, has the potentially to become one giant profile,” said Stamper.

That information can then be used to craft highly-targeted ads. This is part of the fundamental business model of many online companies, from e-commerce juggernaut Amazon to search giant Google to social network Facebook. They follow users’ online movements and actions, then use the information to better market to them. Increasingly, broadband providers are also getting into the content and advertising business. For instance, that's a key reason Verizon is buying Yahoo.

While web companies' profiles aren't person-specific, they allow their own products and those of advertisers to minutely target a type of customer, say a 30-year-old woman in the Southwest who likes rock climbing. While individual companies' privacy policies vary and sometimes allow for opt-outs of information sharing, in general websites can sell or share this de-personalized information with partners.

Side-stepping that constant surveillance while trying to use the web in our daily lives is almost unachievable, said Stamper.

“Realistically, unless somebody is extraordinarily well-versed in technology, has a really good understanding of what different sites are doing and how they do it, it’s almost impossible for the average consumer to keep their details private,” he said.

One option is for customers to find the privacy policy of their ISP and specifically opt out of data collection, said Robert Cattanach, a privacy lawyer with the firm of Dorsey & Whitney.

That's easier said than done, said ACLU lawyer Neema Singh Guliani.

"You'll need to go through what in some cases is going to be a long, arduous and frustrating process in understanding what you can do to control the information they gather about you," she said.

Overall, the best course of action for those concerned about what's collected about them is to practice ‘digital privacy hygiene’ by giving as little information as possible when doing things online, to minimize the digital footprint available to companies, said Nuala O’Connor, president and CEO of the Center for Democracy & Technology, a non-profit digital rights group.

“I was asked for my phone number when buying towels recently at a home store. They don’t need my phone number! Just sell me the towels!  Companies need to do a better job about minimizing the data they’re collecting, but in the meantime we can all be stingier about what we give out,” she said.

Long term, the situation could create incentives for companies to offer privacy-for-pay, “tiered pricing models that would effectively make privacy a privilege for those who could afford to pay more for these services every month,” said Fatemeh Khatibloo, a privacy analyst with Forrester.

Source : usatoday.com

Categorized in Internet Privacy

(Reuters) - The vote by the U.S. Congress to repeal rules that limit how internet service providers can use customer data has generated renewed interest in an old internet technology: virtual private networks, or VPNs.

VPNs cloak a customer's web-surfing history by making an encrypted connection to a private server, which then searches the Web on the customer's behalf without revealing the destination addresses. VPNs are often used to connect to a secure business network, or in countries such as China and Turkey to bypass government restrictions on Web surfing.

Privacy-conscious techies are now talking of using VPNs as a matter of course to guard against broadband providers collecting data about which internet sites and services they are using.

"Time to start using a VPN at home," Vijaya Gadde‏, general counsel of Twitter Inc, said in a tweet on Tuesday that was retweeted by Twitter Chief Executive Jack Dorsey.

Gadde was not immediately available for comment. Twitter said she was commenting in her personal capacity and not on behalf of the company.

The Republican-led U.S. House of Representatives voted 215-205 on Tuesday to repeal rules adopted last year by the Federal Communications Commission under then-President Barack Obama to require broadband providers to obtain consumer consent before using their data for advertising or marketing.

The U.S. Senate, also controlled by Republicans, voted 50-48 last week to reverse the rules. The White House said President Donald Trump supported the repeal measure.

Supporters of the repeal said the FCC unfairly required internet service providers like AT&T Inc, Comcast Corp and Verizon Communications Inc to do more to protect customers' privacy than websites like Alphabet Inc's Google or Facebook Inc.

Critics said the repeal would weaken consumers' privacy protections.

VPN ADVANTAGES, DRAWBACKS

Protected data includes a customer's web-browsing history, which in turn can be used to discover other types of information, including health and financial data.

Some smaller broadband providers are now seizing on privacy as a competitive advantage. Sonic, a California-based broadband provider, offers a free VPN service to its customers so they can connect to its network when they are not home. That ensures that when Sonic users log on to wi-fi at a coffee shop or hotel, for example, their data is not collected by that establishment's broadband provider.

"We see VPN as being important for our customers when they're not on our network. They can take it with them on the road," CEO Dane Jasper said.

In many areas of the country, there is no option to choose an independent broadband provider and consumers will have to pay for a VPN service to shield their browsing habits.

Private Internet Access, a VPN provider, took a visible stand against the repeal measure when it bought a full-page ad in the New York Times on Sunday. But the company, which boasts about a million subscribers, potentially stands to benefit from the legislation, acknowledged marketing director Caleb Chen.

VPNs have drawbacks. They funnel all user traffic through one point, so they are an attractive target for hackers and spies. The biggest obstacle to their routine use as a privacy safeguard is that they can be too much of a hassle to set up for many customers. They also cost money.

"The further along toward being a computer scientist you have to be to use a VPN, the smaller a portion of the population we're talking about that can use it," said Ernesto Falcon, a legislative counsel for the Electronic Frontier Foundation, which opposed the bill.

(Reporting by Stephen Nellis and David Ingram in San Francisco; Editing by Jonathan Weber and Peter Cooney).

Author : Stephen Nellis and David Ingram

Source : metro.us

Categorized in Internet Privacy

As soon as Version 40 is launched, Opera will be the first web browser that can boast its own free VPN service to increase security and privacy during navigation. The feature started its first testing back in April and can really be a unique opportunity to re-launch one of the oldest desktop browsers in the market. Most standard browsers such as Chrome and Firefox offer a "private mode" that simply maintain privacy inside the computer, in order to avoid other users to check the history and nothing more. A VPN service instead helps to keep at bay any potential intrusions or unwanted prying eyes by adding encrypting software, blocking tracking cookies and hiding the user's IP address.

Anyone who is browsing through a commercial or public Wi-Fi hotspot usually uses a VPN to add an additional layer of privacy and to protect himself against Wi-Fi sniffers or advertisement trackers that spy on users' internet habits. The most secure VPN services currently available on the market offer various features other than just avoiding that sensitive information gets into the wrong hands. Bitcoin anonymous payments, no-log policies and location hiding are just some of the most appreciated among them, although paying a monthly fee to access one of these services can add up to monthly expenses. Opera will be the first one to offer this service for free and without bandwidth cap, also adding the opportunity to get around geolocation-locked contents, such as movies or TV series that cannot be streamed from that location.

Krystian Kolondra, Opera’s desktop browser chief, explained that inclusion of VPN functions is going to be a standard feature of new browsers, and this tool will be as essential "as the lock and key is to your house.”

However, the major downside is that Opera's VPN is not a "true VPN" but just a proxy that redirects all traffic to SurfEasy, a company subsidiary that usually offers this service for a monthly fee. The traffic encrypted is only in the browser, so everything that is sent through any other network function such as chats, virtual drives and email clients is not covered. Although SurfEasy promised not to store any users' browsing habits and information on its servers, Opera will still get insight on all the details coming from clients' surfing history. This "proxy" feature will just re-route traffic through five locations: Canada, U.S., Singapore, Netherlands and Germany, leaving the vast majority of the European traffic yet uncovered.

Author : CLAUDIO BUTTICE

Source : http://www.digitaljournal.com/tech-and-science/technology/opera-adds-a-built-in-vpn-feature-for-secure-web-browsing/article/477581

Categorized in Search Engine

Those of you who frequent the darkweb should be familiar with VPN (Virtual Private Network) services and have done some research to find a trustworthy provider. For readers who are just starting to explore the darker catacombs of the Internet a VPN is a mandatory tool for online anonymity.

But not all VPN services are created equal.

>>>Click for DeepDotWeb’s Chart of Best VPN services<<<

For n00bs

A VPN provides a secure connection between your computer and the VPN servers. All communications between your computer and the VPN are encrypted and sent through a secure tunnel over the Internet, preventing outsiders from spying on your web activity. You can securely connect to a VPN service and surf the web from their servers, using their IP addresses.

There are lots of reasons to use a VPN service such as establishing a secure connection over an insecure network, accessing censored or region specific web content, or hiding p2p sharing activity that is often frowned upon in the US. But if you’ve made it to DDW you’re probably starting to understand that there are parts of the web where more nefarious things happen (which DDW acknowledges but does not condone) and anonymity is of the utmost importance.

The connection between your computer and the VPN is secure, but the connection between the VPN and the rest of the web isn’t. Your activity on the web can be monitored and traced back to the VPN IP addresses, but cannot be traced back to your own IP address. When you use a VPN no one can trace your web activity back to you (insert obligatory meme).

In theory.On the internet

For Everyone

A VPN service’s main selling points are security and privacy, but privacy is interpreted differently among VPN providers. Just ask former lulzsec member Cody Kretsinger (a.k.a. recursion), how private his VPN service was.

Kretsinger used a popular VPN called HideMyAss and engaged in activity that linked him, and his online persona “recursion,” to several high profile hacks, including unauthorized access to servers controlled by Sony Pictures. As it turns out HMA keeps logs of users’ IP addresses and logon/off times. A UK court order was issued to HMA to turn over the logs related to the offending account, which were then used to identify and arrest Kretsinger.

VPN providers can log web activity over their network, but it is more common to see VPN providers log users’ IP addresses, logon/off times and bandwidth usage. This logging activity allows providers to identify individuals abusing the service for fraud and spam, but in doing so they acquire information that can be used to identify individual users.

You can be absolutely sure if a VPN provider is pressured to cooperate with authorities and they have any information to identify you as the suspect you will be up shit creek and you will be there without a paddle. No one is going to go to jail for you.

This is why some VPN services go out of their way NOT to log any information that could possibly identify their customers. They cannot be forced to hand over incriminating information that they do not have.

The Devil is in the Details

It is mundane but it is so incredibly important when considering a VPN to read the company’s Terms of Service and the Privacy Policy, and these documents need to be in plain English not lawyer-eese. A VPN provider who legitimately cares about customers’ privacy will lay it out in black in white what information, if any, is recorded and for how long.

Good VPN providers state that they store “personal information” necessary to create an account and process a payment (for example: name, e-mail address, payment data, billing address), but state that they do NOT log users’ IP addresses, logon/off times, or bandwidth usage.

Great VPN providers go a step further to minimize the amount of “personal information” required by accepting bitcoin or other cryptocurrencies, eliminating the requirement for billing information. This further insulates the user’s true identity by requiring an as little information as an e-mail address to create an account.

An honorable mention must go out to VPN provider MULLVAD who do not even require an email address. Visitors to the website click “create account” and they are given an account number without entering any information at all.

VPN Providers to Avoid

If you intend to use a VPN to hide your p2p activity on the web or go to the other side of the great virtual divide we recommend that you steer clear of these VPN providers. We want to be fair, VPNs who make this list are not “bad” VPN providers but they do participate in logging activities that put their users at risk. These VPNs do not provide true privacy on the web.

Bad vpn Providers

Privacy Focused VPN Providers

The following is a list of ten VPN providers who openly state that they do not log any information that may be used to identify anyone using their VPN service. To be considered as a privacy focused VPN provider the service must have the following qualifications:

  1. Does NOT log any information that could be used to identify the user.
  2. Requires minimal personal information to sign up.
  3. Accepts cryptocurrency.

You will note that there are VPN providers based in the USA on this list. It is a common misconception that US VPN services are legally required to log activity on their network. This simply isn’t true, but they are still required to cooperate with US law enforcement while other countries are not. Required cooperation is partly the reason they dutifully do not log activity on their networks. These companies cannot be held liable for withholding information they do not have. Choosing a VPN service, and which country it is based in, is up to you, but we do not want to discourage people from supporting small businesses in the US based on hearsay

Anyone concerned with their privacy for any reason should consider one of the following VPN services. As a DDW Disclaimer: You shouldn’t rely on a VPN provider to protect you from the authorities. It’s really best if the authorities don’t have a reason to be looking for you at all.

>>>Click for DeepDotWeb’s Chart of Best VPN services<<<

Best Vpn Providers

Author:  IBURNEZ

Source:  https://www.deepdotweb.com/2014/07/08/is-your-vpn-legit-or-shit

Categorized in Internet of Things

The Internet today is huge. It offers many opportunities but also brings certain dangers. That is why need decent protection when we browse the web. The topic is quite popular and there are many options you can try. You can find much information about VPN, Proxy, TOR and other technologies but what does all that mean and which option should you choose. In this article, we will explain popular options in details, namely the trended TOR bundles TOR plus VPN and TOR plus Proxy.

Architecture

TOR is quite popular right now and it provides a decent level of protection. However, there are certain risks involved like malicious exit nodes .

There is a remedy. VPN or Proxy may serve as a great addition to TOR but only one of them can secure your traffic from malicious TOR nodes. Let us clarify why is that. The reason for that lies in the difference between VPN and Proxy technologies.

Security and Privacy

HTTP Proxy simply changes your IP for web traffic and SOCKS Proxy extends the functionality to work with other traffic (e.g FTP, BitTorrent, etc). Therefore, Proxy offers anonymity but not privacy.

VPN has an option of traffic encryption and DNS leaks protection. In other words, VPN provides both anonymity and privacy. VPN plus takes the concept to a new level and introduces an extra security layer .

This is a DNS leak test result for Privatoria’s VPN TOR service

Set-up process

There are not so many ways to use TOR together with Proxy and VPN. Proxy is more flexible in this regard as it can be used ensemble with TOR browser or Tails OS. The configuration process is trivial. You simply have to enter web browser’s preferences>advanced>network and enter the settings.

This is how Privatoria Proxy plus TOR settings look like on a Debian 8 with MATE desktop

There are also more advanced configurations that you can try, for example a Proxy Chain .

Unfortunately, VPN cannot be used inside Tails OS. The developers clearly state that on the official site . Fortunately, Privatoria offers a way to use TOR plus VPN. The best, you don’t have to use Tails OS or a web-browser for that. To configure Privatoria’s VPN TOR service on Debian-based systems use regular OpenVPN functionality (you’ll need packages “openvpn” “network-manager-openvpn” and “network-manager-openvpn-gnome” packages for it to work).

This is how the settings look like on a Debian 8 with MATE desktop

Speed

Proxy is an absolute winner in this situation. This is most because your connection only goes through one extra computer and not the whole network. The proxy also does not touch your OS networking infrastructure, unlike VPN. That is why VPN can slow the system down a little. Also, VPN connection speed should be slower compared to VPN due to a longer path that the data has to travel. Add TOR to the mix and what you’ll get is a pretty long distance. Fortunately, with Privatoria Proxy and VPN connection speed does not differ due to service’s specific system architecture.

Here is the speed test screenshot

Conclusion

Internet anonymity and privacy tools finally make their way to the mainstream audience. It is important to know the differences between Proxy and VPN and how both interact with the TOR network. The main point to remember is the that Proxy TOR should be used for simpler tasks like watching YouTube while VPN TOR is a choice better for sending a personal e-mail.

Source : deepdotweb

Categorized in Deep Web

Virtual Private Network, or VPN for short, is a secure network connection through which you can safely connect your device to public networks.

It is widely used by large corporations, educational institutions and government agencies.

It is also used by individuals who care about staying anonymous on the internet for various reasons.

In countries where governments are blocking access to certain websites, people use a VPN to get around these walls of censorship.

Another reason people use VPN’s is to gain access to web content restricted to certain countries; this is particularly the case with some YouTube channels, like Vevo and similar.

In countries where downloading torrents is heavily monitored, like the USA for example, people use VPN to hide their internet activity and IP address from ISPs and from the torrent source.

This is similarly the case for streaming, the use of streaming services like Kodi is exploding lately and the movie studios are not at all happy about so they are now suing users.

Kodi (formally XBMC) is a media center platform where developers have made thousands of plugins that deliver the latest movies, TV series, pay per view sport, porn, documentaries etc. for free to your device.

It is like having access to every single video media out there, and not all of it is pirated content but a large selection of it is.

Because of the rapid growth of streaming on Kodi and other similar service like Popcorn Time, the movie studios have started to employ lawyers and are suing thousands of people around the word for downloading and streaming pirated content.

anonymity tools

You can really get hit with a massive fine for doing so if they can find out your IP address. This is where a VPN can save you a fortune.

Most VPN providers require payment, but there are some that offer a trial version, and a couple of them offer free limited versions.

Be aware that the free VPN’s are usually shit and slow, especially if you try to stream video.

Why is Tor not enough for Deep Web Anonymity?

The Onion Router, or Tor, is a network of volunteer computers (routers) that provide secure and anonymous connection to the Internet.

The data which user sends from his computer to the destination and vice versa are being encrypted in each of the three routers which stand in-between user’s computer and the destination.

It is used by governments, journalists, bloggers, whistleblowers, but also by drug dealers who are selling illicit drugs at the so called darknet markets.

The fall of the Silk Road, the first and the largest darknet market; the arrest of Ross Ulbricht; the affairs of Julian Assange and Edward Snowden – who were all using Tor for their anonymity and various other reasons caused the general trust in Tor to decrease.

Some evidence suggests that a great deal of Tor nodes are being controlled by the NSA.

Once the node is controlled, the process of revealing one’s identity is easy and straightforward.

This has been proven by a group of hackers who previously hacked Play Station Network and Xbox network; after these attacks, the group announced that they are going after Tor Network, which they considered a huge challenge.

In just a couple of weeks hackers managed to take control of 3000 routers, and they revealed more than 95% of users’ identities!

The fact that Tor’s exit nodes (routers) are having some security issues is also admitted by the founders of Tor network, and it was the main reason why Agora, once a well-knowndarknet market, has stopped their operation.

Another more recent example of the tor Network being cracked is in 2015 the FEDS cracked Tor with the help of a University computer science department to catch users on the darknet markets.
They did this effectively and ended up catching tons of people doing illegal activities on the Deep Web who were then prosecuted.

This is an example of what can happen if you only rely on Tor for anonymity on the Deep Web.

How is VPN used?

If you are browsing the deep web using Tor, the best solution is to use both, Tor and VPN.

You should use Tor namely because it is the only browser that can access hidden services of the deep web and .onion URLs; VPN should be used for security reasons.

VPN is very useful even if you are not using Tor, and you are concerned about your online privacy and safety.

Tor and VPN can be used in two ways.

1. The first and less safe way is to connect your computer to the VPN and then start Tor. This way, the target website has no means to learn your IP address but your ISP will know that you are using a VPN, which doesn’t have to be a bad thing; however, if you are suspicious to the authorities for any reason, the VPN provider would have to disclose your log files.

So, your connection will look like this: Computer –> VPN -> Tor -> Internet

2. Another way to do this is to let Tor encrypt your connection towards the VPN server first; from the VPN your connection returns to Tor; then once again to the VPN and finally to the Internet.

This way, your ISP has no idea that you are using a VPN, and your VPN provider also has no record of your activities; your target website doesn’t have access to your exit node and you have the maximum level of protection!

So, your connection looks like this: Computer -> Tor Encrypted VPN -> Tor -> VPN -> Internet

3. There is another way that is really for the paranoid that offers insanely good anonymity and privacy.

You need a special router with DD-WRT firmware installed on it (you can buy these pretty easily) and then you have the VPN running on this so all of your internet connected to it is encrypted from the beginning, then you use tor and then you use your desktop VPN client to further encrypt in a separate location.
VPN Router (location 1) -> Computer-> Tor -> PC VPN (location 2) -> Internet.

On what devices can you use a VPN?

Most VPN providers have made their products available for multiple devices.

So, they support PC and Mac, and also smart devices; some can even work on routers.

However, there are some VPN services that can work only on a limited set of devices.

Benefits of using a VPN

Using a VPN has a lot of advantages, even if you are not a Deep Web visitor.

1. Browse the Deep Web with much better anonymity and security than just Tor.

2. Stream and download anything without LE or your ISP knowing and logging.

3. Access blocked content like YouTube, Facebook, Google, Twitter and Gmail etc. in countries where they are blocked.

4. Hide your Tor usage from your ISP. This helps so when they see you are using Tor they log your usage. LE can then use this to link you to activity on the dark web as they make a profile for you like a digital fingerprint.

5. Use to access GEO blocked content like different versions of Netflix, HULU, HBO NOW, BBC, Spotify, Pandora Radio.

6. You will be safer while browsing the internet; your IP address will be hidden, and hackers, malware, and other attackers will have a hard time getting information about you and probably won’t be able to get anything unless you give it on your own.

7. If you’re running a network, you have a reason more to use a VPN, since it won’t protect just one computer, but a whole bunch – together with your valuable documents, all your hard work will be protected.

8. VPN has no access restrictions, therefore, you will be able to browse all your favorite web applications including email and chat clients, etc.

As a bonus, if your country doesn’t have access to certain web content, VPN will enable them for you by default.

This is particularly handy in China, for example, where various services and websites are blocked by the government: Gmail, YouTube, Facebook, Instagram, even Google itself shows selective results.

9. ISPs are cooperating with NSA and FBI and other LE agencies, and if your web behavior becomes suspicious, by any particular reason, most probably you are going to be monitored.

Privacy is the biggest benefit of VPN. If you choose a VPN that doesn’t keep logs, you will be able to hide all your internet activity from your ISP and therefore are able to browse safely. Not only that, but you will also be able to download whatever you like, even torrents.

10. Another benefit is that all your connections will be encrypted and even if someone obtains some information about your online activity, it will unreadable.

Drawbacks of Using a VPN

In comparison to benefits, there aren’t many drawbacks of using a VPN; but without listing the little drawbacks that exist, you wouldn’t have gained an objective picture.

And besides, there ARE some disadvantages.

Speed is probably the biggest drawback, especially if you live in areas where you have a bad connection already.

A good VPN will not slow down your connection dramatically.

The free versions of VPN’s are usually the slowest and to be honest, shit house.

Some free VPN’s like HOLA VPN were found out to even steal your internet and sell it off to others who then used it to spam people!

Encryption will also slow things down, but you shouldn’t look at encryption as something bad, even if you have to wait a second or two more for the page to load.

Another big drawback is that you won’t be able to use PayPal with VPN – PayPal simply doesn’t allow it.

What’s more, if you keep trying despite the warnings, your account might get suspended! So, you’ll have to find some alternatives to PayPal if you want to do some online deep web shopping.

What to Look for in a VPN?

VPNRatings_Blog_WhattoLookforVPNVPN providers have different packages and different prices and opting for the right one isn’t always easy.

So, here are some tips that will hopefully help you to determine which VPN suits your needs best.

1. The most important thing you want to know about your VPN provider is whether they keep logs or not.

Most of them claim that they are not, but it is known that VPN providers, such as HideMyAss, forwarded the log files to the LE at least on one occasion even though they claimed that they were not keeping logs.

You must know that none of these companies are willing to lose their business just because you have done something illegal. So, be very mindful of this.

2. The other important thing to consider is whether they have a kill switch or not. The kill switch will disconnect you from the internet if you lose connection with the VPN and your privacy won’t be compromised at all.

3.When speaking of privacy, if you want to stay truly anonymous on the web, along with using tools such as VPN and Tor, you will also need to purchase your VPN anonymously, and the easiest way to manage this is by using bitcoins.

So, your ideal VPN provider should accept bitcoins as payment. Bitcoins are ideal cryptocurrency for staying anonymous since they cannot be traced and they are not connected to your bank account.

4. One of the crucial things is whether the VPN of your choice is the Tier1 (aka. Top Tier) provider or not. This means that they own and manage their own servers and network. There are hardly any of these providers on the market.

If they are not a Tier 1 provider then they rent rack space in hosting companies to run their VPN’s and they outsource their server maintenance and upkeep to the hosting company, this means they can not 100% guarantee they integrity of the severs and say they are not being tampered with. How could they? They don’t know because they don’t even see the server.

If you want to learn more about VPN and see the list of the best VPN providers, please visit https://topvpnsoftware.com.

Please note that the purpose of this article is not to encourage anyone to download anything illegal from the internet or engage in any illegal activities online; the purpose of this article is purely informative.

Source : darkwebnews

Categorized in Internet Privacy

Since the the revelations of Edward Snowden, we’ve all become a bit more paranoid about digital security and privacy. Snowden himself hasn’t owned a smartphone since he blew the whistle on the NSA’s illegal tracking actions in 2014 for fear of being tracked. Still, as Joseph Heller wrote in Catch-22, “just because you’re paranoid doesn’t mean they aren’t after you”.

To that length, Snowden has now partnered with hardware hacker Andrew “Bunnie” Huang to build a case for your iPhone 6. Once installed, it will alert you if the phone is broadcasting when it shouldn’t. The primary purpose is to protect journalists who are reporting in dangerous parts of the world like Marie Colvin who, in 2012, was killed by artillery fire. The Syrian military has been accused by Colvin’s family of targeting her using her mobile device.

Snowden’s device is not yet on the market, but there are still ways out there that make it easier to protect yourself and your phone from snooping.

1. Hardware Level Encryption

Screen Shot 2016-08-26 at 10.31.14 AM.png

iOS has long supported hardware level encryption, and every new version seems to support more features. Android encrypts your storage by default ever since version 5.0 Marshmallow. In both cases they encrypt your data and can only be unlocked by the hardware in your phone.

However, it’s only as strong as your key. Setting up a lock code more complex than ‘1234’ or your birthday is one of the best security devices you can have.

2. Biometric scanning hardware

Screen Shot 2016-08-26 at 10.01.52 AM.png

Why have passwords and codes to unlock your phone when fingerprint readers are on the newest iPhones and flagship Android phones? Securely unlocking your device is as quick as pressing a button. Iris scanners are the new biometric scanner toy, and is currently a unique feature on the Samsung Galaxy Note 7. It’s far more secure than fingerprint scanning, but early reports indicate that it’s slower and more inconvenient. Even so, thieves will have a hard time replicating your iris in order to access your data so iris scanning might be your best option.

3. Smartphone technology

Screen Shot 2016-08-26 at 10.03.32 AM.png

You can put your phone in Airplane Mode or you can hold the power button and turn it off. However, Edward Snowden rightly believes that malware can be installed on your device to simulate those features while still reporting your location. The only way to be sure your phone isn’t talking to the wrong people is to yank the battery.

Phones like new LG G5 are doing some things to work around that. The flagship smartphone was redesigned to take advantage of LG Friends products, which are modular accessories that add special features to your phone. The accessories haven’t really taken off, but it gives the G5 the unique ability to pop the battery out with the push of a button. It also has a fingerprint reader and the newest Android with encrypted data protection built in.

When it’s turned off you can’t use the camera, microphone, or notepad features that make a smartphone so useful when acting covertly. You’ll have to check how safe you are, then with a quick pop the battery is back in and you can get recording.

4.Encrypted Instant Messenger

Screen Shot 2016-08-26 at 10.16.02 AM.png


There are dozens, maybe hundreds of Instant Messaging apps out there. We all have our favorite, and our friends have theirs (which we have too just to use just to stay in contact). If you want to be sure that only you and your recipient will be able to read your conversation, you need to use Signal (available for iOS and Android).

 

Once you install it, the app checks your contacts and immediately connects you to anyone else who has the app installed. There are no animated stickers here. The design is minimal and fits right in with Android or iOS’s design specs.

If your friends are unwilling to part with their IM app-of-choice, you have to do your research. WhatsApp supports encryption using the same algorithm used in Signal, but they were acquired by Facebook in 2014 and that makes some users uncomfortable. Google’s forthcoming Allo app will replace Hangouts, but only enables end-to-end encryption with Incognito Mode conversations and are deleted when the conversation ends. Apple’s iMessage and FaceTime both support end-to-end encryption as well. Just make sure to encrypt your backups because all your conversations will wind up there.

5. Anti-Virus Software

Screen Shot 2016-08-26 at 10.33.17 AM.png

No sooner than someone says an operating system is virus-proof than someone tries to write a virus for it. While not the plague it was for desktop computers in the 90s, viruses are still a very real possibility even if you only download from the official Apple or Google app stores.

To that end, there are several anti-virus apps that sit in the background and scan every app that comes through the doors. Lookout Security & Antivirus is one of the grandaddies on the mobile platform. It’s available on Android and iOS for free and remains one of the highest ranked antivirus apps. Additional features are unlocked for $2.99 a month or $29.99 annually.

6. Password Safes 

Screen Shot 2016-08-26 at 10.19.05 AM.png

Thinking up a new password for every email address, e-card site, and cat video portal is exhausting. Eventually, you start to recycle passwords. It then only takes one hacked Sony or LinkedIn to expose your accounts on every site where that password is used. Password managers like 1Password and LastPass securely store your passwords, and release them only when authorized by a master password or fingerprint reader.

While they can store your weakly generated and repeated passwords, password safes can also randomize unique passwords for each site. Securely storing ‘passw0rd123’ is good, but no hacker will guess a 16-digit random collection of letters and numbers. Since they will automatically populate username and password fields in your browser or apps, you’ll never need to type it in either. Both 1Password and LastPass can be installed on your desktop browsers so you have full access to those secure sites everywhere.

7. DTEK by Blackberry

Screen Shot 2016-08-26 at 10.20.02 AM.png

You’ve set a secure password on your lock screen, you’ve turned off Google’s tracking, you disable WiFi when outside the house, but there’s still lots of work to do. Just one year ago privacy experts found that simply having Uber installed on your phone could send buckets of your data to their servers, even if you weren’t using the app.

Enter DTEK by Blackberry. It will scan all potential security breaches on your phone. If an app decides to turn on your microphone, DTEK flashes you a warning. Most of the time it will probably be okay, but that one time it’s not you’ll appreciate the warning.

DTEK keeps a log of the access each app receives and reports back to you how many times it has, for example, read your contacts. It even has Factory Reset Protection, which stops thieves from wiping your device to prevent you from tracking it. All this security sounds like a lot of work, but that’s the beautiful thing about DTEK. The clean interface makes it all very simple for the casual user.

Sadly, the DTEK app requires deep access to the phone’s OS. That’s only possible for Blackberry on their own devices; the Blackberry PRIV and DTEK50. Both are Android phones with hardware features comparable to other high-end and mid-range Android flagships. If Blackberry decides at the end of the year to get out of the hardware game, the DTEK software may be opened to other devices.

8. Tracking software

Screen Shot 2016-08-26 at 10.21.42 AM.png

Sometimes, tracking your phone is a good thing. Your phone goes missing, and all your photos, notes and interview recordings are on there.

For at least a few years, both iOS and Android have had tracking software built into your phones in case they get lost or stolen. Using iCloud.com (link), iPhone users can locate their device, lock the screen, lock the activation (so it can’t be resold and reactivated), or remotely wipe the device clean.

When logged into your Google account, a simple search engine query of “Find my phone” will bring up a map for any of your registered devices. From the web-based interface you can force it to ring (even if the sound is off). Useful for when you just can’t find it around house, or when you know the thief is nearby and you want it to send up a flare. From here you can also reset the password, or completely lock out the device.

 

9. VPN

A Virtual Private Network sits between you and the Internet. It’s like a butler that goes out, gets the newspaper, and returns without anyone knowing you like reading supermarket tabloids. VPNs can be used to keep your information anonymous when visiting web sites, place you in different countries (so you can watch Netflix’s BBC lineup), and most importantly, encrypt your data transfer.

Avoid free VPNs. If you don’t know how they’re making money, then they might be making money on you. Spring the few bucks a month it takes to secure all your connections in and out of your smartphone with a service like NordVPN. Is one level of encryption not good enough? NordVPN offers Double VPN which runs AES-256-CBC encryption on your data transfers two times at the expense of some speed. The feature is optional and can be enabled for those times when you’re feeling as paranoid as Edward Snowden. The service is $8 per month, or $69 for the year.

Source : https://www.pastemagazine.com/articles/2016/08/9-ways-to-secure-your-smartphone.html

Categorized in Internet Privacy
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