fbpx

Before I became a reporter at NPR, I worked for a few years at tech companies.

One of the companies was in the marketing technology business — the industry that's devoted in part to tracking people and merging their information, so they can be advertised to more effectively.

That tracking happens in multiple senses: physical tracking, because we carry our phones everywhere we go. And virtual tracking, of all the places we go online.

The more I understood how my information was being collected, shared and sold, the more I wanted to protect my privacy. But it's still hard to know which of my efforts is actually effective and which is a waste of time.

So I reached out to experts in digital security and privacy to find out what they do to protect their stuff – and what they recommend most to us regular folks.

Here's what they told me.

1. To protect your accounts, practice good security hygiene.

There are some steps that make sense for almost all of us, says Eva Galperin, director of cybersecurity at the Electronic Frontier Foundation. Those include using strong passwords, two-factor authentication, and downloading the latest security updates.

She and other experts make a distinction between privacy and security when it comes to your data. Security generally refers to protecting against someone trying to access your stuff — such as stealing your credit card number or hacking your accounts. Privacy is more often used to talk about keeping your movements from being tracked for purposes of advertising or surveillance.

It turns out that the steps to protect your security are more clear-cut than those for privacy — but we'll come back to that.

Use strong passwords or passphrases for your accounts. Longer than a password, passphrases should be strong and unique for each site. Don't use 1234. Bring some randomness and special characters into it. And don't use the same password for different websites: You don't want all your accounts to be compromised just because one gets hacked.

Use a password manager to keep track of your passwords, Galperin says — then all you have to do is remember the passphrase for your password manager.

Turn on two-factor authentication for your important accounts. You've seen this: Usually you're asked to put in your mobile number so that you can receive a text with an additional number you input before you can log in.

That's the most common type of two-factor authentication — but it's not the strongest, Galperin says, because SMS messages can be intercepted by your Internet provider, law enforcement or the government.

If you want to go a step further, Galperin recommends using an application that sends the second factor to an app on your phone, such as Authy or Google Authenticator, as these are harder to intercept. (Full disclosure here: NPR receives funding from Google and Facebook.) You can also use a physical key you carry with you that plugs into your computer's USB port and serves as the second factor.

 

Download the latest security updates.

Those nudges you get from your computer or phone to install the latest security update? You should download those.

"Most applications, when they're compromised, are not compromised by scary zero-day bugs that nobody knows about," Galperin says. "They are compromised by problems that everybody knows exist that have been publicly reported, and that the company has fixed and they have issued a patch in their security update. But if you do not take the security update, you do not get the benefit of the work of the security engineers at that company."

2. Beware of phishing.

Not all attacks on our security come through malware or hackers invisibly breaking into your account. It's common that we're tricked into handing over our passwords or personal information to bad actors.

These attempts can happen via email, text message or a phone call. And generally they're trying to get your username and password, or perhaps your Social Security number. But there are often signs that these messages aren't legit – spelling or grammar errors, links to websites other than the one it should be linking to, or the email is coming from a weird domain.

If it feels fishy, it might be phishing.

3. Protect what matters most.

Depending on your situation, you might want to take additional precautions to safeguard your privacy and security.

To figure out what steps people should take to safeguard their stuff, Galperin suggests you make a security plan. The Electronic Frontier Foundation has a guide to doing this, which starts by asking yourself these questions:

  • What do I want to protect?
  • Whom do I want to protect it from?
  • How bad are the consequences if I don't?
  • How likely is it to need protecting?
  • And how much trouble am I willing to go through to try to protect it?

You can use the answers to those questions to focus your efforts on securing the things that matter most to you.

4. Delete some apps from your phone. Use a browser instead.

Matt Mitchell is a tech fellow at the Ford Foundation, and the founder of CryptoHarlem, an organization that teaches people to protect their privacy, including from surveillance.

Apps can learn a lot about you due to all the different types of data they can access via your phone. Seemingly harmless apps – like say, a flashlight app — could be selling the data they gather from you.

That's why Mitchell recommends "Marie Kondo-ing" your apps: Take a look at your smartphone and delete all the apps you don't really need. For many tasks, you can use a browser on your phone instead of an app.

Privacy-wise, browsers are preferable, because they can't access as much of your information as an app can.

I mentioned to Mitchell that even though I use Facebook and Twitter, I don't have those apps on my phone — partly so that I'll use them less, and partly for privacy reasons. I wanted to know — did I accomplish anything by not having those apps on my phone?

"You've accomplished a lot," he says. He compares it to oil companies turning crude into petrol: Your data can be turned into profit for these companies. "Every time you don't use an app, you're giving them less data, which is less money."

Mitchell says that's true even if you've been on Facebook a long time, and it feels like the company already knows everything about you. He compares it to smoking: It's never too late to cut back or quit — you'll still benefit by giving it less data to harvest.

 

5. To protect your chats, use an encrypted app for messaging.

If you want the contents of your messages to be secure, it's best to use an app that has end-to-end encryption, such as Signal or WhatsApp. That means you and the recipient can read the message you send — but no one in the middle.

But even though the contents of your messages are protected by encryption in apps such as Signal and WhatsApp, your metadata isn't — and someone could learn a lot about you from your metadata, Galperin warns. She compares it to what you can learn just by looking at the outside of an envelope in the mail: who sent it to whom, when and where it was sent from.

And WhatsApp is owned by Facebook — so when you share your contacts with WhatsApp, Facebook is getting that info, though it can't read the contents of your messages.

If you're on an iPhone, iMessages are encrypted when you're messaging another iOS device — but not when you're messaging an Android phone. Signal offers encrypted messaging on both Android and iPhone.

What about Facebook Messenger? Jen King, director of privacy at Stanford Law School's Center for Internet and Society, advises against using the Messenger app.

The app "has access to far more info on your phone than using Facebook through a browser," she says, recommending something such as WhatsApp or regular SMS texting instead.

And if encryption matters to you, be careful about backing up your chats to the cloud. If you back up your WhatsApp messages to iCloud or Google Drive, for example, they're no longer encrypted.

"That backup is just a database. And that database is easy for someone to open and read," Mitchell says, if they were able to access your cloud account. To keep your messages from prying eyes, turn off cloud backups and delete existing WhatsApp backups from iCloud or Google Drive.

6. Turn off ad personalization.

Whenever possible, Mitchell recommends going into your settings and turning off ad personalization, which often gives companies permission to do invasive tracking.

Opting Out Of Ad Personalization On Some Major Platforms

Google and Android

Here's a link to limit ad personalization on Google and Android.

Apple

This page shows you how to opt out of ad personalization on Apple. As of this writing, it hasn't been updated for iOS 14. If you have updated to iOS 14, go to Settings > Privacy > Apple Advertising > turn off Personalized Ads.

Facebook

  • On this page, you can go to the ad settings tab and toggle the settings to not allowed.
  • This page has steps to disconnect your activity off Facebook that is shared with Facebook, and clear that history.
  • On the Off-Facebook activity page, under What You Can Do, you can click on More Options > Manage Future Activity > and toggle it to off. (This page has those steps.)

Twitter

This page explains how to opt out of ad personalization.

He also recommends going to myactivity.google.com and deleting everything you can. On the left, there's a tab that says "Delete activity by." Select "All time." On your My Google Activity page, you can turn off Web & App Activity, Location History and YouTube History.

"It will show you every search term and everything you've ever done, every YouTube video you've ever looked at, all that stuff," he says. "It'll say, are you sure you want to delete this? 'Cause if you delete this, it might affect some stuff." Mitchell says: Delete it.

7. It's difficult to protect your privacy online if there aren't laws to protect your privacy online.

Tighter privacy settings only get you so far without laws that protect your privacy, says Ashkan Soltani, the former chief technologist for the Federal Trade Commission and one of the architects of the 2018 California Consumer Privacy Act.

There are laws around health information and credit and financial information, he explains, and some states have Internet privacy-related laws.

But nationally, the U.S. doesn't have a universal data privacy law safeguarding everyday online privacy.

Soltani says he rarely recommends steps such as using ad blockers or VPNs for most people. They require too much attention and persistence to deliver on privacy, and even then they are limited in their effectiveness.

"The incentives are so high on the other side," Soltani says, "to uniquely identify people and track them that [users] will never have enough motivation and incentive to do it to the degree of this multibillion dollar ad tech industry."

So how do you protect your privacy? Get involved and call your congressperson, he says — tell the policymakers that you care about online privacy.

8. Start small and take it one step at a time.

Faced with this landscape, getting a tighter hold on your digital privacy and security can feel daunting. But Galperin has this sound advice: Just do a little bit at a time.

You don't need to make a list of all of your accounts to integrate into a password manager — you can just do each account as you log into it.

Even just doing the basics — strengthening your passwords, turning on two-factor authentication and watching out for scammers — can make your accounts a lot more secure. Then keep going: There are a lot of other steps you might want to take, depending on your needs.

We're going to be on the Internet for a long time. The more each of us understands how our data are collected and used — and how to keep private what we want to keep private — the better, safer and healthier our digital lives will be.

 [Source: This article was published in npr.org By LAUREL WAMSLEY - Uploaded by the Association Member: Barbara larson]

Categorized in Internet Privacy

The variables that drive performance for LSA extend beyond the prominence, relevance and proximity factors we have built strategies for.

We are in the midst of a transformation in local advertising. Google has a new form of trusted answers that are revealed through a unique and compelling sponsored ad unit. The advertisers that participate in this new layer of trust are proudly displayed next to a green, check-mark badge. This designation is quickly becoming the symbol of trust for Google users. 

Google is so confident in the consumer value of these answers that they put them atop their precious search result pages. When speaking to local businesses, Google states that they can “earn customers trust with the badge.” It tells them that the badge will give its users, “more confidence to book your services.”

It is increasingly important for local business owners who are eligible, to obtain the Google badge of trust. But the real value of the badge is the access it provides to Local Services Ads (LSA). This is Google’s local trust pack. It is a cost-per-call advertising inventory unit that acts unlike anything we have ever encountered as marketers.

Badges are earned within two distinct programs – Google Guaranteed and Google Screened. The more mature Google Guaranteed, now covers most Home Service categories, including appliance repair, carpenter, carpet cleaner, electrician, house cleaning, interior designer, landscaper, lawn care provider, mover, pest control technician, pet care provider, pet groomer,  plumber, roofer, tree service provider, water damage, window cleaner, window service provider and flooring, foundations, countertop, HVAC, and siding pros. The green check-mark for Google  Guaranteed providers signifies that Google has verified the business and backs the services booked.

This year, Google solidified the growth intentions behind its newly minted trust layer, with the launch of Google Screened for Professional Services providers. This program is for lawyers, financial planners, real estate agents, photographers, event planners, and tax specialists.The Google Screened badge means that it has verified the providers’ background and backs their expertise.

Over a series of articles, I will address the Google Guaranteed and Screened programs and explore the specifics of each. We will learn what it means to optimize LSA and take advantage of the badge. Here we look at the past and present conditions that underscore Google’s revolutionary new trust layer. 

Part 1: The Past

To truly understand the local trust pack, it is important to start with Google My Business (GMB). Launched in 2014, GMB is the quintessential free marketing tool for local businesses. It enables them to manage their business presence across Google. It was positioned as the ‘businesses’ best friend and the place to keep business content fresh, post deals, share high-quality photos and videos and respond to customers. 

But, as Google knows all too well, leadership begets scrutiny and spam and in January 2016, the Google Local team found itself having to respond publicly to a NY Times Article entitled “Fake Online Locksmiths May Be Out to Pick Your Pocket, Too.” The article directly implicated Google Local results and the ease of how unsavory people game them to commit fraud. 

The public may have been talking about locksmiths now, but what about all the other “pros” that Google was sending into peoples’ homes? By 2016, Google was being held to account for the safety of its users’ post-search, in their own homes.

 

 

It is no coincidence that months prior to the Times article, Google announced that it was testing Home Service Ads in beta in the San Francisco area for, you guessed it… locksmiths, but also plumbers, cleaners, and handymen. 

Trust would be built on the back of what was called Advanced Verification standards that Google states:

 “In order to prevent fraudulent businesses from advertising on Google using false identities, Google Ads and Local Services advertisers in certain verticals will be required to complete Advanced Verification.” 

By this time, post-transactional activity was very fertile ground for Google. Its reviews and ratings features have historically relied on its consumers to qualify their experiences with local businesses. In fact, these post-transactional signals have become a foundation of local search ranking. 

Now, consumer reviews were no longer enough. The meaning of trust for Google’s local results was expanded to encapsulate the security and well-being of its searchers through the transactional environment itself. As the story unfolds, we begin to see that Google’s move to instill new signals of trust into its result sets, requires a momentous effort and an entirely different set of rules. 

Part 2: The Present

To qualify for the coveted Google Guaranteed or Screened badge, the service pros undergo personal background checks and provide corporate documentation, proof of insurance, certifications, licenses and other credentials, depending upon industry. This process can take weeks, even months, as Google depends upon third-parties throughout the application process. 

If this vetting process sounds familiar, then you are probably familiar with mature vertical search providers, like Home Advisor or even Thumbtack (a Google Ventures investment). The badge is so trust-oriented that if a consumer is unsatisfied with a service pro’s work, Google may refund the amount paid for the service – the “Guaranteed.” They cap lifetime coverage for claims at $2,000 USD.

It is exciting for a business owner to obtain the Google badge of trust. But it’s the access to LSA that gets the phone ringing. Most local search marketers unknowingly stand on the cusp of what will be their biggest challenge to date in working with Local Services Ads. These ads look and act differently than other search-based products or strategies. On the surface, the inventory is unpredictable and temperamental. Below the surface it is formulaic and strict.

The LSA algorithm, which drives the cost-per-call market, has significant advertiser dependencies. A click on the ad unit itself resolves to a new type of Google landing page called the LSA profile. The rules governing the trust layer display are predicated on a very shallow “job category” to “job type” to a keyword-based ontology. The LSA algorithm is rooted in GMB and local rank principles. But, what makes LSA so unique is its use of methods such as hours of operations, answer rate, conversation quality, booked transactions, archived calls, customer reviews, and other advertiser feedback loops to calculate ad serving rules. Google may represent its trustworthiness for a business by a badge, but it represents trust for an advertiser through ad serving. 

For five years, Local Services Ads have been slowly, but consistently launching atop Google search results for local queries in key home services categories. The pace of the roll-out is now speeding up as the once obscure and mysterious program is coming out of the dark and into the light for users and advertisers alike. In 2020, as Guaranteed results became much more prevalent across home pro queries, Google made profound news by quietly announcing Google Screened for Professional Services categories.

The reality is that despite all the potential, many local businesses simply won’t qualify for the Guaranteed or Screened programs. Even if they do, many do not have the basic faculty to interact with the advanced functioning of the call-based advertising inventory. In the months and years ahead, many marketers and advertisers will grow very frustrated, give up, wait and watch. 

This is not a test. That started for Google in 2015. A monetized trust layer, unlike anything we have seen in local advertising, has form and function on Google search results. The variables that drive the performance for LSA extend well beyond the prominence, relevance, and proximity factors that we as local marketers have built strategies and careers around.  A new era has arrived in local search. 

In the articles to follow, we will unpack Google Guaranteed and Screened, including the approval processes, the LSA algorithm, the cost-per-call pricing model, and the LSA/GMB Profiles. 

Stay tuned…

[Source: This article was published in searchengineland.com By Justin Sanger - Uploaded by the Association Member: Carol R. Venuti] 

Categorized in Search Engine

The lingering COVID-19 pandemic has driven many businesses to reimagine how both their workforce and consumers will interface in the future. For employees, working from home has presented new challenges and opportunities.

The lingering COVID-19 pandemic has driven many businesses to reimagine how both their workforce and consumers will interface in the future. For employees, working from home has presented new challenges and opportunities. Time previously spent commuting is saved, while communal areas of the home have been re-purposed into makeshift office space, and the daily wardrobe is dictated by scheduled video-conferences. For consumers, the slow migration away from brick and mortar stores has become a sprint, largely mandated by local health orders closing stores. Even stores that remained “open” have implemented online or remote/physically distanced measures to connect with consumers. Buying groceries, clothing, food for delivery, and even dating and other social interactions have moved almost entirely online. As daily “living” moves online individual privacy rights have garnered more attention...

Read More...

 

[Source: This article was published in law.com By Bradford Hughes - Uploaded by the Association Member: Robert Hensonw]

Categorized in Work from Home

It’s a known fact that Google, along with other major tech players like Amazon, Apple, and Facebook, is increasingly trying to grab a slice of the $3 trillion dollar healthcare industry. Now, the search giant is flexing its cloud muscle to team up with healthcare providers to make further inroads.

To that effect, Google has announced a partnership with Ascension, the second-largest health system in the US, in a deal that gives it access to personal health datasets that can be used to develop AI-based tools for medical providers.

The collaboration — dubbed “Project Nightingale” — comes a week after the company’s acquisition of fitness wearable maker Fitbit for $2.1 billion. It also corroborates earlier reports that it’s working on a Google Flights-like search tool to make it easier for doctors to find medical records.

 

A data-sharing partnership

Interestingly, the partnership was mentioned in Google’s July earnings call, but it came under scrutiny only on Monday after the Wall Street Journal reported that Google would gain detailed personal health information of millions of Americans across 21 states.

The report also said the data involved in the project includes patient names, dates of birth, lab results, doctor diagnoses, and hospitalization records, along with their complete medical histories.

The partnership “covers the personal health records of around 50 million patients of Ascension,” the Journal wrote.

Google confirmed the deal, adding the arrangement adheres to HIPAA regulations regarding patient data and that it will meet the necessary privacy and security requirements.

As the Journal noted, HIPAA laws make it possible for hospitals to share data with its business partners without the consent of patients, provided said information is used only to help the entity meet its clinical functions.

Healthcare as a service

“Ascension’s data cannot be used for any other purpose than for providing these services we’re offering under the agreement, and patient data cannot and will not be combined with any Google consumer data,” Google said.

Ascension, for its part, said it aims to explore AI applications to help improve clinical quality and patient safety. It’s worth pointing out that the company is not paying Google for these services.

For the Mountain View company, the data-sharing project comes with another objective: design a searchable, cloud-based platform to query patient data, which it could then market to other healthcare providers.

The legality aside, it’s not fully clear why the sharing terms would include names and birthdates of patients. But this would also mean adequate safeguards are in place to anonymize the information before it could be used to develop machine learning models for personalized healthcare.

Health privacy concerns

This is far from the first time Google’s cloud division has gone after healthcare providers. It has similar relationships with a number of hospital networks, including Dr. Agarwal’s Eye Hospital, the Chilean Health Ministry, Mayo Clinic, and the American Cancer Society.

Still, the development is bound to raise concerns about health privacy, what with the Journal stating that 150 Google employees may have access to a significant portion of the medical data from Ascension.

That’s not all. The tech giant has been scrutinized for improperly sharing patient data in the name of AI research, and has drawn flak for merging Deepmind Health with Google despite the company’s earlier promises to keep its health initiatives separate.

Given this checkered history, it shouldn’t be much of a surprise if Google — and other big tech companies — grapple with the privacy and security implications associated with handling health information when they are already in possession of enormous amounts of data about their users.

Update on Nov. 13, 9:00 AM IST: Google’s data deal with Ascension is now being investigated by the Office for Civil Rights in the Department of Health and Human Services, the Wall Street Journal reported. The OCR said it “will seek to learn more information about this mass collection of individuals’ medical records to ensure that HIPAA protections were fully implemented.”

[Source: This article was published in thenextweb.com By RAVIE LAKSHMANAN - Uploaded by the Association Member: Jennifer Levin]

Categorized in Internet Privacy

Google Gravity:

Almost all of us use Google in our day to day life. Without Google we can imagine our life as easy as now.

But many times, we get bored with Google Home Page. So, if you want creative and funny Google Homepage, this article is for you.

If we compare Google with other Search Engines, we will notice that Google have number of interesting tricks which other Search Engines doesn’t have.

We will talk about the top 6 Google Magic Tricks which you can use in your spare time and amaze your friends with it as well.

Here are the Top 6 Funny Tricks of Google Gravity by which you can play with Google Home Page and make it more interesting:

 

1. Google Gravity


With this trick, you can move each and every element of your Google Homepage, with the help of mouse.

It is really amazing experience to play with Google Homepage.

To use this trick, you have to perform the following steps:

Step #1: Visit “www.google.com”.
Step #2: Inside Google Search box type “Google Gravity”.
Step #3: Click on “I’m Feeling Lucky”, instead of “Google Search”.
Step #4: Now that you are on the “Google Gravity” page, move your mouse and all the elements of the Google Homepage will start falling down. You can move every element of the Google Homepage with your mouse. 

2. Google Anti Gravity


Google Anti Gravity is the most funny trick in which every element of the Google Homepage start floating.

You can move every element of the Homepage like – button, search box with the help of mouse click. This is really amazing trick.

To use this trick, you have to perform the following steps:

Step #1: Visit “www.google.com”.
Step #2: Inside Google Search box type “Google Anti Gravity”.
Step #3: Click on “I’m Feeling Lucky”, instead of “Google Search”.
Step #4: Now that you are on the “Google Anti Gravity” page, you will notice that all the element are floating like – they are on the space. You can move every element of the Google Homepage with your mouse.

3. Google Zero Gravity


Google Zero Gravity is the trick which is similar to Google Gravity but unlike it, the element of the Google Homepage will be displayed in opposite manner, like – they are displayed in mirror.

To use this trick, you have to perform the following steps:

Step #1: Visit “www.google.com”.
Step #2: Inside Google Search box type “Google Zero Gravity”.
Step #3: Click on “I’m Feeling Lucky”, instead of “Google Search”.
Step #4: Now that you are on the “Google Zero Gravity” page, you will notice that all the element are in mirror position like – they are displayed on mirror and every element will start falling as well. You can move every element of the Google Homepage with your mouse.

4. Google Underwater


The Google Underwater trick will amaze you for sure.

In this trick, the Google Homepage will be floating on the sea water and you can generate the wave on to the water with the help of your mouse.

To make this trick work, you just have to do the following steps:

Step #1: Visit “www.google.com”.
Step #2: Inside Google Search box type “Google Underwater”.
Step #3: Click on “I’m Feeling Lucky”, instead of “Google Search”.
Step #4: Now that you are on the “Google Underwater” page, you will notice that all the element of Google Homepage are floating on the water. You can use your mouse to move every element of the Google Homepage.

5. Google Sphere


With this trick, you can play with Google Homepage in a really great and amazing way.

With the help of your mouse you can make each and every element of Google Homepage to revolve around Google Logo and make a sphere with it.

It is really fun to use this trick and you should definitely use it.

To perform this trick, you have to do the following steps:

Step #1: Visit “www.google.com”.
Step #2: Inside Google Search box type “Google Sphere”.
Step #3: Click on “I’m Feeling Lucky”, instead of “Google Search”.
Step #4: Now that you are on the “Google Sphere” page. When you will move your mouse, you will notice that every element of the Google Homepage will start revolving around Google Logo.

6. Google do a barrel roll


This is the trick which is not for Google Homepage but for Google index section, where we get the results for our query.

This is really amazing trick in which you can make a Google to do a barrel roll. So, you must try it.

All you have to do is just perform the following steps:

Step #1: Visit “www.google.com”.
Step #2: Inside Google Search box type “Google Anti Gravity”.
Step #3: Click on “I’m Feeling Lucky”, instead of “Google Search”.
Step #4: After this, you will see that Google is doing a barrel roll and it is really amazing to see that.

 

Hope, you like these funny trick on Google with Google Gravity, Google Anti Gravity and Google Zero Gravity.

[Source: This article was published in thecoderpedia.com By CoderPedia - Uploaded by the Association Member: Jennifer Levin]

Categorized in Search Engine

[Source: This article was published in infosecurity-magazine.com By Liv Rowley - Uploaded by the Association Member: Jasper Solander]

The surface web poses many threats to organizations, but the deep and dark web has gained notoriety over the years as more and more cyber-criminals make use of underground forums and marketplaces to buy and sell goods such as stolen credentials and personally identifiable information (PII).

Various anonymizing features and a lack of state-based governance has allowed cybercrime to flourish in this relatively safe space. 

Stolen information, illegal services and other illicit offerings and activity can be observed with unnerving regularity on the deep and dark web. Goods can be put together or sold as packages alongside other Cybercrime-as-a-Service (CaaS) offerings, thereby lowering the barrier to entry for novice cyber-criminals and allowing veterans to outsource parts of their operations. 

Dare to delve?

Whilst the darknet is complicated to navigate, it is far from impossible to penetrate. There are public Tor indexers available – such as Torch and Grams – though they are often clunky to use and not comprehensive in their reach.

Threat intelligence companies may offer cybersecurity modules that crawl the darknet, indexing content and providing search engine-like capabilities to defenders who purchase these services. Forums, however, may need to be infiltrated first in the same way as you would a real-world criminal organization.

However, organizations must first determine whether the risks associated with this type of hands-on research are worth it. These risks include the possibility of being unwittingly or unintentionally infected with malware or otherwise exposing yourself to those with malicious intentions. A strong understanding of operational security and acceptance of the risks associated with this type of research is key. In many cases, organizations may find it more prudent to enlist the help of threat intelligence vendors, whose professional expertise may come in useful.

Threat actors utilize Tor, I2P and other darknet browsing software to access hidden forums and marketplaces, while others lurk on the deep web behind password-protected or invitation-only closed forums or groups on Telegram, WhatsApp and other chat platforms. Some expect you to prove technical knowledge to gain entrance to a forum or to actively participate in a cyber-criminal community in order to maintain access. In other cases, you may need to be invited or recommended by a trusted relationship to gain access. 

Keep your enemies close

Organizations looking to conduct dark web research are setting out on a challenging task; dark web research can be similar to knowing that a party is taking place, but not knowing the address. Analysts need to be ready to hunt, dig and immerse themselves in the underground in order to find the action. In doing so, analysts are exposed to the myriad products and conversations surrounding cybercrime in these spaces, training their eye to be able to filter and identify the real threat.

 

This in turn allows organizations to better understand what they need to defend themselves against. In order to assess a threat actor’s credibility and the legitimacy of a particular threat, researchers may look at factors such as a threat actor’s reputation or length of time on the darknet.

Companies should prioritize monitoring for data related to their organization, such as proactively searching the dark web to find stolen credentials. Doing so at an early stage can massively reduce the risk or impact of an attack.

Detecting them using threat intelligence services can not only prevent additional breaches but also force IT security teams to locate the sources of the initial attacks and fix existing problems so attacks cannot occur again through that vector.

Stay alert and keep watch

In addition to looking for stolen credentials, it is also wise to monitor (using defined search terms) for documents or PII which might have been stolen or unintentionally leaked. Stricter data protection regulations mean that data leaks can have an even larger impact on an organization’s bottom line, as well as its reputation. In the event of a GDPR penalty, a company that can demonstrate robust detection capabilities can vastly reduce its liabilities.

A network of crawlers and sensors can alert organizations when their credentials have been offered for sale on the dark web – if you know what’s been stolen, it’s easier to block and mitigate damage. Good cyber threat intelligence is crucial to providing this feedback of information to build stronger defenses around any business.

Tracking for crimeware kits, malware, threat actors and TTPs that could target their sector more generally can also help security teams strengthen their security posture, broaden their situational awareness and put in place appropriate defense measures before adversaries can strike. 

The best way to fight cybercrime on the darknet is to operate in much the same way as the bad guys. If you understand the scope of what’s available to criminals, it’s a lot easier to rationalize how to defend against cyber-attacks and enable others to do the same. Collaboration and intelligence sharing is crucial in the fight against cybercrime.

Categorized in Deep Web

[Source: This article was published in csoonline.com By Josh Fruhlinger- Uploaded by the Association Member: Eric Beaudoin] 

Catch a glimpse of what flourishes in the shadows of the internet.

Back in the 1970s, "darknet" wasn't an ominous term: it simply referred to networks that were isolated from the mainstream of ARPANET for security purposes. But as ARPANET became the internet and then swallowed up nearly all the other computer networks out there, the word came to identify areas that were connected to the internet but not quite of it, difficult to find if you didn't have a map.

 

The so-called dark web, a catch-all phrase covering the parts of the internet not indexed by search engines, is the stuff of grim legend. But like most legends, the reality is a bit more pedestrian. That's not to say that scary stuff isn't available on dark web websites, but some of the whispered horror stories you might've heard don't make up the bulk of the transactions there.

Here are ten things you might not know about the dark web.

New dark web sites pop up every day...

A 2015 white paper from threat intelligence firm Recorded Future examines the linkages between the Web you know and the darknet. The paths usually begin on sites like Pastebin, originally intended as an easy place to upload long code samples or other text but now often where links to the anonymous Tor network are stashed for a few days or hours for interested parties. 

While searching for dark web sites isn't as easy as using Google—the point is to be somewhat secretive, after all—there are ways to find out what's there.  The screenshot below was provided by Radware security researcher Daniel Smith, and he says it's the product of "automatic scripts that go out there and find new URLs, new onions, every day, and then list them. It's kind of like Geocities, but 2018"—a vibe that's helped along by pages with names like "My Deepweb Site," which you can see on the screenshot.

fresh onions

..and many are perfectly innocent

Matt Wilson, chief information security advisor at BTB Security, says that "there is a tame/lame side to the dark web that would probably surprise most people. You can exchange some cooking recipes—with video!—send email, or read a book. People use the dark web for these benign things for a variety of reasons: a sense of community, avoiding surveillance or tracking of internet habits, or just to do something in a different way."

It's worth remembering that what flourishes on darknet is material that's been banned elsewhere online. For example, in 2015, in the wake of the Chinese government cracking down on VPN connections through the so-called "great firewall," Chinese-language discussions started popping up on the darknet — mostly full of people who just wanted to talk to each other in peace.

Radware's Smith points out that there are a variety of news outlets on the dark web, ranging from the news website from the hacking group Anonymous to the New York Times, shown in the screenshot here, all catering to people in countries that censor the open internet.

nytimes

 

Some spaces are by invitation only

Of course, not everything is so innocent, or you wouldn't be bothering to read this article. Still, "you can't just fire up your Tor browser and request 10,000 credit card records, or passwords to your neighbor’s webcam," says Mukul Kumar, CISO and VP of Cyber Practice at Cavirin. "Most of the verified 'sensitive' data is only available to those that have been vetted or invited to certain groups.

"

 

How do you earn an invite into these kinds of dark web sites? "They're going to want to see history of crime," says Radware's Smith. "Basically it's like a mafia trust test. They want you to prove that you're not a researcher and you're not law enforcement. And a lot of those tests are going to be something that a researcher or law enforcement legally can't do."

There is bad stuff, and crackdowns means it's harder to trust

As recently as last year, many dark web marketplaces for drugs and hacking services featured corporate-level customer service and customer reviews, making navigating simpler and safer for newbies. But now that law enforcement has begun to crack down on such sites, the experience is more chaotic and more dangerous.

"The whole idea of this darknet marketplace, where you have a peer review, where people are able to review drugs that they're buying from vendors and get up on a forum and say, 'Yes, this is real' or 'No, this actually hurt me'—that's been curtailed now that dark marketplaces have been taken offline," says Radware's Smith. "You're seeing third-party vendors open up their own shops, which are almost impossible to vet yourself personally. There's not going to be any reviews, there's not a lot of escrow services. And hence, by these takedowns, they've actually opened up a market for more scams to pop up."

Reviews can be wrong, products sold under false pretenses—and stakes are high

There are still sites where drugs are reviewed, says Radware's Smith, but keep in mind that they have to be taken with a huge grain of salt. A reviewer might get a high from something they bought online, but not understand what the drug was that provided it.

One reason these kinds of mistakes are made? Many dark web drug manufacturers will also purchase pill presses and dyes, which retail for only a few hundred dollars and can create dangerous lookalike drugs. "One of the more recent scares that I could cite would be Red Devil Xanax," he said. "These were sold as some super Xanax bars, when in reality, they were nothing but horrible drugs designed to hurt you."

The dark web provides wholesale goods for enterprising local retailers...

Smith says that some traditional drug cartels make use of the dark web networks for distribution—"it takes away the middleman and allows the cartels to send from their own warehouses and distribute it if they want to"—but small-time operators can also provide the personal touch at the local level after buying drug chemicals wholesale from China or elsewhere from sites like the one in the screenshot here. "You know how there are lots of local IPA microbreweries?" he says. "We also have a lot of local micro-laboratories. In every city, there's probably at least one kid that's gotten smart and knows how to order drugs on the darknet, and make a small amount of drugs to sell to his local network."

xanax

 

...who make extensive use of the gig economy

Smith describes how the darknet intersects with the unregulated and distributed world of the gig economy to help distribute contraband. "Say I want to have something purchased from the darknet shipped to me," he says. "I'm not going expose my real address, right? I would have something like that shipped to an AirBnB—an address that can be thrown away, a burner. The box shows up the day they rent it, then they put the product in an Uber and send it to another location. It becomes very difficult for law enforcement to track, especially if you're going across multiple counties."

Not everything is for sale on the dark web

We've spent a lot of time talking about drugs here for a reason. Smith calls narcotics "the physical cornerstone" of the dark web; "cybercrime—selling exploits and vulnerabilities, web application attacks—that's the digital cornerstone. Basically, I'd say a majority of the darknet is actually just drugs and kids talking about little crimes on forums."

Some of the scarier sounding stuff you hear about being for sale often turns out to be largely rumors. Take firearms, for instance: as Smith puts it, "it would be easier for a criminal to purchase a gun in real life versus the internet. Going to the darknet is adding an extra step that isn't necessary in the process. When you're dealing with real criminals, they're going to know someone that's selling a gun."

Specific niches are in

Still, there are some very specific darknet niche markets out there, even if they don't have the same footprint that narcotics does. One that Smith drew my attention to was the world of skimmers, devices that fit into the slots of legitimate credit and ATM card readers and grab your bank account data.

And, providing another example of how the darknet marries physical objects for sale with data for sale, the same sites also provide data manual sheets for various popular ATM models. Among the gems available in these sheets are the default passwords for many popular internet-connected models; we won't spill the beans here, but for many it's the same digit repeated five times.

atm skinners

 

It's still mimicking the corporate world

Despite the crackdown on larger marketplaces, many dark web sites are still doing their best to simulate the look and feel of more corporate sites

elude

 

The occasional swear word aside, for instance, the onion site for the Elude anonymous email service shown in this screenshot looks like it could come from any above-board company.

One odd feature of corporate software that has migrated to the dark web: the omnipresent software EULA. "A lot of times there's malware I'm looking at that offers terms of services that try to prevent researchers from buying it," he says. "And often I have to ask myself, 'Is this person really going to come out of the dark and trying to sue someone for doing this?'"

And you can use the dark web to buy more dark web

And, to prove that any online service can, eventually, be used to bootstrap itself, we have this final screenshot from our tour: a dark web site that will sell you everything you need to start your own dark web site.docker

 

Think of everything you can do there—until the next crackdown comes along.

Categorized in Internet Privacy

[Source: This article was Published in wired.com BY ANDY GREENBERG - Uploaded by the Association Member: Joshua Simon]

DESPITE ALL THE cybersecurity industry’s talk of preventing “breaches,” a computer network in some ways is less like a fortress and more like a human body. And skillful hackers are like germs: They tend to get in via some orifice or another. Once inside, it’s whether they can thrive and multiply their infections—and what vital organs they can reach—that determines whether the outcome is a sneeze or a full-on catastrophic takeover.

In many modern hacking operations, the difference comes down to a technique known as “credential dumping.” The term refers to any means of extracting, or “dumping,” user authentication credentials like usernames and passwords from a victim computer so that they can be used to reenter that computer at will and reach other computers on the network. Often credential dumping pulls multiple passwords from a single machine, each of which can offer the hacker access to other computers on the network, which in turn contain their own passwords ready to be extracted, turning a single foothold into a branching series of connected intrusions. And that’s made the technique at least as crucial to hackers’ work—and as dangerous for sensitive networks—as whatever phishing email or infected attachment let hackers find entry into the network in the first place.

Credential dumping is largely possible because operating systems have long tried to spare users the inconvenience of repeatedly entering their password. Instead, after a user is prompted to enter it once, their password is stored in memory, where it can be called up by the operating system to seamlessly prove the user’s identity to other services on the network.

But the result is that once a hacker has gained the ability to run code on a victim machine, he or she can often dig up the user’s password from the computer’s memory, along with any other users' passwords that might linger there. In other cases, the hacker can steal a file from the computer's disk called the Security Account Manager, or SAM, which contains a list of the network's hashed passwords. If the passwords are too simple or if the hashing is weak, they can then often be cracked one by one.

Amit Serper, a researcher for security firm Cybereason and a former Israeli intelligence hacker, compares credential dumping to a thief who sneaks through an open window, but once inside finds a spare key to the victim’s house he or she can copy—along with keys to the victim’s car and office. “You got in that one time, but if you want to come back you have to have keys to the house,” Serper says. "Once you have those keys, you can do whatever you want.”

ANDY GREENBERG IS A WIRED SECURITY WRITER AND AUTHOR OF THE FORTHCOMING BOOK, SANDWORM: A NEW ERA OF CYBERWAR AND THE HUNT FOR THE KREMLIN'S MOST DANGEROUS HACKERS.

In some cases, Serper says, he's seen hackers mess with settings on a computer to frustrate the user until he or she calls tech support, which results in an administrator logging into their machine. The hacker can then steal that administrator's much more valuable credentials from memory and use them to wreak havoc elsewhere on the network.

Credential dumping is so crucial to modern hacking operations, Serper says, that he finds in analyses of victim networks that it often precedes even the other basic moves hackers make after gaining access to a single computer, such as installing persistent malware that will survive if the user reboots the machine. “In every large breach you look at today, credentials are being dumped,” Serper says. “It’s the first thing that happens. They just get in, then they dump the passwords.”

By far the most common tool for credential dumping was created in 2012 by a French security researcher named Benjamin Delpy and is known as Mimikatz. Delpy, who worked for a French government agency, wrote it to improve his C++ coding skills and also as a demonstration of what he saw as a security oversight in Windows that he wanted to prove to Microsoft.

 

Since then, Mimikatz has become the go-to credential dumping tool for any hacker who hopes to expand access across a network. Dmitri Alperovitch, the chief technology officer of security firm Crowdstrike, calls it the “AK-47 of cybersecurity." Some sophisticated hackers also build their own credential dumping tools. More often they modify or customize Mimikatz, which is what happened with the likely Chinese hackers revealed last month to have targeted at least 10 global phone carriers in an espionage campaign.

THE WIRED GUIDE TO DATA BREACHES

Aside from that sort of espionage, credential dumping has become a key tool for hackers who seek to spread their infection to an entire network with the aim of destroying or holding ransom as many computers as possible. Mimikatz, for instance, served as an ingredient in a range of paralyzing incidents, from the LockerGoga ransomware attack on aluminum firm Norsk Hydro to the NotPetya worm, a piece of destructive malware released by Russian state hackers that became the most costly cyberattack in history. "Any time we hear in the news that ransomware has taken out an entire organization, this is what happened," says Rob Graham, the founder of Errata Security. "This is how it spread through the entire domain: It gets credentials and uses this mechanism to spread from one computer to the next."

The danger of credential dumping, Graham warns, is that it can turn even one forgotten computer with unpatched vulnerabilities into that sort of network-wide disaster. "It’s not the systems that everyone knows about that you need to worry about, those are patched. It's the systems you don't know about," he says. "A foothold on these unimportant systems can spread to the rest of your network."

While keeping hackers from ever gaining that foothold is an impossible task, Graham says that system administrators should carefully limit the number of users with administrative privileges to prevent powerful credentials from being accessed by hackers. Administrators should be wary of logging into computers that they suspect might be compromised by hackers. And Cybereason's Amit Serper points out that two-factor authentication can help, limiting the use of stolen passwords since anyone trying to use them would need a second authentication factor, too, like a one-time code or a Yubikey.

"Having that second factor is the best way to battle credential dumping," Serper says. "How else can you protect yourself if someone has the master key to your house?"

Categorized in Internet Privacy

[Source: This article was Published in pcmag.com By Max Eddy - Uploaded by the Association Member: Logan Hochstetler]

Once Incognito Mode is engaged in Maps, 'you can search and navigate without linking this activity with your Google account,' says CEO Sundar Pichai

Google first introduced Incognito Mode years ago with the release of the Chrome browser. Now, as part of a larger push to enhance consumer privacy, the search giant is adding Incognito Mode to both Google Search and Google Maps.

When Incognito Mode is engaged in Chrome, your activities aren't stored in your browser history. It also disables cookies, which are used to identify and sometimes track individuals around the web, and turns off browser extensions. It doesn't hide your online activity, as a VPN would.

Google Maps

Google first introduced Incognito Mode years ago with the release of the Chrome browser. Now, as part of a larger push to enhance consumer privacy, the search giant is adding Incognito Mode to both Google Search and Google Maps.

When Incognito Mode is engaged in Chrome, your activities aren't stored in your browser history. It also disables cookies, which are used to identify and sometimes track individuals around the web, and turns off browser extensions. It doesn't hide your online activity, as a VPN would.

 

Incognito mode for Google Maps will be similar, Google CEO Sundar Pichai explained in a blog post. Once Incognito Mode is engaged in Maps, "you can search and navigate without linking this activity with your Google account," he wrote.

Google Maps Incognito Mode

You may have noticed that when you search in Google, meanwhile, your old searches sometimes pop up again. Google uses your activity to tailor the results for you, but not so with Incognito Mode for Search.

Incognito for Google Maps and Search are coming later this year. Google has already rolled out an Incognito Mode for YouTube. "We strongly believe that privacy and security is for everyone, not just a few," said Pichai.

While this is an important move for Google, it's not yet clear what information will be saved when these new Incognito modes are engaged, and what the limitations will be. We have to assume that, like Incognito for Chrome, you won't be totally invisible.

Categorized in Search Engine

[Source: This article was Published in ibvpn.com By IBVPN TEAM - Uploaded by the Association Member: Alex Gray] 

Since when are you an Internet user? For quite a while, right?

How many times have you asked yourself which are the dangers that might hide at the other side of your connection and how a VPN software can help you? You’re about to read this article which means you’ve asked yourself this question at least once.

This article will give you all the information you need to know about the advantages of VPN plus a list of tips and tricks that will make your life easier.

Are you ready?

By the way, if you are aware of the benefits a VPN brings, it’s time to start using it!

Get ibVPN!

Let’s start at the beginning, shall we?

The VPN (Virtual Private Network) technology came as an answer to individuals’ request to protect their online activities and to maintain their online confidentiality.

Besides this functionality, the technology helps internet users access restricted content from anywhere in the world, with just a click of a mouse.

Therefore, we can say that a VPN is a secure solution that allows its users to send and receive data via the internet while maintaining the privacy and confidentiality of their data, based on its encryption level. The cherry on top is that a VPN will unblock the internet, by providing you the most-wanted Internet freedom that you deserve.

It’s obvious that because of people’s security need and especially because of the need for sending encrypted data over a network, the VPN technology has been developed. But besides the role of creating a “private scope of computer communications,” VPN technology has many other advantages:

  1. Enhanced security. When you connect to the network through a VPN, the data is kept secured and encrypted. In this way, the information is away from the hackers’ eyes.

  2. Remote control. In the case of a company, the great advantage of having a VPN is that the information can be accessed remotely even from home or from any other place. That’s why a VPN can increase productivity within a company.

  3. Share files. A VPN service can be used if you have a group that needs to share data for an extended period.

  4. Online anonymity. Through a VPN you can browse the web in complete anonymity. Compared to hide IP software or web proxies, the advantage of a VPN service is that it allows you to access both web applications and websites in complete anonymity.

  5. Unblock websites & bypass filters. VPNs are great for accessing blocked websites or for bypassing Internet filters. This is why there is an increased number of VPN services used in countries where Internet censorship is applied.

  6. Change IP address. If you need an IP address from another country, then a VPN can provide you this.

  7. Better performance. Bandwidth and efficiency of the network can generally be increased once a VPN solution is implemented.

  8. Reduce costs. Once a VPN network is created, the maintenance cost is very low. More than that, if you opt for a service provider, the network setup and surveillance is no more a concern.

Here is how your connection looks while using a VPN!

Advantages of VPN_your connection

Other things you need to know:

The advantages and benefits of a VPN are clear, let’s find out how to choose your VPN service and your new VPN service provider.

 

As a future VPN user, keep something in mind: the process of choosing and buying a VPN service should work the same as the process of doing a regular purchase.

Public networks are a real threat. The private networks are not very safe either because your internet service provider can throw an eye on anything you do. You can never be sure if you’re about to connect to a secured network unless you keep your internet activity safe.

So, no matter if you are looking for a VPN to encrypt your traffic while browsing the internet, to bypass geo-restrictions or you’re just the kind of person who likes to save some bucks while buying plane tickets, here’s what you future VPN should provide:

  • Free VPN Trial. Yes, maybe you’ve done some research on your own and saw those Five Best VPN articles all around the web. These articles are useful because are providing you information about VPN services at affordable prices, their performance, and features. When you can test these services by yourself, the experience is even better. That’s why is important to choose a VPN that provides you with a Free VPN Trial.

  • Speed. Do you have the patience to wait tons of seconds for your page to load while using a VPN? No, who has? Always look for the VPN that improves your internet connectivity, not slows it down!

  • Connectivity and reliability. Before buying a VPN service, you have to make sure that it assures you a safe/without drops connection.

  • The number of servers. The number of servers is an important thing for you to look into a VPN service. Before subscribing to a VPN provider, make sure it provides you a large number of servers around the globe.

  • Apps is compatible with various operating systems. I’m sure about one thing – you have more than one device you use to surf the web. There’s a significant probability for your devices do have different operating systems. An important thing that you should keep in mind is that your VPN provider should be able to meet your need by providing you with apps compatible with as many operating systems as possible.

  • The number of simultaneous connections. We are (almost) always online from more than one device, that’s why the number of concurrent connection is important.

  • Customer support. Not all of us are tech-savvy and, from time to time, even the experienced ones need help and guidance. Choosing a VPN provider with outstanding customer support is mandatory. Look for a VPN that allows you to contact the support via e-mail, support ticket systems and live chat. You will thank us later for this tip! ?

  • Privacy policy. One of the primary purposes of a VPN is to keep your online activities away from the curious eyes of any third party. If you don’t allow your ISP to spy on you, why would you let your VPN service provider do it? Choose a VPN service that has a transparent way of saying and doing things and make sure it won’t keep any connection logs. So, always check their Privacy Policy first, before subscribing!

  • Check their reviews page. We were mentioning above some things about the VPN reviews websites. Those websites are doing their reviews based on some tests. Wouldn’t be awesome to be able to find out what the actual customers of a VPN provider have to say about the service and its performance? Here’s a tip: if your future VPN service provider has its own reviews page, throw an eye on it.

Are you ready for some action?

Now that you know which are the advantages of a VPN, their value, and how you should choose one, it’s time for some action.

If you’re curious to test on your own the benefits of a VPN, you can do it for free, right now.
ibVPN is the perfect choice for those who care about their online privacy and freedom.

What do you have to do? It’s easy:

  1. Create a trial account – no credit card required

  2. Download a suitable app for your device(s)

  3. Enjoy a secure and open internet by connecting to one of the 180+ servers we are providing.

If you’re happy with the performance of our service, you can always subscribe to one of our premium plans.

Go Premium!

Keep in mind that a VPN has its limitations too!

Just like any other thing in this world, a VPN service has its advantages and disadvantages.

So, if you’re not an experienced technician or if you’re trying a security solution aka a VPN for the very first time, make sure you won’t dig that deep into the VPN’s settings. Before doing advanced settings into your app, please make sure you know what you’re doing otherwise, you might risk having leaks or your activity exposed.

Another thing that you should know if that, from time to time, a VPN can have connection drops. These drops are perfectly normal, that’s why you should make sure you’re connecting to a server that’s not overloaded.

Tips and tricks.

We want to make sure you make the most out of your VPN service, that’s why we have a list of tips and tricks which will help you a lot.

We have over 15 years of experience in providing our customers with security solutions so, listen to the old ones this time. ?

  1. KillSwitch. To assure the safety of your network connection, a VPN offers (or it should provide) features that enhance your level of security. One of these features is the KillSwitch. If you have never heard about it before, this feature assures your safety in case of connection drops. There are two kinds of KillSwitches: The Internet KillSwitch which will block your internet traffic in case of VPN drops and the Application Killswitch which ensures you that a list of selected apps will be closed, in case your VPN connection drops. So, for a secure connection, always use the KillSwitch!

  2. Use P2P servers. Some of you might use a VPN service to download torrents safely. To avoid any problems with your ISP, use only the P2P server for such activities!

  3. Use Double VPN. If you’re lucky enough to have Double VPN servers in your list, make sure you use them. Double VPN technology allows you to browse anonymously by connecting to a chain of VPN servers. In simple words: VPN on top of VPN (or VPN tunnel inside another VPN tunnel). Double VPN is all about VPN tunnels and levels of security and encryption. Isn’t it awesome?

  4. Use Stealth VPN or SSTP protocols. If you’re living in a country with a high censorship level and your connection gets blocked even if you use a VPN, make sure you change the protocol and try to use Stealth VPN or SSTP. These two VPN protocols are high-speed and secure and, for example, Stealth VPNwill mask your VPN traffic and will make it look like regular web traffic. In this way, you can bypass any restriction or firewall.

  5. Use VPN + Tor. Since Tor is used to mask very sensitive information, the frequent use of this browser might light the bulb of your ISP and mark you for surveillance. That’s why the safe way is to connect to a VPN server while using the Tor browser.

  6. Leak protection. Check your VPN app’s settings and, if it allows you, make sure you check all the options that keep you away from any leak (DNS leaks, IPv6 leak protection, etc.).

  7. Use the VPN on your mobile devices too. It’s not enough to keep it safe only when you use a laptop. Public wifis are real threats that’s why you should always be connected to a VPN.

  8. Test the server network before connecting. Why are we saying this? Well, this practice assures you that you will connect to the fastest server for you. And who doesn’t love a fast server?

  9. Use browser extensions. A browser extension is a super useful tool. There are cases when you need to change your IP fast and easy and to open your app, entering your details and choosing the desired server is somehow complicated, and it takes time. If your VPN provider provides you not only VPN clients compatible with different operating systems but browser extensions too, make sure you use them…

  10. Smart DNS. This neat and useful technology allows you to access blocked streaming channels, regardless of your region. If your VPN provider has such an option, make sure you use it to watch your favorite media content while you’re far away from home.

  11. Save money by using a VPN. Who doesn’t like traveling? Here’s a piece of advice: search online for a flight, compare the prices and then go back to the page you have initially accessed. There are 80% chances that the rates have been increased. If you’re wondering how this is even possible, let us explain. Some online ticket agencies have preferential prices for different countries. Save some extra bucks using a VPN!

Are you still here?

As you can see, the discussion about VPN technology and its advantages is so complicated. We could talk about it for days.

What you should keep in mind after reading this article is that no matter if you’re looking for the best option to browse anonymously, to unblock your favorite online content, to download torrents or to watch for the cheapest plane tickets, a VPN can always help you.

Besides its disadvantages, a VPN has tons of advantages, and it allows you to keep your personal information safe in the first place.

There are lots of fishes in the sea, make sure you choose the one that meets your needs.

Always browse safely!

Categorized in Internet Privacy
Page 1 of 5

airs logo

Association of Internet Research Specialists is the world's leading community for the Internet Research Specialist and provide a Unified Platform that delivers, Education, Training and Certification for Online Research.

Get Exclusive Research Tips in Your Inbox

Receive Great tips via email, enter your email to Subscribe.

Follow Us on Social Media