Privacy Tools to Try in 2016

by Mike on March 13, 2016

in News

Many companies and governments would like to make people think that Internet privacy is unattainable. They are hungry for all our data and so they want us to give up the fight and just let them take it. But privacy is a very important right to us all, and this is why many small groups have made it their business to create and distribute privacy tools that help us combat online spying. They work hard to keep up with the threats, and below we have a list of tools that we agree are going to come in very handy this year as we face greater cybercriminal activity, hacks, and of course, good old Internet monitoring. There is never any single solution to secure and private browsing, so Internet users need to prepare to slap on a few layers to shield their online activities.

Search Engines

The best search engines are those that allow users to search the entire world for information. All of these search engines are free, too, which makes them awesome. But they also track everyone that uses them, and record page visits to figure out what ads to shove in users’ faces at the next available opportunity. To do this, they analyze each user’s behavior on a page and decide whether or not the user would be interested in this or that product. The companies that make and sell these products pay very well to have their ads fed to users in this manner. And sometimes the ads are repeatedly pushed to the same user until a response is received. This is irritating, but responding just means giving them more data. And who can really be sure that all of these ads are legitimate and safe?

Let’s start with the simple solutions. A lot of privacy-conscious people have simply stopped using these scary search engines. There are better alternatives, namely DuckDuckGo and Oscobo UK search. DuckDuckGo has been around for some time now and has proven itself to be both safe and quite good. It actually feeds users with Bing and Yahoo search results combined with their own for accuracy and volume, but strips all indentifying information so that users are not abused by the companies behind the original search results or any other website that they visit from the search results. IP addresses and browser user agents are also taken off for added privacy. The newer encrypted versions of these private engines also go straight to encrypted website versions where available. In addition, DuckDuckGo has a sync feature that users can secure with passwords. Oscobo UK search has been tailored for users in the UK by default, but works almost the same as DuckDuckGo (which can be set to local if desired). These services are also free, and they also make money from paid search advertisements, but these are clearly labeled and not created from user data.

Browsers and Add-Ons

But let’s not pick on search engines. They may be the fastest way to gather tons of data because so many people use them. In reality, though, almost every free service uses data gathering as a basic part of how they do business. Even a small-time landscaper or babysitting service with a website will track everyone who browses their pages to learn how their marketing is going and what else they can do to sell more. We have free online storage service, free social media sites, free email providers – and yes, free privacy services as well – that routinely collect data to sell to advertisers. We users are the product, and as dehumanized bits of data, we no longer command respect. Even our Internet service providers themselves are collecting data, though this is mostly for the government and not for profit.

Mozilla’s Firefox browser is probably the best when it comes to respecting user privacy. All the major browsers promise private browsing, but when the companies behind them live off user data, we tend to be wary of these claims. Firefox is also a free browser, but Mozilla does not support it by tracking users. Plus, to help users stay safe when they search the Internet, Mozilla embedded DuckDuckGo into Firefox beginning in 2014. To maintain privacy on other websites that allow third-party services to monitor users, you can use Tor, or add tools to the browser such as the Disconnect suite. Disconnect provides a private browsing experience through their set of add-ons that allow users to gain control over what cookies are allowed, and also to do private searches. It is VPN-like in that it promises anonymity for users, and no logging of user data other than payment details for its Premium or Privacy Pro versions. Disconnect may yield to law enforcement, however, if presented with a warrant.

VPN Services

Virtual Private Networks are still at the top of our list of best privacy tools simply because they are made for the sole purpose of protecting users. Some of them are free or rely on third parties as part of the service, and so can be questionable, but there are a few that remain at the top of this list, having proven themselves over time. A VPN shields a user by redirecting all traffic through an encrypted tunnel and to a secure server so that the user’s identity cannot be established via IP address. If not even your ISP knows who you are, then no one else can find you. The only one who knows who you are is your VPN provider, so all you have to worry about is which provider you can trust.

The General Problem

Almost every free service on the Internet has someone behind it with a hidden agenda. People really don’t just give stuff away. Be it a game or an email service or a search engine or social media platforms, there is always another side to it all. Most of the time, it has to do with advertising, which is where the big bucks are. We are often told that exchanging our privacy for free services is not a big price to pay since this is what allows these providers to offer their apps and services for free. But the reality is that it is our lives – our data, our privacy – that allows these companies to exist. Some people may not care about allowing companies to follow them around on the Internet, but mostly this is because they don’t know who is really monitoring them or what they are really giving up. And in the end, they do care. When people get retargeted with ads popping up in the most inconvenient places, hardly anyone feels good about it. It’s creepy and annoying.

Profiling is even worse. When users are logged on to free services, their personal data like names, email addresses and any other information on the accounts is recorded along with all their Internet activity. Their computer IDs and their IP addresses are also noted. This is all unique user data that most of us do not realize is so very important not just to marketers but to governments and other companies like insurers and lenders. Imagine trying to get health or life insurance when your online profile shows you searching for information on a terminal illness or drug dependence. This in no way proves that you are dying or an addict, but insurers will use this to raise your premiums or outright deny a claim later on, after you have paid for your insurance and need financial assistance. You can imagine from there what kind of Internet searches will give you trouble when you are trying to get a loan or are looking for a job, for instance. Your online profile is alive forever on who knows how many servers around the world, depending on where you have gone in the virtual world.

VN:F [1.9.22_1171]
Rating: 0.0/10 (0 votes cast)
VN:F [1.9.22_1171]
Rating: 0 (from 0 votes)

{ 0 comments }

More iPhones Targeted

by Mike on March 4, 2016

in News

After a California court ordered Apple to circumvent the encryption on one terrorist’s iPhone, the government requested that Apple give them access to several more iPhones. These new requests are not even related to any terror cases. Apple knew that this would happen, and is the reason why they denied the requested access and are now fighting the court’s decision. The government said that the requested iPhone crack would be used only for this case, but now we see that Apple’s reluctance was not unfounded.

Justice Department Demands More Access

The Justice Department has requested access to a reported 9 iPhones in the last week. This is in addition to the one used by one of the San Bernardino terrorists. These new requests are not related to cases of terror, which substantiates the fears that these government requests will go outside the realm of emergency cases. Apple refused the initial request from the FBI because they were concerned that it would create a precedent. Now we see the California ruling paving the way for more requests just a few days after it was made. Apple is also fighting these new requests, which other reports claim are a total of 12 so far.

When Apple appealed the Justice Department’s ruling on the San Bernardino iPhone, the company was accused of being concerned only about their image. The Justice Department was quoted as claiming that Apple did not have any legal leg to stand on, and that it was denying them access only to preserve their brand marketing strategy and maintain their business model. There isn’t anything wrong with the company choosing to take a stand to protect its customers and preserve their promise of security. Apple has cooperated with previous search orders and subpoenas, but simply can’t create a vulnerability that puts all iPhones at risk and exposes their users to unlawful surveillance and cybercriminal attacks. The government has pulled out the 1789 All Writs Act to try and force Apple to break these iPhones, and it remains to be seen whether Apple also has the law on its side. There are differing opinions among magistrate judges, and we hope that the court will finally decide that the reasonable technical assistance that Apple has already provided satisfies the law without forcing them to go as far as decrypting iPhones.

Apple is arguing their case on the basis of civil liberties, pulling out the First Amendment to back up their refusal to create the dangerous iOS version. This operating system would bypass the two passcode security features that erase the phone data when the code is entered wrong and restrict the use of USBs to crack codes by brute force. Meantime, Apple is also working on stronger security for iPhones and iCloud in anticipation of more efforts by the Justice Department to get into encrypted iPhones. These efforts make iPhones hackable by anyone, which is what Apple is trying to prevent.

Tech Community Supports Encryption

Many in the tech community understand Apple’s stance on the issue and have given their support. Mozilla, Google, Facebook, Twitter, WhatsApp and Box are among these. Microsoft has expressed that they believe in cooperating with the government in terror cases, but since the requests no longer pertain to such, we hope that Bill Gates will change his mind and help them fight to maintain privacy and security. Other groups like the EFF, Access Now, Fight for the Future, the Center for Democracy & Technology and the Internet Infrastructure Coalition have also pledged their support in the Apple-FBI battle.

Public Opinion

The public is divided on the debate over the San Bernardino iPhone. In a Pew Research poll, about half think that Apple should cooperate fully to assist in the investigation, and about 40% think that encryption should be protected. The rest are undecided. In a Reuters poll, 35% agreed with the Justice Department and nearly half were in Apple’s camp while 20% were undecided. In a casual CNBC poll, 58% supported Apple and the rest supported the government. Some may be surprised at the number of people on the side of the government, but we have to remember that the polls were conducted pertaining to only the specific case of the iPhone connected to the terror attack in San Bernardino. We are expecting to see different numbers on any polls taken on the succeeding requests.

VN:F [1.9.22_1171]
Rating: 0.0/10 (0 votes cast)
VN:F [1.9.22_1171]
Rating: 0 (from 0 votes)

{ 0 comments }

How to setup L2TP VPN on Windows 8?

by Mike on February 3, 2016

in VPN

Most of the Virtual Private Network companies are providing an internet network that operates based on L2TP protocol. As most of you know, L2TP is one of the most popular types of VPN protocol. L2TP VPN service provides enough security and anonymity to the subscriber. Many of the subscribers will be using L2TP VPN on their device and those of you who are not aware of the setup procedure should go through this article in detail. [click to continue…]

VN:F [1.9.22_1171]
Rating: 0.0/10 (0 votes cast)
VN:F [1.9.22_1171]
Rating: 0 (from 0 votes)

{ 0 comments }

Smartphones and tablets are two of the most widely used devices and these devices make the job easy for individual users and business organizations. All of us use different types of smartphones and tablets and the ease of carrying these devices anywhere and also the flexibility of using them for performing day to day activities have made it a compulsory gadget in all our lives. At the moment we can’t live without a smartphone and that’s the way it is. Having said that, smartphones lack protection and so the risk of losing data gets doubled up. [click to continue…]

VN:F [1.9.22_1171]
Rating: 0.0/10 (0 votes cast)
VN:F [1.9.22_1171]
Rating: 0 (from 0 votes)

{ 0 comments }

Error 451 – Censored

by Mike on February 3, 2016

in News

Websites that have been censored through legal means are now being marked by the Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF) with a special HTTP error code. Error 451 is named after the famed Ray Bradbury novel about censorship and will be seen on browser windows when users around the world try to access web pages that have been blocked by government regulators. [click to continue…]

VN:F [1.9.22_1171]
Rating: 0.0/10 (0 votes cast)
VN:F [1.9.22_1171]
Rating: 0 (from 0 votes)

{ 0 comments }

January VPN Updates

by Mike on February 3, 2016

in News

IAPS Security has been very busy preparing for 2016, and they have a lot of updates for us. IAPS now boasts the biggest residential proxy network on the entire globe, but that’s not all they have accomplished lately. IAPS Security also has new relay networks good to go, has launched a new forum that is up and running well, and is offering an RDP package for Facebook marketers, all within this month. Other provider StrongVPN launched an update for their OS X app last week, and ExpressVPN updated their iOS app. [click to continue…]

VN:F [1.9.22_1171]
Rating: 0.0/10 (0 votes cast)
VN:F [1.9.22_1171]
Rating: 0 (from 0 votes)

{ 0 comments }

Reliable VPN for file sharing

by Mike on January 19, 2016

in Unblock TV Shows

Internet is mainly used by individuals and business organizations to communicate with one another and also to perform file transfers and sharing. It is very easy to share your files and thoughts through the internet. There are various online resources that support file sharing. Individuals and businesses should choose the right service in order to perform file sharing in a secure manner. File sharing can be performed in various ways but the security for file sharing is very important. [click to continue…]

VN:F [1.9.22_1171]
Rating: 0.0/10 (0 votes cast)
VN:F [1.9.22_1171]
Rating: 0 (from 0 votes)

{ 0 comments }

FBI Secretly Enhancing Biometrics Programs

by Mike on January 8, 2016

in News

The Federal Bureau of Investigation has been putting a lot of effort into their biometrics programs over the last few years. They have already implemented mobile biometrics that connects to their Repository for Individuals of Special Concern (RISC) to identify and link individuals on the spot. They also have a sweeping facial recognition program that ties in with a comprehensive database of citizen information. This database works for their Next Generation Identification (NGI) program, which is also linked to the Integrated Automated Fingerprint Identification System (IAFIS). Most recently, the FBI has augmented their searchable fingerprinting database to merge the print records of criminals and civilians, and is planning to update their facial recognition database with new photos that they will take while they are out on the streets. These moves to improve their biometrics programs are being done away from the media’s keen eye because of the privacy pickle that it creates. [click to continue…]

VN:F [1.9.22_1171]
Rating: 0.0/10 (0 votes cast)
VN:F [1.9.22_1171]
Rating: 0 (from 0 votes)

{ 0 comments }

Best VPN for iOS

by Mike on January 8, 2016

in Top 5 VPN Providers

Apple devices are very popular all over the world. Many of us even save money for buying the latest version of iPhone or iPad. Apple devices have a competitive edge over the rest of the players purely because of their design and software features. Every Apple phone comes loaded with some of the world class features that can’t be found in any other phone in the market. Apple smartphones, tablets and other devices run based on the iOS software platform and internet users should get VPN for iOS in order to make use of the VPN service. [click to continue…]

VN:F [1.9.22_1171]
Rating: 0.0/10 (0 votes cast)
VN:F [1.9.22_1171]
Rating: 0 (from 0 votes)

{ 0 comments }

Watch Super Bowl on iPhone

by Mike on December 30, 2015

in iphone VPN

Super Bowl matches are very popular in the US. American football is a sport loved by most of the US population and the people living in the US could watch their favorite matches without facing any problem whatsoever. But, American citizens who are living outside their country would not be able to view them. Geographic restriction would prevent the internet users from watching their favorite Super Bowl matches when they are outside the US. NBC Sports broadcaster offers live streaming of the Super Bowl match to the US viewers. Smartphone application is also provided for internet users of the US which enables them to watch Super Bowl on iPhone. [click to continue…]

VN:F [1.9.22_1171]
Rating: 0.0/10 (0 votes cast)
VN:F [1.9.22_1171]
Rating: 0 (from 0 votes)

{ 0 comments }