Archive for NordVPN

Guest Post: NordVPN Tells You How to Protect Your Home from Digital Attacks

Posted in Commentary with tags on October 12, 2017 by itnerd

Modern connected homes come with risks – unprotected home Wi-Fi can be hacked into, with some dangerous consequences. It becomes especially dangerous if the home is equipped with many connected IoT (Internet of Things) devices. Hacking into one would allow criminals to access the whole network, forcing smart devices to behave in any way that they want. Identity theft can also result in a takeover of bank accounts, Social Security numbers and other private, vulnerable information.

Some methods that are usually used to detect and fix network problems can become powerful and easy-to-use hacking devices in the hands of criminals. For example, sniffing is a method that allows to see the data on a user’s network by tricking the network into passing the data to hacker’s computer first.

“New smart devices might actually have more problems than a house computer, which usually undergoes more rigid security control. Manufacturers keep producing various new Internet-connected things, often without taking the time to use the most secure technology,” said Marty P. Kamden, CMO of NordVPN (Virtual Private Network). “Your most vulnerable device could be a video camera or a network-connected printer. That device can compromise all network. Some of the most vulnerable IoTs that can have the most serious consequences if hacked include self-driving cars and medical devices.”

NordVPN provides basic security advice that each home needs to follow in order to protect their network.

  1. Use antivirus software. One of the basic rules is to use a reliable antivirus. Unfortunately, users must do their own research in order to choose the antivirus they trust, since opinions vary among different experts. Not all antivirus software is safe, as shown in the recent case with the Russian Kaspersky Lab antivirus that was used by Russian hackers to obtain NSA files.
  2. Use a firewall. The router must have up to date firewall software to protect from the newest potential hacker-installed malware that could, for instance, be used to steal one’s personal data.
  3. Enable two-factor authentication on your online accounts. Signing up for tw0-factor authentication with online accounts makes it harder for fraudsters to steal one’s identity. And even if it’s not foolproof protection from hackers, having a two-factor authentication is definitely better than signing in without it.
  4. When shopping online, use mobile or e-wallets. E-wallets are said to make online checkouts simpler and more secure. Payment processors, such as Apple Pay, PayPal, Google Wallet and others are already starting to implement this one-click method of payment.
  5. Install a VPN. VPNs are one of essential security mechanisms to protect personal networks from prying eyes., as they encrypt all the data shared between the Internet and VPN server. NordVPN uses advanced encryption protocols, has extensive global coverage and no logs policy.
  6. Change the default login information on the home router. It’s easy to change the default admin name and password – and it would make a hacker’s job much more difficult. After new changes are made, it’s important to log out.
  7. Don’t click on suspicious emails. Emails used for phishing will bear attachments, and they can even seemingly come from a friend.  Clicking on a link that comes with a legitimate-looking email can expose the whole home network to the danger of being hacked.
  8. Always update the systems of all connected devices. The operating systems on all house computers, tablets, phones and other devices should be up to date.
  9. Double-check the security features of each new device that is brought home. A new camera or printer might be efficient and perform very well, but it’s important to double-check their security features. It’s also better to turn their web interfaces off.
  10. Create another network. Create a new network – most routers will allow guest network connection. Exclude IoT devices that look least secure from the new network.
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NordVPN Launches Proxy Extension for Google Chrome

Posted in Commentary with tags on October 3, 2017 by itnerd

As VPNs are growing in popularity, many providers are launching user-friendly features and extensions to make their more tools accessible to anyone willing to protect their online privacy.

NordVPN has just launched another digital security tool: a proxy extension for Google Chrome. From now on all Google Chrome users will be able to secure their online activities, hide your IP address and safely access their favorite websites. The new proxy extension is extremely light and fast so users can switch between locations with one click.

The Chrome extension provides these benefits:

  1. Hiding identity online. NordVPN encrypts Internet traffic and hides a user’s actual IP address. Once a user connects to one of the remote encrypted proxy servers, their online activities are encrypted, and their Chrome browser is assigned with the IP address of that particular server making it look like they are in another country.
  2. Safe access to websites and services. The new lightweight extension for Chrome will help to safely access anyone’s favorite sites even if they are not protected by HTTPS. Many popular websites, including CNN, BBC, IMDb, still don’t offer HTTPS encryption meaning that snoopers can see anyone’s online activity. When the NordVPN extension is enabled, it encrypts the browser’s traffic, and the surfing becomes safe and private.
  3. Data protection from IP leaks. Even with a VPN, there’s still a chance to experience WebRTC leaks in the browser, which may reveal a user’s original IP address. All sensitive data, including passwords of all accounts, credit card details and even a user’s current location may be visible to snoopers and nefarious users. The NordVPN extension allows disabling Chrome’s default WebRTC protocol, this way ensuring that one’s online identity stays hidden at all times, no matter what.
  4. Shielding against ads and malware. The CyberSec feature is also available in the NordVPN extension for Chrome. When enabled, it protects a user from malware and other cyber threats that lurk online waiting to infect anyone’s device. Additionally, it blocks annoying pop-ups, auto-play ads and other advertisement material.

How to Get NordVPN for a Chrome browser:

NordVPN extension can be downloaded from the Chrome Web Store, and it will appear next to other Chrome extensions. The second it’s downloaded, all user’s online communications are instantly encrypted, and their IP address is hidden, meaning that their Internet activities are now invisible to hackers or any other third-party snoopers.

When a user opens the NordVPN extension, they should click “Choose location” and browse the country list to pick the destination they prefer. Or, if they don’t have any specific requirements, they can simply click “Auto connect” and let NordVPN’s special algorithm pick the best option based on a user’s server load, distance and other specifications.

The NordVPN Chrome extension encrypts HTTP traffic with the Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) protocol, which is widely used to provide security over users’ internet communications.

Please note that this extension is only available for Google Chrome users. Those who wish to secure their other devices can download the full NordVPN version for Windows, macOS, Android and iOS under the same subscription.

Guest Post: NordVPN Discusses 8 VPN Myths

Posted in Commentary with tags on September 22, 2017 by itnerd

VPNs (Virtual Private Networks) are going mainstream – for example, NordVPN has seen a 300% user increase this year, mostly due to new Internet regulations and restrictions in various countries around the world. New regulations include current government surveillance techniques or additional geo-restricted content. In addition, due to an increase in hacking incidents, VPNs are becoming very popular tools to protect Internet users’ security.

By using a VPN, one’s Internet traffic gets encrypted into a secure tunnel between two points: the computer and a VPN server. Therefore, no one can access the data that passes through the tunnel – it becomes invisible to ISPs, government snoopers, identity thieves and hackers.

However, there are still many myths surrounding VPNs and how they can be useful to an average Internet user. NordVPN lists some of the major misconceptions and clarifies a few major issues that users have with VPNs.

  1. No matter what they claim, all VPNs log user traffic. Some VPN providers actually don’t have a choice – they must log their users’ Internet activity as required by law, depending on the country where they operate. VPN service providers based in one of 14 Eyes or 5 Eyes countries usually must log user traffic. When user information is logged, it could be easily shared with the government or any third parties. However, if a VPN operates from a country where traffic logs are not required by the government, it will delete user activity after each session – and then there are no obstacles preventing the organization from running a log-less service.
  2. Free VPNs offer the same level of protection. A VPN provider which offers a free service must earn money somehow. Server maintenance is expensive, not to mention the salaries for the staff and other expenses. Usually, a VPN provider that is offering a free service will be using other ways to earn money – and it’s usually through selling user data. A safe VPN will have a price. Paid VPNs will also usually offer faster speeds and other advantages.
  3. VPNs slow down Internet traffic. Since VPN works as an encryption tunnel, it can sometimes slow down the Internet. However, the slowdown shouldn’t be significant in most cases. If it is, than means the VPN might be having some temporary technical problems, or it’s time to switch to another provider. If a VPN provider is a paid service, they will usually offer a larger selection of servers to connect to – so when one is heavily loaded and slow, it’s easy to connect to another one.  Connecting to a server that’s closer geographically might solve the slowdown issue.
  4. VPN is a tool that works equally for anyone. In fact, VPN connection quality depends on great variety of factors. Different network environments, ISPs and the way they handle traffic, VPN server load and distance between the user and a datacenter, device, plays important role in service’s behavior. Not to mention additional software installed, configuration method and so on.
  5. All VPNs offer the same level of encryption. In truth, VPN encryption protocols can differ, some of these protocols being more secure than others. Users should avoid the PPTP protocol, which was one of the first security protocols introduced – however, it is now considered to be weak and insecure. The safest VPN protocols are OpenVPN and also IKEv2/IPsec, which employs very strong cryptographic algorithms and keys.
  6. Proxy is the same as VPN. Some users make the mistake of confusing proxies with VPNs – at the expense of their online security. Proxies do not protect from government surveillance, data tracking or hackers. Those who are not concerned about keeping their Internet traffic safe, and only want to stream a movie, can use proxies. Otherwise, in order to protect security and privacy, a VPN is recommended over a proxy.
  7. It will work on all platforms. Not all VPNs work on every platform – some might operate only on Apple devices, for example. A well-established VPN functions across different platforms, including iOS, macOS, Android and Windows.
  8. VPN is only for technically savvy people. There are still some VPNs with clumsy websites and hard-to-find buttons. That’s because when VPNs entered the market, they were initially used mostly by technology geeks. Currently, many VPNs have updated their user interfaces and are easy to use by anyone who goes online. For example, NordVPN only requires turning the ON button. It offers apps for macOS, iOS, Windows and Android, and can quickly connect a user to the desired destination by simply clicking on the country name. NordVPN apps contain many user-friendly features, including kill switch, detailed server list, access to SmartPlay technology and more.

 

Guest Post: NordVPN Discusses The Fact That Most Internet Users Lack Basic Cybersecurity Practice

Posted in Commentary with tags on September 15, 2017 by itnerd

NordVPN has conducted a National Privacy Test – a survey of almost 5,000 respondents in English-speaking countries, which has determined that, on average, Internet users are not aware of basic online security rules. The average rate of correct answers was 44 out of 100, showing some dangerous gaps in general public’s cybersecurity knowledge.

“We understand that privacy tools can sometimes be overwhelming,” said Marty P. Kamden, CMO of NordVPN. “Therefore, our goal is to find major weaknesses in cybersecurity knowledge of average Internet users and to show them the privacy tools used by experts. Moreover, we want to help people realize that significantly enhancing their security is not that complicated and can be done in few clicks. We have also noticed that even though people seem to know the answers to many questions, they do not apply their knowledge in practice. So we also want to close the gap between theory and practice when it comes to online security.”

NordVPN has observed the following mistakes that people usually make in cybersecurity:

  1. 94% of Internet Users Think They Recognize Phishing Emails – But Half of Them Keep Clicking. 94% of respondents said they would ignore an email request from a bank asking for personal information. Yet statistics show that up to 45% of Internet users keep clicking on dangerous links or providing personal information where they shouldn’t.

This suggests that although users may recognize basic malicious emails, more sophisticated phishing attempts often still work. NordVPN recommends checking the sender’s address, looking for spelling and grammar mistakes and not clicking on links – instead, hovering the mouse over to see if it’s legitimate (one of the indicators of legitimacy would be https URL).

  1. Social Media Users Still Share Vacation Photos. According to the survey, while social media users know they shouldn’t share their home address, current location or phone number on Facebook, half of them still share vacation photos or social plans. However, each time a social media user announces that they are on vacation, it’s a signal that their home is empty. NordVPN recommends posting vacation pictures after getting home, never sharing personal data on Facebook, and protecting one’s location by using a VPN, which allows to set one’s location to any country in the world.
  2. Many Online Shoppers Believe Public Wi-Fi Is Safe. It was found in the survey that as many as one-third of respondents believe that various activities – such as checking email, logging into a social media account, shopping online or checking a bank account – are safe on public WiFi. While checking a bank account on a public hotspot is assumed to be very risky (less than 2% agree that is safe), entering banking credentials to make a purchase online is seen as a lesser risk (23% think it is safe). NordVPN recommends staying away from public terminals when shopping online and using a VPN when conducting any online transaction.
  3. Information Overload Is Confusing to Internet Users. Only slightly over 50% of the survey respondents realized that an email confirming a genuine online purchase does not pose a security threat. The outcome shows that the topics of online privacy and security can be very confusing for an average Internet user. If they are surrounded with information on various threats for long enough, every little thing starts looking like another phishing attempt. That’s why it’s so important to educate users about crucial online habits and tools so that they can tell credible threats from myths.

Guest Post: NordVPN Discusses How to Teach Children to Stay Safe Online

Posted in Commentary with tags on August 31, 2017 by itnerd

Going back to school is an exciting time of the year, but it also means children will be using the Internet on a regular basis at school and at home to do school assignments.

Children’s’ lack of basic knowledge about online privacy and security can very easily lead to identity theft, downloads of malicious files and so on. Another danger is cyber thieves, who see easy targets in children. Criminals, for example, can combine a child’s Social Security Number with a fake date of birth and address to open bank accounts, get credit cards or loans.

Please take a look at some tips & tricks parents can implement at home to teach children about Internet privacy and safety.

  1. Lay out some ground rules. Whether your child is a teenager or a kid in elementary school, you need to give them a few basic guidelines. For example, you can start by telling that anything shared once on the Internet stays there forever and that nothing is 100% private.
  2. Tell them to check with you. First, tell your child what “personal information” means. Draw up a list for them and tell them clearly that they should always consult with you before sharing those details with any website or person on the Internet.
  3. Password protection and usage. These days, children start creating their own email accounts at a young age. Although email websites alert users to choose strong passwords, advise your child on what kind of passwords to choose. Tell them that the password could be a mix of characters and special symbols and ask them never to share their passwords with anyone, perhaps even with you. Diceware is an easy-to-use password methodology, where you roll a six-sided die five times and use the results to pick five random words from the list.
  4. Curb social media usage. Children spend a lot of time on social media, so it’s important to let them know what is OK to share and what isn’t. Have a talk with your child and discuss the things they should not share on social media, for everything stays forever on the Internet. If you want to take an extra step in securing your child’s online privacy, create fake social media names a and fake school/ city name for them.
  5. IM and texting. Sending messages on IM clients like Messenger or WhatsApp is something every teenager does, but they don’t always know that their chats are not 100% private. Therefore, you should advise them never to share personal data, banking details or other sensitive information like passwords via messages.
  6. Share news of personal hacks with them. If your child is big enough to understand this, share the latest news about identity thefts or personal hacks with them to make them aware of the dangers they face while using the Internet.
  7. Explain the dangers of free public Wi-Fi. Kids love free Wi-Fi – who doesn’t? Cafes, shops, and even school cafeteria might have unsecured Wi-Fi networks. Explain to your kids to be especially cautious when connecting to these networks – as they can easily be monitored. One of the best ways to safely use public Wi-Fi is by installing a VPN. You can pre-install a VPN on a mobile device and teach kids to turn it on whenever using public Wi-Fi.
  8. Use a VPN. For ultimate protection install a VPN service on the device they use to encrypt their online communication data. VPN, or Virtual Private Network, creates a connection tunnel that automatically encrypts all the data coming in and out of your device and effectively protects anyone using the Internet. NordVPN is one of the safest and most user-friendly VPNs on the market. All you have to do is press the ON button – and you are connected. NordVPN works on up to 6 devices, and now also has Mac and Android apps.
  9. Warn them of game scams. Agree to install games together with your kids. Research to see if the game and the provider are reputable. Make sure you download the games only from a reputable source after reading some reviews. Too often fake games are uploaded online, which are made to pop with color on websites, prompting kids to install them for free, when in fact it’s malware that could infect your device.
  10. Communication with strangers. The Internet is as social as ever. New chat rooms, forums uniting different interest groups are popping up every day. As kids are eager to discuss their interests with peers, it is important to speak to them about sharing one’s private information. Under no circumstances should they share any pictures, addresses, etc.
  11. Email deals are fake! All that sparkles is not gold. If your kids receive an email about a great offer like a free cell phone or concert tickets – it’s a trick designed to get one to give up personal information. Again, advise your kids to always show you such emails and never respond to them.

Kids these days are more tech-savvy than most of their parents when they were that age – but at the same time, they will be exposed to online identity thefts, hackings and snooping if they are not taught basic Internet safety rules from an early age.

Guest Post: NordVPN Provides 10 Tips on Protecting a Small Company From Cyberattacks

Posted in Commentary with tags on August 22, 2017 by itnerd

After two major ransomware attacks swept the globe and affected numerous large organizations, many companies started re-thinking their cybersecurity protection policies. However, many small businesses still go unprotected – and they could become a target of a ransomware attack any time, since such attacks will be increasing in intensity and sophistication.

“Small business owners and CEOs should focus on cultivating the mindset in their company that – instead of making people paranoid for no reason – builds the culture of cybersecurity and cautious approach to all online activities,” said Marty P. Kamden, CMO of NordVPN. “Keeping an organization safe from cyberattacks means complete collaboration of all staff members – and everyone needs to know the do’s and don’ts of online behavior.”

A small business owner may be too busy dealing with everyday hassles of their company – such as payroll, demanding clients and making sales. However, if cybersecurity is not made a priority, the company may experience significant losses.

According to security firm ThreatMetrix, cybercrime attacks went up by 50% in all segments in 2016, which is a worrisome trend. Small businesses are considered to be an especially easy prey for hackers: at least 60 percent of small companies in the US experienced at least one cyberattack in the past year.

Besides targeted cybercrime, small companies suffer from malware, rogue software, unprotected Wi-Fi and other worrisome threats.

For example, an employee may open an email attachment that is infected with a virus and spread it across the network. In phishing attacks, a small business owner or their employees can get a fake email tricking them into revealing their personal information. In password attacks, a hacker could try to hack the system by trying to guess password combinations. And in ransomware attacks, hackers may ask for ransom in exchange for unlocking the company’s data.

While there could be many types of attacks on your system, we have selected a few common-sense solutions that every startup owner should know.

  1. Avoid opening emails from unknown senders. The rule is simple: if you are not familiar with the sender, better don’t open any emails, and never click to download any attachments or any links they might send.
  2. Use only https URL. Make sure all websites that you give your data to, have the secure ‘https’ URL. The ‘s’ in the URL means that it is a secure protocol and your data is encrypted properly.
  3. Use a VPN (Virtual Private Network). VPNs connect you to the Internet through an encrypted tunnel. A VPN server acts as a relay between the Internet and a company’s device, so nobody can see what data is being shared over the Internet. All that can be seen is that you are connected to a VPN server. A VPN service provider, such as NordVPN, can offer multiple benefits to small businesses, including secure data connections for remote workers and increased safety for business owners to share sensitive company data via an encrypted connection, so it’s not seen by any third parties.
  4. Update your firewall. Most systems have an automatically installed firewall – just make sure you keep up with its regular updates.
  5. Use anti-virus. Use an updated virus protection to make sure your system is protected from malware such as malvertising (advertisement online with malicious codes).
  6. Strong passwords and two-factor authentication. Perhaps the most basic requirement for any online account setup is using strong passwords. Weak passwords make it simple for hackers to break into your system and cause severe damage. Two Factor Authentication, also known as 2FA, is a two-step verification system that adds an extra layer of security. Besides password and username, it involves something that only the user can potentially know.
  7. Update your operating system. It sounds simple and easy to do, but it happens that we ignore the pop-up reminders for software updates. However, it’s one of the most important things to do with a computer, as such updates often fix security vulnerabilities and system bugs.
  8. Secure your mobile. If you are happy that your system is now secure, you might be forgetting one important part – your mobile devices. You probably store important passwords and other sensitive information on your smartphone, so don’t forget to encrypt your phone either.
  9. Be reasonable with rules. It’s not reasonable to ban the use of company’s computers or Wi-Fi outside of the company’s network. People need to connect when it’s most convenient for them. A more productive and efficient approach is to cultivate the expertise in cybersecurity for staff members.
  10. Don’t single out one responsible person. Cultivating a secure mindset should be the responsibility of the whole team. And if an attack does happen, the real culprit is the hacker, not your staff member. Blaming employees for cyberattacks will only lead to them hiding potential threats.

 

Guest Post: NordVPN Discusses Why Your Internet Browsing Is Never Anonymous

Posted in Commentary with tags on August 15, 2017 by itnerd

The identity of every Internet user can be easily revealed by following the fingerprints that they leave online, found two German researchers. Secrets and private identities can be exposed – such as someone’s sexual or porn preferences or medications they use. The main offender turned out to be Web of Trust, a “safe surfing” plug-in.

The research, which involved setting up a fake marketing company and asking hundreds of companies to provide raw browsing data of Internet users, showed that the “anonymous” personas of millions of people could be decoded.

Some users can be easily identified by leaving a trail online, such as their Twitter username on some analytics page; for others, analyzing 10 of their visited URLs can be enough to determine their identity.

Big companies, such as Netflix, have already been accused and taken to court by customers whose identities had been exposed.

“If Internet users do not use any security tools, such as VPNs, they should realize that when they go online, nothing that they do on the Internet will remain private,” said Marty P. Kamden, CMO of NordVPN. “Nobody can know when their private browsing history may be exposed and for what reason. That can seriously hurt their personal lives, their careers and even their physical safety – if they are, for example, a political dissident in a country with an authoritarian government.”

“There are a few ways to protect one’s Internet privacy, such as avoiding any kind of plugins and browser extensions, taking note of Terms of Service that might hide intrusion of privacy, and using incognito mode. VPN (Virtual Private Network) can protect browsing history from ISP surveillance. We at NordVPN take users’ privacy very seriously – we don’t keep any information about what anyone does online when they connect to one of VPN servers. We are strictly against any log keeping.”

A VPN encrypts user data through a secure tunnel before accessing the Internet – this protects any browsing data. The only information visible to any third party is that a user is connected to a VPN server and nothing else. All other information is encrypted by the VPN’s security protocol.

NordVPN is determined to secure users’ data with features like double data encryptionor a new CyberSec feature that protects from malware, ads and phishing attempts.