Archive for NordVPN

Guest Post: NordVPN Discusses Phishing During Holiday Shopping Season And How To Stay Safe

Posted in Commentary with tags on November 23, 2018 by itnerd

The busiest shopping season is here, and cybercriminals are just as busy as bargain hunters.With the revenues from holiday sales online increasing year on year, the level of reported internet scams and other forms of crime is rising as well.

One of the biggest threats during the shopping season is online phishing. Phishing victims usually receive emails that look likemessages from legitimate online vendors, such as Amazon.Such emailsask to click on a link, whichmay, in turn, ask to submit theuser’s personal information.

“Unsuspecting shoppers may believe they are on their vendor’s website, while they are actually on a fake sitedesigned to extract their personal information,” said Ruby Gonzalez, Communications Director at NordVPN, a VPN service provider.

“Even thoughhackers are getting more and moresophisticated, it’s still possibleto recognize that you are visiting a fake site. Be especially cautious if you have clicked on alink or button received through an email – a well-designed phishing email may feature the logo and the general look of your favorite brand. It may even lead you to a sitethat looks like the real one. ”

The truth is, if a person is untrained in cybersecurity, a phishing email can easily lead themto sharesensitive information willingly and expose themselves to hackers. NordVPN offers easy online security tips to avoid phishing attacks and stay safe online.

Tips for spotting a phishing email:

1. Check thesender’s address. Don’t just trust the display name – pay attention to the email address. If the domain looks suspicious (e.g., info@secure.apple.com), don’t open the email.

2. Look for spelling and grammar mistakes. Serious companies don’t usually send out emails with bad grammar and basic spelling mistakes.

3. Take a look at the greeting. Your bank or another legitimate institution would often address you with your full name. If you see a vague “Dear user” instead, remain vigilant.

4. Don’t click on links– instead, hover your mouse on the button to see the destination link. Check if it looks legitimate and, especially, if it contains the “https”part to indicate a secure connection.

5.When in doubt, contact your bank or other institution over the phone or alternative email address and ask to confirm if the email is legitimate.

For additional safety, use a VPN. Using a VPN when browsing can protect you against malware and phishing that targets online access points.

 

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Guest Post: NordVPN Discusses How to Protect the Privacy of One’s Mobile Device

Posted in Commentary with tags on October 30, 2018 by itnerd

According to a Q4 report by We Are Social of 2018 Global Digital Trends, there are almost 4.2 billion people using the internet and 3.4 billion active social media users.

Millions of new users, especially across Africa and South Asia, have started using the internet for the first time in the past few months. Most of them are connecting through mobile devices.

In general, mobile internet usage accounts for more than half of all global web traffic. Google’s Consumer Barometer survey says that users are five times more likely to go online via their phones.

“Mobile phones are now our favorite tools for internet browsing. However, not many people realize that mobile devices have even more data privacy concerns than computers,” said Ruby Gonzalez, Communications Director of NordVPN. “Basically, a mobile phone acts as a spy – it tracks its owner’s location and gives a lot less control over privacy than a computer would.”

People rely on their mobile phones not only for social interactions but also for banking, sharing data, storing passwords and other sensitive information. As such, they are vulnerable to security breaches, as well as personal hacking attacks, especially when using public Wi-Fion their phones.

NordVPN has put together some advice on how to protect one’s privacy on a mobile phone:

1. Recognize suspicious SMS. One of the most common “smishing” attacks is a text message that contains a link to mobile malware. Once a user clicks on it, a malicious app can be installed on their smartphone. In another example, a scammer can use techniques that are common for charities when a disaster strikes. A charity may send a text message saying “Flood,” and once a user responds with the code word “Prevent,” they automatically donate a certain amount of money to the organization.

Users should be careful about clicking on any SMS links or replying to messages. It’s also a good idea to use NordVPN’s CyberSec feature, which is designed to block malicious sites and phishing links.

2. Be careful when downloading apps.There are fake apps designed specifically to collect one’s information or install malware. It’s best to download apps directly from official app stores (iTunes, Android or Amazon) and to check for any signs that might scream the app is fake. For example, grammar mistakes indicate an app is not legitimate and so do requests to enter one’s private information.

3. Install a mobile VPN app.A VPN encrypts all the traffic flow between the Internet and a user’s device. When shopping, banking, or sharing personal information online, users are advised to be aware of unique threats mobile device users face and to always use a VPN. NordVPN’s mobile app (available for iOS and Android devices) provides secure encryption and user-friendly design and functionality.

4. Make sure your software is up to date.Hackers often exploit privacy and security holes – those holes are patched up withsoftware updates. Therefore, it’s important to keep one’s software always up to date.

In addition, NordVPN recommends usinge passcodes to lock one’s phone (they should be more difficult than “1234” or one’s birthday) and not to click on any suspicious links received by email.

 

 

Guest Post: NordVPN Discusses The Targeting Of iPhone Users By Cybercriminals

Posted in Commentary with tags on October 22, 2018 by itnerd

A new cell phone scam targeted at iPhone users tries to steal theirApple login details by sending a fake Spotify/iTunes email.

The phishing email claims to be from Apple and Spotify. If a user clicks on the link, the email says the user had bought a year of Spotify Premium for $150.99 and links to a page to “review your subscription.” A fake Apple landing page – which looks like a real one – then asks for log-in details.

“One of the most common types of phishing is an email that contains a fraudulent link. In this case, users are likely to give away their personal information, because they will be obviously worried they might be charged $150,” said Ruby Gonzalez, Communications Director of NordVPN. “The supposed website of a trusted brand,such as Apple, creates a fake sense of familiarity, which  misleads people into entering their private information.”

According to Apple, if a user receives an email asking them to update their account or payment information, they should only do so directly in their Settings on the Apple device that they are using. Users can update their passwords at appleid.apple.com.

NordVPN also recommends using its CyberSec feature, which is designed to block advertisements, malicious sites, and phishing links. While it’s still not available on iOS, CyberSec can be used on Windows, macOS, Linux, as well as on the mobile app for Android.

NordVPN provides these tips for spotting a phishing email:

  1. Check the sender’s address. Don’t just trust the display name – pay attention to the email address. If the domain looks suspicious (e.g., info@secure.apple.com), don’t open the email.

 

  1. Look for spelling and grammar mistakes. Serious companies don’t usually send out emails with bad grammar and basic spelling mistakes.

 

  1. Take a look at the greeting. Your bank or another legitimate institution would often address you with your full name. If you see a vague “Dear user” instead, remain vigilant.

 

  1. Don’t click on links– instead, hover your mouse on the button to see the destination link. Check if it looks legitimate and, especially, if it contains the “https” part to indicate a secure connection.

 

  1. When in doubt, contact your bank or other institution over the phone or alternative email address and ask to confirm if the email is legitimate.

 

  1. In addition, two-factor authenticationcan be set on iOS devices. That way, a hacker would have to go through another control even if they have stolen a user’s login information.

 

For additional safety, use a VPN. Using a VPN when browsing can protect you against malware and phishing that targets online access points.

Guest Post: NordVPN Highlights The Fact That Canada Wants Backdoors In Tech Devices

Posted in Commentary with tags on October 5, 2018 by itnerd

Canada has just joined the other Five Eyes  allies – Australia, New Zealand, the UK, and the US – in a renewed call to create backdoors into private citizens’ information.

The Five Eye countries demand that technology companies cooperate with law enforcement agencies to allow access to encrypted and private communications, including Facebook and text messages.

“It seems that the demands for backdoors are being made by governments that have little understanding about the way technology works,” said Ruby Gonzalez, Communications Director at NordVPN. “It’s impossible to build backdoors into smartphones and other devices without jeopardizing the overall security of that device.”

“When a backdoor is created, that device is not safe anymore. We live in the age when cybercriminals are inventing increasingly sophisticated ways to breach millions of private accounts on Facebook, to compromise tech devices or to steal personal identities. If smart devices have backdoors, cyber criminals will get the easiest way to steal private data from millions of users.”

Canadian officials, however, are claiming that encryption has created gaps for law enforcement and national security.

“Unfortunately, it’s impossible to have personal online security without dependable encryption,” said Ruby Gonzalez. “We are really concerned about the forcefulness of the Five Eye governments and a threat that if tech companies don’t collaborate, they will force backdoor upon them. It’s also important to note that if some countries do pass such a law, device makers might entirely withdraw their products from these markets.”

In the meanwhile, NordVPN recommends that smart device users take security into their own hands by using VPNs, password managers, and anti-malware software. However, if the backdoor into smart devices in indeed created, these devices might be left completely unsecured, no matter what the users do to protect them.

Guest Post: NordVPN Discusses U.S. Government Attempts To Decrypt FB Messenger

Posted in Commentary with tags on August 28, 2018 by itnerd

The U.S. government is trying to break Facebook Messenger’s encryption to be able to listen to voice conversations in a criminal probe.

Similarly, the Australian government released a legislative proposal to give law enforcement agencies new rights to access personal user communications and data.

“Forced decryption and backdoor access goes against the basic principles of privacy. And every time privacy was challenged in the past, we saw an increase in customers,” said Marty P. Kamden, CMO of NordVPN and cybersecurity expert. “For example, when Australia passed its mandatory data retention law, NordVPN saw a 300% growth in Australian users. Such increase stems from the fear that the basic right to privacy is getting increasingly undermined.”

According to the Globe and Mail, Facebook is contesting the demand of the U.S. Department of Justice, and Facebook may be held in contempt for refusing to allow surveillance.

“We understand the need for criminal investigations to proceed smoothly, but breaking the encryption of one company could open the doors to complete loss of privacy, leaked documents and personal details as well as misuse of data,” said Marty P. Kamden. “If Facebook Messenger is decrypted for one case, it will set a legal precedent, and other encrypted communication apps, such as WhatsApp or Signal might also be rewritten by government’s request. Decryption is not just listening to or reading one message and keeping the others private – it might mean that everyone’s messages will be exposed. This would make these apps unsafe to use for millions of its users.”

WhatsApp, also owned by Facebook, currently counts 1.5 billion users worldwide, while Facebook Messenger has 1.3 billion users.

Facebook Messenger’s voice calls have end-to-end encryption, meaning they can be accessed only by the caller and the receiver, while Facebook’s Messenger text messages can also be encrypted by turning the “secret conversations” option on. WhatsApp and Signal also use end-to-end decryption.

“Tech community has been very concerned about the attempts of various governments to interfere with encrypted communications. That may put in harm’s way thousands of activists and dissidents in countries with authoritarian regimes and expose ordinary users’ data to hackers and cybercriminals,” added Marty P. Kamden. “We definitely think decryption would cause more harm than good.”

Guest Post: NordVPN Discusses Why Egyptians Are Turning To VPNs

Posted in Commentary with tags on August 22, 2018 by itnerd

Egypt has passed a law that warns people who browse censored websites can be jailed for at least one year. Those who share content from blocked sites can receive a minimum prison sentence of two years.

Since Mohamed Morsi, the Islamist president, was overthrown in a military coup, the government started crackdowns on the media. For example, Egypt has banned The Huffington Post, Human Right Watch, Qatar’s Al Jazeera, and other websites critical of the government.

“People want to access the information they were used to reading, they want to know unbiased opinions about what is happening in their country – so they turn to VPNs (Virtual Private Networks) that allow to bypass censorship and to browse Internet freely,” said Marty P. Kamden, CMO of NordVPN. “We have seen an increase in the number of our Egyptian users since the law had been passed.

“Even though Egypt attempts to block VPNs, NordVPN is still functioning, and we will do our best to make sure free Internet is available to Egyptians.”

Social media has also been under attack – vocal influencers with anti-government statements are being rounded up. A social media account with more than 5,000 followers is deemed a media organization and is supervised by a state-appointed media supervisory council.

“VPNs play a very important role if a dissident doesn’t want to reveal their identity and IP address,” said Marty P. Kamden. “They encrypt information that the user shares into a safe tunnel and hide not only the IP address, but the website one visits as well.”

A VPN links user’s computer to a server in a country of their choice – for example, a person can appear to be in the U.S., while they actually are in Egypt, simply by choosing a different VPN server location. A VPN encrypts user data through a secure tunnel before accessing the Internet – this protects any sensitive information about a person’s location by hiding their IP address.

Those who are facing threats online can request free VPN access from NordVPN.

Guest Post: NordVPN Discusses Google’s Censored Version In China

Posted in Commentary with tags on August 7, 2018 by itnerd

Google has been absent in China for eight years – and now it’s planning an unexpected comeback.

According to the latest news leaked by The Intercept, Google is planning to launch a censored version of its search engine in China. The Chinese version will come with numerous websites blocked, including Wikipedia, BBC News, Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter,  and will only allow search terms that comply with China’s harsh Internet regulations. “Sensitive queries” will be blacklisted and other websites will be filtered – for example, such keywords as “anti-communism,” “human rights,” “democracy,” “oppression,” “dictatorship” and others are currently blacklisted in China to avoid government criticism. Therefore, words like “human rights,” “democracy,” “religion” and “peaceful protests” will be censored in the Chinese Google as well.

The Google’s China project is called “Dragonfly,” and it includes two Android apps. The apps are pending the Chinese government approval, and one of them might be launched at the end of this year.

Google’s images search, spell check and suggested search features will also have embedded censorship.

The Google employees who leaked the information expressed having moral and ethical concerns about the project.

“What the tech community and human rights activists are concerned about is that other oppressive governments could copy the new Chinese Google model. This would make Internet into a tool of censorship, not the place of free expression and communication,” said Ruby Gonzalez, Communications Director at NordVPN. “NordVPN is happy to be offering a service that will allow people in China to connect to the original Google and bypass its censored version. At present, NordVPN works in China, helping Internet users connect to Facebook, Google and other sites. Our goal is to provide free Internet in every corner of the world and to make sure free speech is accessible to everyone.”

A VPN encrypts a user’s Internet connection and re-routes it into a secure tunnel. People can safely connect to servers in other countries and use the Internet as if they were in the US, UK or elsewhere.