Archive for NordVPN

Guest Post: NordVPN Discusses What Can Companies Can Learn About Cybersecurity From The Equifax Breach

Posted in Commentary with tags on January 17, 2018 by itnerd

Those credit card users who have a credit card report most likely had their personal data exposed because of the Equifax data breach. Affecting over 143 million of consumers in the US, UK and Canada, the attack was one of the biggest global cybersecurity crimes of 2017.

The hackers were able to access Equifax clients’ names, Social Security numbers, birth dates, addresses and even driver’s license numbers. Around 209,000 people got their credit card numbers stolen as well.

It turned out that the attackers were using a well-known Equifax vulnerability to go through with the breach and data theft.

As a result, Democrats in Congress are now calling for increased governmental oversight and penalties to those organizations that fail to protect consumers’ personal information. Tech companies that aim to protect users’ online data agree that more government regulation is needed.

“We believe that big organizations – banks, credit card agencies, healthcare institutions and others – often fail to address known vulnerabilities that could be easily fixed in order to avoid similar breaches,” said Marty P. Kamden, CMO of NordVPN and cybersecurity expert. “The most dangerous moment comes when a vulnerability is disclosed but not yet patched – this is when hackers rush in to exploit it. Many organizations are not as fast to fix their bugs as cybercriminals are to launch a breach. On the other hand, companies are also vulnerable as their own employees may be unknowingly downloading infected files. Therefore, businesses, – both big and small – need to make cybersecurity their priority.”

Here’s NordVPN’s advice to businesses on how to secure their data from cyberattacks:

  1. Fix all your vulnerabilities as soon as they are spotted. When system vulnerabilities are discovered, there should be a procedure in place to fix them immediately.
  2. Avoid opening emails from unknown senders. The rule is simple: if an employee is not familiar with the sender, it’s better they do not open any emails and never click to download any attachments or links.
  3. Use only https URL. Make sure all websites that your employees give 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.
  4. 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 traveling 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.
  5. Update your firewall. Most systems have an automatically installed firewall – make sure to properly configure and maintain your company’s firewall in order to keep the network secured.
  6. Use anti-virus. Use up-to-date virus protection to make sure your company’s system is protected from malware such as malvertising (advertisement online with malicious codes).
  7. 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 to any organization. Besides password and username, it involves something that only the user can potentially know.
  8. Update your operating system. It sounds simple and easy to do, but it happens that companies 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.
  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 improve 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.

 

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Guest Post: NordVPN Discusses How To Access The Internet In Iran & Other Restricted Countries

Posted in Commentary with tags on January 4, 2018 by itnerd

Protests in Iran have been going on for about a week now, and the authorities have restricted social media, the main tool of circulating anti-government information.

Iran has blocked Telegram, and Internet has been cut off in several cities where protests have taken place as Iran’s interior minister announced that social networks are “causing violence and fear.”

Telegram was the most popular communications app in Iran with over 40 million users. Twitter and Facebook have already been banned in Iran since 2009.

Iran is just one example of government cutting off social media and Internet around the world in an attempt to silence freedom of speech and anti-government messages.

Living in countries where Internet access is blocked or restricted has made local people very resourceful – they use “unlocked” phones where they can install illegal apps or Google App Engine that conceals a user’s Google activity.

NordVPN, a VPN service provider, has designed domains that are meant to function in the countries where the web is restricted. For example, nordme.org domain is used for the Middle Eastern countries. So even if VPN is blocked, and the official NordVPN website is not accessible in these countries, by visiting a dedicated domain, local users will be able to access the website, configure a VPN and, once connected – to reach all blocked websites and apps, including Telegram, Facebook or Twitter.

“We stand for the freedom of speech, and are determined to help people access the unrestricted Internet in all the countries where it gets shut down, like Iran,” said Marty P. Kamden, CMO of NordVPN. “That’s why we had to devise an alternative way to provide people with access to our service. We see that this method is really working – currently, for example, we have a big jump in users from Iran. In addition, we provide free emergency VPN for 5 days – or more if needed.”

To access the free emergency VPN, visit NordVPN’s emergency page.

NordVPN Serves Up The 10 Best Security & Privacy Apps for 2018

Posted in Commentary with tags on December 28, 2017 by itnerd

As another year is drawing to a close, cybersecurity experts are warning that Internet users should start taking their privacy & security more seriously.

Cyberattacks in 2017 have been happening at a twice higher rate than in 2016, but many Internet users still make such basic mistakes as easy-to-guess passwords, clicking on unfamiliar links sent through emails or going to a public WiFi network without using a VPN.

NordVPN is sharing its list of the best security and privacy apps for 2018.

  1. Signal is an encrypted messaging and voice calling app that provides end-to-end encryption to secure all communications. The app can also verify the identity of people one is messaging and the integrity of the channel they are using. When texting non-Signal users, one has an option to invite them to an encrypted conversation via Signal.
  2. Tor Messenger is an encrypted messenger created by the makers of Tor, the world’s most popular encrypted Internet browser, synonymous with “the dark web.” Tor Messenger is a cross-platform chat app that is secure by default and sends all messages over Tor Network. The app supports a good number of transport networks, such as IRC, Google Talk, Facebook Chat, Yahoo, and others, and enables Off-The-Record (OTR) messaging – a safe and encrypted way to have private conversations – over Tor’s network of computers for greater anonymity.
  3. NordVPN (Virtual Private Network provider) is a must-have encryption app. A VPN encrypts the data traveling from your device across the Internet and is the best security mechanism to ensure the Internet traffic remains confidential. NordVPN has a reputation of focusing on security and having a zero logs policy, is fast and easy to use. The app re-routes and encrypts all Internet traffic making the connection private and secured while using top of the line security protocol IKEv2/IPsec.
  4. Norton Identity Safe gives you freedom from remembering passwords: it saves all usernames and passwords on iPhone and iPad and syncs them across devices. Secure passwords can be created within the app. The app also allows for faster checkout and fills in forms with the user’s bank information.
  5. ProtonMail is a Gmail-like email provider, offering an automatic end-to-end encryption. No personal information is required to create a secure email account.
  6. Keeply is a spy-level app for an average user. It stores a user’s private moments and data – pins, credit cards, notes, photos and videos – right on the phone. Keeply provides a Fake Pin feature, which is an alternative password that the user can give to their nosy friends or family –  when they enter it, the app shows an empty application. Face-down Lock, on the other hand, causes Keeply to close immediately when it’s placed face down. It can also take a photo of anyone who enters a wrong PIN code into the phone. Best of all: nothing ever leaves the phone.
  7. Secret Calculator is another app for storing user’s private photos, videos, notes, contacts and other sensitive data behind an innocent-looking calculator app.
  8. Find My Phone is an app and service by Apple that allows remote tracking of iOS devices. It can be installed from app store like any other app.
  9. Kryptos app is a fully encrypted voice communications app that provides encrypted VoIP connectivity for calls over 3G, 4G and WiFi. While Kryptos is not a replacement for mobile phone service, its function is to provide privacy for the calls.
  10. Best Phone Security Pro is an app that will ring an alarm as soon as someone unauthorized touches the device.  The user can choose the lock option: Touch ID, pattern lock or passcode lock. You can even record your own alarm sound.

It’s becoming increasingly important to make sure that all digital devices, whether used privately or by a company, are as secure as possible. Just as we protect our homes with locks and security systems, fielding potential intruders, we should make sure our devices are also properly secured – especially because these days, most of the valuable information is stored online. Beside security and privacy apps, everyone should use common sense when sharing information on their devices, encrypt when using public Wi-Fi and always use strong passwords.

Guest Post: Cybersecurity Predictions & Trends for 2018 From NordVPN

Posted in Commentary with tags on November 30, 2017 by itnerd

Online security is seemingly getting more compromised with each passing year. 2017 has witnessed some of the worst security breaches in history – such as the breach of Equifax, which impacted over 143 million clients in the U.S. and abroad. There were also three major state-sponsored ransomware attacks, affecting hundreds of thousands of targets around the world. Unfortunately, it looks like this is just the beginning.

“Ransomware assaults seem to be getting increasingly dangerous,” said Marty P. Kamden, CMO of NordVPN. “Besides, system administrators are not ready to protect their networks from more sophisticated breaches. We believe that attacks will only keep getting worse.”

In addition, Internet freedom has been on a steady decline. For example, in the US, ISPs have the right to track customer data without consent and sell it to third parties, and net neutrality is under attack. Other countries are also passing freedom-limiting laws.

Below please find the predictions for 2018 by NordVPN, as well as advice on how to protect oneself.

  1. Increase in IoT attacks. As Internet of Things (IoT) devices become common-use, they will continue to come under attack. When one device is compromised, the hacker can easily overtake the whole system of interconnected devices. One of the biggest fears is that hackers might compromise medical IoT devices, and patients’ information can be leaked. A connected smart home will be another popular target for hackers. What’s more, breached IoT devices can be used in vast scale DDoS attacks, putting down virtually any Internet based service or website.
  2. Increase in travel data breach. Hackers are discovering that travelers who book their trips online share their passport and credit card data, which can be stolen. This marks the move towards specific online breaches, targeting groups of people – such as travelers, online Christmas shoppers, and others.
  3. New, larger ransomware attacks. This year has shown the power of one ransomware attack that can disable hundreds of thousands of computers around the world. Companies are not yet up to speed with sophisticated hacker technologies, so there is a huge risk of new, larger ransomware attacks.
  4. China to ban VPNs. China’s government passed a regulation that requires telecommunications carriers to block users’ access to private, government unapproved VPNs (Virtual Private Networks) by Feb. 1. This would mean that lots of people in China will not be able to reach the global internet, as many sites – such as Google or Facebook – are blocked in China.
  5. The EU is implementing General Data Protection Regulation. GDPR, coming into force in May, is going to introduce stricter rules for companies on storing personal user data and on obtaining customer consent. The regulation will have global reach and force companies to protect user data – being one of the rare examples of governments striving to actually protect data privacy.
  6. Digital Economy Bill in the UK. The UK is planning to pass a bill that requires age verification for adult site visitors. Age verification is done through collecting various data about the user, which poses a huge risk of data leaks and data loss, with sensitive private information being stolen.
  7. Dutch referendum on government surveillance powers. The Netherlands will hold a referendum next year to determine if the law enforcement authorities can have far-reaching surveillance powers. Many privacy activists are striving to overturn the law passed in July, which allows government agencies to collect data from large groups of people at once.

How to secure your web presence in 2018

Internet users can still take matters into their own hands and secure their own computers or smart devices. It’s important not to click on strange emailed links, not to download from unofficial app marketplaces, to always have strong passwords, and to be generally cautious when going online.

It’s also highly recommended to use online privacy tools, such as VPNs, which encrypt all the information that is being shared between the user and VPN server. NordVPN helps secure browsing the Internet with its modern security protocols and no logs policy.

With the decline in online security and privacy, cybersecurity specialists will be in big demand, and companies will be looking to fill new job openings for cybersecurity professionals. Those who want to protect their own data at home, need to learn simple cybersecurity tricks themselves.

NordVPN Launches Proxy Extension for Firefox

Posted in Commentary with tags on November 16, 2017 by itnerd

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

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

The Firefox extension provides these benefits:

  1. Protecting your online identity. 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 Firefox 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 Firefox 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 surfing becomes safe and private.
  3. Data protection from IP hacks. All sensitive data, including passwords of all accounts, credit card details and even a user’s current location may be visible to snoopers and cybercriminals. The NordVPN extension allows to ensure 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 Firefox. 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 Firefox browser:

NordVPN extension can be downloaded from the Firefox Web Store, and it will appear next to other Firefox 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 Firefox extension encrypts HTTP traffic with the Transport Layer Security (TLS) protocol, which is widely used to provide security over users’ internet communications.

Please note that this extension is only available for Firefox 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. NordVPN also provides an extension for Google Chrome.

Guest Post: NordVPN Discusses Bulk Interception and Privacy Violations In The UK

Posted in Commentary with tags on November 9, 2017 by itnerd

This November, the UK will mark the one-year anniversary since Investigatory Powers Act was passed. During this year, the bill has received widespread criticism for its intrusive techniques of extreme surveillance. Now, UK intelligence agencies will face claims in the European court of human rights for intercepting private communications in bulk.

“We’ve expressed our concerns from the beginning that an over-intrusive surveillance will backfire,” said Marty P. Kamden, CMO of NordVPN, a technology company. “Currently, numerous civil rights groups are suing the UK government for illegally retaining and examining data that belongs to various foreign organizations. No entity should be allowed to legally intercept data that belongs to a foreign company or organization. We see this as the most intrusive violation of privacy and freedom of speech. There is also a great concern that other governments may follow UK’s lead, and people will start slowly losing any freedom of expression around the world.”

Bulk interception programmes used by the UK government – such as Tempora, Upstream and Prism – enable government agencies to access and store a backup of the Internet activity entering and leaving the UK through fiber optic cables.

“One of the biggest issues is that the UK government is storing huge amounts of private and sensitive foreign communications data,” said Marty P. Kamden. “This data can be accessed and exposed by hackers and misused for any purpose, including identity theft. Overall, we are glad to see that the British people are taking matters into their own hands – NordVPN subscriptions have tripled in the UK in one year. A VPN allows people to share information online privately and securely.”

NordVPN launched very user-friendly apps in the past year that are easy to set up and use even for beginners. Users just need to turn the ON button, and they’re connected, and all their online traffic becomes encrypted.

A VPN encrypts user’s data and reroutes it through a secure tunnel before accessing the Internet – this protects any sensitive information about one’s location by hiding their IP address.

Other ways to secure online safety include strong passwords, cautious online sharing (such as one’s current location or address) and the use of encrypted email (like ProtonMail) and encrypted communications apps (such as Telegram).

 

Guest Post: NordVPN Discusses How Companies Can Protect Themselves from Breaches

Posted in Commentary with tags on October 24, 2017 by itnerd

An average data breach costs companies around 7 million dollars per year, due to loss of customers, business disruption, the effect on brand reputation, fines, and so on. Small businesses are especially at risk, because many of them do not even have basic security tools in place, such as antivirus, firewalls or encryption software.

At the same time, large companies and even government organizations are also vulnerable. A couple of years ago, one NSA employee took classified material home to work on his computer. As a result, his use of the Russian-made Kaspersky Lab antivirus program enabled Russian hackers to see all the secret files. The theft helped Russian government to evade US cyber espionage and to track American activities. More recently, Equifax – one of USA’s major credit card reporting companies – was attacked, and hackers went away with the personal information of more than 140 million people in the US and other countries.

“The biggest problem of such major hacks is that governments and innocent people will suffer the consequences for years to come,” said Marty P. Kamden, CMO of NordVPN. “When private companies fall victim to such hacks, they should act immediately, inform all affected customers and do everything they can to ensure that people know how to protect themselves. That includes informing them they should change their passwords and possibly even their bank accounts.”

“Of course, we understand that any breach spells disaster for that company’s reputation – so rather than deal with unfortunate consequences, it’s always wiser to prevent major hacks from happening.”

NordVPN offers a solution for companies to protect their privacy by applying military-grade encryption to all data that any company’s employee sends or receives over the Internet. A VPN also protects the company and its employees from the risk of working from unsecured Wi-Fi spots, such as hotels, cafes, or airports.

“Nowadays, alongside other security oriented means, it’s a must for every company to use a VPN,” said Marty P. Kamden. “Due to recently revealed KRACK vulnerability, hackers can now obtain the traffic going through the majority of Wi-Fi connections if they are within the range of that connection. Companies should take their privacy into their own hands. They should teach their employees to use only https sites; they should update their router’s firmware and consider using Ethernet. Also – this goes without saying – companies should invest in a reliable VPN provider that will keep their Internet traffic private.”

VPN is a proven method to transmit any information confidentially to employees or clients. It also allows to safely execute financial transactions and to stay private in countries with high Internet censorship. Additionally, using a VPN will help companies bypass bandwidth throttling, surveillance or tracking by ISPs.