Archive for NordVPN

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.

 

Advertisements

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.

 

Guest Post: NordVPN Discusses Digital Oversharing And How To Stay Safe

Posted in Commentary with tags on August 10, 2017 by itnerd

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, according to NordVPN’s survey.

More than 80% of respondents have selected ‘home address’ as information that may cause harm if shared publicly. On the other hand, information such as vacation photos or social plans look more innocent to share, and potential threats tend to be overlooked: only half of the respondents have identified this type of information as risky to be shared.

“Each time a social media user announces that they are in the Caribbean with the family, it’s a signal that their home is empty. Or when a user says they are leaving town, there might be a wide audience reading that,” said Marty P. Kamden, CMO of NordVPN. “Even though people express serious privacy concerns, they still tend to reveal their personal details online for small rewards or for the sake of creating their online persona.”

According to security company Webroot, the majority of millennials tend to post their travel plans online.

NordVPN is a Virtual Private Network provider that helps protect online privacy by hiding an Internet user’s IP address and substituting it with NordVPN’s server’s IP address in any country of choice. Here is some advice by NordVPN how to still enjoy sharing on social media, but staying safe and private:

1. Wait till you get home to post your travel pictures. Those who really need to share their photos, should at least wait till they are back home, and their home is not empty anymore.

2. Make sure social media setting are private. One of the most important things before sharing is to make sure that the settings are set on private sharing with friends, or a select group of friends, and your photos are not visible to everyone.

3. Realize that everything you post online, will stay online. Tweets or photos that one posts as a college student will still be there when they are a company director down the road. Therefore, online privacy might have a different value to the same person after some years. To stay protected, don’t post anything now that you might regret later.

4. Never share personal data on Facebook. Do not enter your address or phone number on Facebook where it can be visible to anyone. Do not create status updates sharing vulnerable information.

5. Don’t overshare feelings, not only data. According to one study, people who share their feelings on social media often get bullied, while others look on and allow harassment to happen. It’s more advisable to share personal feelings in close and friendly circles than publicly.

6. Protect your location. Don’t show your actual location by using a VPN. A VPN is a Virtual Private Network that hides your IP address and your location. By connecting to another country’s server, you can set your location to virtually any place in the world. NordVPN is one of the most advanced VPN service providers in the world as it uses leading industry encryption methods and keeps no customer logs.

7. Understand the dangers of free public Wi-Fi. Cafes, shops, and even school cafeteria offer unsecured Wi-Fi networks. Users need to be especially cautious when connecting to these networks – as they can easily be monitored. Hackers can easily position themselves as a Wi-Fi hotspot or use special software to steal data from unprotected networks. One of the best ways to safely use public Wi-Fi is by installing a VPN.

In the age of digital oversharing, it’s still possible to make sure your friends see your vacation photos – but it’s important to be careful with privacy and to follow strict social media rules.

Guest Post: NordVPN Discusses What To Expect From Cybersecurity In 2017

Posted in Commentary with tags on August 1, 2017 by itnerd

2017 has shown us that we all are vulnerable to cyber threats, having dealt with such major scandals as election hacking, two major global ransomware attacks, and a general rise in hacking.

So what can we expect during the second half of this year? Will cyber attacks keep increasing, or are we learning to counter them?

Here is a list by NordVPN of what we could be expecting:

  1. Phishing campaigns will become even more sophisticated. Criminals are now able to create emails that look like typical invoices or letters from banks about account updates or missed payments. While 94% of Internet users say they are able to recognize a phishing email, statistics show that almost half of them will click on a dangerous link. It will get even harder when cyber criminals get even more advanced in creating sophisticated fake emails.
  2. There will be more ransomware attacks. Hackers behind the two recent global ransomware attacks proved that major world companies have serious security issues – meaning these types of attacks will keep increasing, and their scale is frightening. As long as big companies don’t start taking security seriously, there will be criminals taking advantage of it. For example, 94% of companies in the UK said they believed IT security was important, but only 56% have a strategy in place in case of cyber attacks.
  3. Government involvement in data collection will keep increasing. Governments across the world are strengthening their surveillance laws. For example, the UK’s Investigatory Powers Act, called the Snooper’s Charter, allows the British government to force companies to hack their own customers, even by inserting malware into their devices. The Australian government wants to be capable of spying on encrypted means of communications, including services built into devices like iPhone, as well as apps like Telegram, WhatsApp and so on. Many other governments are implementing similar laws that use intrusive data collection techniques. Massive collected data could be easily mishandled, ending up in the hands of hackers and cyber criminals. For example, the Swedish government has recently accidentally leaked personal details of almost all citizens in a massive data breach.
  4. ISP data collection. The U.S. has recently passed a law allowing ISPs to collect customer data without their consent and share it with third parties. Internet Service Providers are now free to collect and share their subscribers’ private data that includes precise geolocation, financial information, health information and web browsing history.
  5. Hackers will access more platforms. While currently cyber criminals mostly attack Windows platforms, they will be getting sophisticated enough to attack iOS and Android, as well as Linux and macOS.
  6. More DDoS attacks on IoT devices. With the advancement of IoT (Internet of Things), the number of properly unsecured devices has greatly increased over the past few years – and it’s only the beginning. The number of smart home gadgets will be growing exponentially in the next few years, allowing hackers to launch DDoS (distributed denial of service) attacks on a scale never seen before, involving botnets or extortion attempts.

How to protect oneself from the increasing dangers lurking online?

According to Marty P. Kamden, CMO of NordVPN (Virtual Private Network), “Internet users should regularly delete cookies, maintain strong spam filters and authentication. It’s crucial to install anti-virus and anti-tracking software, and make sure not to enter personal passcodes and credit card information when using open Wi-Fi networks. Organizations should train their employees to recognize phishing scams and they should have a system where such scams can be quickly reported.”

“With the new level of the Internet surveillance arising, privacy becomes a luxury that is not so easy to obtain. There is more than one example when our personal data is being mishandled even in presumably safe hands. Therefore, one of the best-known methods to keep your information private and encrypted is a VPN. A VPN encrypts user data through a secure tunnel before accessing the Internet – this protects any sensitive information about one’s location by hiding their IP address.”

NordVPN is determined to hide and secure users’ data with features like double encryption and a strict no logs policy. From the moment a user turns on NordVPN, their Internet data becomes encrypted. It becomes invisible to governments, ISPs, third party snoopers and even NordVPN.

NordVPN has recently added a CyberSec feature that can be activated along with VPN in order to protect from malware, annoying ads and phishing attempts. It checks each website the user tries to access against a list of malicious sites. Any site included in the phishing blacklist is blocked before any harm can be done.

Apple Removing VPN Apps From Chinese App Store… Russia Banning VPN Apps Too

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

The news is popping up all over the place when it comes to VPNs. First to China where Apple is removing VPN apps from the Chinese app store:

The BBC understands that as many as 60 VPNs were pulled over the weekend.

Apple said it was legally required to remove them because they did not comply with new regulations.

It refused to confirm the exact number of apps withdrawn, but did not deny the figure. It added that dozens of legal VPN apps were still available.

This of course ties into a story that I’ve been reporting on for the last month or so. This of course has VPN operators nervous. Marty P. Kamden, NordVPN’s CMO, said this:

“We never had an Apple app in China as we were expecting similar issues – that’s why we didn’t get affected by the removal from the App store. NordVPN works in China on desktop apps, and we are currently developing a solution for mobile apps, including iOS and Android. Currently, our VPN works with Windows with no problems.”

“At the same time, we are shocked to see how big companies comply with China’s censorship of free word. NordVPN stands for freedom of speech, and we will do all we can to make sure Internet users in China have full access to Internet. We think that Apple might not realize full repercussions of removing VPN apps from China, since there are also many freedom fighters or those in opposition to the government who need VPNs to remain anonymous or face a serious danger to their safety.”

At the same time this is going on, Russia is going to ban VPN apps as well staring on the 1st of November:

The law, already approved by the Duma, the lower house of parliament, will ban the use of virtual private networks (VPNs) and other technologies, known as anonymizers, that allow people to surf the web anonymously. It comes into force on Nov. 1.

Leonid Levin, the head of Duma’s information policy committee, has said the law is not intended to impose restrictions on law-abiding citizens but is meant only to block access to “unlawful content,” RIA news agency said.

Now, this is likely an attempt to ban any sort of access to outside content that these two countries don’t like. But beyond that, how will this affect VPNs that are brought into China and Russia by those who travel to those two countries? If I have a VPN on my computer, will it still work if I travel to one of those countries and try to connect? That is where I can see a business getting screwed over by this. If I am protecting corporate communications with a VPN, and it is now banned and off-line what happens then? Also, what happens if you are clearing customs and there’s VPN software on my computer? Will it get seized. There’s a lot of unknowns here that I hope get answered and quickly.

UPDATE: Marty P. Kamden, NordVPN’s CMO reached out to me after seeing this story and gave me a comment about the Russian situation:

“The most worrying aspect of banning VPNs in Russia, the same way as in China, is the fact that many political activists would lose their anonymity and can face a very real danger. We are watching the Internet regulation developments in Russia and China with great concern, and want to express our will to continue providing access to unrestricted Internet to the people of those countries.”

Infographic: Is Your Privacy At Risk When Shopping Online?

Posted in Commentary with tags on July 7, 2017 by itnerd

NPT-infographic.jpg

Source: NordVPN

Guest Post: NordVPN Survey Suggests Many Online Shoppers Are Still Not Aware of the Risks

Posted in Commentary with tags on July 6, 2017 by itnerd

Online shopping fraud and identity theft are on the rise. While hackers and fraudsters are developing new hacking methods, many online shoppers are still unaware of basic online privacy rules.

NordVPN (Virtual Private Network) has recently conducted a survey, where it was found 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).

“This points to a lack of understanding of just how vulnerable users can be on public networks, where the level of security is unknown and anyone with basic hacking skills can access sensitive data of everyone connected,” said Marty P. Kamden, CMO of NordVPN.

E-commerce merchants will be spending $9.2 billion annually in fraud-detection by 2020, up 30 percent from current spending, according to Juniper Research.

Javelin said the number of U.S. identity-theft victims rose to a record 15.4 million last year from 13.1 million in 2015.

“Online fraud usually happens when people are not careful with their online activities – not using strong passwords, entering credit card information without making sure the website is not a fake, and doing any online transaction on unsecured hotspots,” said Marty P. Kamden.

Here are the main rules to avoid online fraud:

  1. https

The first thing you should always see while making an online payment is whether the payment gateway has an https URL. The ‘s’ in the URL means that it is a secure protocol and your data is encrypted properly.

  1. Be wary

Being vigilant can help you a lot with the task of shopping online securely. Whenever a website requests for more information than is usually required, like your Social Service number or any other kind of personal information, it usually spells fraud. You should always be cautious before giving your personal or financial details anywhere on the internet.

  1. Stay away from public terminals

It cannot be stressed enough how dangerous it is to share your personal or financial information with any website or any person over the internet while using a public internet connection. Public Wi-Fi networks are common hunting grounds for attackers and data snoopers who try to access your personal information and use it for their benefit at your expense. Since public networks have negligible security, you should try and avoid using them while making online payments. If you must do online transactions while using a public network, then you have to use a VPN to stay safe.

  1. Use a VPN

VPNs (Virtual Private Networks) encrypt Internet traffic on any website. They are the best security mechanism you can employ to make sure your Internet traffic is safe from prying eyes and remains confidential. NordVPN is one of the most advanced VPNs on the market that uses the latest encryption protocols. From the moment a user turns on NordVPN, their Internet data becomes encrypted. It becomes invisible to third party snoopers or hackers and even NordVPN. Being based in Panama, which is Internet-friendly country and does not require data storage or reporting, NordVPN keeps no user logs.

  1. Stronger Passwords

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 account and cause severe damage. It’s always advised to change passwords in order to stay safe online, and that means having to use a unique password for each site or account. Apps such as 1Password for Families allow a family to share passwords, credit cards, and other sensitive information.