Archive for NordVPN

Guest Post: NordVPN Talks About Russia Desire To Block Telegram

Posted in Commentary with tags on April 11, 2018 by itnerd

The Russian government is continuing its efforts to block the freedom of speech. Its current target is the Telegram messaging app, which has over 200 million users in total and is very popular in Russia. Legal proceedings have been started to block the messaging app in Russia since Telegram had refused to hand over its encryption keys.

Russia has been putting pressure on various international communications and social media companies to remove certain posts or to host their data inside Russia. Some companies gave in, while others refused to cooperate.

For example, earlier this year, Russia demanded that Instagram – which is owned by Facebook – remove posts from opposition leader Alexander Navalny. Instagram caved in. Youtube, owned by Google, refused to do the same and kept Navalny’s videos. Twitter agreed to store user data inside Russia, while Facebook rejected this demand.

“Russia will probably not stop – it will most likely target each company and website they’re interested in, to hand over user information or simply block them. The demand of the Russian government for the encryption keys of Telegram also shows its lack of understanding of how the technology works – besides being a violation of privacy and freedom of speech,” said Marty P. Kamden, CMO of NordVPN. “The whole purpose of encrypted messaging apps is to keep the communications private.”

While the Russian FSB security agency claims it will use private conversations to fight terrorism, disclosing such messages could put many people, including journalists, bloggers and opposition leaders, in danger.

If Russia goes ahead with the intentions to ban Telegram, ISPs (Internet Service Providers) will have to block the domains and IP addresses used by Telegram.

“When someone blocks a certain website or IP address, the block can be bypassed by using a VPN,” said Marty P. Kamden. “A user can choose to connect to a VPN server in any country where that website is accessible, and easily bypass the restrictions. Also, all the information that passes between their computer and the VPN server will be encrypted and private. When Telegram was banned during Iran protests in 2017, many people turned to VPNs to keep using it for private messaging.”


Guest Post: NordVPN Discusses China’s VPN Ban

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

Since March 31, China has officially banned non-state sanctioned VPNs, while businesses and Internet users are waiting anxiously for the ban to take effect. However, there is not much information yet from the Chinese authorities about how and when exactly the ban will be implemented.

“We understand the concern of local and international businesses in China, as well as the needs of scholars, scientists, students and others who vitally need VPNs to freely access the World Wide Web,” said Marty P. Kamden, CMO of NordVPN. “NordVPN believes that everyone should have the freedom to do business, to study or to do scientific research without restrictions.”

China’s Great Firewall is an enormous effort by the Chinese government to control the Internet. VPNs allow companies and individuals to securely access websites that are blocked in China, including Google, Facebook, many news sites, and other social media sites and search engines.

The new Chinese regulations ban anyone from using VPNs that are not approved by the government. Businesses have reported that so far there had been no announcements from authorities about the ban and they were concerned about the lack of information. Many wonder if independent VPNs they have been using will still work.

“NordVPN is working in China with no problems,” said Marty P. Kamden. “We plan to continue these operations, and we are constantly looking for workarounds in China so that people can freely enjoy the Internet.”

A VPN service encrypts all the traffic flow between the Internet and a user’s device. Furthermore, it can prevent tracking software and governments from monitoring the user’s Internet activity and helps hide their IP address.

Guest Post: NordVPN Discusses OpenMedia’s Protests Against FairPlay’s Planned Website Censorship

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

Today, on Feb 28th, Canadian digital rights advocacy group OpenMedia is planning a protest to fight against website censorship.

OpenMedia has launched as an answer to FairPlay, a Canadian coalition of 25 media corporations that are aiming to push for the rights to block any website accused of piracy – without court oversight.

“Any kind of censorship may lead to abuse of power, blocking of legitimate sites and denial of the basic freedom of speech,” said Marty P. Kamden, CMO of NordVPN. “Piracy is an issue, but it should be solved by providing more convenient access to content rather than by blocking or taking down websites.”

When a user turns on a VPN, their Internet traffic gets routed through an alternative tunnel. They can also connect to a server in a different country – so they can access any website that is blocked in Canada but available elsewhere.

VPNs also encrypt all traffic between a user’s computer and a VPN server, providing privacy and security when browsing the Internet.

OpenMedia has a goal to deliver at least 50,000 public comments to the CRTC in protest of FairPlay Canada. The submission deadline is now extended until March 29th, 2018.


Guest Post: NordVPN Discusses How Instagram Gave In To Russia’s Censorship

Posted in Commentary with tags on February 21, 2018 by itnerd

Instagram has just removed posts by Russia’s opposition leader, Aleksei Navalny. The posts showed Russia’s deputy prime minister Sergei Prikhodko meeting with Russian oligarch Oleg Deripaska on a yacht full of escorts. Navalny posted a video with the same information on YouTube.

Facebook, which owns Instagram, confirmed that it had decided to comply with Russia’s request, saying that when governments believe something on the Internet violates their laws, they may contact companies and ask to restrict that content. It is not clear how the opposition leader’s video breached any specific Russian legislation – however, it was removed

Internet censorship in Russia is constantly tightening, and many websites are blocked for no apparent reason. A new law has brought tighter control over which websites Russians can access, enabling the government to disable access to the sites of “undesirable organizations” without a court order.

Those who still want to access the blocked access, use VPNs – Virtual Private Networks that connect Internet users to a server in another country, where these particular websites are not blocked. In addition, VPNs encrypt users’ communication between their device and a VPN server into a secure tunnel, invisible to any third parties.

Unfortunately, Russia has been trying to control VPNs as well. VPNs, which allow bypassing Internet restrictions, are now required to block the websites that are on Russian government’s list.

Many VPNs are not complying with the Russian government’s censorship requirements. For example, NordVPN is still working in Russia as before, giving its Internet users the possibility to access any website without restrictions. That includes mobile users of services such as Instagram who can use NordVPN on their Android and iOS devices.

“NordVPN stands for freedom of speech and against any kinds of censorship and provides a product that allows people to browse the Internet freely. We will not comply with any censorship requests, and will keep offering our service to any Internet users who need to access the free Internet safely,” said Marty P. Kamden, CMO of NordVPN.


Guest Post: NordVPN Discusses Facebook’s VPN App Which Collects User Data

Posted in Commentary with tags on February 16, 2018 by itnerd

Facebook is now officially promoting its own VPN (Virtual Private Network), called Onavo.

Users of the Facebook’s iOS app have recently been shown a new option called Protect (found within the app’s navigation menu), which prompts users to download  the Onavo VPN app. However, this app comes with serious privacy issues.

“The purpose of a VPN is to provide its users with online privacy and security by encrypting all data exchanged between a user’s device and a VPN server. Reputable VPNs do not keep any user logs. Unfortunately, Facebook’s VPN seems to do the opposite – its goal is data collection, while it’s disguised as a privacy tool,” said Marty P. Kamden, CMO of NordVPN.  “This discredits VPNs and deprives people of online protection that they need – especially if they are using a VPN in countries where the freedom of speech is restricted.”

The Onavo app has already got 33 million installs by claiming it provides online protection. When a user downloads Onavo, the app establishes a tunnel – the usual VPN practice – to reroute all traffic from the user’s device to one of Onavo’s servers. This tunnel is encrypted, and a privacy-focused VPN will never monitor the online habits of its users by keeping logs of their activity. However, Onavo does collect mobile data traffic, claiming the collection helps improve its service.

“The problem is that when the data is collected, we cannot know how and where it will be used. It becomes the property of Facebook, and Facebook is not in the business of data privacy,” said Marty P. Kamden. “The data can be easily mishandled, sold to third parties or used for any other purpose. Facebook users should avoid downloading this app, and if they did – they should uninstall it, and use a trusted paid VPN instead. Unfortunately, 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.”

Guest Post: Nord VPN Discusses Why VPN Usage Doubles During The Olympics

Posted in Commentary with tags on February 6, 2018 by itnerd

This Friday, on February 9, the long-awaited event – the Winter Olympic Games – will start in PyeongChang, South Korea. Billions of eyes all over the world will be on this event, which also carries important messages about peace, unity, and tolerance. The athletes of North and South Korea will march under one flag this year, making it an especially intriguing moment to watch.

Olympic games draw millions of viewers around the world – around 3.5 billion people watched last Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.

However, it’s not always possible to watch your country’s athletes perform, especially when you are traveling – a country you are in will usually be showing their own athletes’ performances. Therefore, many people who might have never used a VPN before (Virtual Private Network) turn to one for watching any game online.

NordVPN, a VPN service provider, has seen an increase in its users during every Olympics and other international sporting games – but last Olympics reached a record number of new users.

During the 2016 Summer Olympics in Brazil, NordVPN’s sales grew by 104.72%, showing growing digital awareness of viewers.

A VPN service links user’s computer to a server in a country of their choice via an encrypted tunnel. For example, a person can appear to be in the U.S. while they actually are in Europe, or vice versa, simply by choosing a different VPN server location. A VPN service like NordVPN would allow you to substitute your current IP address with the IP address of the United States so you can watch the Olympics as if you were in the States.

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.