Alphabet’s Cybersecurity Group Touts Its New Open Source Private VPN

Alphabet (the parent company of Google, YouTube, JigSaw, and a bunch of other corporate divisions) is proudly promoting its new, FREE VPN called “Outline” and for good reasons.

Unscrupulous VPN providers can steal your identity, peek in on your data, inject their own ads on non-secure pages, or analyze your browsing habits and sell that information to advertisers, says one Jigsaw official. And you can’t know for sure whether you can trust them, no matter what they say in the app store. “Journalists should be aware that their online activities might be subject to surveillance either by government agencies, their internet service providers, or a hacker with malicious intent,” said Laura Tich, technical evangelist for Code for Africa, a resource for African journalists. “As surveillance becomes ubiquitous in today’s world, journalists face an increasing challenge in establishing secure communication in the digital space.”

Outline is being offered as free open source software. Jigsaw (the producing company) invites anyone and everyone with programming skills to examine the source code, looking for security problems or other bugs. If any problems are found, please let the Jigsaw software developers know so they can fix the problem(s) for the next release.

“Outline” is specifically designed to be resistant to censorship — because it’s harder to detect as a VPN (and therefore is less likely to be blocked). Outline uses an encrypted socks5 proxy that looks like normal Internet traffic. Once the user chooses a server location, Outline spins up a DigitalOcean server on Ubuntu, installs Docker, and imports an image of the actual server.

You have your own secure VPN feeding into your own server in five to seven minutes. If you don’t already own a Linux server, you can rent one from a number of companies for about $5 US per month. If you can create an email account, you can set up an Outline VPN. Outline gives you control over your privacy by letting you operate your own server and Outline never logs your web traffic. Strong encryption helps keep your communications private. Since you own the VPN, you are also the administrator. You control who can use it and who can access it.

Outline VPN servers automatically update with the latest security settings, so you don’t have to worry about keeping software up-to-date.

It’s been named Outline because in places where Internet use may be restricted — it gives you a line out.

Details may be found at: https://blog.digitalocean.com/digitalocean-outline-jigsaw-vpn/.

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