When Visiting Political, Religious, Sexual, Drug-Related, or other Controversial Web Sites, Always Use a VPN

This is a bit of a follow-up to the previous article, Trump Administration Demands Data on over a Million Visitors to anti-Trump Site.

The Trump administration is demanding web host provider Dreamhost turn over the logs of over 1.3 million visitors to an anti-Trump website it hosts, the company has revealed. The demand asks for the IP addresses and other information that could be used to identify anyone who visited the site. “The request from the DOJ demands that DreamHost hand over 1.3 million visitor IP addresses — in addition to contact information, email content, and photos of thousands of people — in an effort to determine who simply visited the website,” the company said in its blog post. The warrant, DreamHost argues, would also require it to hand over any communications that are even tangentially related to the website.

Such a request has a chilling effect on the rights of free speech, the rights of association, and numerous other rights that Americans have enjoyed for more than 200 years.

The request probably is illegal and also displays an appalling ignorance of the technology involved. In short, the politicians apaprently are not aware that anyone who uses a VPN (virtual private network) or Tor networking has a hidden IP address.

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Hotspot Shield VPN Accused of Sharing Customer Traffic With Online Advertisers

One of the more popular VPN services has been accused of doing one of the things that VPNs are supposed to prevent: sharing your private Internet activity with advertisers for the purpose of improving the ads shown to its users.

The Center for Democracy & Technology (CDT), a US-based privacy group, has filed a complaint with the US Federal Trade Commission (FTC), accusing Hotspot Shield VPN’s parent company of deceptive trade practices. In a 14-page complaint, the CDT accuses AnchorFree — the company behind the Hotspot Shield VPN — of breaking promises it made to its users by sharing their private web traffic with online advertisers for the purpose of improving the ads shown to its users.

You can read more in an article by Catalin Cimpanu in the BleepingComputer web site at: http://bit.ly/2vO2B7A.

Hackers are Using Hotel Wi-Fi to Spy on Guests and Steal Data and Money

This is one more reason why you always want to use a VPN, especially when traveling.

An advanced hacking and cyberespionage campaign against high-value targets has returned. The so-called ‘DarkHotel’ group has been active for over a decade, with a signature brand of cybercrime that targets business travellers with malware attacks, using the Wi-Fi in luxury hotels across the globe.

In short, the hackers find ways to infiltrate the hote’s wi-fi system so that they can see every bit of information that hotel guests are sending and receiving on (unencrypted) connections.

The hackers have much more sophisticated methods than just “wiretapping” into the wi-fi network. The usual method for the attack is to send carefully crafted phishing emails. When the recipient clicks on the email message, a self-extracting archive package, called winword.exe, is then executed and begins the Trojan downloader process.

Luckily, the problem is easy to avoid.

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Best VPN apps for Android

Interesting article by Marc Lagace in the AndroidCentral web site: https://www.androidcentral.com/best-vpn-apps-android.

I’m using the Private Internet Access VPN on my Android phone and can report that it was easy to install and configure. While I don’t have the proper equipment to test its effectiveness, I can report that others have tested it and have stated that Private Internet Access meets all the expected requirements of a VPN.

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Both Russia and China vow to kill off VPNs, Tor Browser

Russia and China are banning the use of virtual private networks, as their governments assert ever greater control over what citizens can see online.

In Russia, the State Duma – the lower house of the Federal Assembly of Russia (legislature) – unanimously adopted the first reading of new legislation that would ban the use of VPNs as well as online anonymizers like the Tor browser if they don’t block access to a government-run list of websites.

Meanwhile, China has started enforcing its rules, approved in January, that do pretty much the same thing.

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ProtonMail Makes Its Free VPN Service Available to Everyone

ProtonMail, the Swiss encrypted email service created by CERN and MIT scientists (and previously described in this blog at http://bit.ly/2snJfUJ and at http://bit.ly/2snGOlm), has released a new product in response to the administration’s roll back of Obama-era internet privacy rules. Starting today, you can try out the company’s VPN service, which was in beta testing by 10,000 initial users for a year, by getting it from the official ProtonVPN website.

The great thing about the ProtonMail VPN is that it has a free tier that’s free forever. It might not be as robust as the paid ones, but it still routes your connection through multiple encrypted tunnels in your choice of three different countries.

Now you have no excuse for not using a VPN!

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