Why Free VPNs are not a Risk Worth Taking

I have written often about the wisdom of always using a VPN to keep your online activities private. (See http://bit.ly/2fucq1F for my past VPN articles.) Now David Gewirtz has written an article telling why someimes you get what you pay for or, even worse, what you didn’t pay for.

Gewirtz writes, “TANSTAAFL. If you’ve read your Heinlein, you know it’s an acronym for ‘There ain’t no such thing as a free lunch.'”

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ArmorVPN: The Easiest Way to Use a VPN & Protect Privacy

In my opinion, everyone should use a Virtual Private Network (VPN) when accessing the Internet. Quoting from the information about ArmorVPN on the Kickstarter web site:

“Every day around the world people use the internet for a variety of tasks. It has truly revolutionized life for billions of people. Though it is incredibly easy to use it’s not always safe. A shockingly large number of people are tracked for advertising purposes and monitored for any number of reasons by their own government—even though they are doing nothing wrong. The need for security and privacy increases as we access the internet more and more through smart phones, tablets, streaming services, and smart home devices. There are a few ways to accomplish this, the most trusted being a virtual private network, or VPN.”

In fact, VPN software and hardware has become a “growth industry” in recent years as spying by hackers, criminals, governments, and corporations alike continues to increase. You can now find dozens of solutions that use VPNs to help protect your privacy online. One of the newest, and easiest to implement, solutions is called ArmorVPN.

ArmorVPN is a bit of hardware contained in a small box. It contains everything you need to protect the online activities of your computers, cell phone, streaming TV device, game console, and more. It works with Windows, Macintosh, Android, Apple iOS, and Linux. In fact, the operating system(s) used are unimportant; the ArmorVPN device will work with any device that is capable of communicating on the Internet. If your cell phone is capable of placing calls over the Internet (typically called a VoIP phone), you can even make voice calls with it.

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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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