Beyond the politics of the Facebook scandal, Trumpism and the billion dollar pixel empire of Silicon Valley. 5 ways to secure your account now.

Online data privacy has never been more present on the public agenda than in the past few months, when news about Facebook data misuse broke as the Cambridge Analytica scandal unfolded. Whether the scandal is purely political, having the can-not-be-ignored Trumpian element attached to it, or the billion dollar pixel empire of Silicon Valley ( as Wired describes it), there is a certain collateral that goes much deeper than politics or the Valley. And that collateral element is how easy we ourselves give away personal data in our idealized, highly curated virtual identities we create. Before pointing the finger at anyone, perhaps we should take a moment and think about what any public post or action we take inside a social media platform implies and the consequences that every such action can have on the digital environment, when done collectively.

Stepping aside from the Facebook scapegoat, since we all know it’s not just Facebook that allows public data collection, but many more, let’s think about the positives in the wake of recent events. What is it that we can draw from the precedent and what can we do to ensure that we are taking our data security into our own hands.

As data security enthusiasts, we take online privacy seriously and like to focus on what we can do to create a safe haven for ourselves when online. In the following, we compiled a few things that you can do right now to secure your Facebook account. Some of the features we are going to tell you about were already there before the scandal erupted and some were added as a result of the event (et voila!)

1.Check if your information has been shared with Cambridge Analytica

First things first, you can actually check wether your account was affected during the Cambridge Analytica data collection or not here. Hopefully you will get a message like this one:

2.Manage your privacy settings

Find it in the Privacy Settings and Tools page. Here you can chose if you want to make your profile information, including your friend list, phone number, photos, posts, etc) visible only to your friends or to everyone. You can also hide your entire profile from search engines.

3.Manage Ad Preferences

Since you don’t have the option to avoid ads completely, you can make changes that would enable the network to serve you better. You can learn everything about what options you have in the Ad Preferences section

4.Remove apps you no longer use

In the App Settings page (that you can access by going to the Settings menu and then by clicking Apps), you can check what data you are providing to apps and remove the data you no longer want to share or simply delete the apps you no longer use altogether

5.Soon to be implemented: Access your information data management feature

Facebook is rolling out a new feature over the next weeks hat will allow users to have more control over their profile and timeline information, such as old posts, tags, searches, likes, comments, etc. here’s a sneak peak of how the page will look like.

6.For more security while online 
make sure you set yourself up with a VPN and browse the internet uncharted.

Adding an extra hop to the route between your PC and sites like Facebook, your location data, for example, can be easily camouflaged.

Across the world, businesses use VPNs to connect to remote data centers, or for employees to connect remotely to the physical network of their workplace, while individuals can use VPNs to get access to network resources when they’re not physically on the same LAN (local area network), or as a method for securing and encrypting their information from the potential liabilities that lie ahead once exposed to unsecured networks such as public WiFis or hotspots.

MyIP.io is a self-managed VPN network platform, delivering fast, secure and reliable VPN service , designed with the professional focus in mind. Our platform caters to a wide demographic through three channeled directions:Personal,Dedicated and Business, so it makes for a wonderful choice for corporate or personal use at the same time.

Engineered as a global platform,MyIP.io is a VPN service provider committed to developing applications and services that preserve an open and secure Internet experience while respecting user privacy.

MyIP.io is the result of the craftsmanship of our engineers, with many years of experience supporting large-scale, custom deployments for businesses , telecommunications companies, multi-service operators and enterprises.” Dave Wilson, CEO My IP.io

Resist falling for the free VPNs, hazards lie in fine print

Photo Credit: digital photography by Juan Antonio Zamarripa

“There is no such thing as a free lunch.”

Popularized by Milton Friedman back ’75 the phrase “There is no such thing as a free lunch remains of great economic relevance today in describing things like “opportunity costs”.

However enticing, free VPNS are more often than not the origin of many security hazards and in some cases data collection machines, hence defeating the purpose of what a Virtual private network should be.

“When the product is free. You are the product”

Credits: Xiaolin Zeng

A VPN service  implies having servers in various countries, so the maintenance or renting costs can amount a few figures, depending on volume.

While most legit businesses will offer 7 days of free trial, a free connection on a indefinite period of time is sure to get its profit elsewhere; in ways that may harm your security and defeat the whole purpose of having a VPN in the first place.

Even more compelling evidence on the security risks one might face when exposed to a FREE vpn surface once you start doing research. Take the CSIRO (Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization) the federal government agency for scientific research of Australia. In a study performed a few years ago, they analyzed no less than 283 VPN services only to find that 75% of the free ones contained tracking possibilities. You can read the entire CSIRO white paper here.

We list the most common of these corrupt practices that some VPN providers have been revealed to apply, while others admit as comme d’habitude use  in their lawyer-eese terms of service or in very fine print. 

SELLING USERS BANDWIDTH

 

using their users as servers by converting them into a botnet, some VPN providers appropriate their user bandwidth as their own and are resellling it through third parties or sister companies.
In other words, by searching a bargain you can be faced with two main issues:
1. Slower computer and internet connection: as you’re sharing your bandwidth and processor with others;

2. Higher Security Risks: assuming responsibility for what other users do online, that can be tracked down back to your IP.

INTERNET USE DATA COLLECTION

 

In depth analytics of your use data can be sold to third parties companies also. In this case, your FREE VPN becomes a data collection machine that can use your browsing history and online habits to target you with spam, ads and may even compromise your banking accounts or hold your personal data for ransom. Choosing a VPN provider, like My IP.io, that goes on a “no log kept” policies is the best approach to the matter.
ADS
modifying the web code to show ads is a common practice for “free” VPN services.

CSIRO identified FREE vpn apps “actively injecting JavaScript codes using frames for advertising and tracking purposes, while the static analysis of source code revealed apps that actively use up to 5 different third party tracking libraries.”

TRACKING LIBRARIES

The same study examined through ApkTool “the presence of embedded third party libraries (in the form of external hat files) for analytics, tracking or advertising purposes in the source code of free android apps. […] Since most VPN apps intend to provide online anonymity, the lower presence of tracking libraries is actually meaningful. However, we identified the presence of at least one tracking library in 75% of the FREE VPN apps claiming to protect user’s privacy.

POOR ENCRYPTION OR LACK THERE OF

 

The CSIRO research revealed worrisome aspects regarding encryption: “18% of the VPN apps implement tunneling protocols without encryption despite promising online anonymity and security to their users. In fact approximately 84% and 66% of the analyzed VPN apps do not tunnel IPv6 and DNS traffic through the tunnel interface respectively due to lack of IPv6 support, misconfigurations or developer-induced errors. Both the lack of strong encryption and traffic leakage can ease online tracking activities  and by surveillance agencies.”
MALWARE 

38% of the analyzed VPN apps by CSIRO  have at least one positive malware report according to VirusTotaagencies.”

The Paid vs. The FREE VPN Issue

 

A good VPN will have its own servers and encryption protocols designed for it, reducing possible security failures to a minimum. Free VPN servicesare often an open door to malware and can be easily used by scammers.
In the FREE vs. PAID matter, its is important to understand that most legit businesses will offer 7 days of free trial, but a free connection on a indefinite period of time is sure to get its profit elsewhere; in ways that can harm your security and defeat the whole purpose of having a VPN in the first place.
We suggest you do yourself a favor and invest a good 5 bucks for a reliable VPN like the dedicated VPN you can get from My IP.io or from another reliable provider.
As a general rule, mundane but so incredibly important, reading the company’s Terms of Service and the Privacy Policy, before buying a vpn service is a thing you should really consider. Ideally, these documents are in plain English and not lawyer-eese

The antivirus paradox: Why an AV is not enough in 2017.

Antiviruses and hacking go hand in hand. Some might even go as far as saying that the same camps are involved in making both virus and antivirus software  and that there is a true conspiracy, a vicious cycle that helps sustain both parties in what might be a very lucrative and obscure behind the scene industry. Add government intervention to the mix and you are on the path to being seen as a believer of conspiracy theories, some sort of a whacko.

However derogatory or condescending it is to find yourself in such a position, evidence shows that there might be more to the virus-antivirus ordeal than what meets the eye and that even the most peculiar of these conspiracy theories might in fact be true.

The common narrative of conspiracy, often based on the concept of rivalry, and even more often than not leading to one of the world’s superpowers, be it Russia or the US, it’s a cultural given in today’s world. We are constantly bombarded with news, but more then anything else speculation about what one power is doing to conquer the other. All of these culminating with appropriating a rationale in which we can all understand that the lines between real and fabricated are more blurred than ever before.

Rather than resigning to the idea that there’s nothing we can do about it really, we suggest a different, more empowering kind of approach. The one in which protecting yourself from “the protector” is not something that is unheard of, but rather an a priori condition for true freedom.

Let’s shed some light on some recent events in the case of cyber espionage between [Russia –US] and [North Korea – South Korea], alleged to have infiltrated malware into antivirus software for the purpose of stealing classified data and military files. The common denominator in both cases? Antivirus tools (Kaspersky for the alleged Russian attach against the States and Hauri in the case of North Korea against South Korea).

However, there are many who argue the validity of these allegations, seen as another PR move amid an alleged American campaign trying to discredit Kaspersky, a premeditate cover up that targeted Kaspersky Labs just because it can detect NSA and CIA’s spying tools. Feeling in more danger at home, having to deal with a pretty robust Surveillance apparatus inside the state, many argue the veracity of it all.

 

 AN AV IS A PANOPTICON BY DESIGN


Beyond the speculation, the two hacking incidents reveal “a troubling truth either way” as observed by Wired.  “Antivirus software can pose major risks, whether you’re an intelligence service or an everyday computer user.” states the online mag.

And if we think about the nature of an antivirus, it’s easy to understand why this is. To put it bluntly, an AV is a system-wide omnipotent software. It can track everything and has unrestricted access in order to function, which also make it the perfect bugging device. The utilitarian philosophy of a panopticon (a circular prison with cells arranged around a central well, from which prisoners could at all times be observed) is probably the best comparison.

“AV is pretty much the perfect bugging device on every computer it’s sold on,” says Bobby Kuzma, systems engineer at Core Security. “You’ve got this piece of software that’s in a position to see everything on your computer.”[…]
“We know that the US government has solicited participation from technology vendors in the United States in the past, whether through official channels or more covert mechanisms such as National Security Letters,” says Kuzma. “There’s no reason why other foreign governments cannot compel the same type of cooperation from companies that are based in their territory.”

A VPN TO ENCRYPT ALL YOUR ONLINE DATA, the only way to Zion

Having a robust VPN to encrypt your personal data is nowadays, the only way to Zion.

 

And as we’re not looking to exhaust the “hide everything I do” reasoning; we mainly believe that a VPN is not paramount to activity that borders on illegal, but the very symbol of our right to the privacy acumen. My IP.io stands for data security and flexibility in the professional VPNunderstanding.

Across the world, businesses use VPNs to connect to remote data centers, or for employees to connect remotely to the physical network of their workplace, while individuals can use VPNs to get access to network resources when they’re not physically on the same LAN (local area network), or as a method for securing and encrypting their information from the potential liabilities that lie ahead once exposed to unsecured networks such as public WiFis or hotspots.

Adding an extra hop to the route between your PC and sites like Facebook, your data location can be easily camouflaged.
REASONS YOU SHOULD START USING A VPN APP. NOW:

 

Credit: hero.wikia.com

  • PROTECTS YOUR DATA

your internal data, sites, git repositories, banking credentials and all information will be coated in multiple layers of encryption;

  • REMOTE ACCESS

as IT is being challenged to enable safe access to employees remotely by providing mobile VPN, secure email, encrypted containers and virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI), living outside the data security paradigm is simply not smart anymore, whether we’re talking about corporate or personal data;

  • IP CAMOUFLAGE

A simple VPN download gets you a new location identity so that you can use geographically dispersed resources;

  • BYPASSING FILTERS AND GEORESTRICTIONS

Bypassing Internet censorship in countries where censorship is applied;

  • SHARING FILES

You can share files and sensitive information inside a secured group away from prying eyes;

A common misconception goes to say that US VPN services are legally required to log activity on their network. While required to cooperate with US law enforcement, as opposed to other countries, the location of servers is often more important.

LOGGING POLICIES

Not compliant with DMCA are a lot of server locations outside the US.

DEDICATED IPs

Very useful when playing online games or logging into services such as banks, Paypal, e-mail providers, etc., a static IP is an underated asset, than not many VPN providers, big names (surprisingly enough), offer.

The ones that do offer a dedicated IP will charge the service as add on and will not always be that transparent about prices.

At My IP.io you can get your own static IP address for as little as $5/ month.

Many times, a dynamic VPN service can be rejected by services like gmail, for example. By using a shared VPN IP, Google may flag your account and require 2factor authentication.

For the record, http://64.233.187.99/ is Google’s.

This is their dedicated IP address and no one else’s, the unique address on the web that has been attached to the domain name google.com.

To have and to hold, a pretty alluring thought!

By Purchasing a Dedicated IP your site is the only one on the Internet that will be using that unique IP address.

Apart from the alluring sound of it, with a dedicated IP address, processes are allowed to run for more than 10 minutes as long as they aren’t consuming too much of the server’s memory, which would result in a CPU throttling. Moreover, certain voice chat programs require a dedicated IP address before they can be setup and used or if you have a program that sends out emails every so many seconds, such as from a mailing list program like DaDa Mail, then you would need to get a dedicated IP address, if it’s going to take more than 10 minutes to send out the emails.

MyIP.io is a self-managed VPN network platform, delivering fast, secure and reliable VPN service , designed with the professional focus in mind. Our platform caters to a wide demographic through three channeled directions:Personal,Dedicated and Business, so it makes for a wonderful choice for corporate or personal use at the same time.

Engineered as a global platform,MyIP.io is a VPN service provider committed to developing applications and services that preserve an open and secure Internet experience while respecting user privacy.

MyIP.io is the result of the craftsmanship of our engineers, with many years of experience supporting large-scale, custom deployments for businesses , telecommunications companies, multi-service operators and enterprises.” Dave Wilson, CEO My IP.io