INET Conference Raised the Question of Internet Safety

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There were a plenty of topics discussed at the Internet Society NY INET conference. The members of the conference debated the questions of protecting internet privacy, safety web browsing and availability of internet access. One of the key speakers of the conference Vint Cerf accentuated that nowadays it is very important to provide safety mechanisms that will protect us from cybercriminals on the one hand and will guarantee freedom of expression and keeping of anonymity on the other hand.

A lot of organizations including ISOC try to create international policies and technologies that will be able both to protect users’ online anonymity and to identify those who commit internet crimes. This is very difficult task to satisfy competing concerns and provide protection of people’s rights on internet.

There are a lot of cases when people have to use high anonymity web to protect their identity from hackers or repressive authorities. They do everything possible to remain anonymous. However, strong identification is essential while doing online shopping or banking. It is obvious that everyone will prefer to fill in a long application form in order to prevent money theft by the third party that has stolen your ID.

Cerf suggests that strong authentication can provide users reliable protection from spam or viruses because in this case people can accept e-mails and files only from trustworthy sources. He also believes that in order to stop cybercrime we need to develop international agreements that will be accepted by all states.


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New Report on Cybersecurity

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Last week the US Department of Commerce released a report entitled “Cybersecurity, Innovation and the Internet Economy.” This report appeared after the range of Internet security policy recommendations developed by the Obama administration.

The document emphasizes the importance of the companies providing online services for the development of the economy. Gary Locke, Secretary of Commerce, claimed that their "economy depends on the ability of companies to provide trusted, secure services online. As new cybersecurity threats evolve, it's critical that we develop policies that better protect businesses and their customers to ensure the Internet remains an engine for economic growth."

The paper offers ways to strengthen security for companies that do the major part of their businesses on the Internet, like social networks, providers of online services and cloud computing firms. Such companies are included in the “Internet and Information Innovation Sector” (I3S).

To reinforce internet security and reach a high level of web anonymity and online privacy protection, the report gives some recommendations. First of all it is important to implement voluntary codes of conduct to eliminate security vulnerabilities. For example, for better protection companies may start using automated security or Domain Name System Security (DNSSEC) protocols. Moreover, it is of crucial importance to enhance international exchange of cybersecurity best practices and develop incentives for the companies to succeed in this sphere.

Use the following link to read the report: http://www.nist.gov/itl/upload/Cybersecurity_Green-Paper_FinalVersion.pdf.


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PPTP vs L2TP/IPSec

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PPTP vs L2TP/IPSecWe have just introduced a new VPN protocol in our VPN network: L2TP/IPSec

So, currently we support PPTP, OpenVPN and now L2TP/IPSec.

In a previous article we already highlighted the differences between PPTP and OpenVPN. Today we will focus on PPTP versus L2TP/IPSec.

 

L2TP/IPSec

L2TP is a tunneling protocol that allows us to create VPNs. L2TP uses UDP protocol (in contrast with PPTP that uses TCP protocol).

It is important to understand that L2TP doesn't provide by itself any protection (i.e. encryption) to the data being transported. We need to add another layer that provides this service, in our case IPSec.

So, in a typical L2TP/IPSec communication, first IPSec establishes a secure channel between the client and the server and then L2TP takes care of further authentication of the client and establishing the tunnel to securely transport client data to the server within the secure channel provided by IPSec. So IPSec "wraps" L2TP communication and keeps our data safe from prying eyes.

 

PPTP vs L2TP/IPSec

The main drawback of PPTP versus L2TP/IPSec is the encryption strength (for a good introduction to what is encryption strength and why should you care, check this).

PPTP maximum encryption is 128bit using Microsoft Point-to-Point Encryption (MPPE). IPSec can provide much stronger encryption with more up-to-date ciphers. Typically (as in our case) the cipher used will be AES with 128bit keys.

Moreover, L2TP provides data integrity (protection against modification of the data between the time it left the sender and the time it reached the recipient), authentication of origin (confirmation that the user who claims to have sent the data really did), and replay protection (which keeps a hacker from being able to capture data that is sent, such as the sending of credentials, and then “replay” it to “trick” the server) all of which PPTP is unable to provide.

Due to the additional security features provided by L2TP/IPSec, the overhead involved can result in slightly slower performance than PPTP. But this is negligible most of the times.

PPTP is very easy and quick to deploy as it is supported by default by most operating systems. However, L2TP/IPsec is also easy, but does not have such widespread support and so can require a little more effort to set up.

Finally, L2TP/IPSec is more "firewall friendly" than PPTP, meaning that it has more chances to work where PPTP is not supported/blocked.

 

Summary

If security is your priority, then definitely use L2TP/IPSec over PPTP when comparing the two protocols.

Also, you will not have any other options when you find PPTP blocked or unsupported by ISPs.

If you want a quick solution, easy to deploy and that will work on most devices without much overhead, then PPTP is the recommended option for you.

OpenVPN remains our No.1 ranked protocol of the three we offer – OpenVPN, L2TP/IPSec, PPTP.


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Circumvention of Online Censorship

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As we have already informed, in countries with non-democratic regimes, internet censorship has become the main means for the governments to control society and prevent social unrest. Nevertheless, there are many ways for users to bypass internet restrictions, and everyone chooses the most suitable for him/her. The selected tool will depend on what you’re doing on the internet: uploading, downloading or just surfing. More and more often, overviews of such tools are published on any kind of websites.

TMCnet.com recently published an article called “11 Ways to Circumvent Internet Blockades.” The author insists that “no censorship circumvention tool is 100 percent safe“, and adds: “Rule number 1: you’re clever, but the authorities are cleverer.”

There is always the risk of being detected. Internet cafes do not offer full anonymity, your activities can be reported to the authorities.

The majority of users all over the world consider VPN to be the best way to circumvent online censorship. The best VPN services provide high level of security and don’t slow down the user’s connection. Besides VPN, there are other circumvention tools that are widely used to evade limitations. Their effectiveness depends a lot on the users’ activity on the internet: uploading, downloading or just browsing.

Every tool has its own advantages and disadvantages. Some of them, like JAP, YourFreedom, Tor or Psiphon provide their users with good technical support, portability and easiness of usage, but they are not always reliable and often make the Internet work  very slow.

Circumvention tools are developed both by non-governmental organizations and by commercial companies that promote availability of Internet, support freedom of expression and consider online censorship to be a violation of users’ rights.


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Internet Censorship Spreads all over the World

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The Internet has already become the most popular tool for mass communication. Every year the number of people using Internet grows, but at the same time more and more governments implement online censorship in their countries. Nowadays there are about 40 countries that have web censorship; compared to 2002, when there were only four.

Protecting internet privacy is of crucial importance for users from different places. That’s why some people consider any form of government intrusion to be a violation of their rights. But others think that every freedom should have its limits and admit that some restrictions are reasonable, for example the prohibition of child pornography.

However, the toughest censorship usually is used in countries with repressive regimes such as China, Vietnam, Ethiopia and Iran. The repressive governments use censorship to achieve their own latent goals, to prevent protests and to find people that disagree with their policies. Usually, web sites that can jeopardize the current regime are banned in these states.

There are a lot of countries where only a limited number of users have Internet access. We have already reported about the situation in Syria, Cuba, North Korea, Yemen and many other countries where people are not allowed to visit the majority of sites. Many users in these countries have to bypass restrictions with the help of the best VPN services available, that provide them with secure browsing and the guarantee of high-end web anonymity.


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How to Access Social Networking Sites Safely

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Nowadays a lot of people can’t imagine their life without social networking sites. For many users it is the favorite way of communicating online with their friends and relatives. Social networking sites make it easier for people all over the world to stay connected. But in spite of many advantages, they enhance the opportunity for hackers to steal users’ private information.

It is recommended to tune in privacy settings to minimize the chance of data theft. However it will not protect your account if you are accessing it with public Wi-Fi. Many public places such as cafés and airports offer their customers free Wi-Fi connections that are very convenient to use, but that on the other hand can threaten your online security.

Protecting internet privacy is the main reason why a lot of users prefer to protect access to their accounts with the help of VPN. VPN service providers offer their users hotspot security  by encrypting the transmitted data, that’s why people do not need to worry about their sensitive information becoming available to third parties.


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e-G8 Forum in France

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French President Nicolas Sarkozy has organised the e-G8 forum, and has invited personalities like Mark Zuckerberg,  co-founder of  Facebook, Eric Schmidt, Google’s Executive Chairman, Jeff Bezos, Chief Executive of Amazon and other famous and powerful names in the circle of Internet and media.

Participants of the forum are going to discuss issues such as Internet regulations, the influence of the Internet on society and economy, protection of Internet privacy, protection of copyright and the right to web anonymity. The results of the event will be reported to the G8 Summit, that opens in Deauville later this week.

The delegates have different opinions about governmental regulation of the Internet. Google and Amazon consider  the interference of governments to be unacceptable, because it violates users’ rights. European companies, on the other hand, think that it is necessary to control the Internet in order to eradicate cybercrime.

In a speech given last year, Nicolas Sarkozy showed his vision of the problem: "The Internet is the new frontier, a territory to be conquered. But it cannot be like the Wild West. It cannot be a lawless place, where people are allowed to pillage artistic works with no limits".


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Microsoft’s Useful Tips for Privacy Protection

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This year, Privacy Awareness Week is taking place from the 1st  to the 7th of May. It is an annual event organized by Asia Pacific Privacy Authorities (APPA). The main aim of the organizers is to inform users about privacy issues and to help them defend their personal information. In connection with this event, Microsoft is giving some useful tips about protecting internet privacy in its blog. The article focuses on:

  • Personal Computer
  • Web Browser
  • Wireless Home Network
  • Personal Internet “Cloud”
  • Toys and Gadgets

First of all, it is necessary to avoid giving out your information to companies that you don’t trust. It is also safer to type in web addresses for banks and online services than to follow links that could lead you to trap sites.

Secondly, it is essential to update your software, especially your antivirus, and to install on your computer only trusted software, because malicious one can store your personal information. If a computer has malicious software installed, it can transmit your private data to the third party without notification. That’s why some services allow using temporary passwords on the computers that you don’t trust.

Moreover, if you have a wireless home network, make sure it is used only by authorized users. The wireless network should have at least Wi-Fi Protected Access (WPA), use a unique access point (network) name, and be protected with a password. Otherwise anyone else can use it to watch your online activity or to do illegal things that may compromise you.

Do not take lightly the advice to use strong passwords. Password protection is important not only for wireless networks but also for your social network accounts, e-mail and any personal internet “cloud”. Be creative when you create them, remember to change them from time to time and try to use different passwords for services you use. It will help you to protect your personal information from theft.

See more tips here: http://blogs.msdn.com/b/nzgovtech/archive/2011/04/29/take-control-of-your-privacy.aspx

US Consumer Privacy Bill of Rights

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A new Internet consumer bill of rights was introduced in the US Senate on Tuesday. The bill was prepared by two senators: John Kerry and John McCain. The bill is aimed at protecting Internet privacy and securing Internet consumers’ personal data. According to this bill, companies will be obliged to inform customers about their methods for collecting their private information, the possibilities of it being made available for third parties and their emergent changes in privacy policies.

The bill will not guarantee web anonymity to online consumers, but at least it will be a step towards it. The present version of the bill is not ideal and there are some important points that should be included in it to make it better. For example, Rotenberg says that it is necessary to close loopholes that companies could use and allow  the Federal Trade Commission to investigate cases of privacy violations.

The bill appeared several weeks after the Obama administration had given its approval to a consumer privacy bill of rights. The assistant secretary of Commerce for Communications and Information, Lawrence Strickling, claimed that "the Administration urges the Congress to enact a ‘consumer privacy bill of rights’ to provide baseline consumer data privacy protections."


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TUVPN New Year Special Offer Is Ending!

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'New Year Special Offer' Is Ending

Effective Midnight on 28th February

 

 

In celebration of the New Year, we have been offering new customers a VPN account at very special prices.

 

Don't Miss Out – Experience the performance of a premium VPN network.


We are offering big discounts of up to 40% on our 3 month & 6 month VPN accounts.
 

The offer applies for both Shared IP and Dedicated IP accounts.

 

€21/$30 => 3 Month VPN Accounts 

€30/$42 => 6 Month VPN Accounts

 

Here are the relevant PROMO CODES to use:

 

For EUR services:

3MS21 – For a  3 MONTH SHARED IP SERVICE for 21€

6MS30 – For a 6 MONTH SHARED IP SERVICE for 30€

3MD21 – For a 3 MONTH DEDICATED IP SERVICE for 21€

6MD30 – For a 6 MONTH DEDICATED IP SERVICE for 30€

 

For USD services:

3MS30 -For a  3 MONTH SHARED IP SERVICE for $30

6MS42 – For a 6 MONTH SHARED IP SERVICE for $42

3MD30 – For a 3 MONTH DEDICATED IP SERVICE for $30

6MD42 – For a 6 MONTH DEDICATED IP SERVICE for $42

 

TUVPN.COM account gives you access to our entire Global Network of VPN servers.

Access options: Customised OpenVPN (Password Save & Server Menu) & PPTP & High Anonymity Proxies.

 

Don't Miss Out!

 

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