Spotify for non-Europeans via VPN

VPN & Security News No Comments »

Spotify, a Swedish music streaming service, nowadays is looking like a full-fledged replacement. for iTunes. Music can be browsed by artist, album, record label, genre or playlist as well as by direct searches. On  thedesktop there is a link  that allows the listener to purchase their selected material via partner retailers.

Spotify is currently available mostly in Western European countries due to licensing restrictions. Nevertheless, a lot of non-Europeans are already using the service. Naturally, they use virtual private network (VPN) services.

A VPN acts as an invisible buffer between your computer and the Internet. Spotify actually cares about where your web traffic is coming from. And, with the right VPN service provider, your web traffic can appear to be coming from any country you want. If your VPN server is located in a foreign country, it would be like if you actually were located also  in that foreign country.

Here are few tips on using Spotify with a VPN. When choosing a VPN service provider, consider the one with the VPN server located in the country where you want your traffic to come from. This is an advice for accessing any geolocked content, not only Spotify. Once you’re set up with a VPN provider, choose a VPN server through which to route your traffic. Open up http://spotify.com in an internet  browser.  If you get an error “Spotify isn’t supported in your country yet", then select a different gateway or port until you find one that works. Click on “Get Spotify” link at the top of the page. You’ll be presented with various subscription options.  Install and launch Spotify.

Log in to the system, making sure that you’re still logged into the same VPN gateway you used to sign up for your account. Once Spotify is up and running, you can shut off the VPN or hop over to a local, domestic gateway for improved speed.  Spotify allows a certain amount of  listening time from "abroad", so you needn’t worry about being detected and losing your account.


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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!

 

TUVPN.COM – the serious VPN network, where performance and customer care are the only things that matter.


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VPN Security Mechanisms – Explanations in Simple Words

VPN In-depth 1 Comment »

 

VPN service may offer for its users several advantages: flexibility, ease of use, cost savings, network scalability, and private networking. But the key feature of the VPN is improved security. If you use VPN, your information sent via Internet is firmly protected.

There are three concepts that make a VPN connection secure:

•    Tunneling:

VPN creates a secure path through an untrusted network between you and your destination point. Other users of internet can’t see or recognize this tunnel. VPN builds its security mechanism with a help of special network technologies called cryptographic tunneling protocols. The protocols provide establishing and maintaining a VPN connection, encryption of information sent through the tunnel, and message integrity.
 
•    Encryption of traffic:

All the information transferred through the tunnel is being encrypted. An additional level of security involves encrypting not only the data, but also the originating and receiving network addresses. Nobody can use your private information without your permission. Today the newer standards provide very strong encryption which is so secure that it would take thousands of computers and years to break it through.
 
•    Authentication mechanism:

If a bad guy can get one of the keys, he can decrypt all the traffic on the VPN. So a reliable VPN connection has a strong user authentication mechanism. It means the tunnel end point is authenticated before secure VPN tunnels can be established. For authentication the following can be used: passwords, digital certificates, biometrics, two-factor authentication, other cryptographic methods.

To understand it better, let’s see how it works.

For example, you need to get to an internet resource securely so that information about your IP-address, the sites you are visiting, would stay unknown for everybody else, for example, for internet provider. Once the connection through VPN has been established, you communicate with your VPN provider server through the straight tunnel. The tunnel is in fact built in internet. The difference is that information sent through unsecure internet channels may become available for third parties. Information from your VPN tunnel is not. On the way to the VPN server all the information is encrypted. Then your IP-address is changed to a new,  public IP. Transmission of information continues to the destination point in the Internet under new IP so that nobody can track you and use your personal information.

You may say that you have nothing to hide. But in sense of your privacy, the VPN can be a solution.

Here is one more example. You have a small-business company and you need to exchange e-mails with absolutely private information with your partners from overseas. Let’s imagine, you need to do it regularly and in big pieces, and through internet. In this case the VPN connection is the most secure convenient and cheap solution. On the basis of internet the VPN establishes a tunnel between you and your colleagues and encrypted information becomes defended from other users of internet. You can get it by means of a dedicated VPN Server service.

With a variety of VPN products, you can choose the most secure type for your business: VPN for emails, or to run a couple of applications, or networked server. Growing list of VPN technologies can satisfy the most sophisticated needs in security.

 

Making the best choice, you need to consider the following issues:

•    reliability of the company providing the VPN service:

It is important to spend some time and to choose a reliable VPN provider. Reliable VPN service provides maximum security to all the users and make sure that their identity is safe on the internet. You need to take into account provider’s reputation, background and user’s reviews.

•    strong user authentication and key management:

Properly configured VPN service allows an access only to authorized users. There are options for key management. You can share one encryption key among several users but in case you have many network users it can be unsafe. Then you can distribute the keys and replace just one user’s key if it’s compromised.

•    fast and efficient internet connection:

A reliable VPN service offers an internet connection with a maximum uptime and doesn’t slow down the connection speed when users need to use internet.

Technological progress has made businesses to look for improvement to secure their networks and business communications. Personal use of internet reveals more and more cases of disregarding your privacy. The VPN technologies have already taken their marketplace and are acquiring more users every day. So it’s only for you to decide whether your VPN time has come.


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Internet Censorship – The Creeping Threat

Internet Censorship No Comments »

The Internet has revolutionised the way we live, and with the passing of time we grow more and more dependant on its very existence. That it could spring up independently of governments and big business lead many to believe that the Internet could bring the world a new type of freedom. Now we have reason to think again……..

We send emails, blog, chat, do our banking, organise our travel, engage in social networks, enjoy numerous forms of entertainment…..the list is endless.

While we go about our lives on the Internet, we need to be conscious of the threats that exist, and take steps to protect among other things our identity, privacy and communications. VPN service providers play an important role in helping you protect your life on the Internet. We have discussed this in previous blog articles.

Beyond the sinister threat from individuals with criminal intent, we would like to explore in greater detail the growing threat to our Internet freedoms from government sponsored initiatives. Traditionally we have thought of countries such as China and Iran as examples of countries looking to block Internet freedoms from their citizens. But there is a creeping menace that is developing in so called liberal democracies.

There is clearly a role for responsible governments to play in protecting its citizens from harm. But we see a disturbing trend in how this mandate is being used to restrict individual freedoms on the Internet. And the main issue we see is not what is necessarily being targeted now by 'Internet filtering' systems, but how they will morph and be applied into the future……..who will hold the keys? what will be done with information gathered? where will it be stored? how secure is the storage?

 

In the United Kingdom, the Digital Economy Bill was rushed through parliament in the evening of the 10th of April 2010. Is remains only to be approved by the House of Lords. In short, it gives the government the power to force ISPs to block access to any sites its deems necessary, and block access of individuals to the Internet entirely. Cynically it could be argued that MPs have come under significant pressure from global media companies to push this legislation through. But the wider implications of this bill are frightening.

 

In Australia, the government recently said that it would pass laws to block access to some Websites. The prohibited material includes child pornography, bestiality, incest, graphic "high-impact" images of violence, anything promoting or providing instruction on crime or violence, detailed descriptions of the use of proscribed drugs, and how-to information on suicide by Websites supporting the right to die for the terminally or incurably ill. A poll in the Sydney Morning Herald showed 96% opposed, and 2% in support. This is obviously not a display of support for the list of prohibited sites, but a resounding condemnation of a system that threatens freedom of information and expression into the future.

Wikileaks reported a leaked list of sites supposed to be included in the Australian filtering scheme. They included online poker sites, YouTube links, regular gay and straight porn sites, Wikipedia links etc.

 

In New Zealand, the government has quietly introduced an Internet filter and has been placing pressure on ISPs to implement its use. On the 1st of February 2010, the filter was reportedly turned on. David Zanetti, and spokesman for Tech Liberty made a very valid observation, "It establishes the principle that the government can choose to arbitrarily set up a new censorship scheme and choose which material to block, with no reference to existing law"

 

In the European Union, a Directive on 8 June 2000 about e-commerce revealed the first threat to freedom of expression, by making ISPs responsible for the content of websites they host and requiring them to block any page they consider illegal when informed of its existence. On the 29 of April 2004, the European Parliament approved the IPR Enforcement Directive. The Directive covers remedies available in cases of IPR breaches. Unfortunately, this directive has spawned new laws in member states that pose significant threats to Internet freedoms. As an example, Swedens IPRED law that went into effect on the 1st of April 2009, requires ISPs to store individual users traffic data. While not censorship, it perhaps points to a worrying EU direction on Internet freedoms.

 

The moment systems and laws are put in place to facilitate censorship, they sow the seeds for the eventual erosion of our human rights and individual freedoms. They will always be open to abuse and misapplication.

Jeremy Bentham was an English philosopher that lived from 1748 – 1832. He said something that is as true today as the day he uttered these words;

"As to the evil which results from a censorship, it is impossible to measure it, for it is impossible to tell where it ends."

 

We would value your thoughts and updates on cases of Internet censorship.

 

TUVPN.COM Team


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Encryption Strength: 128bit, 1024bit, 2048bit, 4096bit … so what ?

VPN In-depth 10 Comments »

There is a lot of misunderstanding and misrepresentation regarding encryption strength and how most VPN providers talk about it. In fact, we would say that most of them don't have any idea what they are talking about, or if they have, they try to fool possible users in believing that they are more secure than other VPN services …

Let's see some examples from live VPN sites :

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What does 2048 bit Encrypted connection mean ? And what about 128-2048bit security ? Let's try to clarify it as simply as possible….which in itself is challenging when discussing encryption! :D. We will do our best.

Firstly, encryption strength is related to a type of service. So we have to know if we are talking about PPTP or L2TP or OpenVPN or SSH. Once we know the type of service that we are talking about, we can better assess the information that the VPN provider gives to us related to its strength.

PPTP

So focusing first on PPTP…. it can (and should) offer a maximum strength of 128 bits. Encryption using PPTP is provided by the use of Microsoft Point-to-Point Encryption (MPPE) protocol that can just handle 40-bit, 56-bit and 128-bit session keys. So when talking about PPTP, don't be fooled: 128 bits is the maximum strength that you can expect.

Anyhow, security wise, the biggest problem with PPTP is not related to the length of its key (there are other protocols very secure with similar key lengths), but to its underlying implementation that has several flaws. You can read more here.

OPENVPN

Although OpenVPN can be configured in several ways, let's focus on the most typical one found in many VPN providers.

In this typical configuration, first the peers taking part in the communication (you and the VPN server to which you are trying to connect) will authenticate to each other. Once this has been done and the VPN tunnel is established, the proper flow of encrypted data from and to your computer will begin.

The authentication process will usually take place using Public-Key Cryptography and/or username and password. When you read about 2048 bit keys, or 4096 bit keys or something like this, you are reading about the key used during the authentication phase of the communication.

But once authentication has happened and because Public-Key algorithms are really slow, OpenVPN will switch to Symmetric Cryptography to actually encrypt the data that is sent between you and the VPN server. This encryption will take place using a given type of symmetric algorithm (AES, Blowfish, Twofish …) and with a given key length (128bit, 192bit, 256bit, 448bit …).

Most probably this last key length is the one you would worry more about along with the type of algorithm that the VPN provider is using. As you can see none of these symmetric key lengths get anywhere close to those 2048bit ot 4096bit keys that some VPN providers boast.

Having longer symmetric keys will increase security at a performance cost (more or less depending on the algorithm selected). All depends on how paranoid we are and the options that the VPN service provider gives to us.

Hope we have clarified things a bit


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Proxy vs VPN…. Who Wins?

VPN Types 4 Comments »

This could potentially get into a very technical discussion! However, we will try to avoid this, and keep this discussion focused on what we think you want to know. If we don’t cover areas you would like to understand better, please post your thoughts and questions.


We believe the question is as follows;


I want to secure my communications over the internet and protect my identity. I want to do this with the least impact on the speed of my internet connection, with maximum levels of security/anonymity and with the most cost effective solution. What is the difference between proxy server and VPN (Virtual Private Network) solutions?


Proxy Solutions

A proxy server is a server that acts as an intermediary, relaying your request for connection to a webpage, file, or service on the Internet. The location of the proxy server could be physically anywhere in the world. The recipient of the request (e.g a website, service or file) will only see the request for connection coming from the proxy server. The recipient will not know that you were the source of the original request.

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The main use of anonymizing proxy servers are:

  1. Protecting the identity of the computer behind it.
  2. Avoiding geographic restrictions.

Pros:

  • Many free solutions.
  • Anonymises your web browsing.
  • Unlocks geographic restrictions.

Cons:

  • There is generally little or no encryption provided, so all information being sent by you through the proxy server is completely transparent and can be intercepted. With an SSL proxy, communications from the client to the proxy are correctly protected.
  • Connection speed with free proxy servers is generally slow. Bandwidth costs money.
  • Plenty of free solutions require software installs, and or display intrusive adds to pay for the running of the service.
  • Many proxy server IP addresses are known as sources of spam and are blocked by the end destination site.
  • Beware anonymizing proxy services declaring themselves VPNs.


VPN Services

In a previous TUVPN blog article entitled, What is a VPN service? we throw light on what a VPN service provides, and how it works. We also cover this in our FAQs. So we will not repeat ourselves again here, but rather we will spend a little more time highlighting a VPN’s ‘Pros and Cons’.


In a following blog post, we will go into a more detailed explanation of the differences between PPTP and OpenVPN solutions.


Pros:

  • Anonymizes and encrypts all communications over the internet. Not just web browsing as is the case with Proxy solutions. VPNs protect emails, VOIP, chat applications…. i.e. ALL your Internet traffic.
  • Wireless Hotspot protection. See our blog article, Protection for WIFI Connections (hotels, airports…).
  • Subject to the quality of the supplier, high connection speed.
  • Solution to geographic restrictions.
  • With PPTP solutions you don't need to install any software as clients are provided with most Operating Systems or mobile devices. PPTP has limitations vs OpenVPN – we will look at that later as previously mentioned.
  • Stable and Reliable.

Cons:

  • There is a cost to high data speeds.
  • As with Anonymous proxy providers, trusting your VPN service provider is vitally important. There is a growing source of VPN services, but not all are trustworthy.
  • Most types of VPNs require a software installation.


So in summary, proxy services DO have a use, but they have limitations and risks attached. Reliable VPN services will generally have a cost attached to them. You must judge for yourself if the added security and convenience provided is worth that extra cost.


Please dive in with your thoughts or questions.


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Why do I need a VPN? 3): “PROTECTION FOR WIFI CONNECTIONS (hotels, airports …)”

VPN Uses No Comments »

In this post we'll start to see VPN Service applications that are not so well known but no less useful.

From our point of view, one of the most important applications delivered by our VPN service is the protection of communications over wireless networks (WiFi, WLANs, …).

With the proliferation of supply of wireless networks in hotels, airports, bars and countless other public places, and their increasing use by users of mobile devices (laptops, netbooks, PDAs, mobile phones …), the risks associated with use of such networks MUST to be considered.

Let us graphically show the risks associated with using public wireless networks:

 

 

Here we see two possible scenarios where our personal communications would be compromised. Let's look at each:

SCENARIO 1

In this scenario, 'Bad Boy', uses a device (can be a simple notebook with the right software or equipment much more sophisticated) to capture our traffic while he is under the wireless antenna (wifi access point).

The degree to which our communication may be compromised in this scenario depends on the configuration of the wireless access point and the wireless protocol supported etc. You can imagine that wireless network security is not the main concern of the owner of a bar, hotel, restaurant etc.

In general we can say that it would not be very difficult for 'Bad Boy' to get passwords for access to our mail services, examine our chats, get passwords for online services

SCENARIO 2

In this case, what has been created is a Fake Wireless Access Point. This attack is much more sophisticated and with much greater potential for harm.

For example; We're in a bar, we check if there is any wifi network and discover that we can connect to the WiFi network called 'TOM_BAR'. We assume that it´s the bar´s network. We access the wireless network and connect to our company´s webmail, our gmail, and to our bank.

With a set up like this, it is relatively easy to capture ALL our communications, even those protected by SSL (ie our bank) through a  man-in-the-middle attack (refer this link for more information on this; http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Man-in-the-middle_attack).

You can easily understand how dangerous a scenario like this is to our privacy, and it is not difficult to implement.

 

HOW DOES A VPN SERVICE PROTECT US?

Back to our graphical environment to see how a VPN service such as TUVPN.COM protects us against these scenarios:

 

 

As we can see, using a VPN service as we described in the post entitled PRIVACY, ANY traffic between our laptop and the VPN server (in this case Zurich) is encrypted.

This means that although 'Bad Boy' captures all the data he wants, he will not be able to ascertain its contents, because of the encryption offered by the VPN service.

Similarly, in the Fake Wireless Access Point scenario, the 'man-in-the-middle' cannot see anything more than an unintelligible string of zeros and ones because of the existing protections against such attackes within the VPN protocol.

We see that in this way we ensure privacy of your communications from ANY access place from which we connect to the Internet. You don't have to worry about your security, because YOU are providing your own security via use of a VPN service.

 

TUVPN.COM Team


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Why do I need a VPN? 2): “PRIVACY”

VPN Uses No Comments »

PRIVACY is the second key function of a VPN service.

What do we mean by PRIVACY and what are the differences compared with ANONYMITY?

In the previous post, when talking about anonymity, it was said that a VPN service protected our identity. That is, our IP. However, the fact that we are hiding our IP behind the VPN´s server IP DOES NOT in itself GUARANTEE that our communication cannot be intercepted and its contents examined (e.g by our ISP).

When using the real life example of the previous post i.e identity control when entering a building, it would be as if you enter the building and someone signs for you, BUT the guard at the door looks at you and recognizes you. Even if someone has signed for you, you´ve been reviewed and identified and obviously you can be kicked out.

Let´s see how a VPN provides PRIVACY :

 

As we can see, ALL TRAFFIC (emails, browsing, MSN / IM, Bittorrent / File Sharing, Skype / VoIP, online gaming etc..) we generate is ENCRYPTED between our computer and the VPN node to which we have connected (in this instance the Zurich server).

As an example, if we are John and live in Spain and we are connected to the vpn node of Zurich, because NOBODY BETWEEN SPAIN AND SWITZERLAND can examine our communication, nobody has any idea of its contents. This would make John very happy in the event that he felt his Internet access provider (ISP) was snooping on his communications.

Using the example again of entering a building, it would be as if your friend signed you in, and you were wearing an invisible cloak so the security guard could not see you. You need to use a little imagination now in this example!

We hope you understood. We accept any questions!

Because this post is becoming too long, the pros and cons of TOR compared to a VPN service will be left to the next post! We promise it is going to be very interesting. :D


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VPN Services – a guide: “Step by Step”

VPN In-depth No Comments »

Welcome !

Even if you are not yet a user of our VPN services, we hope you will find our blog on internet security and vpn services interesting.

We will try to reveal the details of the service we provide, why it is relevant to your life on the internet, and what technologies are hidden behind the service. In addition we will provide many more interesting facts and information about the world of VPN services, privacy and anonymity.

In our first post, we´ll dig down into the definition of a VPN Service, what types you can find and all the associated jargon.

We look forward to welcoming you as a customer and providing you with a first class service!


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