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Do I need a VPN for 2018?

With a growing concern for privacy on the internet – many users are asking the question, “Do I need a…

With a growing concern for privacy on the internet – many users are asking the question, “Do I need a VPN for 2018?”. In this article we aim to give you some basic knowledge of VPNs in relation to your privacy and security online.

 

What is a VPN?

VPN is an acronym for Virtual Private Network.

A VPN creates a secure network connection over a public network such as the internet.

Corporations, Government agencies and Schools use VPNs to create a secure network over the internet to allow users access to resources as if they were physically at the main office location.

As it is a Private network, users need to authenticate with a unique identity and password for extra security.

In the context of this article a VPN is a 3rd party provider that allows you access to their network to appear as if you are accessing the internet from their location.

 

So why do I need a VPN?

There are many reasons why an average user should make use of a VPN.

The most common reason is people who simply want the privacy of knowing their ISP is unable to see what they are doing online. By using a VPN for everything they do online, this user knows that no one is able to pry into their communications.

Bit torrent users are big advocates of VPN usage. Whether they are downloading legal or illegal content (such as moves/tv shows) many Bit torrent users don’t want to become part of an ISPs list just because they have a bit torrent client active.

Another reason would be if you are making extensive use of free/paid wifi locations around the world. By making use of a VPN you are ensuring that any data that you transmit is securely encrypted and can’t be accessed by unscrupulous hotspot operators.

An increasingly more common use for VPNs is spoofing your location for geo-locked content. Many Netflix users are using VPNs to access content from other countries, e.g. a UK user spoofing their location as the US to access a much larger content library.

Some VPN users do so because it allows them to evade censorship by networks, such as schools, work or even your ISPs. Using a VPN allows the user to bypass any restrictions that these networks may have with standard content filters.

 

What are the advantages/disadvantages of a VPN?

Simply put, instead of accessing the internet directly through your ISP, you access the internet through an encrypted/secure VPN tunnel.

Without a VPN, when you access any information online it goes through your ISPs servers. This allows your ISP to see anything and everything that you do online.

With a VPN, you connect to a server run by the VPN provider. This is done through an encrypted connection. By doing so the only information your ISP can see is fully encrypted. This makes it impossible for them to monitor any of your activity.

When connected to a VPN server, your web browsing/activities all appear to be done from the IP address of that VPN server. As mentioned previously, this means that your physical location is also hidden as well as any data you access.

A major disadvantage of using a VPN is that your internet speeds will slow down due to the encrypting/decrypting of all the information you access online. This does use some extra processing power but nothing too noticeable on modern technology.

Using a VPN also adds extra hops on your data’s journey through the internet, this simply means your data has to travel further and therefore slows down your connection slightly.

Probably the biggest concern for users who sign up for a VPN service is that the VPN provider can access their internet activity instead. This moves the privacy concern away from their ISP to another company. This is why users should be very careful when selecting a VPN provider as we detail further on in this article.

 

Is using a VPN legal?

The vast majority of countries have laws in place that mean users have the legal right to privacy. Therefore VPN services are very much legal in these countries.

Very few countries, such as China and Iraq, have banned usage of VPN services.  Some countries such as Iran have made it a requirement that the only legal VPNs are those registered and approved by the government, therefore making them virtually useless.

 

Free or Paid?

It is widely believed that using a free VPN is a bad idea for security. Running a VPN service is not free and therefore most free services will not be as secure as a well-reviewed paid service. A free VPN service has to pay their bills somehow and this is likely through handing off users browsing data for a price!

Just because a VPN provider offers a paid service does not automatically mean they are secure and trustworthy.

 

How do I choose a VPN for 2018?

Choosing a VPN means considering all the things a VPN service can offer. As always, doing your own research on all of these subjects is highly recommended, there is no such thing as a perfect VPN that does it all!

Below are some topics to consider when choosing a VPN for 2018.

  • Price – How much do you want to spend?
  • Speed – Many VPNs offer a free trial where you can speed test the connection.
  • Privacy – Does the VPN provider keep logs?
  • Support – Is the customer support quick to respond, do they provide good answers?
  • Software – Do they offer a VPN client for all platforms (Windows, OS X, Android, iOS)?
  • Servers – Is there a large geographical selection of servers to choose from?

 

Recommendations for a VPN for 2018

Here are some recommendations for reputable VPN providers. As mentioned above you should always do your own research with your specific needs to find the most suitable VPN!

 

PrivateInternetAccess (PIA) – https://www.privateinternetaccess.com/

  • No logs
  • Accepts Bitcoin payment for anonymity focused users
  • Kill switch and DNS leak protection

 

ExpressVPN – https://www.expressvpn.com/

  • Offers 94 geographical locations
  • 256bit encryption
  • Excellent rated support

 

NordVPN – https://nordvpn.com/

  • 61 countries
  • Excellent rated support
  • No logs policy

 

PrivateVPN – https://privatevpn.com/

  • 30-day money back guarantee
  • 6 simultaneous connections
  • Well rated mobile apps

 

That One Privacy Site (www.thatoneprivacysite.net) offers a tool that allows you to compare a massive selection of VPN providers – https://thatoneprivacysite.net/simple-vpn-comparison-chart/

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iPhone

Netflix now lets you share a favorite title directly to Instagram Stories

Having reached critical mass, Netflix shows are now influencing culture — whether that’s prompting everyone to “tidy up” or causing chaos with “Bird Box”-inspired challenges. For good or bad, what happens on Netflix is talked about, memed and shared across the social media landscape. Today, Netflix is launching a new feature aimed at better inserting…


Having reached critical mass, Netflix shows are now influencing culture — whether that’s prompting everyone to “tidy up” or causing chaos with “Bird Box”-inspired challenges. For good or bad, what happens on Netflix is talked about, memed and shared across the social media landscape. Today, Netflix is launching a new feature aimed at better inserting its brand into those online conversations: Instagram Story integration.

Launching first on iOS, Netflix users will be able to share their favorite movies and shows to their Instagram Story right from the Netflix mobile app.

The feature will add the title’s custom art to a users’ Instagram Story, where it remains visible for 24 hours. The Story can also be customized with other options, like a user poll, for example.

If the viewer has the Netflix app installed on their iPhone, they’ll see a “watch on

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GDPR

French regulator fines Google $57 million for GDPR violations

Brace yourselves: The GDPR fines are coming.  France’s National Data Protection Commission (CNIL) has fined Google 50 million euros ($56.8 million) for breaching the European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) rules, the regulator announced on Monday.  SEE ALSO: GDPR transformed the internet in 2018, and it’s not done yet After receiving complaints from two…


Brace yourselves: The GDPR fines are coming. 

France’s National Data Protection Commission (CNIL) has fined Google 50 million euros ($56.8 million) for breaching the European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) rules, the regulator announced on Monday. 

After receiving complaints from two associations — None Of Your Business (NOYB) and La Quadrature du Net (LQDN), the CNIL found that Google has violated GDPR rules in two ways. 

First, the organization found that Google provided information to users in a non-transparent way. 

“Essential information, such as the data processing purposes, the data storage periods or the categories of personal data used for the ads personalization, are excessively disseminated across several documents, with buttons and links on which it is required to click to access complementary information. The relevant information is accessible after several

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iPhone

We finally started taking screen time seriously in 2018

At the beginning of this year, I was using my iPhone to browse new titles on Amazon when I saw the cover of “How to Break Up With Your Phone” by Catherine Price. I downloaded it on Kindle because I genuinely wanted to reduce my smartphone use, but also because I thought it would be…


At the beginningof this year, I was using my iPhone to browse new titles on Amazon when I saw the cover of “How to Break Up With Your Phone” by Catherine Price. I downloaded it on Kindle because I genuinely wanted to reduce my smartphone use, but also because I thought it would be hilarious to read a book about breaking up with your smartphone on my smartphone (stupid, I know). Within a couple of chapters, however, I was motivated enough to download Moment, a screen-time-tracking app recommended by Price, and re-purchase the book in print.

Early in “How to Break Up With Your Phone,” Price invites her readers to take the Smartphone Compulsion Test, developed by David Greenfield, a psychiatry professor at the University of Connecticut who also founded the Center for Internet and Technology Addiction. The test has 15 questions, but I knew I was in trouble after answering the first five. Humbled by my very high score, which I am too embarrassed to disclose, I decided it was time to get serious about curtailing my smartphone usage.

Of the chapters in Price’s book, the one called “Putting the Dope in Dopamine” resonated with me the most. She writes that “phones and most apps are deliberately designed without ‘stopping cues’ to alert us when we’ve had enough—which is why it’s so easy to accidentally binge. On a certain level, we know that what we’re doing is making us feel gross. But instead of stopping, our brains decide the solution is to seek out more dopamine. We check our phones again. And again. And again.”

Gross was exactly how I felt. I bought my first iPhone in 2011 (and owned an iPod Touch before that). It was the first thing I looked at in the morning and the last thing I saw at night. I would claim it was because I wanted to check work stuff, but really I was on autopilot. Thinking about what I could have accomplished over the past eight years if I hadn’t been constantly attached to my smartphone made me feel queasy. I also wondered what it had done to my brain’s feedback loop. Just as sugar changes your palate, making you crave more and more sweets to feel sated, I was worried that the incremental doses of immediate gratification my phone doled out would diminish my ability to feel genuine joy and pleasure.

Price’s book was published in February, at the beginning of a year when it feels like tech companies finally started to treat excessive screen time as a liability (or at least do more than pay lip service to it). In addition to the introduction of Screen Time in iOS 12 and Android’s digital well-being tools, Facebook, Instagram and YouTube all launched new features that allow users to track time spent on their sites and apps.

Early this year, influential activist investors who hold Apple shares also called for the company to focus on how their devices impact kids. In a letter to Apple, hedge fund Jana Partners and California State Teachers’ Retirement System (CalSTRS) wrote “social media sites and applications for which the iPhone and iPad are a primary gateway are usually designed to be as addictive and time-consuming as possible, as many of their original creators have publicly acknowledged,” adding that “it is both unrealistic and a poor long-term business strategy to ask parents to fight this battle alone.”

The growing mound of research

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Internet Security

Facebook is launching political ad checks in Nigeria, Ukraine, EU and India in coming months

Facebook is launching some of its self-styled ‘election security’ initiatives into more markets in the coming months ahead of several major votes in countries around the world. In an interview with Reuters the social networking giant confirmed it’s launching checks on political adverts on its platform in Nigeria, Ukraine and the European Union, reiterating too that…


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In an interview with Reuters the social networking giant confirmed it’s launching checks on political adverts on its platform in Nigeria, Ukraine and the European Union, reiterating too that ad transparency measures will launch in India ahead of its general election.

Although it still hasn’t confirmed how it will respond in other countries with looming votes this year, including Australia, Indonesia, Israel and the Philippines.

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