10 things to look for when buying a VPN

Here to spare you the trouble of such a tiring task, as VPN providers ourselves, we’ve put our heads together to asses the most desirable features a good VPN should have and are giving you the scoop on all. Just sit back and enjoy the ride, as we list the 10 most important features to look for in a VPN.

A well grounded economic notion warning about the unforeseen consequential effects of abundance describes excess as threatening to social welfare. Unlike other economic theories talking about scarcity, this time, excess is the enemy in gradually rendering human labor as redundant when compared with machine automation.

Now, let’s take the theory of abundance and apply it to a more trivial concern than that of pondering upon the fate of economics. Let’s think about internet and internet browsing for a bit and how the paradox of abundance can take new meaning here.

A simple google search will often return dozens of results to the point that you might find yourself faced with redundant choices, every once too often. In our case, if you stumbled upon the title, my guess is you are looking for a good reliable VPN provider, but don’t really know what to chose as you don’t really have the time or the inclination to do a VPN research among providers promising to sell, products that may look similar or the same, at first glance.

№1: PRICE

Photo Credit: wikiart.org

When it comes to free versus paid, there is no debate really. Going with a free VPN service could defeat the very purpose you’re using such a service. “When the product is free, you are the product” — here’s the wild idea. Let’s drill into its meaning a bit to give background: Let’s start from another similar premise popularized by Milton Friedman back ’75, the phrase “There is no such thing as a free lunch, of great economic relevance today in describing things like “opportunity costs”. However enticing, free VPNS seldom defeat the purpose of what a Virtual private network should be.

  • When the product is free, you are the product– A VPN service implies having servers in various countries. The maintenance or renting costs can amount a few figures, depending on volume. using their users as servers by converting them into a botnet, some VPN providers have been revealed, while others admit in their lawyer-eese terms of service, they can sell your bandwidth to other 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.
  • Data Collection: In depth analytics of your use data can be sold to third parties companies. 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.
  • A good VPNwill 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 VPNlike the dedicated VPN you can get from My IP.io or from another reliable provider. Prices are raging from $7 to $12 depending on the subscription time commitment, so going with My IP.io is a no brainer considering the unrivaled cost to features ratio.

№2: TEST SERVICE TIME

Photo Credit: streetartnyc.org

To test the service most providers allow 7 days money back guarantee and of course My IP is no exception when it comes to letting users try the service out.

№3: COMPATIBILITY

Compatibility with Windows, Mac, Android and iOS devices are a given for most VPN products out there. Stepping up a notch come browser extensions and compatibility with Kindle/eReader, TV or gaming systems.

All My IP.io products are compatible with all major OSes (Windows, Mac, iOS, Android) plus Routers and Linux.

№4: ENCRYPTION

Photo Credit: tumblr.com

They say that a VPN is only as good as its encryption capabilities, but encryption in itself is not the simplest of topics. The terminology used to determine how secure a VPN connection is, can get very confusing, very quickly. Slapdash to the point of being misleading, many VPN providers describe the encryption they use in a telegraphic manner or worse, they don’t describe it at all.

Before getting familiar with security standards and encryption protocols, let’s just focus on this pretty impressive feature for a VPN to have, the Open VPN Cipher: AES (Advanced Encryption Standard) with 256-bit keys — also known as the AES-256. This security standard is basically the same encryption standard adopted by the U.S. government and used by security experts worldwide to protect classified information.

Right below we have AES- 128, the Open VPN Cipher used by My IP.io, which remains secure as far as the AES in general is regarded. The mathematics of the 128 bit AES goes to show that a billion billion years are required and a supercomputer for a brute force attack to crack it.

Pretty impressive, huh?

With this in mind, here’s the actual math of the number of years it would take to crack 128- bit AES (notice the exponential increase depending on the key size!)

No. of Years to crack AES with 128-bit Key = (3.4 x 1038) / [(10.51 x 1012) x 31536000]
= (0.323 x 1026)/31536000
= 1.02 x 1018
= 1 billion billion years

Of course AES is not perfect, but hey! math doesn’t lie.

My IP.io comes bundled with a variety of VPN encryption protocols, supporting all the latest security protocols including SSTP, PPTP, IPSec, L2TP, SSTP and 128bit –AES, OpenVPN cipher.

When you use the MY IP.io app, you can easily switch between protocols, although it’s recommended that you stick with defaults.

№5: LOCATIONS

Generally used to epitomize how the right or wrong location can determine the outcome of a property sale or a new business venture, the phrase “location, location, location” acquires new meaning when referenced in Tech. Just as sometimes access to venture capitalists is somewhat more difficult, if you’re not in Silicon Valley, Alley or Prairie, often digital access requires geographical variables to wire.

You might be a french citizen with a industrial Design degree at the OSU in Ohio working remotely from Sidney for an US company that operates in Singapore with an innate passion for video games and plenty of geographically dispersed friends from back in boarding. Naturally, you will encounter geo-restrictions when connecting to your remote workplace or when you digress to getting your hands on Witchers 4 (!on the absolute latest timezone release), or even when communicating with your friends from abroad. Having a VPN in place to bypass geo-restriction, while keeping your privacy, hidden under rocks, is the way to go, keeping your data encrypted, while giving you tunnel vision to distant locations.

Geared with brand new locations from California to Florida, from United Kingdom to Germany or Australia to Japan, My IP.io comes with brand new locations to chose from.

Introducing a much more location diverse dedicated VPN service, our latest server acquisitions are located in:

  • USA California
  • USA Oregon
  • USA Ohio
  • USA North Virginia
  • USA Florida
  • Brazil
  • United Kingdom
  • Germany
  • Australia
  • India
  • South Korea
  • Singapore
  • Japan

Ok, but what’s the right location for you, right?
Long story short, if you’re in east Asia try to connect to Singapore or US; or if you’re in the Middle East, try connecting in Europe. The first thing to consider is the nearest location to yours.

№6: LOGGING POLICIES

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.

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

MyIP.io is a self-managed VPN network platform, delivering fast, secure and reliable VPN service ,with servers located in France, Romania and Canada, hence is not subjected to Ministry of Industry and Information Technology or DMCA compliance.

№7: SUPPORT

Most VPN providers offer support centers and entire achieves of How Tos or FAQs, but let’s face it, having a reliable support features means more than that. You want to be able to talk through live chat or with a live representative at times.

A VPN with My IP.io will give you access to one of the most diverse support system a VPN provider could give you. 24/7 Support through live chat or by phone, a comprehensive video gallery of how tos, ticket or email support and even remote desktop support, where the case.

№8: 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 underrated 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.

№9: BUSINESS PLANS

VPNs are often the communication platform of choice for virtually any business that takes itself seriously, as they enable site-to-site connection with a service provider managing the end-to-end network. A VPN enables a computer that is located outside the corporate network to connect to that network as if it were inside the building, allowing access to internal resources such as file shares, applications, and printers. Beyond connectivity a VPNimplicitly means that a secure bridge has been created between any given device using that connection and your business server, which can be on your premises or in the cloud.

Appliances or servers will give you great control, but cloud-based, hosted or outsourced VPN services are the real deal breaker, with an unrivaled cost-to-features and security ratio, spearing you of the typical technical hurdles of on premise deployment and use.

A hosted business VPN solution will overcome the following thorny issues:

  • on premise deployment:
    having a dedicated VPNin place will reduce the complexity of deployment and use to a minimum of only having to run a single interface software;
  • data security:
    internal data, sites, git repositories and all information will be coated in multiple layers of encryption;
  • remote connectivity:
    you will enable access across a geographically disperse workforce;

My IP.io, the platform of choice for many agile businesses, trusted brand by thousands of happy business owners.

With our business VPN suite comes strengthened security, as the service is not limited to encryption. We also support all the latest security protocols including SSTP, PPTP, IPSec, L2TP, SSTP, and OpenVPN.

The level of sophistication depends on the number of accounts and/ devices: our business VPN solution can consolidate all your team’s accounts into one master account, a convenient scenario in terms of having control, management and payment. We can allocate a whole subnet, so that you won’t be constrained as to having to whitelist multiple IPs or we can engineer a custom solution for your, in which we install a LDAP server. You will be given a password manager and VPN server and you’re free to run your own network to your preference. The business VPN solution allows multiple people to be logged in and proxying through a single IP address at one time, simultaneous connection for all on multiple devices, editing and monitor access, from a single, easy-to-use central admin area.

My IP.io Business VPN Benefits:

Multiple VPN Accounts

Dedicated Suppot

One Master Account

Discounts

To get started in full big business connectivity way, just connect with My IP.io and we’ll assign an account manager that will guide you through the whole installation process and assist you each step of the way for the whole period of your subscription. Once the number of accounts and connections are defined, we can set things in motion for you and your team.

№10: SIMULTANEOUS CONNECTIONS

Last, but certainly not least, the number of simultaneous connections can be a big plus for any VPN account you might decide to go with. Most VPN Providers will allow 1 to 5 simultaneous connections for each account. With My IP, a master account, available for business plans can get you up to 50 per account.

Hope the list here helps you make better informed decisions in the future!

Stay smart!

Go from Zero to Hero with these New VPN Locations

Easy guide on how to chose your VPN location like a PRO

Photo Credit: imgur.com

Generally used to epitomize how the right or wrong location can determine the outcome of a property sale or a new business venture, the phrase “location, location, location” acquires new meaning when referenced in Tech. Just as sometimes access to venture capitalists is somewhat more difficult, if you’re not in Silicon Valley, Alley or Prairie, often digital access requires geographical variables to wire.

Photo Credit: www.galeriedusseldorf.com.au

You can buy the right home in the wrong location and might find yourself distant or completely cut off from some of the amenities a better neighbourhood can proffer. You can change or remodel your house, but, ordinarily, it will remain attached to the land. Much more enticing than being pinned down to one particular geographical place, our digital lives often extend far beyond our geographical coordinates.

You might be a french citizen with a industrial Design degree at the OSU in Ohio working remotely from Sidney for an US company that operates in Singapore with an innate passion for video games and plenty of geographically dispersed friends from back in boarding. Naturally, you will encounter geo-restrictions when connecting to your remote workplace or when you digress to getting your hands on Witchers 4 (!on the absolute latest timezone release), or even when communicating with your friends from abroad. Having a VPN in place to bypass geo-restriction, while keeping your privacy, hidden under rocks, is the way to go, keeping your data encrypted, while giving you tunnel vision to distant locations.

Geared with brand new locations from California to Florida, from United Kingdom to Germany or Australia to Japan, My IP.io comes with brand new locations to chose from.

Introducing a much more location diverse dedicated VPN service, our latest server acquisitions are located in:

  • USA California
  • USA Oregon
  • USA Ohio
  • USA North Virginia
  • USA Florida
  • Brazil
  • United Kingdom
  • Germany
  • Australia
  • India
  • South Korea
  • Singapore
  • Japan

Ok, but what’s the right location for you, right?

Here are some tips on how to chose the right Location for your VPN:

Looking for access to Censored Content: Google, Facebook, Twitter or Skype?

The no brainer here is to select a location where access to these services is not restricted.

Photo Credit: www.fusionspark.com

The Chinese internet, for example, goes by very strict policies imposed by a variety of laws and administrative regulations, controlled by an authoritarian government that tries to neutralize critical online opinion. It’s an unprecedented censorship system in all rights, that turned the Chinese internet into the largest digital boundary the world has ever seen. Beijing walls its homeground internet from the rest of the digital world for two decades, preventing technology companies like Facebook to tap into the Chinese market.

It’s no news that the Chinese market is home to a copycat cultural habit, but at the same time China and not Silicon Valley is cutting edge innovation if we were to quote New York Times. “While still lagging in some important areas, China managed to protrude Baidu instead of Google, Weibo for Twitter, WeChat for Facebook or Alibaba instead of Amazon. Letting users hail a taxi or order a pizza without switching to another app., the rich, resourceful Chinese digital world is proving itself to be worthy of causing a real great split between China and the rest of the world.”

There are many ways of circumventing the totalitarian Chinese surveillance system, such as proxy servers or VPNs. Any company selling VPN services in China must comply with regulations, hence register with the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology. Plus they’re constantly targeted by the local authorities and are often slow and unstable. As monitoring and surveillance is not confined to the Great Firewall, but built-in social networks, chat services and VoIP, the best solution falls in the court of companies outside China.

MyIP.io is a self-managed VPN network platform, delivering fast, secure and reliable VPN service ,with servers located in France, Romania and Canada, hence is not subjected to Ministry of Industry and Information Technology or DMCA compliance.

Long story short, if you’re in east Asia try to connect to Singapore or US; or if you’re in the Middle East, try connecting in Europe.

Looking for Security and not necessarily circumvent geo-restrictions?

The first thing to consider is the nearest location to yours.

Photo Credit: ymutate.tumblr.com

Learn about the layers of encryption built into your VPN service. They say that a VPN is only as good as its encryption capabilities, but encryption in itself is not the simplest of topics. The terminology used to determine how secure a VPN connection is, can get very confusing, very quickly. Slapdash to the point of being misleading, many VPN providers describe the encryption they use in a telegraphic manner or worse, they don’t describe it at all.

Essentially, when using a VPN app., data is encrypted at each end of the tunnel and decrypted at the other end. The tunnel itself is simply the path connecting two locations (flashback to a tunnel going under a mountain, where the mountain is the internet and the tunnel is the safe path through the other side). When it reaches the internet, each data file is broken into a series of packets to be sent and received by devices connected to the internet, as the de facto manner in which data travels online. In this context, tunneling is the process of placing an entire packet within another packet (yeah! Just like a Russian nesting doll, a Matryoshka of files) before being sent on the internet. That outer packet protects the inner packets and ensures that the “cargo” moves within the virtual tunnel. While the tunnel itself is not encrypted, but encoding can be added, a VPN needs more than just a pair of keys in order to apply encryption. This is where protocols come in.

My IP.io comes bundled with a variety of VPN encryption protocols, supporting all the latest security protocols including PPTP, IPSec, L2TP and 128bit –AES, OpenVPN cipher. When you use the MY IP.io app, you can easily switch between protocols, although it’s recommended that you stick with defaults.

Now that you know how to address the “location” aspect of a VPN, remember that My IP’s latest server locations were hand-picked to deliver the most reliable speed. We continuously update our server locations by analyzing numerous data points, among which: Connection success rate, Customer usage and Speed.

When choosing a location it is also important to check things like: Speed Index, Latency, and Download Speed, as these are all important factors.

This is what they mean:

Speed Index: shows how fast the VPN server is; the higher the number, the better the server.

Download Speed: it tells you how fast your VPN server is able to download information; also the higher, the better.

Latency: it’s the time it takes for a data packet to go from your device to reach the VPN.

VPNs rise to the mainstream: Read or miss out

Credit Photo: wakingtimes.com

A few years ago, adopting a VPNwas not the simplest of tasks for IT managers for a number of reasons which included: deployment, compatibility or interoperability issues and the expense of these systems. Things have changed. VPNs are now entering the mainstream, and many companies view them as a telecommunications necessity from both security and cost perspectives.

Originally designed to reduce the costs of connecting branch offices to the main office of a business, VPNs addressed the concern of high costs of leased lines and dedicated connections. The next matter-of-course step was to adapt VPNs to individual remote use, for internal network access and secure operations across the internet.

Widely used by companies to protect corporate data, Virtual Private Networks took over the personal data arena, as well, to such a degree that the use of a VPN has become an almost inalienable, “basic right”, for virtually any kind of private data exposed to the internet.

SSL VPNs pushed by Microsoft over a decade ago or the desktop VPN released just late last month by Opera, help the use of a VPN reach the mainstream.

To sum, a VPN enables a computer that is located outside the corporate network to connect to that network as if it were inside the building, allowing access to internal resources such as file shares, applications, and printers. Beyond connectivity a VPN implicitly means that a secure bridge has been created between any given device using that connection and your business server, which can be on your premises or in the cloud.

Geographically dispersed workforce, no longer a thing of particularity, but rather the norm as highly data oriented companies outsource or expand internationally, increase the need for data protection, as a first line of defense for these intangible assets. In this new paradigm, data loss or data leakage is just like throwing money out the window, since it may lead to competitors picking up sensitive information about your business and use it against you in the economic arena.

The need to access corporate or commercial information is a core component of connectivity inside the enterprise and managing these intangible assets over a plain internet connection is simply not for business use.
At the same time, on the individual approach, data leakage will make your online footprint larger and more visible, while some embedded, sometimes default, features of your favorite social networks like facebook’s location, Twitter’s places, share your data with third-party companies.

CLIENT vs. CLIENTLESS:

Clientless VPN solutions enabled the technology to go a bit further towards mainstream and so have appliances and servers or cloud-based, hosted VPNservices, in their growing plurality.

When challenged to go with one technology or the other, one may be faced with several conundrums: “client vs. clientless” or “hosted or on premise”.
Naturally, each one of these options has pros and cons according to specifics. Still, the question lingers: “which remote user communities can they best serve? What does it really take to install each or any of these VPN solutions?

Let’s just start with SSL VPNs, since they debuted over a decade ago and are generally held to be a user-friendly, cost-effective, secure remote access method.

SSL

The Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) VPN was developed to simplify access to internal company network resources for remote end users. An SSL VPN is a VPN based on the Secure Sockets Layer protocol developed by Netscape Communications during the 1990s. Netscape Communications developed this protocol to transmit private documents via the Internet by initiating a connection from a client to a server using data encryption and other options such as server authentication, message integrity, and client authentication. SSL is now a standard built into every major web browser and web server. In addition to being used in web browsers, SSL has been adapted to secure other protocols (e.g., POP3, IMAP, and SMTP).

SSL PROs & CONs:

-access to specific applications, rather than entire subnets.

Getting access to exact applications can be helpful for hospitals and health care facilities, as they enable remote access to medical applications and patient information directly to the application. However IPSec(client based) connects hosts to entire private networks, while SSL VPNs connect users to services and applications inside those networks.

— Most SSL VPNs provide secure access to Microsoft Outlook Webmail, network file shares and other common business applications. However, they often require custom development to support nonbrowser-based apps.

— SSL VPNs are not designed for an environment where the VPN connection needs to be always on and shared by multiple users; since it requires a web browser to function. This makes SSL VPN connections only suitable for a single user to connect, other VPN implementations, such as IPSEC, where the client can be a single computer or a hardware device can tunnel multiple users’traffic back to the office VPN server.

— web browser pop-up blockers could prevent them from running. The pop-up blocker may see pop-ups coming from the SSL VPN as nuisances and block the helper applications from performing their security and proxy functions.

— on Windows XP and Linux users may encounter issues due to the different levels of access that these operating systems have for users, both put the standard user account at a level that does not allow the kind of changes on the local computer that are needed for the helper applications to run.

— Security concerns: the host checking application may only check the remote computer once when the user logs into the SSL VPN. If the host checking application does not run continuously while the user is logged in, the user could potentially breach the company’s security requirements and policies without censor.

HOSTED VPNS

Appliances or servers will give you great control, but cloud-based, hosted or outsourced VPN services are the real deal breaker, with unrivaled cost-to-features and security ratio, spearing you of the typical technical hurdles of on premise deployment and use.

A hosted business VPN solution will overcome the following thorny issues:

  • on premise deployment:
    having a dedicated VPN in place will reduce the complexity of deployment and use to a minimum of only having to run a single interface software;
  • data security:
    internal data, sites, git repositories and all information will be coated in multiple layers of encryption;
  • remote connectivity:
    you will enable access across a geographically disperse workforce;

My IP.io, the platform of choice for many agile businesses, trusted brand by thousands of happy business owners.

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.

Sources:

www.giac.org

[1] www.giac.org

Everything you wanted to know about VPN encryption but were too overwhelmed by the techie jargon to ask

Photo Credit: pop art tumblr

They say that a VPN is only as good as its encryption capabilities, but encryption in itself is not the simplest of topics. The terminology used to determine how secure a VPN connection is, can get very confusing, very quickly. Slapdash to the point of being misleading, many VPN providers describe the encryption they use in a telegraphic manner or worse, they don’t describe it at all.

Eavesdroppers are kept away, when using a VPN app. that encrypts your data and cloaks your IP address and it’s important to know how secure your VPN really is by simply becoming acquainted with jargon.

OPEN VPN CYPHERS

Before getting familiar with security standards and encryption protocols, let’s just focus on this pretty impressive feature for a VPN to have, the Open VPN Cipher: AES (Advanced Encryption Standard) with 256-bit keys — also known as the AES-256. This security standard is basically the same encryption standard adopted by the U.S. government and used by security experts worldwide to protect classified information.

Right below we have AES- 128, the Open VPN Cipher used by My IP.io, which remains secure as far as the AES in general is regarded. The mathematics of the 128 bit AES goes to show that a billion billion years are required and a supercomputer for a brute force attack to crack it.

Pretty impressive, huh?

For the sake of the argument, it is worth mentioning that given sufficient time, a brute force attack is capable of cracking any known algorithm.

With this in mind, here’s the actual math of the number of years it would take to crack 128- bit AES (notice the exponential increase depending on the key size!)

No. of Years to crack AES with 128-bit Key = (3.4 x 1038) / [(10.51 x 1012) x 31536000]
= (0.323 x 1026)/31536000
= 1.02 x 1018
= 1 billion billion years

Of course AES is not perfect, but hey! math doesn’t lie and the fact that governments and businesses place a great deal of faith in the belief that AES is so secure that its security key can never be broken, despite some of its inherent flaws and that it has been a standard coined by the U.S. National Institute of Technology (NIST) since 2001, it’s no insignificant detail.

A VPN is only as good as its encryption capabilities.

Wikipedia defines encryption as being the process of encoding data in such a way that only authorized parties can read it. Encryption does not of itself prevent interception, but denies the message content to the interceptor. In an encryption scheme, the intended communication information or message, referred to as plaintext, is encrypted using an encryption algorithm, generating ciphertext that can only be read if decrypted.

For technical reasons, an encryption scheme usually uses a pseudo-random encryption key generated by an algorithm. It is in principle possible to decrypt the message without possessing the key, but, for a well-designed encryption scheme, large computational resources and skill are required. An authorized recipient can easily decrypt the message with the key provided by the originator to recipients, but not to unauthorized interceptors.

Simply put the above statement can be summarized in the idea that encrypted data can be decoded only with the right decoder.

An encryption key tells the computer what computations to perform on data in order to encrypt or decrypt the data.

There are two main encryption models:

· symmetric-key encryption, based on the same key used to both encrypt and decrypt a message shared among all users.

  • public-key encryption, each computer (or user) has a public-private key pair. The private key from one computer (or user) encrypts the message, while the other computer uses the corresponding public key to decrypt that message.

The Tunnel, a Matrioshka of files:

Photo Credit: www.red5.co.uk

Essentially, when using a VPN app., data is encrypted at each end of the tunnel and decrypted at the other end.

The tunnel itself is simply the path connecting two locations (flashback to a tunnel going under a mountain, where the mountain is the internet and the tunnel is the safe path through the other side).

When it reaches the internet, each data file is broken into a series of packets to be sent and received by devices connected to the internet, as the de factomanner in which data travels online. In this context, tunneling is the process of placing an entire packet within another packet (yeah! Just like a Russian nesting doll, a Matryoshka of files) before being sent on the internet. That outer packet protects the inner packets and ensures that the “cargo” moves within the virtual tunnel.

ENCRYPTION PROTOCOLS

While the tunnel itself is not encrypted, but encoding can be added, a VPNneeds more than just a pair of keys in order to apply encryption. This is where protocols come in.

IPSec or Internet Protocol Security is a widely used protocol for securing traffic on IP networks, including the Internet. IPSec can encrypt data between various devices, including router to router, firewall to router, desktop to router, and desktop to server.

In a nutshell, IPsec provides mechanism, not policy: rather than define such-and-such encryption algorithm or a certain authentication function, it provides a framework that allows an implementation to provide nearly anything that both ends agree upon (source: Friedl).

IPSec consists of two sub-protocols which provide the instructions a VPN needs to secure its packets:

  • Encapsulated Security Payload (ESP) encrypts the packet’s payload (the data it’s transporting) with a symmetric key.
  • Authentication Header (AH) uses a hashing operation on the packet header to help hide certain packet information (like the sender’s identity) until it reaches destination.

VPNs use IPSec in tunnel mode with IPSec ESP and IPSec AH working together.

In a remote- access VPN, tunneling typically relies on Point-to-point Protocol (PPP)

However, when trying to determine the VPN app. of choice for you, you might meet one of these three protocols based on PPP:

  • L2F (Layer 2 Forwarding) — Developed by Cisco; uses any authentication scheme supported by PPP;
  • PPTP (Point-to-point Tunneling Protocol) — Supports 40-bit and 128-bit encryption and any authentication scheme supported by PPP;
  • L2TP (Layer 2 Tunneling Protocol) — Combines features of PPTP and L2F and fully supports IPSec; also applicable in site-to-site VPNs

Secure Shell — SSH

SSH, also known as Secure Socket Shell, is a network protocol that provides administrators with a secure way to access a remote computer. SSH also refers to the suite of three utilities that implement the protocol: — slogin, ssh, and scp — that are secure versions of the earlier UNIX utilities, rlogin, rsh, and rcp.

Secure Shell provides strong authentication and secure encrypted data communications between two computers connecting over an insecure network such as the Internet. SSH is widely used by network administrators for managing systems and applications remotely, allowing them to log in to another computer over a network, execute commands and move files from one computer to another.

At its core, Secure Shell (SSH) is a UNIX-based command interface and protocol for securely getting access to remote computers. SSH allows you to connect to your server securely and perform Linux command-line operations.

SSH commands are encrypted and secure in several ways. Both ends of the client/server connection are authenticated using a digital certificate, and passwords are protected by being encrypted.

My IP.io comes bundled with a variety of VPN encryption protocols, supporting all the latest security protocols including SSTP, PPTP, IPSec, L2TP, SSTP and 128bit –AES, OpenVPN cipher.

When you use the MY IP.io app, you can easily switch between protocols,although it’s recommended that you stick with defaults.

Sources:

Howstuffworks.com

Unixwiz.net

Using a VPN when in China: The Samurai Way

Behind the Great Firewall

The Chinese internet goes by very strict policies imposed by a variety of laws and administrative regulations, controlled by an authoritarian government that tries to neutralize critical online opinion.

It’s an unprecedented censorship system in all rights, that turned the Chinese internet into the largest digital boundary the world has ever seen.

However solid, The Great Chinese Firewall, is just a component in a much stronger censorship and surveillance project called The Golden Shield or perhaps what may be better called as “the golden curtain”.

The great divide or the cold war over internet

Photo Credit: craftymcclever.com

Beyond the gated community of the Chinese Great Firewall, the “Chinese wall” abbreviation is today a business term, spreading its meaning to international affairs, imposing heavy entry barriers to outsiders.

Just early last month, Uber the ride-hailing giant, succumbed to its Chinese competitor Didi, announcing the selling of its Chinese operations to Didi Chuxing, the homegrown favorite.

Call it the great divide or the “cold war of internet”, whichever the epithet, it’s easy to recognize the Asian monopoly inside the region, a situation that has become more real than pollution.

VPNS and Workarounds

Credit Photo: yanidel.net

But behind the great firewall, people are becoming more and more knowledgeable of ways to go around government’s censorship by using VPNs and other workaround tools. Even though circumvention tools are little used by ordinary Chinese, for the vast majority of westerners based in China, a VPN download is a common habit, just as drinking “still water” or keeping your air conditioning at minimum temperature.

Setting yourself up with a VPN connection, when in China is the first thing to consider, whether you’re looking to stay away from the control apparatus or simply connect to Netflix streaming. The connection, however, goes at a global low speed pace, so you’ll need to have your expectations straight when entering the arena a VPN app. is able too unlock for you.

And Chinese online censorship doesn’t seam to back down, especially after a series of large, anti-pollution, anti-corruption protests, and ethnic riots, many of which were organized or publicized using instant messaging services, chat rooms, and text messages.

China and not Silicon Valley is cutting edge innovation

In this photo taken Aug. 11, 2010, a Chinese worker labors at a production line at the factory of Lenovo Electronic Technology Co., Ltd. in Shanghai. Japan lost its place as the world’s №2 economy to China in the second quarter as receding global growth sapped momentum and stunted a shaky recovery. (AP Photo/Eugene Hoshiko)

On the flipside, China’s local technology companies are flourishing protected behind the “internet gates that keep over 700 million users loyal to local brands. Beijing walls its homeground internet from the rest of the digital world for two decades, preventing technology companies like Facebook to tap the Chinese market. Still, there is a growing anticipation that Chinese companies could prove even more competitive in emerging sectors like virtual reality, artificial intelligence or robotics, if let to a more liberated own device-market.

But the digital censorship has proven to be very lucrative for local technology companies like Tencent, the giant that owns WeChat, a 700 million users app that combines e-commerce and real-world services in ways that has the western companies in awe.

It’s no news that the Chinese market is home to a copycat cultural habit, but at the same time China and not Silicon Valley is cutting edge innovation if we were to quote New York Times. While still lagging in some important areas, China managed to protrude Baidu instead of Google, Weibo for Twitter, WeChat for Facebook or Alibaba instead of Amazon. Letting users hail a taxi or order a pizza without switching to another app., the rich, resourceful Chinese digital world is proving itself to be worthy of causing a real great split between China and the rest of the world.

Concurrently the authoritarian Chinese way of conducting business has their own local tech firms forced to chose market: it’s either home or anywhere else; cuz for China considering how large the market really is, the grass isn’t always greener.

China, the World’s Biggest Digital Empire

Photo Credit: nasa.gov

However functional, internet censorship in China is not to be taken lightly, as at the helm of the world’s biggest digital empire stands the communist party, with a long record of human rights violation.

On this “other internet planet” one should pay attention to personal data in a more “in depth’ understanding of the notion. There’s basically no safety net preventing the government to monitor closely corporate or personal data.

The Internet in China. FACTS:

Photo Credit: cnn.com

In China, individuals and companies rent their broadband access from the Chinese state or a state-controlled company. There are four national networks, CTNET, Chinanet, Cernet and CHINAGBN as the backbone of the Internet in China. 2008 restructure, lead to the emergence of three major national service providers, China Telecom, China Unicom and China Mobile, in all of which the state has a majority control.

  • Population: 1.38 billion (according to worlometers.com)
  • Number of Internet users: over 700 million
  • Internet penetration rate: 52.2 %
  • Number of journalists in prison: 199
  • Number of netizens imprisoned: 84 (reported in September 2015)

Surveillance — A government affair

Photo Credit: nytimes.com

The mass surveillance program that goes on in China is operated through many government departments, involved in censoring and monitoring the Web.

Not only social networks, but popular internet telephone platforms are affected by the control regulations of this apparatus. Skype is a good example in the matter. A local partner, closely monitors Skype services in China, known as TOM-Skype, a slightly different version than the one available in other countries. Equipped with automatic filters to comply to the status quo restrictions imposed by the government, Skype’s software has suffered a mutation of its own.Reports by OpenNet Initiative Asia show that certain keywords can trigger monitoring and interception once typed in text chats. The message is then stored on an online server of TOM-Skype.

If workaround tools like My IP.io, or any other reliable VPN connection ar not used, the official Skype site redirects users to TOM-Skype. Often times, users are not aware that they are using a surveillance tuned version of Skype and that their data security could potentially be at risk.

Breaking the Wall

Photo Credit: businessinsider.com

There are many ways of circumventing the totalitarian Chinese surveillance system, such as proxy servers or VPNs.

Any company selling VPN services in China must comply with regulations, hence register with the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology. Plus they’re constantly targeted by the local authorities and are often slow and unstable.

As monitoring and surveillance is not confined to the Great Firewall, but built-in social networks, chat services and VoIP, the best solution falls in the court of companies outside China.

MyIP.io is a self-managed VPN network platform, delivering fast, secure and reliable VPN service ,with servers located in France, Romania and Canada, hence is not subjected to Ministry of Industry and Information Technology or DMCA compliance.

The platform was designed with the professional focus in mind and 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.

A ROBUST VPN SERVICE, THE ONLY ROAD TO ZION

Credits: ifc.com

The convergence of Telecom and IT has opened the door for significant B2B activity in the ICT industry and left a lot of room for data security to be improved along the way. According to Wikipedia, in the field of telecommunications, data retention or data preservation, generally refers to the storage of call detail records (CDRs) of telephony and internet traffic and transaction data (IPDRs) by governments and commercial organizations. In the case of government data retention, the data stored is usually of telephone calls made and received, emails sent and received, and websites visited. Location data is also collected.

The data retention scheme as controversial as it was back in 2015 and continues to be, made its way through the Senate, march of last year in Australia, increasing the levels of surveillance over its citizens. Legal regulations of this caliber can reveal all sorts of data about you at the metadata level or security agencies- Australian or otherwise.

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

Credits: unforgetable.tistory.com

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;

REASONS YOU SHOULD NOT GET A FREE VPN

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 seldom defeat the purpose of what a Virtual private network should be.

Photo Credit: fliwave.com

· IT AIN’T A FREE LUNCH

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

· SELLING USERS BANDWIDTH

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

using their users as servers by converting them into a botnet, some VPN providers have been revealed, while others admit in their lawyer-eese terms of service, they can sell your bandwidth to other 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. 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.

· NOT MUCH SECURITY

A good VPN will have its own servers and encryption protocols designed for it, reducing possible security failures to a minimum. Free VPN services are 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

LOGGING POLICIES

Credit: piktpool.com

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.

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

VPNs rise to the mainstream: Read or miss out

A few years ago, adopting a VPNwas not the simplest of tasks for IT managers for a number of reasons which included: deployment, compatibility or interoperability issues and the expense of these systems. Things have changed. VPNs are now entering the mainstream, and many companies view them as a telecommunications necessity from both security and cost perspectives.

Originally designed to reduce the costs of connecting branch offices to the main office of a business, VPNs addressed the concern of high costs of leased lines and dedicated connections. The next matter-of-course step was to adapt VPNs to individual remote use, for internal network access and secure operations across the internet.

Widely used by companies to protect corporate data, Virtual Private Networks took over the personal data arena, as well, to such a degree that the use of a VPN has become an almost inalienable, “basic right”, for virtually any kind of private data exposed to the internet.

SSL VPNs pushed by Microsoft over a decade ago or the desktop VPN released just late last month by Opera, help the use of a VPN reach the mainstream.

To sum, a VPN enables a computer that is located outside the corporate network to connect to that network as if it were inside the building, allowing access to internal resources such as file shares, applications, and printers. Beyond connectivity a VPN implicitly means that a secure bridge has been created between any given device using that connection and your business server, which can be on your premises or in the cloud.

Geographically dispersed workforce, no longer a thing of particularity, but rather the norm as highly data oriented companies outsource or expand internationally, increase the need for data protection, as a first line of defense for these intangible assets. In this new paradigm, data loss or data leakage is just like throwing money out the window, since it may lead to competitors picking up sensitive information about your business and use it against you in the economic arena.

The need to access corporate or commercial information is a core component of connectivity inside the enterprise and managing these intangible assets over a plain internet connection is simply not for business use.
At the same time, on the individual approach, data leakage will make your online footprint larger and more visible, while some embedded, sometimes default, features of your favorite social networks like facebook’s location, Twitter’s places, share your data with third-party companies.

CLIENT vs. CLIENTLESS:

Clientless VPN solutions enabled the technology to go a bit further towards mainstream and so have appliances and servers or cloud-based, hosted VPNservices, in their growing plurality.

When challenged to go with one technology or the other, one may be faced with several conundrums: “client vs. clientless” or “hosted or on premise”.
Naturally, each one of these options has pros and cons according to specifics. Still, the question lingers: “which remote user communities can they best serve? What does it really take to install each or any of these VPN solutions?

Let’s just start with SSL VPNs, since they debuted over a decade ago and are generally held to be a user-friendly, cost-effective, secure remote access method.

SSL

The Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) VPN was developed to simplify access to internal company network resources for remote end users. An SSL VPN is a VPN based on the Secure Sockets Layer protocol developed by Netscape Communications during the 1990s. Netscape Communications developed this protocol to transmit private documents via the Internet by initiating a connection from a client to a server using data encryption and other options such as server authentication, message integrity, and client authentication. SSL is now a standard built into every major web browser and web server. In addition to being used in web browsers, SSL has been adapted to secure other protocols (e.g., POP3, IMAP, and SMTP).

SSL PROs & CONs:

-access to specific applications, rather than entire subnets.

Getting access to exact applications can be helpful for hospitals and health care facilities, as they enable remote access to medical applications and patient information directly to the application. However IPSec(client based) connects hosts to entire private networks, while SSL VPNs connect users to services and applications inside those networks.

— Most SSL VPNs provide secure access to Microsoft Outlook Webmail, network file shares and other common business applications. However, they often require custom development to support nonbrowser-based apps.

— SSL VPNs are not designed for an environment where the VPN connection needs to be always on and shared by multiple users; since it requires a web browser to function. This makes SSL VPN connections only suitable for a single user to connect, other VPN implementations, such as IPSEC, where the client can be a single computer or a hardware device can tunnel multiple users’traffic back to the office VPN server.

— web browser pop-up blockers could prevent them from running. The pop-up blocker may see pop-ups coming from the SSL VPN as nuisances and block the helper applications from performing their security and proxy functions.

— on Windows XP and Linux users may encounter issues due to the different levels of access that these operating systems have for users, both put the standard user account at a level that does not allow the kind of changes on the local computer that are needed for the helper applications to run.

— Security concerns: the host checking application may only check the remote computer once when the user logs into the SSL VPN. If the host checking application does not run continuously while the user is logged in, the user could potentially breach the company’s security requirements and policies without censor.

HOSTED VPNS

Appliances or servers will give you great control, but cloud-based, hosted or outsourced VPN services are the real deal breaker, with unrivaled cost-to-features and security ratio, spearing you of the typical technical hurdles of on premise deployment and use.

A hosted business VPN solution will overcome the following thorny issues:

  • on premise deployment:
    having a dedicated VPN in place will reduce the complexity of deployment and use to a minimum of only having to run a single interface software;
  • data security:
    internal data, sites, git repositories and all information will be coated in multiple layers of encryption;
  • remote connectivity:
    you will enable access across a geographically disperse workforce;

My IP.io, the platform of choice for many agile businesses, trusted brand by thousands of happy business owners.

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.

Sources:

www.giac.org

[1] www.giac.org