Tag - privacy

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How Windows 10 is spying on you and what you can do about it
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Get €25.000 funding for your privacy start-up idea from CyberGhost!
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BestVPN Independence Day Competition
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Full proof – ‘Regin’ Trojan is an NSA Tool
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5 Tips For Preserving Your Online Privacy While Traveling for Holidays
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Encryption – A Guide for Everyone
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New Servers in 2 Locations

How Windows 10 is spying on you and what you can do about it

Win 10

As you surely already know, Microsoft is currently distributing its new operating system Windows 10.

The OS, which was launched globally in 190 countries on July 29 is full of new features, fills in a lot of gaps and does away with the “Metro” style UI almost entirely.

Moreover, Windows 10 is super fluid and fast and its new browser Microsoft Edge might win back a lot of users because it’s also super-fast.

But all this comes at a pretty steep price for privacy, since Windows 10 listens in on what you do now more than ever and all that data gets transferred to Microsoft’s servers.

Basically, the OS will go through all your data (contacts, calendar, mail, messages…) and will learn information about you.

To make matters even worse, with Windows 10 you also have an advertising ID assigned to you so you can be easily targeted with specifically tailored ads; if you encrypt your hard-drive, the keys are stored by default on OneDrive.

Thankfully though, the native VPN option can be accessed and started directly from the notification quick-setting.

Of course, these are all settings and features aimed at increasing your productivity, as they make your apps and operating system much smarter.

But as mentioned before, this does come at a cost. Everything you do gets uploaded to Microsoft’s servers to improve your future experience. As stated in the Terms of Service, Microsoft has the right to share this data whenever it “has a good faith belief doing so is necessary to: 1.comply with applicable law or respond to valid legal process, including from law enforcement or other government agencies; 2.protect our customers, for example to prevent spam or attempts to defraud users of the services, or to help prevent the loss of life or serious injury of anyone; 3.operate and maintain the security of our services, including to prevent or stop an attack on our computer systems or networks; or 4.protect the rights or property of Microsoft, including enforcing the terms governing the use of the services.

In addition, all these settings are ON by default and will remain enabled if you just click next when installing/upgrading to Windows 10.

Most of the information regarding Win 10 and privacy is available in this official Microsoft article:

To sum it up, everything that happens with your Microsoft account (@live.com, @outlook.com, @msn.com, ….. , which is necessary for most of the new features) is scanned by Microsoft’s services. Everything you talk with Cortana (searches, reminders, notes, actions,….) is also processed by them. So is your location. In Microsoft’s own words:

We also share data with Microsoft-controlled affiliates and subsidiaries; with vendors working on our behalf; when required by law or to respond to legal process; to protect our customers; to protect lives; to maintain the security of our services; and to protect the rights or property of Microsoft.

Nevertheless, there’s something you can do about that and protect your data and privacy from Windows 10’s prying eyes.

In case you just clicked NEXT, NEXT when installing/upgrading to Win 10 and went with the defaults, here are a couple of things you should be aware of and disable if you feel spied on too much.

The Privacy settings can be easily managed by searching privacy in the start menu and most of the modules that send your data to Microsoft can be disabled.

If you simply press start then settings and then search for “privacy,” you’ll find most of the options listed. You can go through each of them and disable what you feel you need to keep only to yourself.

Below are some important ones that you need to change if you want to considerably increase your privacy:

  • Disable advertiser ID: open the settings and search for “advertising;” open “Choose if apps can use your advertising ID” and disable the first option: “Let apps use my advertising ID for experiences across apps”
  • On the same page, disable “…info about how I write” so that the text you type and write with a stylus is not sent to Microsoft servers

Also in the settings, search for “privacy” and open “Privacy Settings.” Get more privacy by changing the following:

  • Send Microsoft info about how I write..” -> OFF
  • Let apps use my Advertising ID…” -> OFF
  • Location” -> OFF
  • Speech, Inking, & typing: This is a feature strongly tied with Cortana. You can opt to clear everything, but if you do, you’ll lose Cortana.  You will still be able to use the Windows search function.

The rest is pretty self-explanatory and mostly relates to managing apps’ access to certain personal data. You can check the list of programs or devices (camera, mic) allowed to access the data or device or you can disable them entirely.

Before you go ahead and change these settings though, you should know that:

  • Disabling these option will diminish the “smart” experience you’ll have with Windows 10, so if you’re more into new features than you are into privacy, keeping them ON would be best for you. Otherwise, Windows 10 works really well without all these options; search is still possible.
  • Remember that your information is made available to “Microsoft employees, contractors, vendors, and partners…,” so basically it’s still not as hard as it should be for someone to get your data and use it.

There is one more Windows 10 novelty that you need to know about and that’s called “Wi-Fi Sense.

“Wi-Fi Sense” is a new feature that will sync all your Wi-Fi passwords to the cloud and share them with your contacts (Yep, you read that right). Through this functionality, your PC will also be able to “borrow” passwords and automatically connect, which means that you could end up automatically connected to a rogue router where your data could be easily phished.

In order to disable “Wi-Fi Sense,” go to Settings, search for “Wi-Fi” and open “Change Wi-Fi Settings.”

At the end of the list of found Wi-Fi networks, you will see “Manage Wi-Fi settings” and that’s where you can disable both options mentioned before.

Photo credits: www.orangejuiceblog.com

Get €25.000 funding for your privacy start-up idea from CyberGhost!

Privacy Accelerator

As you surely know by now, we really, strongly support and fight for online privacy, security, and freedom.

We say it on our website, our CEO Robert Knapp never misses a chance to say it during interviews, and everything we do is based on our belief that online privacy is a basic human right not to be ignored or infringed on.

So this year we decided to put our money where our mouth is. Literally.

On July 15, we kicked off our Privacy Accelerator Program, which aims to invest in, mentor, and support early-stage tech start-ups focused on privacy, security, or freedom.

We will invest a total amount of €100.000 in 4 up-and-coming teams/companies that are fighting the good fight and want to protect netizens’ rights to privacy, security, and anonymity.

We’ll also provide them with office space and, if they’re not from the EU, we’ll accommodate them in our guesthouse, which is located smack-dab in the always vibrant center of Bucharest.

And to top it all off, we’ll give them access to our API and make sure they’re mentored by our internal experts in development, sales, marketing, and customer support and administration.

Sounds awesome, right?

Then wait no longer and get your privacy start-up idea funded by sending in your application to press.office@cyberghost.ro.

The deadline is September 1st, so hurry up!

For more info about the Privacy Accelerator Program, click here.

BestVPN Independence Day Competition

Our friends from Best VPN relaunched their website this weekend, on 4th of July.To mark this event they organized a competition, Independence Day Competition, together with a number of VPN providers, including CyberGhost.

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Since CyberGhost stands for privacy and freedom, we decided to join this competition, and offer a celebrating discount of 50%.

If you enter Best VPN’s competition you have the chance to win a 13″ MacBook Air, or 5 Premium VPN accounts, including one from CyberGhost. You can find more details about the competition here.

Good luck everyone!

Full proof – ‘Regin’ Trojan is an NSA Tool

If the world really needed more proof to realise the scale on which the NSA machinery operates, a new and irrefutable proof was released today.

On January 17 2015, Spiegel.de published an article based on documents obtained from Edward Snowden and provided a copy of a malicious program named “QWERTY” ), supposedly used by several governments in their Computer Network Exploitation (CNE)operations.

Today, the same news publication released an article, demonstating the same code provenience and indentical  functionality of  “QWERTY” malware to the Regin 50251 plugin.

Regin/Querty Vergleich Kaspersky

 

Given the fact that the QWERTY keylogger doesn’t function as a stand-alone module, only in tandem with kernel hooking functions provided by the Regin module 50225, it was concluded that the QWERTY malware developers and the Regin developers are the same or working together.

You can read here all the mind-binding conclusions of this ground breaking analysis that states once again that mass-surveillance is more than a fact, it’s a threat.

5 Tips For Preserving Your Online Privacy While Traveling for Holidays

It’s the season to be jolly! And travel. A lot.

Right now, most of you are probably making plans to escape the concrete jungle and head on to a city break somewhere quieter or to go see your family and friends.

However, there are a few important measures you should take in order to fully enjoy your holidays without getting your bank details stolen, accounts hacked, or house ravaged.

xmas

  1. Don’t Show And Tell

No matter how tempting it is to brag about your perfectly planned vacation in an exotic destination, it’s never a good idea.

There are a lot of people out there, who can’t wait to break into an empty house and won’t leave empty handed either, while they’re at it.

So keep that in mind next time you’re traveling! Those awesome Instagram photos can wait a few days.

Speaking of which…

  1. Check Your Privacy Settings Before Uploading Photos

Don’t even think to share that photo with you holding three shots in one hand, before checking who can actually see it.

Sure, your friends will think it’s funny, your exes will turn grey with envy and your mom might get slightly worried.

Your current and future employers, work colleagues or people who don’t know you so well yet, will never see you with the same eyes again.

  1. Secure Payment Methods Are Your Friend

No matter how much you’re trying to escape your daily duties, it’s inevitable that at some point you might need to pay those bills that keep piling up.

In that case, make sure you always use a secure payment method, like bitcoin (if it’s accepted), or Secure Pay.

But even that is not helpful if you don’t…

  1. Use Strong Passwords For Everything

You might be tempted to use 1234 or your dog’s name as a password, but that is a huge mistake pretty much everyone comes to regret at some point. The only way you can make it worse is by having one password for all your accounts.

Regardless of the time and energy you think you’re saving, all you do is preparing yourself for sharing with the world a tad more than you’re willing and ready to.

Strong passwords should have at least 8 characters, contain big and small letters, special characters and numbers.

And if you think you won’t remember them all, you’re probably right. That’s why a password manager like KeePass always comes in handy.

Tip 005 - Choose Complex Passwords - Not a Vocabulary Word

  1. Beware of WiFi Networks And Encrypt Your Connection

Last, but not least, it’s important you remember to encrypt your internet connection whenever you use public HotSpots, which you will be doing a lot.

The simplest and most efficient way to do this, is by using a VPN.

CyberGhost VPN encrypts your traffic and changes your IP so you can surf anonymously and safe.

And you’re in luck! We have a great offer, too!

Encryption – A Guide for Everyone

Did you know that even the great Caesar used a cipher to hide his military
correspondence between 100 – 44 B.C?  The key in this case was simply
to shift to the right by three.

Encryption is not a new concept but it keeps getting more and more complex and useful. We thought that a guide to encryption accessible to everyone would be more than welcomed, either to understand it better or to share it with people who would need it.

Just a short intro: encryption is the process through which information or data is transformed (encoded) in such a way that is unreadable to anyone who does not have the knowledge of the way it was transformed.
The information thus becomes available only to the authorized parties. This authorization works based on keys. Encoding the information is made by using an encryption key while decoding the information is made by using a decryption key.

Encryption

You can read the entire guide here.

Feel free to share it with people interested.

New Servers in 2 Locations

Update: 9 New Free CyberGhost Servers! You now have more Free servers in UK, 4 in London more precisely, and in France, 5 in Paris. We told you we’re fast :)

It’s official! We’ve added 7 more Free servers in Bucharest, Romania and 4 Premium servers in New York for a safe and private internet experience.

Feel free to try them and share your feedback with us.

proxy cg

 

Click here to find them > Server Overview <

If you haven’t seen our Indiegogo campaign, now it’s the time. Check it our and help us build the #NoSpyProxy!

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