Archive - January 2017

Swipe your way to digital freedom with CyberGhost VPN 6.0 for Android

After the release of CyberGhost VPN 6 for iOS and Windows, our VPN free for Android has also undergone a serious facelift, to make surfing the web privately even easier. In a nutshell, the next lines will present you exactly what this app brings new to the table and why it’s worth your download.

Easier, better, faster, stronger

We’re not paraphrasing the most mysterious electronic duo of the last two decades, Daft Punk, in vain.

CyberGhost VPN 6.0 for Android is faster and more reliable than the previous versions, due to a better VPN integration. This will become conspicuous from the very first taps or swipes you make within the app.

You will also notice a visibly different and user-friendlier design, that will give you the option of encrypting your Internet connection through 4 different profiles.

 

Which profile suits you best?

When surfing online, we all have different needs. Let’s go through all the 4 profiles available through our new VPN for Android and see which one suits you best and when.

Please bear in mind that regardless of the choice you make, your online activity will be protected through the AES encryption algorithm, your IP will be hidden and no logs will ever be kept. The status of these settings can very easily be checked in the activation screen of each of the below profiles.

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Welcome to the USA! Upon entering, please relinquish your privacy

Donald Trump has only just taken up the role of president of the US and he seems to be determined to take one controversial measure after another.

An executive order that he signed in his first days in office is potentially threatening the 6-month-old EU-US Privacy Shield agreement.

In short, the order strips non-US citizens of their privacy rights. Here is what section 14 of the freshly signed Executive Order says:

“Agencies shall, to the extent consistent with applicable law, ensure that their privacy policies exclude persons who are not United States citizens or lawful permanent residents from the protections of the Privacy Act regarding personally identifiable information.” (the entire Executive Order can be found on the White House’s website)

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Ghostie’s Weekly Digest: Gmail phishing, cybercrime surge and more

The week has been quite generous in terms of online privacy news. Our weekly digest aims to showcase what we regard as the most important headlines of the past seven days. Did we leave anything out? Are you directly affected by any of these measures? Drop us a line in the comment section and let’s debate!

Gmail phishing technique mimics past emails

An ingenious phishing technique that composes convincing emails by analyzing and mimicking past messages and attachments has been discovered by security experts. The new technique convinces Gmail users to click on an infected attachment which will then send them to a fake Gmail login page that will steal their credentials.

Read more on the topic here.

 

North Wales reports more cybercrimes than offline ones

It may seem like this is only a small region from a much bigger world, but this fact may be a reflection of a global trend.

According to the local police and crime commissioner (PCC) for the area, there are now more cybercrimes being recorded in north Wales than those in the offline world.

North Wales PCC Arfon Jones claimed that while traditional crimes such as burglary and shoplifting had decreased over the past decade, online crime has made up for the shortfall.

 

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Ghostie’s Weekly Digest: US expand surveillance powers and more

The year is starting on a more political note in terms of online privacy and surveillance, mainly because president-elect Donald Trump has only a few days until his White House inauguration. But this of course, is not the only reason why there’s a global turmoil around these matters. The constant threat of terrorism is lurking in the shadows, often calling for irrational or controversial measures.

Here’s what’s been happening in the last week, in a nutshell:

Obama expands surveillance powers during last days of presidency

With mere days left before President-elect Donald Trump takes the White House, current President Barack Obama’s administration just finalized rules to make it easier for the nation’s intelligence agencies to share unfiltered information about US citizens.

Under the new, relaxed rules, the NSA will grant access to the raw streams of data it collects easier to the FBI, the DEA and the Department of Homeland Security, among others. Before, the National Security Agency shared data with these agencies only after it had screened the data, filtering out unnecessary personal information.

Read more on the topic on eff.org.

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Hello, is there anyone NOT listening?

It’s quite fascinating to discover many of the gadgets presented in sci-fi movies decades ago are slowly, but surely, becoming a contemporary reality.

We have self-driving cars (not flying just yet), we can use watches as phones (Bond had his very own version of a wrist-worn walkie-talkie in 1981) and we can use personal robotic assistants, to whom we dictate daily chores.

All this is great, but what does it mean in terms of personal privacy? How much are we willing to sacrifice for the sake of saving a bit of effort?

Alexa, take the microphone!

In the above-mentioned spy-fi movies, such as vintage Bond, the secret agent would often look for secret microphones or “wires” hidden in his/her apartment or phone.

In nowadays’ reality, we, ourselves, appear to be purchasing so-called self-spying devices or apps, which we very easily and openly allow into our most intimate activities. Such examples are Apple’s Siri, Google Home or the more recent Amazon Echo a.k.a. Alexa.

This last and most recent example is a voice-controlled digital assistant, activated via a “wake word”, such as “Alexa” (the default), “Amazon” or “Echo”. Basically, in order to function, the device has to listen to everything people say around it, unless it’s manually turned off.

Let’s face it, most users will probably opt for the default settings and not manually turn the mics (yes, “mics”, there are 7 of them) on whenever they need to access their digital assistant. Such an effort would really defeat the device’s original purpose, really.

In these circumstances, Amazon Echo will keep about 1 minute of audio in its memory, in case it is somehow connected to a question it is addressed. However, according to USA Today, as new sound is recorded, the old one is erased. Only when the Echo hears its wake-up word does it begin sending a stream of audio to the cloud to be converted into text that the program can understand and act upon.

All this sounds well, but, just like us, Alexa can mishear its name and then randomly send recordings into the cloud. All the recordings can be used in police investigations should there be a valid and binding legal demand.

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