Author - Selena Arsene

Cybersecurity Conference: State Officials, Security Experts and Instructive Speeches

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The second edition of the Cybersecurity Conference took place in Sibiu, Romania, on the 1st, 2nd and 3rd this month.

More than 200 security experts, state officials and legal experts have gathered from all over Europe to discuss the current state of internet security as well as the future threats and best practices to avoid them.

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Laurent Chrzaovski, independent Historian & Cultural Events Manager & Daniela Chrzanovski, general director of swiss webacademy partenered up with the International Telecommunication Union (ITU), along with the Swiss Embassy in Romania and the CERT-RO in order to to establish a dialogue between the private and public sector, with the help of state officials and law experts.

The event was packed with people and overflowing with great ideas and intriguing insights. The International Telecommunication Union, UTI, The Romanian Information Service, Dell,  Bitdefender, McAffee, Cyber Security Research Center and others had sent their best cybersecurity experts to represent them.

On the 1st there was a pre-conference training day (with official attestation), tailor-suited for non-technical decision-makers like CETs and CEOs, designed to provide them the necessary basic background and awareness by interacting as much as possible with the conference key-speakers.

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And because there is no security without privacy and vice versa, CyberGhost VPN was right there, proposing a whole new perspective to the concept of cyberthreats: mass surveillance as an impedance on the development of a free open market, interpersonal relationships, and a healthy sense of self.

After everything was said and done, I had the honor of being invited to a great Romanian Gala dinner that was flawlessly orchestrated, from food to music and activities. Towards the morning, the most courageous of us have stepped  on the stage for some good old fashioned karaoke.

Among the sponsors of the event were: Dell, palo alto networks, Safe Tech,  BISS, Bitdefender, certSign and Check Point.

 

We're Halfway there

20140718010215-CG_Servers_B4bAs you may know, earlier this week we started an Indiegogo campaign with the purpose of raising €100.000 from our lovely community for building the first NSA proof, #Nospyproxy ever. After just a couple of days, we’re halfway there, with our campaign featured on the first page of Indiegogo and we would have never made it without you, guys!

Thank you for your instant reactions on our social media channels and for the positive feedback and praise you sent us!

The campaign will be open for the following 57 days, and we will need your further help in order to reach our target.

So please share on Facebook, Twitter, tell your mom, your friends and your neighbors and let’s keep the fire burning!

Help us build the first NSA-proof #NoSpyProxy!

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We have successfully managed to ensure privacy, security and complete anonymity for more than 3.7 million users all over the world so far and a year after the Snowden leaks, it is well known that encryption is the most efficient way to do so. Now, shortly after our third anniversary, we’re planning to take things to the next level.7 Secured_in_Europe_By_CyberGhost_web

We set up an Indiegogo Campaign and we need your help to raise €100000 in order to build our own data center out of NSA’s reach. CyberGhost wants to have full control over the level of security they offer and they are turning to their users and privacy enthusiasts everywhere in order to do so.

“After the recent revelation attesting that Tor has been insecure for at least 5 months, due to a group of relays that have joined the network, presumably trying to deanonymize the users, it is clear that the physical control over the nodes is also very important to keep eavesdroppers at bay. If there is a point when it becomes clear why we are building our own NSA-proof proxy nodes, then this is certainly it.”, said Robert Knapp, our friend, colleague and CEO.

We have plenty of perks in store for its backers ranging from highly discounted Premium Plus, 1 year, instant access subscription to business and lifetime subscriptions.

Check our campaign at http://igg.me/at/nospyproxy, donate or simply spread the word!

Don’t forget to use the hashtag #nospyproxy and you can be part of something great!

 

 

 

Stop Pointing Your Finger at Jennifer Lawrence and Accept You Might Be Next

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This week’s incident is on everybody’s lips. You most probably know what we’re talking about, but in case you’ve been stranded on a desert island for the past couple of days, let me sum it up for you: the internet was overwhelmed by the nude photos of celebrities like Jenifer Lawrence, Rihanna, Kate Uptown and at least a dozen of other female stars. Their iCloud accounts have supposedly been hacked, and while there are heated discussions and countless speculations on how it was done, the only conclusion you need to draw from this is that it can happen to you, too.

How did this happen?

It is very possible that we will never know, but here are a few possibilities:

  1. Password reset (secret questions / answers)

While sincerity is usually encouraged and makes for a valuable quality in a friend or business partner, providing the true answers to your security questions, while setting up your account, might not be the most intelligent move, especially if they’re the only thing you rely on for recovering your passwords.

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Hopefully not you

2.  Phishing emails

Phishing email messages are used by hackers for stealing money or your personal information. The good news is it’s really easy to spot one if you always remember to check for bad grammar, links in text (those shalt not be clicked), and threats (ex.: your account will be deleted if you don’t reply).

3. Social engineering / RAT install / authentication

Remote Access Tools are pieces of software used to remotely access or control a computer. While it can be of great use for system administrators or that guy who always fixes your computer, it can also be used to perform key logging, screen and camera capture, file access, code execution, registry management etc.

You should verify every program before installing it on your computer by using authorized program signatures.

A few easy things you can do to make sure you won’t be next

  • Don t use  the same password for all your accounts

For all you might know, your password “qwerty”, “12345” or the ever popular “password” is working just fine for your Faceboook, Pinterest, Mail, Amazon & co.

Maybe you know better than that and use a complicated password with symbols and numbers. Congratulations! The thing is, even if that’s the case you shouldn’t use it for all your accounts because that is like giving somebody the skeleton key to your life.

It would be ideal to go through the trouble of setting up different complicated passwords for all your accounts, which in fact, it’s not hard to manage if you…

  • Use a password manager

Keepass, Lastpass 1.72  and Kaspersky Password Manager 4, are all great options, are easy to use and fast to install. 5 minutes is a small price to pay for your peace of mind.

  • Use two step verification

Most of the major sites offer this so just remember to check.

  • Turn off automatic backups

Most of the cloud based services such as Google’s accounts or iCloud automatically sync every photo you take, contact you save, app you download or website you access.While you would rather have everything in one place in case you ever lose your phone or tablet, it’s better to turn it off.

It is , in the end, about comfort versus security and we live in an age when the most valuable things we own aren’t palpable. You know what they say: Better be safe than sorry!

Do you use any other methods? Sharing is caring so let us know in the comment section below!

 

8 Amazing Apps And Plug-Ins For Keeping Your Privacy In Check

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A few days ago we were talking about the public’s acquired taste for privacy which seems to apply to pretty much all things online, from social media networks to search engines. You are probably using a VPN already (if you’re not, here’s a great deal for you), but you can never be too careful.

That is why, listed below, you can find 8 apps that work wonders when it comes to adding an extra layer of security to your digital life. Best part? They are completely free!

Do Not Track Me

Do not Track Me, initially known as Do Not Track Plus is a free browser add-on that claims to stop over 600 companies and advertisers from tracking users online. It works with Chrome, Safari, Firefox and even the infamous Internet Explorer. What it actually does is block the services that would normally collect your data while online. Besides that, it masks your personal email address from advertisers and the like.

Mask Me

The name says it all! You can use it to mask your email directly from email form fields across the web. That means that besides having your email address kept safe from hackers, you will also get rid of those annoying spam messages once and for all. Pretty safe , I would say, but if you’re aiming for  extra security for your credit card or phone, you’ll have to get out of your pocket $5/ month or $45/year.

Secret

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With all the attention it got at the SXSW conference, I guess it’s pretty safe to say that Secret is not a secret anymore. What makes it special is that you are able to share your thoughts with your Facebook friends, and their connections, without actually knowing who is who and without them knowing who you are. You can also ask questions, or do some sort of anonymous surveys. The only thing is that, being restricted to your circle of friends and their friends, assumptions about users’ identity can be made quite easily.

Whisper

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Another proof that users got sick and tired of aligning to the trend of beach selfies and duckface group photos that overcrowd the most popular social networks at the moment, Whisper allows people who want to show their real self instead of the fake, carefully polished one, to communicate or post updates about almost anything. You are able to see updates from anyone near you, not only your contacts.

You can also choose a background photo for your message and your account is password protected, so if somebody highjacks your phone, they won’t be able to see any of your posts.

The only downside is that this is an app teenage girls seem to love, so expect a lot of drama and high school gossip.

Duck Duck Go

Duck Duck Go is a really well known search engine among privacy enthusiasts. It was all the rage a few years ago and then abruptly faded from the spot light, only to resurface once with the NSA scare.

The search engine prides itself on not collecting your personal information and not force-feeding you ads.

Here’s how the search result list looks compared to Google’s:

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Duck Duck Go has a much cleaner interface, and while still a little rough around the edges, it promises a lot.

Yik Yak

With a limit of 200 characters, Yik Yak imposed itself as an Anonymous Twitter. No handle is required, though you can set one from time to time just for fun, and you also have the possibility of turning your location on, sharing other people’s Yaks and commenting on them.

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With Yik Yak, you have access to the thoughts of people in your area (some of which appear strange to say the least), or those from different groups. You can set it up to run on your Android or iOS.

Though not as popular as the other apps, it’s definitely worth a shot!

Snapchat

This one has been around for a while, and almost anyone is on it. You can make short videos or photos and then send them to your friends which will be able to see them for a few seconds, depending on your settings. After that, the materials will self-destroy and nobody will be able to hold you responsible for what you sent.

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The only problem is that currently, there are  a few apps, like SnapTrap, which promise to help you save snaps from other users. So take it with a pinch of salt!

Telegram

Telegram gained popularity in February, this year, when WhatsApp crashed for several hours. It’s easy to understand why this happened, given that at first glance, it looks like an imitation made by a copycat company.

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You shouldn’t let that fool you. Telegram is really fast, it promises privacy and security and even offered a $200.000 bounty to anyone who can hack it.

And just in case you want to be extra safe, you can initiate a secret chat which guarantees an end to end encryption, a self-destruct timer for the conversation that can be anywhere from a few seconds to a few weeks and makes it impossible to be forwarded.

Hats off!

The Future of Privacy Is Now and it’s Happening in Europe

“Privacy is back, not just as social norm, but as a business model.”-was the quote that got my attention in a Slate article from last week. The piece was centered on the implications of Mark Zuckerberg’s sudden change of attitude from: “Privacy is no longer a social norm”, just a few years ago to today’s attempts to win more users over, through adding extra features that guarantee more confidentiality and changing the default settings.

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Needless to say that working for CyberGhost and being a sucker for privacy, I instantly started to look into the subject. It didn’t take long to come up with a list of recent startups whose sole business was either anonymizing their users, or securing their data. Companies like Duck Duck Go, Abine, Signal, Secret, Whisper and Snapchat are surprisingly popular among teenagers.

If the last decade was all about transparency, doing things and letting the whole world know about them, creating a strong online presence, and shouting your feelings out loud until the point of complete vulnerability, the present is certainly focused on the idea of keeping most of the things to yourself and having full control over what you share with the rest of the world.

It seems that the overenthusiastic, somewhat naive and undiscerning public which populated the internet at the beginnings of social media has slowly matured and realized the implications and perils of inviting strangers into their lives by oversharing, or overlooking their security settings.

While European startups and companies seem to have figured out this a while ago, American ones are just catching up under a less than favorable legislation. There is not much they can do regarding the NSA surveillance and keeping their users anonymous will only lead to them drowning into a sea of DMCA requests.

And this is one of the reasons why we here at CyberGhost believe the future of privacy lies in Europe, where it can be fully guaranteed under a favorable, protecting legislation.

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While we are happy that privacy became “the thing”, it is quite worrying that a lot of these organizations that claim to offer users  anonymity don’t fully understand the concept and don’t have the means to do this, thus creating a false sense of security for the user, which can at times be more harmful than no protection at all.

As for Facebook and other companies which just woke up one day loving privacy more than anything else, it is often said that the best indicator for somebody’s future behavior is their past behavior.

© 2017 CyberGhost