Our Bucharest NoSpy servers to go under maintenance, but for a good cause

The Ghostie team has grown over the years and we now need a bigger (and of course cooler) brand new office with enough room for everybody. That is why we’ve already packed our bags and we’ll move everything between March 10th and 13th.

No worries, Ghosties! The magic will still happen, but in a way cooler location, worthy of digital freedom fighters. Stay tuned for more!

However, since we’re taking our NoSpy Servers with us, they will become unavailable during the above-mentioned period (so only for 3 days). Everything else will work just fine, though, so continue using your favorite VPN throughout all your favorite online activities, just like before.

We are sorry for the inconvenience this may cause you, but the world’s first NoSpy servers will be back in no time, and they will protect your online identity from an even more secure location.

We know that you’ll forgive us though, especially because as soon as we get settled in our new headquarters, we’ll update you with pictures. Make sure to also follow us on our social media channels so that you never miss a CyberGhost update: Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, Instagram and Google Plus.

Ghostie’s Weekly Digest: Teddy bears leak 2 million voice messages and more

The Internet of Things continues to show that it will probably be the biggest threat to our privacy in the future. That is why we should think twice before purchasing the next Internet-connected gadget, or even worse, IoT toys for our children. Such devices can be very easily transformed into spying tools.

Why did we feel the need for such a warning, at this time in particular? Just have a look at one of the most important updates of the week and you will understand:

Millions of voice messages and passwords leaked through Internet of Toys

CloudPets, a company that sells “smart” teddy bears has leaked 800,000 user account credentials, which hackers then locked it and held for ransom. The toys allow children and relatives to send recorded voicemails back and forth.

This same incident happened over a year ago, when Hong Kong toymaker VTech was hacked, exposing snaps of parents and their children as well as chat logs. An estimate of 6.4 million were affected by this hack last year.

Find out how to avoid the dangers brought by the Internet of Toys from here.

 

Digital privacy, threatened by new FCC Chairman

U.S. regulators just blocked some Obama administration rules on the eve of implementation, regulations that would have subjected broadband providers to stricter scrutiny than web sites face to protect customers’ private data.

In other words, ISPs would have carte blanche when it comes to rifling through, sharing, and selling your private data.

Electronic Frontier Foundation is encouraging people to take action and tell their Congress representatives that they will not accept their efforts to undermine online privacy acts. Take action at this link.

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Millennials, willing to sacrifice privacy on the altar of personalization?

Millennials, or those born in 1982 and approximately the 20 years thereafter, are  a generation expected to change the world as we know it. Although they are quite hard to define at the moment, we know one thing for sure: millennials are the most connected of recent generations, mobile by definition, “preferring and expecting the world to be available to them on their mobile devices”, according to a study developed by CSG International.

However, being mobile-native comes at a certain cost. The study quoted above shows that millennials love having everything personalized and are likely to share data in exchange for such benefits.

Yes, you read correctly. In exchange for small recommendations, millennials from the US are apparently willing to relinquish their privacy. Of course, one can only wonder how representative the study performed by CSG International actually is, since it surveyed nearly 1,000 millennials, out of whom only a few over 200 were from the US, but come to think about it, this result does not seem too far-fetched.

Here are some personal details millennials appear to be willing to share:

  • Their location – 85% of American participants said that millennials would be very likely or somewhat likely to allow their mobile service provider to use their location services to provide small conveniences, such as a pop up prompt saying “I see you have a flight in 24 hours, would you like to check in for your flight now?”
  • The content that they enjoy – 86% of US respondents said that millennials would be very likely or somewhat likely to allow their mobile service provider to make entertainment recommendations based on content they’ve watched or listened to before.
  • Mobile data usage – 63% of US respondents said that millennials would be very likely or somewhat likely to allow their mobile service provider to use their mobile data to track websites visited and other usage data to provide insights to advertisers to create personalized ads, tailored to individual interests.
  •  Browsing history – 86% of US respondents said that millennials would be very likely or somewhat likely to allow their mobile service provider to make entertainment recommendations based on content they’ve watched or listened to before, according to the study.
Would you share #PersonalData to receive #personalization perks from your apps? Click to Tweet

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Ghostie’s Weekly Digest: Cloudflare bug exposes customer data and more

Digital security always offers us food for thought and debate. So, here are the most important updates of the week:

 

Cloudflare leaks sensitive user data from millions of websites

Cloudflare, a service that helps optimize the security and performance of more than 5.5 million websites, warned its customers on February 23rd that a recently fixed bug exposed highly sensitive personal data, including passwords, cookies and tokens used to authenticate users.

According to the Cloudflare blog, the bug was serious because the leaked memory could contain private information and because it had been cached by search engines. However, no evidence of malicious exploits of the bug or other reports of its existence were discovered. Get the full story here.

PLEASE NOTE: CyberGhost VPN was in no way affected by this leak.

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Update: Unblock the Internet with 44 new CyberGhost VPN servers

Update, March 3rd: As of today, 8 new servers have been added to the 36 mentioned last week. Out of these, 4 are located in Luxembourg (S05) and 4 in Dallas (S03). 

Hey there, Ghosties!

Happy news: 36 new servers have been added to the CyberGhost park, thus keeping you spoilt for choice concerning the location you wish to surf the web from.

We now have a total of 870 VPN servers, spread across a total of 44 locations from 26 countries.

Here is the detailed list of freshly released servers:

FREE:

  • Romania (4 in Bucharest – S03)
  • USA (4 in New York – S06, 8 in Los Angeles – S11 and S12)
  • Germany (4 in Frankfurt – S24)
  • France (4 in Paris – S16)

PREMIUM:

  • Germany (4 in Frankfurt – S25)

BOTH FREE & PREMIUM:

  • Ukraine (4 in Kiev – S01, out of which 1 is Free and 3 are Premium)
  • Germany (4 in Berlin – S04, out of which 2 are Free and 2 are Premium)

To find out precisely where all our servers are located and what their user load is, go to our website. If you wish to gain access to all our servers, simply click here and choose a Premium subscription.

Privacy takes the fast lane: personal data and your car

Technological advancements happen for one basic reason: to make our lives better. There’s no doubt about that, but there is however a downside to all the breakthroughs of the modern world, and that is the unwanted exposure our personal data gets along the way.

Why does this happen? Because we want everything to be done easier.

We want our car to know by default our inside temperature preferences and to give us the exact directions to “home”, without us having to dictate the precise address. We want to be able to sync our phone’s contact book with our automobile so that we can simply say the name of the person we wish to call and hear them through the car’s sound system in an instant.

However, apart from these imaginable details we willingly let our cars track about us, there are also the less-obvious ones… a GPS is incorporated in our vehicles which always knows where we’re headed and there are numerous cameras and microphones which may record information about vehicle occupants. Biometric information, such as fingerprints or faces, can also be stored and eventually hacked.

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Attention, travelers: countries where VPNs are illegal

In some countries, topless sunbathing is frowned upon and strictly prohibited. Such a place is Egypt. In other countries, wearing a burqa is not allowed. That kind of place is France. Winter tires are also source for controversy, as using them during summer can lead to certain fines in Italy.

If such things leave room for debate, it comes as no surprise that tools such as VPNs are frowned upon in certain places, especially since they were created to protect our identities online, thus not allowing others to spy on us and maybe to control us easier.

Why are VPNs banned?

The reasons/pretexts for which VPNs are banned vary. The most widespread ones are terrorism, child pornography distribution, spreading malware, committing fraud or other illegal activities. Such a measure may save time and effort when catching certain felons, but it could expose many innocents to various types of cybercrimes.

However, this VPN ban is taken very seriously in the countries which have adopted it. Harsh punishments can be applied to those violating it, including simple tourists.

What forms of punishments are applied?

If you take the following excerpt from the United Arab Emirates’ federal law, you will notice that breaking the VPN ban is in no way regarded lightly:

“Whoever uses a fraudulent computer network protocol address (IP address) by using a false address or a third-party address by any other means for the purpose of committing a crime or preventing its discovery, shall be punished by temporary imprisonment and a fine of no less than Dhs 500,000 [US$136,000] and not exceeding Dhs 2,000,000 [US$544,500] of either of these two penalties.”

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