Why A Vpn Is The Best Online Privacy Tool In 2016

With every passing year people are becoming more concerned about privacy online. In 2016 the number of individuals using a VPN or other online privacy tool is expected to once again increase. Though the options are becoming more abundant—proxies, anonymous browsers—it is clear that a VPN may still be the best online privacy tool in 2016.

Here are just a few reasons that you should consider a VPN over other privacy tools:

Free proxies are scary

Have you ever noticed that when you use a free web-based proxy to surf the Internet that sometimes banner ads will pop up on a site advertising something from another site you visited a few hours ago? Isn’t that peculiar? Not really. The reason that happens is because you aren’t as anonymous when using a free proxy as you think you are. Many of these services collect and even sell your browsing preferences, allowing third parties to serve up ads tailored to your browsing history.

What you probably know is that websites accomplish this kind of targeting by the use of cookies, but what you may not know is that most tracking of this type is enabled by the search engine provider—Google, Yahoo, and Bing being the largest. Each of these search engines is also basically a gigantic advertising company. All of them sell advertising in some form or another. Once you search on certain thing like “snowshoes” the search engine offers ad placement to a company that sells snowshoes and has paid for the privilege of having their ad delivered to a targeted audience.

Free proxies do the exact same thing. They use cookies to track the sites you visit and then sell ad placements to companies. Think about it. The “free” proxy has to be generating income from somewhere. Web hosting and servers cost money to operate.

What’s even worse is that many proxies are now promoting themselves as a VPN which is often dishonest. Few of them provide the same encryption a VPN provides and follow the VPN industry standards.

TOR and anonymous browsers raise flags

Thanks to the very public arrest of the founder of the Silk Road website, Ross Ulbricht, anonymous browsers have taken a bad rap. TOR, which hosts many sites on the so-called Deep Web, is indeed an anonymous way to surf the Internet. Or is it?

When you use the TOR browser to connect to the Internet it is true that the websites you visit and your other browsing activity is anonymous, but your usage of TOR is not. Unless you are using something known as a “bridge” your ISP can easily determine that you have connected to TOR even though they can’t see what you are doing. Sometimes it is even worse to have someone know that you are using TOR but not know why you are using it. It can invite suspicion.

In 2013 Eldo Kim initiated a bomb threat at Harvard via the TOR browser and what he believed was an anonymous email service called Guerilla Mail that he had set up using TOR. An originating IP address in the email header is believed to have indicated TOR usage. It was then a simple matter for FBI agents to see if anyone had accessed TOR through the local wireless network at Harvard. This led them to Kim and that was all they needed. Eldo Kim confessed to making the threat.

TOR can only disguise traffic within its own servers. In this way it is limited. Can you imagine using TOR just because you want to visit a gambling site or adult dating site only to discover that you now have the FBI’s attention because someone else on a public network used it to do something bad? Let’s be honest. TOR has some good uses, sure, but it is forever going to be linked to black market drugs, weapons, and murder-for-hire because of the Silk Road fiasco. You probably want to think about that.

VPN still passes the privacy test

It’s kind of amazing that even though a VPN is a simple privacy tool—your device already has a VPN client installed and configuration is easy—it still works exceptionally well.

Your VPN account creates an encrypted tunnel between your device and the provider’s servers. Any websites you visit are invisible to your ISP. Furthermore, your actual IP address is not revealed to any of the sites you visit. No logs are kept of your Internet activity so even if someone were to try and collect them from the VPN provider they would could up empty because there is nothing to collect. Unlike a free proxy, a paid VPN makes it money from the customer not from marketing companies.

VPNs are so popular that they do not raise the hackles of law enforcement agencies the same way that TOR and other anonymous browsers do. There are simply too many people using a VPN today, and most of them are using it simply because they want greater privacy or perhaps want to unblock regional television programming when they travel.

The paid VPN is still your best privacy option for 2016 but be sure to choose a provider that you can trust!

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Do you Still Need a VPN if the NSA Crumbles?

The administration of US President Barack Obama announced on May 20, 2015 that the National Security Agency (NSA) must immediately begin shutting down its covert efforts to spy on the telephone conversations of American citizens. <Source> While the Patriot Act provisions that allow the NSA wide-sweeping powers of data collection expire on June 1, President Obama wants the shutdown began no later than May 22. The announcement comes on the heels of the USA Freedom Act passed last week that would essentially splinter the NSA’s authority to collect cell phone data.

Privacy and Internet Freedom activists are hailing this as a victory, but what does it really mean for you? Will you Internet activity also be safe from the government’s prying eyes? Is a VPN still a wise option for Internet browsing, even from the US?

The NSA is not going anywhere…for now

The recent laws being enacted and the directive from the Obama administration will certainly affect the ability of the NSA to gather data—cell phone data. These new provisions are not designed to affect the collection of Internet data.

But, wait! The NSA has denied that it monitors Internet traffic. It all seems a little confusing, but the application of a little rational thought might help to clear things up. Think about this: the use of cell phones and other mobile devices for Internet access is growing every day. Many privacy enthusiasts would argue that it is unreasonable to assume the NSA is collecting cell phone data solely in the form of recorded conversations. If they can monitor calls from a cell phone, how can one reasonably conclude that they cannot monitor the data being passed over a network via a mobile device?

The order to shut down the NSA data collection program sounds great for those that value their personal freedom, but too many people may take this as an excuse to become lax in the protection of data.

Are you using a VPN on your mobile device?

This is a good question. Answer it honesty. We receive emails all the time from people who don’t even realize their phone or tablet has a built-in VPN client. Many of these people simply connect to public Wi-Fi without ever giving privacy a second thought. For example you can see the iPhone vpn setup guide here.

Lots of people will turn on the Wi-Fi feature of their phone when they are within range of a network because using the network does not affect their 4G/5G data usage. The problem is that many of these public networks are unsecured. Anyone within range can log in. Sure, they may ask you to enter an email address before your browser will launch or view a 20-second before you can surf, but otherwise there are no security measures in place to regulate who is using the connection.

Bear in mind that we aren’t talking about China or the Middle East here. We’re talking about the Starbucks or Burger King in Anytown, USA. The land of the free. For some reason people are far more likely to take their security for granted at home than they are abroad. Major mistake.

Countless reports are filed each year of identity theft in the US, and a fair amount of these involve data being snooped and stolen from an unsecured wireless connection.

The NSA isn’t the only one looking

Ordering the NSA to cease and desist the collection of cell phone data is a step in the right direction for increased freedom and privacy, but the NSA isn’t the only one that might be observing your Internet activities. As we stated above, identity theft is a big business. Data thieves are constantly looking for an exploit in wireless networks.

Perhaps you think that your Internet history is safe as long as you don’t do it from your home computer. Wrong. The browser on your device also records your history and can be easily accessed. Furthermore, devices like the Android OS are powered by Google and basically connect you across the entire Googlesphere—the Play Store, YouTube, and more. Did you ever wonder why you start getting those uncanny recommendations after visiting a website or watching a video? It’s like the Internet can read your mind. Well, someone certainly can.

If the NSA were the only threat to the personal privacy of citizens in the US, the recent announcements from Capitol Hill would be very good news. Unfortunately, there is still much to be done in the struggle for Internet freedom. Until then, using a VPN on all of your mobile devices is the smart play. A VPN is affordable and easy to set up, and it can give you something that is priceless—peace of mind.

3 Steps to use VPN

01

Sign upBuy an affordable VPN account.

02

ConnectConfigure the VPN on your device.

03

Enjoy VPNEnjoy the benefits of a VPN today.

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Connect & Enjoy: Internet Freedom, Privacy & security.

 

Expat VPN : VPN Solution for Expats Traveling

An expat VPN is an indispensable tool for every expat that is actively engaged in traveling and working around the globe. More and more specialists in technical and other fields are being called upon to leave their own countries and provide valuable services in other regions, and Internet access abroad is something that can often be taken for granted or ignored completely until an expat arrives in a new location and finds their Internet access hampered by regional restrictions.

Setting up a VPN solution for expats traveling isn’t hard, especially when you use our VPN services at VPN-accounts.com, but it does require some forethought and planning. Here is a brief guide for creating an expat VPN that will serve you well regardless of where you happen to be located.

Get your VPN before departure

We can’t stress this enough. The most important part of setting up an expat VPN is to obtain your network credentials before you leave home. A few countries have made it difficult to access VPN provider websites via their state-owned ISP’s. You may arrive in a country and find that access to VPN provider websites are restricted.

Another plus of getting your VPN early is that you will be able to familiarize yourself with the different server options provided and also get a feel for the browsing speed you will have. Our VPN’s offer no significant difference in speed from your standard Internet connection.

We would recommend purchasing a year of VPN service at a time. This is important if your travels are going to be for an extended amount of time. It is not uncommon for expats to work in a foreign country for months or even years at a time. You’ll also save some money when you purchase VPN service in a yearly block as opposed to paying monthly.

Know the Internet restrictions in the region you are traveling in

This should be a no-brainer, but many expats are not familiar with the Internet restrictions in the specific area they will be traveling in. You can accomplish this task in a variety of ways. We have many articles on our blog that address the restrictions of different countries. You can also search Google for Internet censorship. Wikipedia has some good info on the Open Net Initiative that is updated frequently with the latest information on which countries are blocking what websites.

The fact is, some countries can change their Internet policies literally overnight while others, such as China, remain steadfast over time in the content they block or regulate. You can always check news sites for new information but it isn’t always front-page news when Turkey decides to block Facebook.

A good rule of thumb is this: expect that the access to your favorite media services (Netflix, Hulu, Amazon Prime) and social media sites (Facebook, Twitter) will be blocked in the area you are traveling to. You may be pleasantly surprised sometimes when they are not, but you will never be disappointed when they are.

Back up the network credentials you receive from your VPN provider

Here is something a lot of expats using a VPN forget. Always keep a copy of the network credentials from your VPN provider in a safe place at home and on the road. Setting up your VPN is easy and you only need to do it one time. It doesn’t require a download. All you need to do is enter the credentials into your VPN client and you are good to go.

But what happens if your computer crashes? What if it is stolen or lost? While we will certainly provide our clients with the credentials, it is so much more convenient if you have quick access to them anytime you need to configure the VPN client on a new device.

And speaking of other devices…

Use your VPN on all of your devices

A true expat VPN should be accessible across all platforms that you use while traveling. From your laptop to your smartphone to your tablet or Kindle Fire, VPN can be used on every one of them. You should configure the VPN client on every device.

Sometimes you will find yourself in an environment where you need to connect to public Wi-Fi with a mobile device and the habit in your home country is to do this without a lot of thought. Even when you are at home, using your VPN on these devices when you’re are surfing on an unsecured public network is good personal security practice. You might not think making a search on Google with your tablet is a big deal, but any data you transfer across an unsecured network is subject to exposure.

Our advice would be to buy a vpn and set up your VPN on each and every device you have as soon as you receive the network credentials. Don’t procrastinate. It will take you less than thirty minutes to configure all of your devices.

3 Steps to use VPN

01

Sign upBuy an affordable VPN account.

02

ConnectConfigure the VPN on your device.

03

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What is Prism? Defeat PRISM with a VPN Account

Stop. Read these next words very carefully. Your Internet activities could be under surveillance at this very moment if you are not using a VPN to browse the Web. Every website you visit, every email you send, every photo you share or download might be resting in a data depository right now waiting to be analyzed.

Did the starkness of that paragraph scare you with its George Orwell overtones? Are you at this very moment thinking back over the last ten websites you visited? The last ten chats you had? The last ten videos you watched? Good. While it isn’t our intention to scare you, it is our intention to make you aware of the very real threats to your personal privacy that exist due to something known as Prism and other programs that are very similar which are being used by various governments to track and monitor Internet activity.

What is Prism?

In 2007 the National Security Agency of the United States launched an electronic surveillance and data mining program in cooperation with state agencies from other countries like the UK. Prism is the code name for this operation which is officially titled US-984XN. Since its inception, Prism has been used to collect data by demanding that companies such as Google turn over data that matches court-approved search terms.

Approximately 91% of the NSA’s Internet traffic is attributable to data collection through Prism. The program has been widely criticized by watchdogs of Internet freedom but defended by politicians who claim Prism cannot be used on domestic citizens without a warrant and that it helps prevent the spread of terrorism.

 It has since been revealed that the Prism program has extended beyond the traditional means of Internet access to include surveillance of mobile networks. Companies such as Verizon have been compelled to turn over cell phone data to the NSA. The current President of the United States, Barack Obama, has defended Prism as “a circumscribed, narrow system directed at us being able to protect our people.”

The implications of Prism

Prism (Portal for Real-time Information Sharing and Management) made headlines in June of 2013 when Edward Snowden, a contracted worker for the NSA, leaked various documents about the data collection practices of the United States to The Washington Post and The Guardian. The backlash was immediate. Many advocates of Internet freedom were quick to point out the serious implications such a broad-sweeping program could have on personal privacy.

As we stated, political officials are quick to claim that Prism was never intended to be a blanket form of Internet surveillance and that it is only used in targeted scenarios. But is this really true? The fact is that the NSA does not answer to agencies that monitor trespasses against the Internet freedom of the average citizen. There are little efforts at holding the NSA accountable for their collection efforts and forcing them to identify and justify what information is collected.

It would be reasonable to suggest that the concerns of many individuals rest in the fact that they believe programs such as these open the door to a restricted Internet and too much power given to the State when it comes to determining what Internet content is appropriate for viewing.

The VPN answer to Prism

The revelation of Prism as a data collection source certainly made people more conscious of the need to take measures to anonymize their Internet browsing. The evolution of VPN’s as an effective and affordable means of anonymous Internet browsing was surely aided by the Prism revelations.

Is using a VPN an effective countermeasure for Prism? Without question. While it is not the only measure individuals can take, using a VPN forms a strong foundation for any personal privacy plan. The features of a VPN make it ideally suited to anonymous browsing.

Using our own highly-regarded VPN service as an example, let’s look at a few important points. First and foremost, our VPN’s are an affordably priced privacy solution. You can buy an entire year of VPN service from VPNaccounts.com for less than $100. Secondly, when you use one of our VPN servers to connect to the Internet your IP address becomes anonymized by virtue of the VPN IP address. Therefore, all traffic can only be traced as far as the VPN. Thirdly, we do not maintain logs of user’s Internet activity. Even if we were forced to comply with a data request there would be nothing turn over. Lastly, state-of-the-art encryption is what creates the secure VPN tunnel between your local machine and the Internet. The data passing back and forth is unintelligible to prying eyes.

We will never advocate the use of the Internet to participate in criminal activity. What we do advocate is the right of the individual to use the Internet in an unrestricted, legal manner without a concern over whether or not their personal data is being collected.

3 Steps to use VPN

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Sign upBuy an affordable VPN account.

02

ConnectConfigure the VPN on your device.

03

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What is an Anonymous VPN Service?

Literally millions of people are using an anonymous VPN service to protect their privacy online. The definition of a truly anonymous VPN is a bit confusing however, and some VPN providers may not be as anonymous as they lead their clients to believe.

It seems like every day that some high profile case is showing up in the newspapers about someone getting burned that thought they were surfing the Internet anonymously. We think that most Internet users are savvy enough these days to know that their Internet traffic is subject to being monitored and logged and so they are turning to a VPN to prevent snooping. The problem is that VPN’s have become so popular it is hard to know which ones are trustworthy.

The question of logs

Something anyone considering an anonymous VPN service should investigate is the logging policy of the provider. Logs of Internet activity can be used to match an IP address and a time stamp to a specific user of a service. Those logs can then be requested by certain agencies. It benefits the VPN user to know exactly what information is logged by their service and how long that information is retained. VPN-accounts.com does not log the traffic or activity of its users. Again, we do not log traffic nor session data of any kind, period.

Furthermore, a user might also want to know which jurisdiction their VPN provider operates in. Some jurisdictions have mandatory data retention laws that compel providers to log activity and maintain those logs for a specific period of time. Some locations, such as the US, do not have require mandatory data retention.

VPNaccounts.com certainly scrutinizes any and all legal information requests. However, since we do not retain traffic or session data we are unable to provide this information a third party. It is simple. You can’t provide what you don’t have.

Hallmark of Anonymous VPN Service

One common bond of VPN services is the ability to mask or conceal your IP address by replacing it with an IP address associated with the VPN server. This not only enables a certain level of anonymity but also serves the purpose of allowing a user to access webs services that may be restricted in certain regions of the world. VPNaccounts.com uses a variety of servers in different locations to provide enough options to cover anyone that needs VPN service. Here you can see the VPN plans to buy..

Masking a user’s genuine IP address, however, is only a part of the process of creating anonymity. The use of encryption to scramble data and make it indecipherable to anyone snooping is the other part of the process.

All of this is what makes a VPN work—the hallmark, if you will—but it can be easily defeated when a VPN provider keeps logs or even sells some data information to marketing companies. This has been a specific problem with many web-based proxies that advertise themselves as a means of browsing anonymously. The fact is that they are often not as anonymous as advertised and some of them are now being actively blocked in some areas.

3 Steps to use VPN

01

Sign upBuy an affordable VPN account.

02

ConnectConfigure the VPN on your device.

03

Enjoy VPNEnjoy the benefits of a VPN today.

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Connect & Enjoy: Internet Freedom, Privacy & security.

Internet Guide for Expats in Dubai or elsewhere

An important part of our job here at VPN-accounts.com is providing VPN service to expats, those wonderful people who spend a great deal of time living and working in locales outside of their home country. We often field many questions from expats about the necessity and intricacies of using a VPN abroad, so we wanted to present this quick Internet Guide for Expats.

Why expats need a VPN

The first and foremost reason expats should be using a VPN is to preserve Internet access in multiple regions around the world. A reliable, unfiltered Internet connection is very important to expats. It serves as their link to news and information from home, allows them to use their social networks to communicate with friends and family rather than depending on a more expensive means of communication, and even provides the opportunity to share photos and other documents that may be work-related or of a personal nature. Internet access for expats is vital.

Unfortunately, in some areas of the world there are restrictions on what can and cannot be viewed online. In Muslim countries and the Arab region some social networks like Twitter may be blocked. Skype is also often targeted in these countries and blocked such as in Oman, preventing the expat from an inexpensive method of making calls or video chatting with relatives. In China and other eastern countries there may be extensive censorship of stateside news outlets and blogs. The bottom line is that unrestricted Internet access for expats has to be achieved by some alternative method and a VPN is the best of those.

Expats also benefit from the security enhancements that are afforded by a VPN via encryption. Expats spend a lot of time in hotels, airports, and Internet cafes and otherwise using unsecured networks. An expat’s device, whether it be a laptop, tablet, or phone can contain a lot of sensitive information. Personal info such as logins and passwords can be stored as well as contact lists and credit card and banking info. They also tend to retain a lot of business-related info and that may also be sensitive.

All of the information on a device is subject to being monitored when an expat uses an unsecured network. Browsing histories can be logged and retained. Spyware and malware can be delivered to a device. In short, failing to secure an Internet connection by encrypting data transfer is a bad risk that no smart expat will take. This is why you may want to be a cyberghost using a vpn.

How to use a VPN

An Internet Guide for Expats would not be complete without a few basic instructions on how a VPN is used properly. We’ll start at square one: purchasing VPN service.

Finding a reliable VPN provider is the first step for an expat, and it is a step that should be taken prior to departure for the host country. Some countries will block access to a VPN provider websites. It pays to put VPN service on the same checklist as a passport when it comes to things an expat will need overseas. It also bears to mention that many so-called “free” proxies are just a bad idea. They don’t always succeed in removing website blocks, are often blocked themselves, and have an unreliable connection speed. VPN is effective, affordable, and there is virtually no difference in connection speed.

The next thing for expats to know about using a VPN is that there is no software download required. Almost all Internet-ready devices today come with a built-in VPN client that only needs to be configured with the VPN network credentials in order to work properly. Once an expat orders their VPN from VPNaccounts.com we provide them all of the information they need to configure their VPN client and will even offer additional support via email if they need help getting things set up. The process is simple and takes mere minutes.

Once the VPN client has been configured for one or more of the server locations we provide, an expat only needs to establish a regular Internet connection and then connect to the VPN server of their choice. At that point they can take comfort in knowing that they are browsing the Internet securely and have reestablished their access to many blocked or restricted websites.

Summing up an Internet Guide for Expats

Here are some of the important points to take away from this brief expat VPN guide:

  • Buy a VPN service before departing your home country
  • Using a VPN can preserve your access to Skype, Twitter, news outlets and blogs that help maintain your connection to home. It also encrypts your data transfer to keep data safe.
  • You do not need to install software to use our VPNs.
  • Avoid proxies and “free” VPNs, especially the web-based ones that can sometimes also be blocked in a specific region and may also download harmful malware to your device.

3 Steps to use VPN

01

Sign upBuy an affordable VPN account.

02

ConnectConfigure the VPN on your device.

03

Enjoy VPNEnjoy the benefits of a VPN today.

Get a VPN Account

Connect & Enjoy: Internet Freedom, Privacy & security.

Bypass Censorship Using a VPN account

Think about what you are doing right now. You probably sat down to your computer or grabbed your tablet and logged on to the Internet without ever questioning whether or not the websites you wanted to visit or the social networks you wanted to use would be accessible. If you live in the US or the UK you probably take uncensored Internet for granted, but there are millions of people in the world that are forced to bypass censorship by using a VPN.

Internet censorship is a problem in many areas of the world that do not embrace the unregulated expression of ideas or even artistic endeavors. If you find yourself in one of these locales you will be thankful for the Internet access you enjoy in your home country, and you will be even more thankful if you have thought ahead and secured a VPN.

Regions that censor the Internet

At the present time there are three specific regions of the world that engage in pervasive Internet censorship. They are East Asia, Central Asia, and the Middle East/North Africa. It is not uncommon to find a wide variety of web applications and sites blocked in these areas.

China is notorious for its level of Internet censorship. Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube are blocked in China. Websites that discuss the Dalai Lama or the 1989 massacre of student protesters in Tiananmen Square are forbidden. China works especially hard to control access to any Internet content that is believed to have the potential to encourage dissent among the population.

In Germany and France you cannot access much information about Nazism. While one can certainly understand the concern here, censoring access to information about the world’s conflicts is another way that governments try to eradicate history.

If you find yourself in Turkey you may or may not be able to access social media platforms like YouTube and Twitter. The situation is so volatile there that it is hard to predict which websites will be accessible from one moment to the next.

Even the hallowed bastion of freedom, the United States, is not immune to acts of Internet censorship. Many libraries use state-mandating filtering on the computers that are available to public patrons. While this filtering is mostly used to prevent people from looking at porn at their local library, the implications are insidious. The same filter that blocks access to a porn site can, with very minor changes, be used to filter any site that is deemed objectionable. That will probably raise the hairs on the neck of many people that distrust US politicians.

The point we are making here is that Internet censorship is widespread throughout the word. True enough, you will most likely encounter it when traveling if you reside in the West, and the way to bypass potential censorship is by using a VPN account.

How do countries accomplish censorship?

Commercial filtering software has become more prevalent as new and better applications are developed. Originally, companies primarily marketed filtering software to businesses and individuals, but some of these same companies have discovered that there is a lucrative market in the development of platforms that can be used on a broad scale. One such company is SmartFilter of California, a subsidiary of McAfee. Countries that have used SmartFilter include Tunisia, Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Kuwait, and even the United States.

Cisco has been accused of helping China develop its infamous Golden Shield or Great Firewall of China. Cisco has denied these allegations in court. Netsweeper, developed in Canada, has been used to filter Internet content in Qatar, the UAE, and Yemen.

IP address blocking, DNS filtering and redirection, and packet filtering are just a few of the other methods that are regularly used to enforce internet censorship.

Proxies are ineffective against censorship

Some people try to circumvent Internet censorship by the use of a proxy server. The problem is that proxies are unreliable, therefore making them ineffective. Some websites, like Wikipedia, even block proxies. Proxies can also seriously reduce connection speed and are notorious for delivering harmful malware to a user’s computer.

The only reliable way to bypass censorship is by using a VPN. A VPN puts you in complete control of your Internet browsing. Your IP address is concealed and your browsing activities are not logged. The connection speed of a VPN is virtually the same as your normal Internet connection, and VPNaccounts.com does not depend upon spyware advertising revenue to stay in business. We charge a very affordable fee for our VPN service and offer multiple server locations to our users. The value of our VPN’s compared to those of proxies or our competitors is undeniable.

Make preparations now if you plan on traveling to one of the regions we mentioned earlier, or even if you just want the peace of mind that comes from knowing no one can restrict or spy on your Internet activities. Click here to buy a vpn account before travelling!

3 Steps to use VPN

01

Sign upBuy an affordable VPN account.

02

ConnectConfigure the VPN on your device.

03

Enjoy VPNEnjoy the benefits of a VPN today.

Get a VPN Account

Connect & Enjoy: Internet Freedom, Privacy & security.

 

The Threats to Your Online Privacy – Use a VPN

Using a VPN from VPN-accounts.com to safely browse the Internet is one of the best methods of safeguarding your online privacy from security threats that can expose your private data. You probably know about many of these security threats but some of them may be unfamiliar to you. Here is a rundown of the top threats to your online privacy.

Government spying

It’s all over the news these days—government agencies are constantly under fire for the programs they have been using to observe the Internet activity of everyday citizens just like you. From the long-held practices of restrictive regions like China and those in the Middle East to the more recent efforts of the United States and the United Kingdom, the government wants to know what you’re doing online and they will go to great lengths to obtain that information.

The scariest part of this security threat is how prevalent it has become in the United States. The revelations about the NSA’s Prism and Bullrun programs has changed the way many people in the US browse the Internet. With each passing day more people are using a VPN to encrypt the data they send and receive online.

It is definitely a cause of concern to think that governments could access your search histories, list of websites you visit, and even read your email. A natural question to ask is, “Why would they want to do that?” At the end of the day it is all about control. The Internet has always been a thorn in the side of governments because it has remained unregulated. Even the most benign government doesn’t like relaxing its hold on the general citizenry.

Data breaches

The presence of data thieves and hackers that want to access your personal data is certainly the oldest threat to your online privacy. Since the earliest days of the Internet there have been individuals that devote every waking hour to developing programs and applications that allow them to collect names, addresses, social security numbers, banking information and more from the unprotected masses.

Data breaches are common among the world’s biggest companies and organizations. In September of 2014 it was revealed that Home Depot, one of the biggest retailers in the United States, suffered a data breach that exposed the credit card information of 56 million customers. Have you shopped at a Home Depot lately? The thing is, data breaches like this one happen every day. You only hear about the ones from the major retailers. Also in September 2014, online book retailer Abe Books sent out an email to their customer base informing them that their email addresses and passwords had been compromised and made available for sale on black market websites. Many people use the same login information for all of their websites. This data breach never made the mainstream news, but it has the potential to be just as devastating as the ones that are reported.

The question you should be asking yourself right now is: if a major company is at risk from a data breach, what chance do I have? Thankfully, you can take a big step in the right direction by using a VPN for Internet browsing. In just a few moments from now you could be using a VPN from VPNaccounts.com to encrypt your data and greatly reduce the chance that someone will breach your PC, laptop, tablet, or your Smartphone. That’s right. Our VPN’s work on all of those devices.

Snooping spouses or family members

Look, it doesn’t make us happy to include this threat on the list but let’s get real. One of the top threats to your online privacy could be living under your roof! Those closest to us are supposed to be people we trust, but it is a very natural thing for a man or woman to be curious about the kind of websites their spouse visits.

Data logs have often appeared in court cases of divorce and child custody. We can sit here and pretend that people don’t look at things online that are considered objectionable by some segments of society, but that would be naïve. And we’re not talking about anything illegal…we said objectionable. You see, that’s really the problem. Internet porn is one of the biggest cyber industries worldwide. So is Internet gambling. There is nothing inherently wrong with an adult choosing to use these services, but their spouse may not know about their activities. For these people, keeping their browsing habits private is a must.

Another area of concern involves LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender) individuals that must remain “in the closest” for personal or professional reasons. Even though we’d like to think the world has become more tolerant of alternative lifestyles, some people are still required to keep their sexual preference private.

3 Steps to use VPN

01

Sign upBuy an affordable VPN account.

02

ConnectConfigure the VPN on your device.

03

Enjoy VPNEnjoy the benefits of a VPN today.

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Will The NSA’s Bullrun Beat the use of VPNs?

One of the most startling revelations by NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden was the existence of Bullrun, a highly classified NSA project developed to decipher encrypted data. The UK has developed a similar project codenamed Edgehill. According to Snowden and others who monitor the intelligence community, the ultimate goal of these programs is to allow government access to encrypted data transfer on the Internet.

Why does the NSA fear encrypted data and VPNs?

VPNs have become increasingly popular over the past few years. The number of VPN providers has increased steadily since 2012 and more of them appear each day. Even before the appearance of Edward Snowden, large numbers of computer users recognized the need to better protect themselves against the intrusion of anyone trying to spy on their Internet activities. Last year, the most famous hacker in recent memory, Kevin Mitnick, encouraged people to use a VPN for Internet browsing. You can read about him here.

All of this interest and attention in encrypting data with a VPN appears to have made the NSA nervous. It seems that they don’t like the idea of individuals being able to use the Internet anonymously. Why would this be the case, especially when the US is considered to be a bastion of personal freedom?

The answer may rest in increased discontent among American citizens over US policies that are perceived to limit freedom and protect government interests. In recent years, the Occupy Wall Street movement and similar protests have seen an unprecedented rise in dissatisfaction with US political leaders. Bullrun may be a troubling sign that the US is taking a page from the playbook of other countries that have made efforts to limit or restrict Internet freedom.

A civil war against Internet freedom?

It is very interesting to consider the name Bullrun and how the NSA chose it as the name for their decryption program. The name comes from the Battle of Bull Run, the first major battle of the American Civil War. Likewise, the UK’s Edgehill comes from the Battle of Edgehill, the first battle in England’s civil war. What does this say about how these governments perceive their attempts to decrypt Internet traffic?

It seems as though both the US and UK realize that attempts to restrict Internet freedom is nothing less than a war on their own citizens. It is also clear that these programs were not developed for the purposes of combatting other governments, but are instead an effort to silence domestic discontent.

The VPN response

It didn’t take long for VPN providers and other Internet companies to respond to Snowden’s revelations about Bullrun. Many of them have taken measures to increase the size of their encryption keys. Also, the vulnerability of VPN providers that used the Open SSL platform was exposed by the recent Heartbleed virus, a bug some think was actually created by the NSA.

VPNaccounts.com offers a level of VPN service that offers the best protection from Bullrun and other attempts at spying on Internet traffic. Why? Because we do not depend on the Open SSL protocol for encryption. We also offer multiple VPN servers, and we work to inform our customers about the most effective ways to use VPN technology. Additionally, we keep no logs of your Internet traffic. All of these things combined continue to make us one of the most reliable VPN providers, click here to buy.

It is unlikely that Bullrun will defeat using a VPN in the immediate future because of all of the backlash created by Snowden and his revelations. The NSA will likely lay low for the time being until the domestic furor over privacy invasion subsides.

3 Steps to use VPN

01

Sign upBuy an affordable VPN account.

02

ConnectConfigure the VPN on your device.

03

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How to Browse the Internet Securely

swecure web browsingBrowsing the Internet securely should be a simple, worry-free thing. You sit down, connect, open your browser and off you go. But did you know that sometimes the very act of opening your browser can open a world of trouble for your system? Here’s some information about browser hijacking and how you can help to prevent it with a VPN account from VPN-accounts.com.

What is browser hijacking?

Browser hijacking is essentially a modification of your preferred browser’s settings. It really doesn’t matter if you use Internet Explorer, Firefox, Chrome, Safari or any other popular browser. All browsers are vulnerable to both simple and sophisticated hijacking techniques. In most cases browser hijacking is used to replace your home page, search page, or force you to view advertising that you didn’t want to see. It can be easily reversed in many cases, but sometimes browser hijacking is more serious. You can read more about browser hijacking here.

Oftentimes the goal of a hijacker is to trick you into accepting bloatware, malware, or spyware that tracks your personal data. The really ugly part of this is that many of the programs that contain a hijacker more or less trick you into accepting it. One of the most frequent ways this is done is by asking you to allow the installation of a toolbar when you download a program.

In addition to tracking your data and browsing preferences, a browser hijacker will also slow your system to a crawl.

Learning how to browse securely

There are a few things you can do to learn how to browse the Internet securely. The first thing you need to do is familiarize yourself with a VPN and how it works. While a VPN won’t necessarily prevent browser hijacking by itself, it will help to prevent your personal data from being exposed if you do pick up a hijacker. A VPN should always be the first line of defense in your overall security plan.

Installing your VPN is a piece of cake. Your system…whether it be a PC or MAC, smartphone, tablet, or even a Kindle Fire, is already equipped to accept a VPN. All you need to do is configure the settings in your VPN client with the credentials provided by VPN-accounts.com after you purchase your VPN. We email them to you right away, and we also provide excellent support if you need some assistance in setting things up.

After your VPN is up and running, use it each time you access the Internet. That sounds like a very basic piece of advice, but you would be surprised how many people think that just setting it up is enough. You have to connect to it once your regular connection is established. Technology is only beneficial to you when you use it! Make it a habit to use your VPN regularly, and you will have no problem with doing that because using the VPN is easy and does not significantly affect the speed of your connection.

The VPN encrypts your data transfer, so if you happen to pick up a browser hijacker it will be difficult for someone to track your activities. All traces of your Internet browsing point back to the VPN server, not your local machine, and VPNaccounts.com does not retain logs of your activity.

The next step you need to perform is to obtain a USB flash drive for your machine. These are very affordable today and come in various sizes. You can even get one that will hold 32 GB of data or more. Once you have your flash drive, download a backup of your preferred browser to it. You can do this right from most browser’s websites, but a great resource for doing this if you use Windows is PortableApps.com. You’ll find browsers, malware and spyware removers, and a host of other apps you can download to your flash drive to create a First Aid Kit for your PC.

If your browser does happen to get hijacked, you can insert your flash drive and use the browser on it until you apply a fix and remove the infected browser from your main system. Most of the time your antivirus program can be used to remove a browser hijacker, but sometimes it will be necessary for you to uninstall the browser from your system and reinstall it.

Small changes make a big difference

The best way to learn how to browse the Internet securely is to begin making small changes to how you surf the Web. Always use your VPN account. Whenever you download something from the Internet, read all of the terms and be sure to uncheck any boxes that ask you to accept an unknown toolbar or other piece of malware. Your Internet security begins with diligence on your part. Make these routine things a habit and your Internet security will increase.

3 Steps to use VPN

01

Sign upBuy an affordable VPN account.

02

ConnectConfigure the VPN on your device.

03

Enjoy VPNEnjoy the benefits of a VPN today.

Get a VPN Account

Connect & Enjoy: Internet Freedom, Privacy & security.