Pakistan to Block Skype & Related Apps – Breaking News

Pakistan has become the latest country to strike a blow against Internet freedom by announcing it will block Skype and Viber throughout a large portion of the country. Known for occasionally blocking access to Facebook and Twitter as well as an outright ban on YouTube, Pakistan claims that Skype and similar communications networks are being used by terrorists in an effort to avoid monitored conversations.

The ban will predominantly affect the Sindh Province and all those residing in Karachi. Pakistan has stated that the ban will last for three months, but many speculate that it could extend and also include services like Whatsapp and Tango and it will probably go on for longer than 3 months.

What does a block of Skype mean for those living and working in Pakistan? Are there ways to avoid the restriction? What are the implications of Pakistan blocking Skype for the rest of the world? These are questions Internet users in Pakistan and around the world must answer in the coming days.

What does Pakistan blocking Skype really mean?

The obvious concern here if for nationals and expatriates who reside in Pakistan. These individuals will no longer be able to access Skype through local and state-owned ISP’s. Skype is a preferred method of communication, especially for expats who need to speak to family at home because it is more cost-effective than International calling and offers the benefit of video chat in most cases.

There are many expats working in the health and education sectors of Pakistan. These individuals will be directly and immediately affected by the Skype block. It can be difficult for an expat from the West to adjust to situations like this which strike at the heart of free speech. Many of these individuals will be forced to find alternate means of communicating with loved ones and business associates.

Beyond the obvious implications, the more sinister aspect of a Pakistan block of Skype is that it further reduces the freedom of the Internet in a region which is already known for heavy-handed restriction. As more countries in this region block communications apps other countries follow suit. There has been a determined effort to monitor Internet activity under the pretense of security. Skype is already blocked in Oman, UAE and Belize.

Thankfully, there is a way to evade the Skype block in Pakistan. Expats and their families should pay particular attention to the following section.

Unblocking Skype in Pakistan

The solution for unblocking Skype in Pakistan is a VPN account. We are happy to provide these services to those who have been affected by this unfortunate news. Purchasing a VPN is simple and it can be configured in a short time with the detailed instructions we provide. Simply select the option you need from our Buy VPN page, complete your purchase, and restore your Skype access in Pakistan.

For the families of expats who are working in the region, it is important to consider the following information. Some VPN provider sites, including ours, are blocked in some locations to prevent purchasing a VPN account. It may be necessary for someone outside Pakistan to purchase the VPN account for their family member who is working in Pakistan. This is one of the best things you can do for your loved one if they are an expatriate. Do not allow your communication with them to be cutoff. This is preventable. Alternatively, if you are planning a trip to Pakistan but have not yet departed, make sure you purchase one of our VPN options before you leave.

In addition, your VPN account will also allow you to access local television programming, Netflix, Amazon Prime, and a host of other services that you are able to use at home. Your overall security will also be improved through the encryption of your connection and data transfer.

It is important to know that you do not have to routinely accept a Skype block in Pakistan. The time to address this important issue is now, however, as the ban is expected to be fully implemented in a very short period of time.

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UK to Block Porn Sites via Internet Filters

Porn blocked - Unblock PornBritish Prime Minister David Cameron dropped a huge bomb on fans of Internet porn when he announced in late June that the UK would begin blocking all porn websites by default beginning in 2014. Regardless of how you feel about Internet porn, Cameron’s action is a strike against Internet freedom in the UK. (more)

Something very interesting is the following “MPs, peers and staff at the Houses of Parliament have tried to access ‘adult’ websites using their work computers 309,316 times over the past year, according to official figures.” Source

There are options for those adults who prize their right to look at porn websites. The UK porn block will be easy to avoid if Web surfers secure a VPN account.

Why is the UK blocking porn?

Prime Minister Cameron’s reasons for blocking porn in the UK in 2013 are noble enough. He states that it is simply an initiative to crack down on the promulgation of child pornography. The National Crime Agency in the UK strongly pursues legal action against individuals who upload/download pornographic images of children, but Cameron says this is not enough. He says that he believes the government shares a responsibility with ISP’s and search engine companies to block access to offensive material.

Cameron also wishes to reduce the chances that children will be able to access pornographic images online. The Prime Minister contends that some underage children are viewing porn websites without their parent’s knowledge. The porn ban aims to employ a blanket restriction in order to accomplish Cameron’s objectives.

How will the UK block porn?

The UK porn block will be implemented in a series of stages. The first of these is voluntary implementation of “family-friendly” filters on public Wi-Fi hotspots. Many business locations which offer public Wi-Fi have stated their willingness to participate in the porn ban, and more are sure to jump on the bandwagon as the movement gathers steam.

Later, filtering will be used by UK-based ISP’s to accomplish nationwide blocking. This measure will take some time for ISP’s to setup, but the majority of providers should be in full compliance by the end of 2013.

Restricting access to websites can be a complicated procedure. In most cases, using proxy servers to filter the internet. It is interesting to note that the four largest Internet providers in the UK—TalkTalk, Virgin, Sky, and BT—have agreed to enable home network filters by default. This means that all new broadband subscribers will find these sites automatically blocked. The providers, however, have left in place a way for subscribers to bypass the filters by adjusting settings that can only be accessed by the adult account holder.

The UK porn block will create more VPN users

Even though almost everyone will applaud the Prime Minister’s intentions, an equal number of users concerned about diminishing Internet freedom will certainly turn to VPN’s in order to retain access to whatever sites they choose.

Our VPN service is the most certain way to bypass restriction on pornographic websites in the UK. Not only does our VPN change the IP address of the user, it also encrypts data transfer. This removes the possibility that the browsing activities of the user can be tracked.

The US and UK have already seen a sharp rise in the number of VPN providers, as enterprising individuals rush to fill the demand for VPN’s. While this has given those searching for a VPN more options, and even lowered the price of VPN service, many of the options are inferior and have several drawbacks. These disadvantages can include limiting the amount of data transfer, logging of user activity, and slow connection speeds.

At VPN-accounts.com, we pride ourselves on the following advantages:

  • Affordable pricing
  • Multiple server options
  • No bandwidth restrictions
  • No logging of user data

How do you feel about the UK blocking porn?

Here is our take on the UK porn block. VPNaccounts.com supports and encourages efforts to eradicate the exploitation of children through pornography, and we encourage parents to monitor the Internet usage of their children to prevent access to objectionable sites. Concerning porn websites that feature adult models, VPNaccounts.com believes that adults should retain their freedom in choosing whether or not to view these websites.

We are very interested to know your thoughts on the porn ban in the UK. Do you think this is a reasonable action by the Prime Minister David Cameron of the UK, or do you believe it strikes at the heart of Internet freedom? Will a ban on Internet porn lead to other government-mandated restrictions? Please take a moment to leave us a comment below and share your thoughts on this controversial issue.

And remember, we are here to serve your VPN needs. If you live in the UK and wish to secure a viable option for unblocking restricted websites, at home or abroad or simply want to be anonymous online and have a secure connection then please check out the multiple plans we have available.  You will not need to download a VPN software either.

Our team is standing by to answer any questions you may have.

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Accessing Blogs with a VPN

blogsBlogs are the hallmark of new media. Bloggers the world over are using this platform to express their political views, provide up-to-date news in real time, and interact socially with the rest of the world. Unfortunately, many relevant blogs are becoming inaccessible in some parts of the world due to Internet censorship. Thankfully, a VPN can remedy this problem.

If you are a faithful reader of some popular blogs, here is some information you may find very useful as well as information on using a VPN to maintain access.

What is a blog?

Strictly speaking, a blog is an online journal. In the early days of blogging, blogs were used primarily for social purposes. A blogger could post personal updates and reflections on things they found interesting. Today, blogs serve a more important purpose. They are often used to provide political commentary and news which is untainted by the influence of the major news networks.

One of the more popular examples of a modern blog is the Huffington Post. Started by Ariana Huffington as a relatively small venture, the Huffington Post has expanded to provide some of the best news and commentary on the Internet. For entertainment enthusiasts, Perez Hilton’s blog has also become a sensation.

While these blogs are extremely popular, more relevant to our discussion are blogs which are emerging in areas like the Arab region and China. These blogs provide unfiltered news and information, often in real time, about political events. They have become so popular that many countries which restrict Internet freedom have engaged in blocking them via the firewalls on their proxy servers.

Why would countries block a blog?

In countries where the Internet is tightly regulated—Saudi Arabia, UAE, and China, for instance—the control of information is a high priority. These governments go to extremes to limit what can be accessed from within the country. For bloggers, this can be the kiss of death.

Many bloggers tend to be somewhat controversial in their coverage of local politics. They seem themselves as on outpost for freedom of the press and proponents of unfettered Internet access. This type of criticism of the government is frowned upon and therefore many blogs are considered a threat.

In February of 2012, Google announced that it would censor blogs on a “per country” basis. Google owns and operates one of the most popular blogging platforms called Blogger. What Google chose to do was redirect blog traffic to country-specific domains, thereby opening the door to state-controlled censorship. India was one of the first countries to institute this technology. In the immediate aftermath of Google’s decision, India sent 39 requests to the Internet giant for content removal. The greatest impact of this decision was that many blogs disappeared from Google search results, which pretty much voided their availability.

Blogs and a VPN

Let’s look at the subject of blogs and a VPN from a couple of different perspectives. First, we’ll talk about the reading side of things.

If you like to travel, or perhaps your job demands that you visit different countries, don’t take it for granted that your favorite blog will be available. Censorship of blogs is one of the reasons the nickname The Great Firewall of China was given to that Asian nation. In China, bloggers have even been imprisoned for posting things considered objectionable by the government, but we’ll get to that in just a moment.

Blocking by IP address is usually the method employed to censor blogs and make them unavailable in certain countries. You can easily override this restriction by using our VPN to change your IP address and bypass restriction via an encrypted VPN tunnel. That way, if China or Oman or the UAE happens to be blocking a news blog that you usually read at home in the US or UK, you can appear to be visiting the site from home and the internet service provider will not know you are accessing the site while connected via the encrypted vpn account. The process of setting up your VPN account to preserve access to your favorite blogs is very simple, and we provide detailed setup instructions.

Now, let’s talk about the writing side of blogs. Are you a blogger? Do you have a considerable number of readers who visit your blog regularly? If you host and publish your blog inside the US or UK, it might be to your benefit to use a VPN to research your news stories or other posts. It has been demonstrated that even the US has stepped up its monitoring of social networks, Google searches, and who knows what else. If your blog offers a lot of controversial content, the encryption of a VPN might be useful to you as you surf the Net.

Thankfully, blogging in the US and the UK has not become as threatened or as dangerous as blogging in China. Many bloggers have been arrested in China and detained with no explanation or timetable of release. It is difficult for these bloggers to maintain anonymity, especially when their blogs are hosted in China. More and more Chinese bloggers are using a different route by hosting outside of the country, then using a VPN to connect to the Web and make their posts. In this way, tracing the IP address of the blogger will only lead back to the blogger. A blogger in China can easily make it appear as though they are blogging from the UK or the US.

A VPN is a necessity for new media

While we’re on the subject of blogs, let’s conclude with a few words about new media in general. The way we get information in this digital age, and even the way we get our entertainment, is becoming more Internet-based. In addition to the blogs you usually read, think about the entertainment or communications services you use on a daily basis. New media is great, but it is by no means global. Numerous countries still block Skype, and services like Netflix are unavailable beyond US borders. To preserve access to the blogs you read, or the media services you use when traveling, buy a VPN account from VPN-accounts.com is an absolute must.

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What can Edward Snowden Teach us about using a VPN?

Edward Snowden from NSAEdward Snowden has become a household name in many countries throughout the world due to his revelations about how the US monitors Internet activity. As Edward Snowden continues to seek asylum from multiple nations, his story is a valuable lesson for anyone thinking about protecting their Internet freedom with a VPN.

The reality of Internet surveillance

Most of us would readily concede that certain countries like China or Saudi Arabia monitor Internet activity. We hear about it all the time in the news. What shocked people the most about the revelations of Edward Snowden was that he was pointing a finger at the United States.

The United States is supposed to be the last outpost of personal freedom in the modern world. It is upheld as a bastion of free speech and expression. Snowden exposed this as a myth by revealing that the NSA regularly collects data from Google, Microsoft, Facebook, and Twitter in an effort to monitor Internet traffic and communication.

The reality is that no matter where you live or work your Internet communication is vulnerable to government agencies. We all can agree that this can be useful in matters of national security, but the worrisome part is that governments aren’t making many distinctions when it comes to looking at personal data. They see what they see. Should you really have to worry about everything you post or look at online?

What a VPN can and cannot do

One of the first things you should understand about using a VPN account to protect your Internet privacy is what it can and cannot do. Edward Snowden revealed that the NSA monitors many social sites like Facebook and Twitter. Unfortunately, a VPN won’t help you much here.

Whenever you use a personal social network account your data is stored on the network’s server. That means there are many ways to track you down besides your IP address. Facebook tracks the actual device you use. The key thing to understand here is that you may think your Facebook and Twitter usage is secure, but it is not.

Trying to hide criminal activity such as pirating copyrighted material or “torrenting” is something else most VPN’s will not condone. Remember, breaking the law is breaking the law. If it is illegal it doesn’t matter if you break it on or offline.

There are ways, however, that a VPN can help you in the United States. A VPN can hide your real IP address and give you a degree of anonymity when doing searches. Remember, Snowden revealed that the NSA monitors Google also. Some search terms may trigger observation, who knows, but why take the risk? The searches you perform on Google are your personal business, and many people just don’t want the government snooping around in the things they choose to view online.

This isn’t a moral issue. Right and wrong is not for us to decide, and if you are searching things online that you shouldn’t be searching then you are responsible for that.  But what if you are a gay man or woman who is searching on coming out of the closet or attempting to locate a gay and lesbian social network? Is it right that the NSA or any government should be able to monitor those searches and tie them to your IP address? Shouldn’t you have the right to decide what is revealed about your personal life? Edward Snowden taught us that everything about your life is fair game in cyberspace.

How law-abiding citizens use a VPN

Another thing we can learn from Edward Snowden is that Internet monitoring doesn’t just get done on criminals. According to Snowden, the NSA monitors law-abiding citizens as well. This brings up an interesting question: how do law-abiding citizens use a VPN? Why do they use one?

Protecting personal data from information thieves is one major reason for using a VPN. Here’s the deal: there are only two types of networks you can really trust when it comes to keeping your data safe. The first is the network you use at home, provided you use the proper safeguards and restrict usage to your household members. The other is a VPN.

Whenever you connect to a public network like the one at your favorite coffee shop, the one provided by the hotel you are staying at, or the one at the library, your data is potentially at risk. Anyone on that network might be able to access your personal information. Would you walk up to a complete stranger and ask them to hold your wallet while you went to the bathroom? Probably not, but this is basically what you are doing when you use an unsecured public network.

A VPN gives law-abiding citizens the power to protect their personal data. In fact, using a VPN is the responsible thing to do. It is just as responsible as locking up your valuables in a safe.

Your right to use a VPN

What is really at issue in the case of Edward Snowden is your personal right to retain a level of anonymity online, a cyberghost. Many people would argue that the intrusion of governments upon the Internet activities of citizens treads upon an individual’s basic liberties, especially in the United States.

Snowden is a powerful reminder that, even in a country where the very Constitution guarantees personal freedom, it is still the responsibility of each individual to exercise their freedom. You have to make the choice to exercise your right to keep your data protected, and a VPN allows you to do that. If you do nothing, then you are potentially at risk and there is no one else to blame when your rights are violated.

The real lesson we can learn from Edward Snowden is that we take our Internet freedom for granted. We assume that governments will always play fair, and he has proven that they do not. Purchasing a VPN account is one way to assume the responsibility for your online safety and take back your Internet freedom.

You can check out Edwards twitter profile here

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Avoiding News Filtering With A VPN Account

A VPN can be useful in unblocking political and news websites that are restricted in some countries.

Many governments, especially those in Asia, take measures to filter news outlets and control the information which can be accessed via the Internet. This is done in an effort to prevent criticism of the ruling families or to otherwise quell disturbances. It is a sobering thought to consider that the news you are getting might be sterilized by government censorship.

Why do countries filter news?

The dissemination of political opinion is the primary reason certain countries choose to filter news content online. China, Saudi Arabia, and many nations in the Arab region do not tolerate news reports which reflect unfavorably on their political status.

Bloggers in particular are a favorite target of these countries. For example, China has blocked numerous news and political blogs and has even jailed journalists and bloggers for posting what they consider to be harmful content. The end result is that those in the country see what they government wants them to see. This can be dangerous, especially for expatriates who need to know what is happening in their own country.

The danger of news filtering

Imagine that you are a United States resident living and working in Egypt. The recent turmoil in this African nation prompted the US Government to issue a directive for all US citizens to leave Egypt and return home. This is the kind of news you need to know when visiting foreign soil, but as soon as the trouble began the Egyptian government began to selectively monitor and control which information gets through. If you have no way of getting unrestricted news then you might not receive these important warnings.

Another example is the Iraqi conflict during the 1990’s. You might recall that news outlets within Iraq were reporting that the Iraqi army was winning the battle, but the truth reported by news agencies outside of Iraq is that Saddam Hussein’s forces were losing badly. As you can see, access to accurate news can be a matter of personal safety.

Consider also that some nations block Skype, Viber, and other communications services which allow foreign visitors to remain in contact with their families. This means that your family cannot even pass along the warnings you may not have heard or read about.

Many regions of the world are in a constant state of political turmoil. When Chinese students protested the Chinese government in Tiananmen Square in 1989, a large portion of the country did not even know the uprising was occurring due to news filtering by the state. While as many as 1000 students were being killed in Tiananmen Square, much of China was unaware until the situation had been controlled by the government. Some foreign reporters managed to smuggle out footage of the protests, but this lack of knowledge could have quickly become a security risk for foreigners unsympathetic to the Communist regime.

If you are travelling or working in a foreign country such as China, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, North Korea, or any other nation where political news is filtered, there is a real danger that you may not learn of dangerous political crises until it is too late.

Getting unfiltered news with a VPN

You might think you can just hop down to the local Internet Café and keep up with what is going on around you, but the fact is that public networks in many countries are subjected to heavy filtering and censorship. The only way to avoid this is through the use of a VPN account like the one we offer. A VPN account can restore your uncensored access to the Internet.

Internet censorship and news filtering is primarily accomplished via blocking based on IP address. In other words, when your IP address identifies that you are within a certain location the blocks applicable to that location go into effect. It is possible, through the use of a VPN, to change your IP address to reflect that you accessing the Internet from a server within your own country where the services are not blocked.

For example, if you use Skype and wish to communicate with your family this way, a VPN is very successful in unblocking this service in countries that restrict it such as Oman & Belize. Even when you cannot get accurate news online, your family at home can keep you informed if you maintain a way to contact them. To use the example we gave before, unrestricted access to Skype would have allowed your family to tell you that the US directed all of its citizens to leave Egypt immediately prior to the latest turmoil.

A VPN will also allow you to retain uncensored access to your favorite news blogs, and even your local television programming while you are travelling abroad.

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investigators in India want the government to consider blocking Skype

Source October 3 2009 The Times of india

NEW DELHI: Intelligence agencies have asked the government to consider blocking Skype as operators of the popular global VoIP (Voice over Internet Protocol) engine are refusing to share the encryption code that prevents Indian investigators from intercepting conversations of suspected terrorists.

The Cabinet Committee on Security has accepted the recommendation in principle but has not set a date for initiating action. The urgency to track Skype calls stems from the fact that terrorists — as the 26/11 attacks in Mumbai showed — are increasingly using VoIP services. The shift to VoIP has been prompted by the growing ability of intelligence agencies to intercept mobile and other calls.

Like the BlackBerry service, VoIP operators send their signals under a specific code which makes it difficult for others to decipher. Sources said Skype has shared its encryption code with the US, China and other governments but is refusing to accept similar Indian requests.

Since Skype is not registered here, Indian authorities have been forced to mull the drastic option of blocking its gateways here. This, however, may not be entirely effective as Skype can route traffic through other service providers. The agencies feel blocking the gateways will at least serve as a signal to local service providers against carrying traffic from Skype or any other similar service provider which does not share the encryption code with the government.

Sections 4 and 5 of the Telegraph Act gives government the right to grant licence for any kind of telephony and also the right to intercept. Last year, government amended Section 69 of the Information Technology Act to empower itself to take over servers of Net and telecom service providers and demand the encryption code. This may still be no remedy against recalcitrant overseas service providers who usually have their servers abroad. Last year, the government had a similar run-in with Canada’s Research in Motion, BlackBerry makers and service providers, and the UAE-based satphone operator Thuraya.

Indian agencies are also keeping their fingers crossed, not sure whether the department of telecom — with a stake in sectoral growth — would like to lean on VoIP service providers on the issue of sharing encryption code. Besides, there’s also a feeling that the government would be wary of people’s response to the snapping of Skype. The free service is used by a vast majority of urban middle class Indians for communicating with families and friends spread across the world.

Last year, TRAI had sent a recommendation (with data from 2007), that Skype and Goggle should be asked to pay a licence fee, after being brought within the licence regime. However, government turned it down saying they were not based in India.

Using a VPN connection, everything you do will be anonymous and encrypted via our servers located around the world. You would be able to access & open bocked sites!

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ToTok App Crashes And Burns Amid Spy Allegations

A popular messaging app in the UAE has been removed from Google Play and the App Store in response to allegations that the UAE is using the app for spying. ToTok is no longer available for download on Android and iOS mobile devices.

What is ToTok?

ToTok was introduced in 2019 as a messaging app similar to WhatsApp and other mobile messaging platforms. The app gained quick popularity and was downloaded some 5 million times by Android users. In the last week before it was removed from Google Play the app was among the most downloaded apps by Android users. Similar popularity was observed on the iOS platforms.

The app provides free messaging services, voice calls, and video calls. It also allows for conference calling between 20 people. ToTok is similar in many respects to a Chinese messaging app called YeeCall. The app was developed by Breej Holding specifically for the UAE but has also been downloaded by individuals in Europe, Asia, Africa, and North America.

Upon its release ToTok was promoted by publications in the Emirates that were linked to the state. The popularity of the app in the UAE was aided by the state’s support. The UAE has taken a hard line against other messaging apps such as Skype and WhatsApp. The general impression was that ToTok was associated with the UAE government. This could have accounted for its vast popularity.

The app was made available for free to users and was listed among the top 50 free apps downloaded in many countries including Saudi Arabia, Sweden, and India. Approximately two million daily users are believed to have accessed ToTok for messaging and sharing photos.

Allegations of State Spying by the New York Times

A report published by the New York Times on December 22, 2019 leveled some disturbing accusations against ToTok. According to the article US intelligence was able to determine that the Emirati government was using the app to spy on users. Among the data alleged to have been collected was user movements, relationships, sounds, and images.

There are no known exploits in the ToTok app that would provide such access by third-parties. The developers contend that the app does not have any malware or backdoors. The Emirati intelligence agencies were able to gain access to user data through the permissions that were granted in the routine process of downloading the app. App users are often quick to grant permissions without knowing exactly what they are permitting.

The company that develops ToTok is listed as Breej Holding. This company is believed to be a front for DarkMatter. DarkMatter is a UAE intelligence company that has been investigated by authorities in the US for the commission of cybercrimes. There is also a mining farm based in the Emirates that is believed to be connected to the app. Pax AI has offices that are located in the same building as DarkMatter and the Signals Intelligence Agency that is based in the UAE.

Google And Apple Remove ToTok

Google and Apple were quick to act on the news reported by the New York Times. Both removed the ToTok app from their stores in the wake of the revelations. ToTok issued a statement on the 24th of December that essentially denied the app’s involvement with UAE state spying.

ToTok stated that “users have the complete control over what data they want to share at their own discretion.” The statement further went on the accuse the New York Times of fabricating the entire story.

At the present time it will no longer be possible for individuals to download ToTok for use on their mobile devices. There is no indication that the app will be made available for download once investigations are made into the spying allegations.

The Disturbing Takeaway from the ToTok Spying Scandal

Millions of people have been affected by the ToTok spy scandal. This includes individuals who are permanent residents of the UAE as well as those who live or work in the country on a temporary basis. Many expats use messaging apps to stay in touch with their families at home while they work abroad. It now appears that the data these people share may not be private.

The UAE and other countries in the Middle East have long been strict on the use of messaging apps for mobile devices. Many believe that the opposition to apps like Skype and WhatsApp are due to the state’s inability to control how individuals use the devices. The ToTok scandal could reveal that state intelligence agencies are looking for new ways to control messaging apps and use them for their own benefit.

Other messaging apps such as those which are developed in China might also find themselves under scrutiny in the wake of the ToTok revelations. Just use a trusted VPN, and surf  the web with peace of mind.

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China Welcomes Foreign Investors In Vpn Services

China is a country that has a very tumultuous relationship with VPNs and VPN providers. The government dislikes VPNs so bad that it went so far as to ban sales of them in the country. Now, in a move that is baffling, China is allowing foreign firms to invest in VPN services on a trial basis. Does this signal a change in attitude or is China simply looking to attract foreign investment?

China Relaxing Restrictions Against Your VPN?

China is known for its strict censorship and control of the Internet within its borders. The country currently blocks more than 135 websites with its Great Firewall of China. Some of the restricted websites and services include Google and Facebook. Many messaging apps are also blocked.

Virtual private networks, or VPNs, have been used by people within China to access restricted services. This led to a crackdown on VPN providers by the Chinese government. It essentially forbid the sale of VPNs within China. This left many people in China without a way to restore their access to censored websites.

Now, the government is saying that it will welcome foreign companies that want to invest in VPN technology in China. The State Council approved this move back in January but the government is only now moving forward in its courtship of foreign investors.

What does this mean for you if you have a VPN and want to use it in China? If you already had VPN service before you arrived in China then you have probably had no issues. For those who do not already have a VPN it may become possible to purchase one again from China in the near future. The specifics of how far China is relaxing its VPN restrictions remains unclear.

According to the Beijing Municipal Bureau of Commerce, investment by foreign companies in VPN service is being done to attract foreign telecom operators. It is possible that the censorship of the Internet in China is a deterrent to some companies who want to provide services there. If the measure is understood correctly it is not aimed at the general public but at foreign companies who need VPN service to access blocked websites.

By doing this China could allow a telecom company the ability to bypass its Internet restrictions without letting the general public do the same. It is unknown how the regular citizens of China would react to such a measure. Hong Kong, which is special jurisdiction of China, has recently been rocked with protests regarding democracy. This is not new in China. Every few years it seems there are efforts to advance democracy within the country. All are put down quickly by the government.

The ownership of VPNs by foreign companies will be capped at a 50% interest. It remains to be seen how this new development will affect the use of VPNs in China overall.

China and Internet Control

If you are someone that has visited China in recent years you know just how much control the country exerts over Internet access. The government has always had a vested interest in how much information gets out of the country. They are perhaps even more concerned with this given the negative attention the country has received on the world stage in the past. The demonstrations by students in Tiananmen Square that were crushed by the government made news headlines around the world with video of demonstrators being ran down by Chinese tanks.

It would also be fair to say that the Chinese government sees some Internet services as a threat to its culture. There is also the matter of having control over outside news that is relayed to China. With Internet restrictions the government can try to manage what residents in China can see or hear about the world beyond its borders.

If you plan to visit China anytime soon we strongly suggest that you consider one of the VPN packages provided by VPNAccounts. Our prices are affordable and we have many server locations to choose from. Don’t get locked out by waiting until you arrive in China to buy VPN service. Order today!

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Cyber Criminals Are Cloning Vpn Websites To Deliver Malware

Imagine visiting the site of a popular VPN provider and later finding out that you have been the victim of a vicious hack. That is exactly what happened to some individuals who went searching for the NordVPN website. They had no idea that the site they ended up visiting was a clone of the popular VPN site that had been put up by cyber criminals.

The hackers built a website that looked identical to that of the VPN provider. When visitors signed up for a VPN they were asked to make a download. This download delivered a powerful Trojan virus to the visitor’s computer. The criminals even managed to obtain an SSL certificate so that their site would look legit. This helped the site to bypass browser checks.

Sadly, many people were taken in by this recent scam. NordVPN is surely reeling from the effects of the hack. Yet, there were many signs and red flags that could have helped people spot the cloned website. If people had only taken the time to research reputable VPN providers before they made the jump to the fake NordVPN website the damage could have been prevented.

Warning Signs That Indicate a Fake VPN

There were two specific warning signs that should have alerted visitors to a potential problem. The first of these is that the fake VPN website was offering a year of service for free. This was probably done to entice more people to click the harmful links that delivered the malware. The real NordVPN website charges for its VPN service.

A free VPN should always be viewed with skepticism. How can a VPN provider stay in business if they are giving away service? The answer is that they are making deals with third parties to serve ads and malware that may harm your computer. You sign up for one of these free VPNs with the idea that you are going to be more secure online. Then the exact opposite happens.

A reputable VPN provider like VPNAccounts is going to charge something for their service. We try to make our VPNs affordable enough for everyone. Free is never truly free when it comes to a VPN. There is always a price to pay.

Another warning sign that could have been noted was the need to download software from the fake VPN website. A legitimate VPN provider will probably not require a download for you to use their services. The reason for this is that most Internet-ready devices today have a built-in VPN client. There is no reason for you to have to download anything. All you need to do is put in the credentials that are supplied by your VPN provider and you can begin using your VPN right away.

In this case the software download is how the criminals accomplished their goal of getting a Trojan onto the computers of unsuspecting users.

Finally, you should pay attention to the domain that you are visiting. Almost all reputable VPN providers will own the .com for their business. An example is our domain, VPNAccounts.com. The fake VPN site was attached to a .club domain. That should have been a red flag for anyone that was visiting the site.

If It’s Too Good To Be True…

A good rule of thumb when you are searching out VPN service for yourself or a family member abroad is to remind yourself of this common saying: If it’s too good to be true it probably isn’t. Beware of VPN providers that promise you the world for free. Look at the offer that is being presented before you click on any links that the website has.

Does the VPN charge for their service? Do they have a list of server locations for you to view before buying? Can you use the VPN without having to download anything? These are the questions that you need to ask.

You might also want to contact customer service if those details are provided. A real VPN provider will respond to your questions. The fake VPN site will generally be sloe to respond or they won’t respond at all.

3 Steps for a VPN

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ConnectConfigure the VPN on your device.

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