Unveiling the Evolution of Ransomware: From WinLock to Rorschach

Ransomware attacks have undergone a remarkable evolution over the years, inflicting significant financial and reputational damage on organizations and individuals worldwide. Below, we explore a selection of prominent ransomware examples, shedding light on the modus operandi and impact of these nefarious cyber threats.

Below are some notable ransomware examples along with their characteristics:

  1. Rorschach (2023): Initially identified after an attack on a US-based company, Rorschach, a variant of BabLock ransomware, stands out for its rapid encryption speed. It spreads through various channels such as security vulnerabilities, phishing emails, malvertising, and malicious software downloads, primarily targeting large businesses and industrial sectors. Ransom demands range from thousands to millions of US dollars. In a significant incident in October 2023, Rorschach disrupted the operations of Grupo GTD, a major Chilean telecommunications provider operating across Latin America. Notably, Rorschach employs a partly autonomous and self-propagating mechanism, utilizing Active Directory Domain Group Policy Objects (GPO) for quick propagation across networks. Unlike typical locker ransomware, it utilizes hybrid cryptography for efficient partial file encryption, ensuring speedy encryption processes.

  2. LockBit 3.0 (2022): Also known as LockBit Black, this ransomware variant gained widespread usage in 2022, primarily targeting large organizations and government entities by exploiting network security vulnerabilities. Ransom demands often amount to millions of US dollars. In a notable incident, LockBit breached Boeing’s internal data in October 2023, leading to data leakage after Boeing refused to pay the ransom. LockBit also targeted the US Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) along with 1,700 other US organizations. LockBit 3.0 gained further notoriety for its bug bounty program, offering rewards to individuals who identified bugs in its ransomware code.

  3. Black Basta (2022): Unleashed in 2022, Black Basta infiltrated the cybersecurity defenses of nearly 100 organizations, including notable entities such as the American Dental Association, ABB, Yellow Pages Canada, Deutsche Windtechnik, Thales, and Capita. Its malicious activities have amassed over $100 million from over 300 infections. Employing a double extortion strategy, the perpetrators behind Black Basta encrypt critical data and servers while also threatening to expose sensitive information on public leak sites.

  4. Royal (2022): Operating since September 2022, the Royal ransomware gang has targeted more than 350 organizations globally, with a focus on critical infrastructure. Their ransom demands range from $1 to $11 million in Bitcoin, resulting in a total extortion amount of approximately $275 million. Distinguished by its efficacy and elusiveness, Royal utilizes a specific partial encryption method to encrypt minimal data, evading detection by anti-malware software. Furthermore, the gang exfiltrates and extorts victims’ data before encryption, resorting to public data leaks if ransoms are not paid.

  5. BlackCat (2021): BlackCat, also known as ALPHV, made headlines as the first ransomware strain written in the Rust programming language. Capable of encrypting both Windows and Linux devices, as well as VMWare instances, BlackCat exploits vulnerabilities in Exchange Server, SonicWall, and Windows systems. This ransomware group has compromised over 1,000 entities, primarily in the US, demanding over $500 million in total, with nearly $300 million received in blackmail payments. Notable victims include Oiltanking GmbH, Swissport, Western Digital, and the Austrian state of Carinthia.

  6. Hive (2021): The Hive ransomware group gained notoriety after targeting the Costa Rican Social Security Fund in 2022. Hive infiltrates systems through various means, including RDP and other remote network connection protocols, phishing scams, and exploitation of security vulnerabilities. Employing triple extortion techniques, Hive has breached the cybersecurity of over 1,300 companies worldwide, receiving approximately $100 million in ransom payments. Its targets span various sectors, with a particular focus on IT, critical infrastructure, and healthcare.

  7. DarkSide (2020): DarkSide made headlines by attacking the Colonial Pipeline in early May 2021, resulting in severe disruptions to fuel supply along the US East Coast. With a ransom demand of $4.4 million, company executives opted to pay. DarkSide primarily targets large, high-revenue organizations to encrypt and steal sensitive data, demanding million-dollar ransoms. In response to pressure from the US government in mid-2021, the ransomware gang announced the suspension of its operations.

  8. Egregor (2020): Egregor is a double extortion ransomware strain that has targeted various entities, including Barnes & Noble, Kmart, and video game developers Ubisoft and Crytek. Spread through stolen credentials, hacking remote access technologies, and spear-phishing scams, Egregor demanded ransom amounts ranging from $100,000 to $35 million. Following the arrest of several affiliates in 2021, the gang’s infrastructure went offline.

  9. REvil (2019): REvil ransomware shares similarities with the notorious GandCrab strain and primarily spreads through phishing emails containing malicious attachments and links. Utilizing the ransomware-as-a-service (RaaS) model, REvil allows cybercriminals to utilize its infrastructure in exchange for a share of their profits. Notable targets of REvil include high-profile entities like Lady Gaga, a law firm associated with Donald Trump, Acer, Apple, Kaseya, and HX5. Ransom demands often reach millions of dollars, tailored to the financial capacity of the victims. For instance, in 2021, JBS Foods paid an $11 million ransom to decrypt its data.

  10. Maze (2019): Maze ransomware emerged in 2019, spreading through spam emails, RDP attacks, and exploit kits. It gained notoriety for pioneering the double extortion model, where hackers not only encrypt data but also threaten to release it if the ransom is not paid. One of Maze’s most significant attacks targeted the IT service provider Cognizant in 2020, resulting in damages of approximately $60 million. Despite its impactful operations, Maze suspended its activities by the end of 2020.

  11. GandCrab (2018): Infamous for its aggressive ransomware-as-a-service (RaaS) operations, GandCrab spread through various channels, including emails, exploit kits, and malware campaigns. The group demanded payments in cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin or Dash, ranging from a few hundred to several thousand US dollars, for decrypting stolen data. Estimated to have infected over 1.5 million machines, GandCrab’s criminal activities amassed earnings of over $2 billion before the group retired in 2019, releasing a decryption tool.

  12. Lapsus$ (2021): Making headlines in 2021, the Lapsus$ hacking group gained notoriety for its attack on the Brazilian Ministry of Health’s website and subsequent disruptions to their systems. Employing a blend of social engineering tactics and sophisticated hacking tools, Lapsus$ has targeted industry giants such as Nvidia, Samsung, Microsoft, Vodafone, and Ubisoft. Unlike traditional ransomware, Lapsus$ relies on a versatile arsenal of techniques rather than a single malware variant, highlighting the group’s adaptability and cunning strategies.

  13. Ryuk (2018): Emerging in 2018, Ryuk ransomware spreads through phishing emails containing malicious Microsoft Office attachments. Notably, it targeted multiple US newspapers in 2018, gaining attention for its impact. Ryuk typically focuses on governments, school systems, healthcare organizations, and other public and private sector companies. Estimates suggest that Ryuk generated over $60 million in the years following its emergence and remains active to this day.
  14. WannaCry (2017): WannaCry exploited vulnerabilities in outdated versions of Windows, utilizing the EternalBlue exploit believed to be developed by the US National Security Agency and leaked by The Shadow Brokers hacker group. The ransomware spread rapidly, affecting over 300,000 devices in 150 countries, predominantly in healthcare and utility sectors. Despite demanding relatively low payments of $300-600 USD in Bitcoin for decryption, the financial damage to companies reached into the millions. Authorities managed to halt the attack, identifying two North Korean hackers as the culprits. WannaCry underscores the critical importance of regularly updating systems to prevent such attacks.

  15. Bad Rabbit (2017): Bad Rabbit ransomware spreads by masquerading as an Adobe Flash installer in drive-by downloads on compromised websites. Users can unwittingly infect their devices simply by browsing a malicious site. Once infected, victims receive a ransom demand in Bitcoin, with the amount increasing if payment isn’t made within 40 hours. In 2017, Bad Rabbit primarily targeted organizations in Russia and Ukraine but also affected systems in other countries such as Türkiye, Bulgaria, Germany, and Japan.

  16. Petya (2016): The Petya ransomware attack originated in Germany in 2016, targeting Microsoft Windows-based systems of businesses and corporations. It spread through phishing emails containing malicious Word documents. Unlike typical ransomware, Petya encrypted the master file table (MFT) and replaced the master boot record (MBR) with malicious code, rendering the entire system unusable until a ransom was paid. In 2017, a variant called NotPetya caused extensive damage and disruption to numerous Ukrainian businesses and infrastructure, highlighting the importance of cautious email practices.

  17. SamSam (2016): SamSam ransomware inflicted significant damage on governmental and healthcare organizations in the US by exploiting weak passwords through brute-force attacks and phishing emails. In 2018, cybercriminals used SamSam to target the city of Atlanta and Colorado’s Department of Transportation, extorting over $6 million and causing $30 million worth of damage. SamSam underscores the importance of using strong passwords to safeguard data.

  18. Locky (2016): Locky is a ransomware strain distributed via email, specifically targeting Windows devices. It relies on user interaction, prompting them to enable macros in a document attached to the email. Upon agreement, Locky downloads a trojan that encrypts files with specific extensions. Victims are then directed to use the Tor browser to follow instructions for payment in Bitcoin. In 2016, Locky gained attention after infecting computers at a California medical center, demanding a ransom of 40 Bitcoin (approximately $17,000 at the time). Despite not being recommended, the hospital paid the ransom to regain access to their data


    Cerber (2016): Cerber is another ransomware-as-a-service (RaaS) model that emerged in 2016, contributing to attackers’ earnings of around $200,000 that year. It primarily targets Microsoft Office users in post-Soviet countries and spreads through phishing emails. Notably, Cerber includes a unique feature where the ransom note is read aloud to the victim as a voice message.

  20. ZCryptor (2016): ZCryptor is notable for being one of the first cryptoworms, exhibiting characteristics of both a computer worm and ransomware software. This hybrid nature enables ZCryptor to spread autonomously across networks, encrypting files on infected devices and demanding a ransom for decryption. Typically demanding a ransom payment of 1.2 Bitcoin, ZCryptor would escalate the demand to 5 or more Bitcoin if the victim failed to comply, amounting to several thousand US dollars. It primarily targeted individual users through phishing emails and counterfeit software installers.

  21. Jigsaw (2016): Jigsaw is injected into devices through compromised Flash updates, potentially infecting devices while users browse legitimate websites. Upon infection, Jigsaw encrypts over 200 file types and gained notoriety for its aggressive tactics. If the victim failed to pay the ransom of $150, Jigsaw progressively deleted the encrypted files, employing a countdown timer and disturbing imagery for intimidation. The operators of Jigsaw targeted both businesses and individuals indiscriminately.

  22. Fusob (2015): Fusob ransomware targets mobile devices and employs tactics similar to Reveton by posing as a legal authority to intimidate users. It demands a ransom of $100-200 USD, typically payable via an iTunes gift card. Fusob primarily targets users in Western Europe and the US. Cybercriminals distribute Fusob through a video player offering adult content. Onceinstalled, Fusob locks the device and demands payment of the ransom.

  23. CryptoWall (2014): CryptoWall emerged as one of the most devastating malware threats in 2014. Within that year, it infected over 630,000 systems, resulting in cybercriminals receiving over 1.1 million US dollars in ransom payments ranging from $200 to $10,000 USD. CryptoWall spreads through phishing emails and malicious advertisements on legitimate websites, including those owned by Disney, Facebook, and The Guardian. These attacks could have been mitigated through software updates and server backups.

  24. SimpleLocker (2014): SimpleLocker was among the earliest ransomware to target Android devices. It encrypted files stored on the device’s storage, including images, videos, and documents, and locked the screen, rendering the operating system inaccessible. The ransom note displayed was in Russian. SimpleLocker primarily targeted individual Android users in Eastern Europe, demanding a relatively modest ransom payment of under $50 USD to unlock files stored on SD cards.


    Cryptolocker (2013): Cryptolocker, active between 2013 and 2014, extorted approximately 3 million US dollars, primarily from small to medium-sized businesses and individuals. Cybercriminals used a Trojan to target Windows computers. Through compromised emails and a botnet for distribution, Cryptolocker encrypted files using keys stored on the cybercriminals’ servers. Victims were compelled to pay the ransom before a deadline, or risk permanent destruction of the encryption key. Typically, the ransom increased after the deadline. Law enforcement dismantled the botnet and obtained the decryption keys. Nonetheless, Cryptolocker’s “success” spurred numerous copycat ransomware attacks.

  26. Reveton (2012): Reveton operated as a financial extortion ransomware distributed via drive-by-download attacks. Upon infecting a computer, it would lock the user out of their system and display a counterfeit law enforcement warning. This warning falsely accused the user of engaging in illegal activities, such as downloading inappropriate content or pirated software, and demanded a fine of 300 US dollars under the threat of imprisonment. However, the fine was merely a ploy to extort money from victims, funneling funds directly to the cybercriminals. Over time, Reveton evolved to incorporate tactics like utilizing victims’ webcams, demanding payments in Bitcoin, distributing password-stealing malware, and infecting MacOS and mobile operating systems.


    WinLock (2008): WinLock stands as one of the earliest instances of locker ransomware. It targeted PC users by seizing control of their Windows operating systems, displaying pornographic images, and demanding payment to regain access. Primarily aimed at individual users, WinLock exploited their relatively lower security awareness and the limited protection typically found on personal computers. Victims were typically coerced into paying a ransom equivalent to a few dollars via a text message. Those responsible for WinLock were apprehended in 2010, having amassed approximately 16 million US dollars through their SMS-based extortion scheme.

Here are the main types of ransomware:

  1. Crypto ransomware: Encrypts computer files and demands a ransom payment for decryption. Targets both individuals and organizations.

  2. Locker ransomware: Blocks access to the entire computer system, including the operating system, desktop, files, and applications. The ransom note usually appears on the locked screen.

  3. Scareware: Attempts to deceive users by presenting false claims of malware infections or technical issues. Users are prompted to pay a fee or purchase software to resolve the fabricated problem, leading to further malware installation.

  4. Leakware (Doxware): Threatens to publicly release sensitive data from the victim’s computer unless a ransom is paid. Unlike typical ransomware, it does not encrypt data but uses the threat of exposure as leverage.

  5. Double extortion ransomware: Encrypts data and threatens to release it to the public unless a ransom is paid, combining data encryption with data leakage threats.

  6. Ransomware-as-a-service (RaaS): A business model where ransomware developers lease their ransomware variants to other cybercriminals, making ransomware attacks more accessible to less skilled attackers.

  7. Mobile ransomware: Targets mobile devices by locking the device or encrypting files, then demanding a ransom for unlocking or decrypting.

  8. State-sponsored ransomware: A sophisticated attack launched by a nation-state, often as part of a larger political or economic strategy. It may target critical infrastructure.

To protect against ransomware, it’s crucial to stay informed about phishing scams and other social engineering tactics. Regularly updating security software and using secure authentication methods are also important measures to mitigate the risk of ransomware attacks. Stay vigilant for signs of malware and prioritize cybersecurity awareness.

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Unsecured Public Network For Internet Access?

A recent report indicates that more than half of regular Internet users may still be using unsecured public WiFi without the benefit of a VPN. It would seem to be common sense at this point, but some people still don’t recognize the threat of public WiFi. Here’s a closer look at the recent study and how it should influence your own Internet activity.

56% of People Unprotected Without a VPN

The study in question was reported by TechRadar. According to the study, 56% of people do not use a VPN when connected to public WiFi. According to the same study, as many as 41% don’t use VPN at all. The study was conducted among a random group of 1,000 participants.

While the study sample is certainly small when compared to the total number of Internet users in the world, it still sheds some light on the overall attitudes of many people toward unsecured networks. They have been conditioned to either accept the risks or else convinced that the risks of personal damage are small.

This is dangerous footing. In presenting the study, TechRadar began by addressing the number of individuals that travel at the holidays. It was stated that the majority of the travelers are forced to depend upon public WiFi at some point. They encounter these networks while traveling and have not prepared themselves by obtaining a VPN. Some probably deem it an inconvenience to try and set up VPN service. After all, what can such limited activity as checking email or social media do.

The Reality of Not Using a VPN

No matter what anyone wants you to think, in 2023 it is still a dangerous practice to avoid using a VPN when you are using public WiFi. Hackers and identity thieves are still hard at work, and they target these types of networks because access is often easy.

In fact, some hackers have started using novel ways to entice connections to their own networks. Using portable hotspots and other devices, the thieves will create a network called Free_Airport_Internet or something similar. They will broadcast the name of the unsecured network and wait for individuals to connect. You would be surprised how many times this has lured someone into a bad situation where their personal information has been compromised.

The cost of protecting yourself with a VPN is much more affordable than having your identity stolen. You can save money on your VPN when you prepay for service in yearly increments. VPN Accounts may also have other deals from time to time that will help lower the cost of VPN service.

Travelers, Expats, and VPN Benefits

We know for a fact that a large number of travelers and expats do not need to be convinced of how important it is to use a VPN on public WiFi. This is a primary way that those abroad access the Internet. Even domestic travelers are prone to use the WiFi in their hotel or a local coffee shop while they are on trips to visit family.

The expat has long known that there are other benefits to using a VPN that go way beyond the basic security and anonymity the service provides. VPNs can also be useful in accessing web content that is often restricted by location.

If you are from the US you might find that access to your Netflix abroad is restricted. In that case, you would need to connect from a US server supplied by your VPN. This will generally restore your access. The same can be said for social media sites, search sites, and other web apps that you may regularly use. It can be depressing to arrive in a foreign country and find out that your access to a preferred messaging app is denied.

VPNs Are Still Relevant in 2023

One thing that this shows us is that VPNs are still an important part of Internet security in 2023. It is somehow hard to imagine that most people still don’t recognize their usefulness.

Why have VPNs remained such a core part of a good online security plan? It is because they work. The VPN creates an encrypted flow of traffic, making it impossible for prying eyes to snoop your online activity or your data.

Even better, VPNs are affordable. You should always stick with a paid VPN. Free services are often homes for spyware and other threats that you are trying to avoid. Here at VPN Accounts we work hard to keep our prices modest so that everyone can afford a VPN for their device. See our VPN plans!

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Is my ISP Watching me While I Watch Youtube?

The security-conscious Internet user is always concerned about what an ISP can see. Is your Internet Service Provider, or ISP, able to see what you are streaming on YouTube, Netflix, or other platforms? The answer could be a cause for concern.

The short answer is that an ISP is probably able to observe and monitor many of your Internet activities. Some of them choose not to do so. You should probably assume that your streaming history is fair game unless you are using a VPN to secure your browsing sessions.

What an ISP Can See and the Problems This Can Cause

Let’s first talk about the specific information that an ISP can access about your browsing sessions. An ISP is able to see the websites that you visit. They can also see what you click on when you are visiting a website, and some even monitor meta-data. There is a wealth of information that is available to the ISP which gives it considerable control over your privacy.

The risk to your personal information and identity is only the beginning of the potential problem. There is also the issue of surveillance and ethics as it relates to your personal security. Finally, you could be granting access to the types of videos you watch to marketing and research companies. This information can be used to identify many things about you including your political views, your shopping preferences, and what types of media have influence over you.

How an ISP Determines Your YouTube Viewing Activity

The majority of Internet users don’t know all the technical aspects of how the Internet works. They just see it as typing in a web address and visiting a website. Things are a little more complex than that. The information that you pass back and forth between your device and the Internet can be classified as data.

A simple explanation is to think of it like postal mail. When you send a request to a website like YouTube for a video, your device “mails” out the request in the form of data. The website receives the request and sends back the data in the form of packets. Within that data transmission are the details of your request, and the ISP can also see which server is hosting the information you want to access.

It all seems very complicated, but you only need to understand that your ISP is tasked with delivering your digital mail or information. It is able to do that because it has access to IP addresses which identify your device. Just like the address on your mailbox, the IP address can be linked to a specific device or connection.

The bottom line is that the ISP knows what you are requesting to watch on YouTube and where you are when you are watching it.

Geo Blocking and YouTube Content

Have you ever tried watching something on YouTube and discovered that your access was restricted because you live in a certain area? IP addresses are used to provide geographical gate-keeping. Some media creators do not license their content to certain areas because of copyright issues and known issues with piracy.

This is another area where a VPN can come in very handy to the Internet user. You can use a VPN to unblock geographical censorship by connecting to a VPN server located in a non-restricted area.

Why Would an ISP Care About What You Watch on YouTube?

An ISP could have many reasons for wanting to know what you are watching on YouTube. One of the biggest is the desire to market your preferences to advertisers.

Have you ever been watching a video on YouTube when suddenly an ad pops up? Almost like magic, this ad will be related to something that you like. How does YouTube or Google serve up tailored ads? They do it thanks to data collection which identifies your web browsing preferences.

Advertising is a big business, and browsing preferences are like gold to the marketing company. They are willing to pay top dollar to ISPs for information such as this, and there is no prohibition on an ISP for collection and selling the data. All they really need to do is let you know in the fine print of your agreement that data could be collected.

Another reason an ISP can collect data on its users is to satisfy a request from government agencies or other entities. Yes, someone could have an interest in what you are doing online for a legal reason. ISPs are not going to take a stand against authorities with a warrant when it comes to protecting your privacy.

Can You Hide Your Browsing and YouTube Activity?

There is some good news where this subject is concerned. A VPN can provide a simple but effective solution to the spying of an ISP. The secret lies in how a VPN works.

VPNs provide an encrypted tunnel. The data that we mentioned to begin this article has to pass through that tunnel. Encryption scrambles the data, making it impossible to decipher. In a sense, it makes gibberish of all those pieces of data mail. To reassemble the data, the key to the encryption is required. Again, it sounds technical but it is really pretty simple and effective in terms of how it is designed.

A VPN can also obscure your IP address. You can replace it with the IP address of the VPN server. So, when the sites you visit look they see the VPN server address. If you happen to be traveling abroad and want to watch your local programming, a VPN may be necessary if you want to avoid geo blocks.

The key to making this an effective solution is to find a VPN provider that satisfies a few key requirements. You want to choose a paid VPN service above all, because free VPN services can be ineffective and even dangerous. The worst of them will sell your data to marketers. They can also maintain logs which can compromise your security.

You may also find that free VPNs are not fast enough for you to watch streaming media on YouTube. At VPNAccounts.com we offer fast and reliable service that is affordable. We have multiple plans available. There are many server locations to choose from, and we also offer convenient apps for your devices. There is no software download required to use a VPN. Almost all devices made today come with a pre-installed VPN client for you to use.

With the proper measures and a VPN you can watch YouTube in peace. You won’t have to worry about whether or not your ISP can see what you are watching on YouTube. After all, your Internet activity should be something that you alone are able to control. Take back your privacy with a VPN.

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Home Office Privacy With a VPN

Online Privacy

Today it is more common for individuals to work from home. Whether they are working in their own business or working remotely for another firm, home office privacy with a VPN should be considered. This is especially true if you are required to share your Internet connection with others.

The Privacy Concerns of a Home Office

There could be a tendency for some people to take home office privacy for granted. Something about working from home creates a false sense of security. You control the Internet connection, you control your devices. What could possibly pose a threat to your home office security?

You would be surprised at the number of people who do not use even the most basic protections on their home network. Many of them do not even set a password that is known only to those in the household. An unsecured WiFi network is no better than the unsecured network you have to use at the local library or coffee shop.

There are those who prey upon unsecured networks, looking for data leaks and information they can steal. Just because your network is confined to your home doesn’t mean it can’t be compromised.

Other Home Office Privacy Considerations

If you work in any kind of business that involves clients, a data breach is a big deal. This is especially true if you are accepting payments digitally. Of course, you will be required to take the most stringent measures to keep this type of data safe. But what about other information that you may access online?

We’re speaking of websites and applications that you use. Maybe it is important to you that these resources be kept private. It can certainly be so if you are working from home for someone else. A failure to secure your web browsing can create all kinds of problems.

What if your business involves traveling and your home office is essentially anywhere that you are able to set up your computer? The expat has a whole different set of privacy circumstances to contend with. They need to be able to access websites that might not be available in the country where they are working. It is common for some countries to block social media apps and other websites.

How a VPN Can Be Used For Home Office Privacy

A few words here about how a VPN works is in order. Most people today are familiar with VPN technology, but some have yet to use it. Despite what you may have heard to the contrary, VPNs are still a very useful tool for those who want to browse the Internet with confidence that their activities are secret.

A VPN creates a secure tunnel that exists between your device and the Internet connection you typically use. It can also be used to create the same tunnel when you are using public WiFi connections at your hotel or other locations. All the data that passes through that tunnel is encrypted and unable to be observed by third parties. Your ISP can see that you are online, but your activity beyond that is a dead end.

VPNs also can hide your actual IP address, replacing it with the IP address of the VPN server. Most VPN providers have servers in many different locations. If you are in an area where certain services are restricted, you may be able to evade those blocks by choosing a VPN server in an area where there is no blocking.

Many expats have done this exact thing to use VoIP and messenger services that are the least expensive form of communication when you are overseas.

VPN Protection for Everyone at Home

A great thing about many VPNs is that they can also be used on the router of your home network. This would give protections to everyone in your home that uses the network. You can also use most VPN accounts to connect all of your personal devices. This includes computers, phones and tablets. Be sure to check with your VPN provider to see what is allowed with your VPN plan.

Remember, most devices that are used for Internet access today already have a VPN client built in. This means that you will not need to download any extra software to your device in order to use the VPN.

Home office privacy with a VPN makes good sense for many reasons. You may even be able to include the cost of your VPN plan in your tax return as a business expense. Check with your tax professional to see if this is an option. At any rate, you will be pleased to find that we offer one of the most affordable VPNs on the market.

You should not sacrifice privacy and security for the privilege of working at home. Invest in a VPN today and start working with more peace of mind.

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How Not to Be Hacked at a Coffee Shop Using Public WiFi

public wifi

Data breaches come in many different shapes and sizes. Everyone knows about the big hacks that affect millions of people. Fewer people may be familiar with having their device hacked when using unsecured public WiFi at a local coffee shop. You can take measures with a VPN to prevent being hacked when using public WiFi.

This is a serious issue because so many people today use mobile devices for Internet access. They are also apt to access the Internet in more places with WiFi networks. Just think about all of the apps that you have on your phone or tablet which contain sensitive data.

Being Careful With Shady WiFi Connections

Think about some of the places in your local town that offer free Internet access via an unsecured WiFi network. Are all of them reputable? What about when you travel? Do you frequently leave your home country or state to work in other locations? Do you have confidence in the WiFi networks that you use?

These are sobering questions. As you were thinking about the answers you may have already realized that public WiFi can be a problem in many ways. When a local coffee shop or other establishment offers free WiFi, they sometimes do a poor job of monitoring who has access. Some don’t even bother to monitor at all.

Take a drive through your city. Scan for available wireless networks and you will probably encounter a large list of unsecured connections. Each of these offers the potential for a hack and the exposure of your personal browsing data.

Data Collection With Unsecured Coffee Shop WiFi

Here’s another thing that you may not have considered when using the WiFi at your favorite local hotspot. What if the owner of the business is using the WiFi to collect data about you? That could be done if your browsing activity is being tracked.

Why would this matter? They could maybe be selling the data to third-party advertising companies. They could be using it to tailor the things they provide to the people who visit their shops. The point is, do you really want your data to be available on such a scale? Probably not.

Public WiFi Networks Are Targets

You know enough now to know that unsecured public WiFi networks are vulnerable to data theft. Do you think the hackers are any less informed? Trust us when we say that the unsecured WiFi access points in your neighborhood are targets for anyone that is looking to steal your data.

The presence of an unsecured Internet connection represents low hanging fruit for the hacker. They don’t have to work very hard to compromise these networks. The data that they can access is also vast, ranging from addresses and birth dates to credit card numbers and banking info. Those who traffic in this type of theft are wise to all the types of data they can collect, and they know where to look.

Hackers also understand that those who fall victim to a hack are generally those who fail in some specific areas. These are using unsecured connections, failure to secure personal devices, and staying off the hacker’s radar. In fact, making yourself an easy target for hackers is the worst sin of all.

Some people are at greater risk of being hacked than others. These would include the expat or foreign worker. These individuals often depend upon WiFi at coffee shops and other place to get their work done when they are abroad.

Protecting Yourself When Using Public WiFi

When we are asked about the best way that someone can protect themselves while using public WiFi, we always recommend a VPN. This isn’t just because we are VPN providers. We know enough to understand that a VPN connection is one of the best lines of defense when you are browsing unsecured networks.

It all rests in how the VPN is designed and how it works. The VPN creates an encrypted tunnel, and your data passes through that tunnel. VPNs are very effective when you are using an unsecured public WiFi network that does not present a particularly nefarious situation. If you believe that there are serious threats beyond the presence of hackers, you may want to think about additional security measures as well.

As a general rule, a VPN account is enough to give you peace of mind when you are on an unsecured network. But there are things you need to consider before you choose a VPN provider and purchase a plan.

A large number of VPN servers in many different locations can be useful for the person who travels and works abroad. Having more server locations means that you will be able to more easily avoid a geographical block or restriction. Some countries restrict content. Your US Hulu account or US Netflix may not be available when you reach the Middle East. A VPN can help to restore that access.

You also want to make sure that you are using a device which is compatible with a VPN. The good news today is that pretty much all devices have a VPN client that is already installed. You don’t need to download any software to use a VPN on your device. We even have convenient apps that make it easier to use our VPNs with a phone or a tablet.

Configuring your VPN is a simple matter. All you need to do is follow the instructions on the app and enter the credentials that have been provided to you. It only takes a matter of minutes to be set up for secure browsing.

Be Smart and Discrete When Using Unsecured Public WiFi

A final suggestion when you are using public WiFi is to be discrete and wise. You don’t want to stick out like a sore thumb and appear like someone that has valuable data to steal. Don’t flaunt wealth, don’t make a big production, and focus on handling your business.

No security measures are effective when you are not making an active attempt to minimize the security threats that you may encounter. It goes without saying that you should make every effort to validate the protections, if any, that are offered by your chosen WiFi networks. Some coffee shops do make an effort to secure their connections to some degree.

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Watch and Bet Live Sports with a VPN

Did you know that sports betting is a billion dollar industry worldwide? In many parts of the world, sports betting is legal. In others, you will need to rely on a VPN to access your favorite sports betting site. We are going to show you how to watch and bet live sports with a VPN in this short guide.

Sports Betting – A Worldwide Passion

Individuals have been betting on sports ever since the first sporting events were conducted. In the earliest days of sports betting, the wagers were usually made between two individuals. These could have even been the competitors themselves.

In time, the sports betting bookies began to appear. These individuals allowed more people to bet on sporting events by laying or booking contests. The bookie didn’t really care which side of the proposition you took. They could use the odds and manipulate them to always have an edge no matter which side was bet.

With the development of Las Vegas came live sports betting books in the United States. These were included in almost every major Las Vegas casino, and live sports betting is still legal there to this very day.

It was only natural that the next step was to permit legalized online sports betting. Online sportsbooks have been legal in the UK and Europe for some time, and in 2020 began to be legalized in many states of the US. In 2022, almost half of the American states either have legalized online sports betting or have legislation pending.

How You Can Watch and Bet Live Sports With a VPN

What about those people who do not have access to legalized sports betting where they live? Maybe you live in a state that has not yet made wagering on sports legal. A VPN might be a solution for you.

A VPN, or virtual private network, is a basically a secure network that runs within your existing ISP setup. In other words, you connect to your ISP and also connect to the VPN server. When you do this, you are creating an encrypted tunnel which makes it virtually impossible for your ISP to see your browsing activities.

A VPN also has the added benefit of changing your IP address. Why is this important? When you connect to your ISP you are broadcasting an IP address that is used to identify your geographical location. If you try to connect to an online sportsbook that does not allow players from your area, you will be denied and not allowed to access the site.

With a VPN you can choose a VPN server in an area that allows online sportsbook betting. It will then appear that you are accessing the sportsbook from a legalized area, and your betting will be allowed.

At most online sportsbooks you can also see live feeds of sporting events. This could save you hundreds of dollars if you are trying to stream all of the events that you want to watch. A qualifying wager may be required by some online sportsbooks before you are able to watch a live stream.

Choosing a VPN for Online Sports Betting

There are a few different things that you would want to look for when you are choosing a VPN for online sports betting. Reputation is always at the top of the list. It helps to pick a VPN that has good reviews.

A red flag for many VPNs is that they are offered for free. You should always be wary of so-called free VPN services. These VPNs sometimes sell your browsing data to various marketing companies. They may also keep logs that can be used to identify you and link you to visiting certain websites.

A paid VPN is much more reliable than a free service. You will be given access to more server locations throughout the world, and customer service is available if you need help with your VPN connection.

Most devices today are equipped with a VPN client. This means that you will not need to download any software to watch and bet live sports with a VPN. You can use a VPN on a number of different devices which include laptops, desktops, and even mobile devices and gaming consoles.

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Are VPNs still useful?

With the arrival of each new year we are often asked about the continuing value of VPN service. Are VPNs still useful in 2022? The answer is yes. Personal security and privacy are still relevant concerns for the average computer user. Here’s why.

Welcome to the Metaverse

You may have heard the word metaverse being thrown around a lot lately. Mark Zuckerberg has even gone so far as to include the word in a proposed re-branding of Facebook. The construct of the metaverse is still in its infancy, so offering a precise definition of the word is difficult. It is easier to define the idea.

We have reached that point in society when digital living is beginning to further detach itself from physical existence. People work online. They go to school online. They buy and sell goods online. Today it is possible to even bank with digital currencies that have no physical existence. We are fast approaching the day when our physical reality and the way in which we live our lives are less tethered. That’s the metaverse.

With the introduction of such a construct comes those who want to manipulate and control it. Living in a digital reality means dealing with digital threats. You should be just as concerned with the faceless attacker or entity that wants to spy on your digital life as you should be with a physical threat. Some would say you should be more concerned.

The Presence of Greater Online Security Threats

According to Forbes magazine, there are multiple reasons why someone would choose to use a VPN in 2022. Many of the standard reasons of the past are included on the list. Working remotely and better security when using unsecured public WiFi are two of the reasons. If you look closer you will also see data privacy from the apps and services that you use to be included on the list.

The Internet user of today is far more likely to use a variety of apps and services. When you throw in the popularity of mobile devices, it is common for a single person to share data with hundreds of applications. Each of those apps is a potential threat to your online security.

Music apps. Communication and messaging services. Social media. Think of all the services that you use as ramps to the freeway that is your life. Data is entering and exiting that freeway all the time. Sometimes traffic can even be moving when you aren’t aware it’s moving. This is digital life in 2022, and it can be a pretty scary place.

VPNs Haven’t Lost Their Effectiveness

Amid all of this chaos which litters the digital landscape in 2022, there is a constant. VPNs have not grown outdated. In fact, they have been marching along with the times and working to improve the levels of encryption and protection that they provide. VPNs are still here because they work, plain and simple.

This doesn’t mean that the VPN industry is perfect. Far from it. From the beginning there have been those who have sought to exploit the technology for personal gain. Most of these companies were known for offering free VPN service to users in the past. This often made it hard for reputable VPN providers to survive.

Those who used an affordable, paid VPN from the very beginning know that the effectiveness of VPNs was never in question. Those services that became targets of attacks were never secure in the first place, with many of them selling the browsing preferences and data of their own users to marketing companies. Reputable VPN providers like VPNAccounts.com have never done that.

While some providers have fallen behind in the technology that they use, many others have continued to improve it. Good companies have expanded their server locations throughout the world to give VPN users more options. Things have continued to improve on a very large scale.

What is your personal security worth to you? Are VPNs still useful in 2022? Only you can answer that question. Evaluate the ways in which your life is connected to the metaverse. You will probably come away with a new respect for VPNs and the protection that they are able to offer.

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Vaccinate your Phone and Mobile Device with VPN

vpn vaccinate phone

The subject of vaccinations is a hot topic. Most people have an opinion one way or another about vaccines for the human body, but what about the need to vaccinate your phone? Just like the human body, phones and tablets are vulnerable to viruses and infections. Your best defense against some security threats could be a VPN.

The Realities of Digital Vaccination

When comparing biological and digital vaccinations, there are some similarities between the two. There are also concerns which lead to a polarization of the issue for some people. As we will see, there is no need for the same controversies that surround biological vaccinations.

Let’s begin by agreeing to accept that security threats for phones and tablets are real. This is especially true if you use your mobile device as the primary way you access the Internet. You may spend time connected to unsecured public WiFi. That could put a lot of your personal data within reach of thieves and hackers.

Do you use your phone to access Facebook? Facebook suffered one of the most serious breaches in its history in September 2021 when the personal data of many users was compromised. Newsweek claims that more than one billion Facebook users had data stolen. That data was then offered for sale online. The seller is thought to have received about $5,000 for the info. The cost to those affected could be much higher.

It doesn’t matter how you feel about vulnerabilities when it comes to your mobile device. It is an inescapable reality that you will face security threats if you use a phone or tablet.

Steps to Virus Protection for Your Phone and Devices

Some people would say that a vaccine alone is not enough to protect your body against disease. You can also take other measures that reduce your exposure to viruses and infections.

There four different ways that you can seek to manage attacks on your phone:

  • Keep your software and security patches up to date
  • Be wary of what you share on your social media accounts
  • Change your passwords regularly
  • Always use a VPN to connect to the Internet

Security updates and operating system updates are a pain. No one likes to deal with them. You can schedule the updates to take place at a more convenient time. Many people like to make the updates occur in the early morning hours when they are less likely to be on their device.

Social distancing can also apply to social media. The Facebook hack that we mentioned is just one reminder that the data you share on social media can become compromised. Limit what you share on your social media accounts.

There are fewer practices better for security that changing your password on a regular basis. Weak passwords are one of the main reasons people have their accounts compromised. It goes without saying that you should use a unique password across all of your accounts instead of the same one. You don’t want a hacker to have access to all of your accounts because you used the same password.

Vaccinate Your Phone with a VPN

The final security suggestion that we offered is the most important in our opinion, of course. At VPN Accounts we believe that a VPN is the proper way to provide maximum protection for your mobile device when you are using the Internet.

A VPN may be properly classified as a type of prevention, just like a biological vaccine. It is intended to provide a type of shield that wards off infections keeps viruses out. A VPN is the defender at the gate, just like a biological vaccine.

A VPN creates an encrypted tunnel that safeguards all data that passes through it. The tunnel is established to prevent others from observing what you do online or trying to steal your data. VPNs also have the added benefit of being able to disguise your physical location by changing your IP address to that of the VPN server. This can allow you to unblock services that are restricted in some areas.

Reducing Your Exposure to Security Threats

Even if you use a vaccine, it is still important for you to reduce your exposure to harmful threats that you may encounter online. We have already mentioned that you should practice some type of social media distancing. You can also use the other steps that we mentioned. There are then additional measures that you can take.

Never surf public WiFi without a VPN connection. You should also be wary of the security settings on your device. You can set them to refuse cookies and other tracking protocols from websites that you visit. Learn to recognize websites that have security protocols in place. A website that is secured with SSL technology is generally going to be safer than a site that does not have this layer of protection.

Make your security practices a routine. When these things become a habit to you, your risk will go down. Unlike a biological vaccine, you need a digital vaccine each time you use your phone. Your VPN can only help you when it is being used on a regular basis. Buy a vpn account here.

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Best VPN for Dark Web

The Dark Web

You have probably heard about the Dark Web. This hidden collection of websites actually forms the largest segment of the Internet, but it is accessible only through a special browser known as TOR. Even when you are using TOR to access the Dark Web a VPN is still recommended for added layers of security. Finding the best VPN for Dark Web access can be tricky.

We have put together information that you may find useful regarding Dark Web access and VPN. Always remember that it is best to use caution when you are browsing the Dark Web due to the content that you may find there.

The Dark Web – Where Secrets Are Kept

The best way to describe the Dark Web is to say that it is a place where secrets are kept. The Dark Web is a collection of websites that can only be accessed with a special browser called TOR. The TOR browser was originally developed for military operations. It provides access to websites with .onion domains.

The Surface Web and Deep Web are also part of the Internet as we know it today. Along with the Deep Web, the Dark Web accounts for the largest proportion of Internet websites. These range from secure versions of news websites and social media networks to nefarious black markets where drugs and guns are traded.

On the Dark Web you will find illegal pornography alongside sites where pirated media can be downloaded for free. The most famous Dark Web site is probably the original Silk Road. This site ran for several years until its developer was arrested by the FBI and given a lengthy federal prison term.

There are good aspects of the Dark Web. Journalists and political dissidents can use TOR to communicate with their audiences and eliminate the risk of being discovered. Those who are security conscious can create an anonymous email account, or even access the .onion version of Facebook.

The disclaimer that we should offer is that some innocent people have become caught up in problems because they did not use caution when accessing the Dark Web. A VPN is recommended before you proceed.

Accessing the Dark Web

Before you are able to access the Dark Web you will need to install the TOR browser on your desktop or laptop computer. This browser is available for free from the Tor Project website. It is a safe download, but we recommend scanning with your standard antivirus software before installation.

The download takes only a few moments, and then you only need to follow the instructions that appear on your screen to install TOR. There are even some plug-ins and add-ons that make it possible to integrate Chrome and Firefox with TOR. Most individuals just tend to use the TOR browser as a standalone.

Once you open up the TOR browser you will be able to access the Dark Web by putting in the .onion site that you want to visit. There are also .onion search engines that can be used. A word of caution. Some Dark Web sites are known for malware and viruses. Proceed with caution. Check our post on the best dark web websites.

VPN for Dark Web Access is a Must

Because of the way TOR works, most people make the the assumption that it offers secure browsing of the Internet. The Onion Router works just like an onion, concealing your connection beneath multiple layers or access points that must be peeled back. But this is not enough.

Your ISP may still be able to see that you are accessing the TOR network. Because the Dark Web has been associated with illegal Internet activity, you could raise a red flag just by connecting to TOR. Your ISP might be compelled to reveal that you are connecting to TOR if a log of your activities are requested by law enforcement.

The way to avoid this is to use a VPN in addition to TOR. The way that you do this is to find a reliable VPN, connect, and then open your TOR browser. This will create the encrypted tunnel that you need to prevent your ISP from seeing that you are using TOR.

If you have gone to all the trouble of downloading TOR and are ready to access the Dark Web, it only makes sense to choose the Best VPN for Dark Web browsing. You will soon discover that all VPNs are not created equal.

The Best VPN for Dark Web Browsing

Just make a Google search for VPN service and you will see that there is no shortage of VPN providers to choose from. You will probably see a number of free services right at the top of the search results. Choosing the best VPN for Dark Web access is important because the wrong one could leave you vulnerable to even more security threats.

Free VPN services have to depend upon other streams of revenue to support their services. These streams usually involve revenue from advertising companies who pay to see your browsing preferences. Free services may also keep logs of your Internet activities.

The best VPN is one that does not log your activity, and also one that typically charges a nominal fee for access. In exchange for the money you will pay you’ll be given access to multiple servers in different locations throughout the world. A reliable VPN for Dark Web access is also one that has impressive up time and few service issues.

Finally, you will want to choose a VPN provider that gives you good customer service. You should be able to get an answer to any issue that you have within a very short period of time.

VPNAccounts.com takes pride in being one of the best VPN for Dark Web providers. When you look at our service you will see that we check off all of the above requirements. Our plans are reliable and affordable. You can secure your Internet access with our VPN for a low price when you choose to pay yearly for your plan.

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In which Countries is a VPN Account needed?

Travelling and using VPN

Those who travel often know that having a VPN is a must. In some locations VPNs are more important than others. Where do you need a VPN most when traveling? Let’s take a look and sort out some information for the expats and globetrotters.

There are different reasons people travel. Those reasons can also have an impact on the demand for a VPN. If you are a tourist that mainly wants access to social media accounts or a foreign worker that needs everything from secure email to access to local news, a VPN is probably going to be a good investment no matter where you are located.

Places Where a VPN is Always Required

At the top of the list in a discussion of where you need a VPN when traveling are the countries which embrace a strict regulation of the Internet. These countries include China and many nations in the Middle East. Before traveling you should ask yourself a few questions:

  • Is the government likely to spy on me?
  • Is it likely that my favorite apps are restricted?
  • Is accessing certain parts of the Internet illegal?

The first on the list is something that can be said about most governments today. It has even been revealed that the United States is sometimes involved in data collection of its citizens. If long-standing bastions of personal freedom like the US are spying on you, you can bet that China is. It could be safe to assume that someone is watching no matter where you are.

Geo-blocking is used throughout the world by streaming platforms like Netflix and Hulu to make sure no can access programs without the proper licensing. Some countries also restrict the use of services like Skype and Whatsapp. To get past these blocks you will need a VPN in order to display an accepted IP address.

When it comes to illegal activities on the Internet, you should use caution when traveling. In some Arab countries viewing porn online is illegal. Getting caught doing so can have serious consequences. A VPN can possibly help you visit restricted sites, but we offer this with a caveat. Getting caught or observed by someone can still lead to trouble.

Why A VPN is a Must for Travelers

In addition to all of the things we just mentioned, a VPN has other advantages for travelers. The most important of these is improved security.

Think about it. When you are traveling you will likely depend upon Wi-Fi hotspots for your Internet access. This means that you’ll be connected to the Internet offered by your hotel or by local coffee shops. In some cases these networks can be unsecured or offer very limited protections. In fact, such networks are a frequent target of hackers and data thieves.

You should always be using a VPN when you connect to these networks. You’ll also be able to prevent the ISP from seeing what you are doing when you are browsing online.

Security concerns are always present when access the Internet, but today more people are using mobile devices to browse online. This can be problematic. Without the proper protections you are potentially exposing the entire contents of your device to hackers.

One of the worst experiences that you can have when traveling is to arrive in a country without the proper means of accessing the Internet safely. You may even find that VPN access is difficult if you did not purchase a plan before you left home. That’s why we always recommend that you get your VPN before you leave for destination.

Hacking, Tracking, and Government Surveillance

Those who travel have always been targets for those who want to steal. This was true long before the Internet. The digital age has just opened up more opportunities for thieves to take advantage of the unsuspecting tourist.

There are individuals who make a living stealing data. They lurk where there are unsecured public networks, just waiting to see who they can take advantage of. Such networks provide a steady stream of fish for the sharks.

But things can become more nefarious than that. Mobile devices are also vulnerable to being tracked. A person could be feeding information to someone about their physical location. That could open up the potential of actual physical harm.

One way that people get tracked when they are traveling abroad is by updating social media information to include pictures of famous landmarks. Some celebrities have even stopped taking selfies with fans because they do not want people to be able to determine their physical location.

Finally, Internet activity has been used in the past for the purposes of government surveillance. You may not even be aware that what you are doing online is suspect in another country until it is too late. Ignorance is not considered an acceptable excuse in most cases.

Where Do You Need a VPN to Stream Media?

A final reason for needing a VPN when you travel is not really related to security. It is more related to the convenience of being able to access your favorite programming from streaming services like Netflix, Disney +, and HBO Now to name a few.

Digital content is managed according to geography. The Netflix libraries that you are used to may not be available when you travel to a foreign country. For example, content that is licensed to US account holders may not be available when you are in the UK or Germany. The solution to accessing your programming is a VPN.

You can also use a VPN when traveling in this way to watch local news broadcasts from home. You can even unblock apps like Skype that you may use to make cheap or free calls to those back home.

Many countries in the Middle East are at the top of the list when it comes to restricting certain websites. China, of course, is also known for Internet censorship. They even have something known as the Great Firewall of China which is an instrument of censorship and control. Getting around it requires a VPN.

One thing is for sure. The status of blocking when it comes to streaming media can change on a whim. What was available for access one day can be blocked the next.

It is beneficial to use a VPN all the time when you are traveling abroad. You may find that the need for a VPN changes some depending on the country where you are located, but the need is always there. VPNAccounts.com can assist you with an affordable and reliable VPN plan. Contact us before you leave for your trip. Our plans are cost-effective and tailored to fit your budget.  Also check the post about VPN to defeat censorship. 

More topics: How to use Whatsapp in UAE and Saudi Arabia? 

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