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Archive for March, 2012

Monday, March 26th, 2012

Prevalent Wi-Fi Security Risks

It seems that no matter where you go, you can find Wi-Fi and connect to the world through the internet. Although this technology is an amazing element of our daily lives, it is not without its risks. In fact, the more it becomes available, the more hackers and thieves try to steal your information.

Airports were one of the first public areas to adopt Wi-Fi as a perk for waiting travellers. But, as anyone now can tell you, there are security risks involved. BTN writes that:

“Unsecured Wi-Fi hotspots are a hacker’s dream, I can’t think of another way to put it,” says Phil Blank, a senior research analyst at Javelin Strategy and Research. “If you are in an airport or a public spot, even with SSL — secure socket layer encryption, which protects most consumer Web banking traffic — that doesn’t necessarily protect you. There are tools and techniques that allow hackers to exploit systems.”

Recently, Wi-Fi became available in many airlines, giving passengers the ability to work and play while flying. But upon further investigation, it seems that these networks are barely protected, and leave a large gap for hackers to come in and turn your machine against you. We see the same issues as are in airports and other public Wi-Fi networks, as reported by Forbes:

Passengers need to be aware of the security vulnerabilities of accessing any public wireless network from a laptop while on board an aircraft or cruise ship or from other public venues.

You may feel you’re secure by logging into your mail server, office, bank, or brokerage with SSL or TLS encryption. Yes, the session is secure, but your computer is a different story. If it has security vulnerabilities that have not been fixed by software updates, then it can be compromised at a lower level and the contents of your session captured in an unencrypted state.

Basically, if your system is not fully updated for every security patch available from Microsoft or Apple, and if you haven’t personally secured your machine better than the hackers can match, you should not do any amount of digital banking on a public Wi-Fi connection. This has become such an issue that some countries are dispatching the police to search for unprotected Wi-Fi networks.

Do yourself a favor and protect yourself before you become a victim of identity theift:

  1. Always have your computer, phone, and tablets updated with all vendor patches
  2. Use programs to protect you like MalwareBytes or Webroot.
  3. Use a VPN like BolehVPN
  4. Turn your Bluetooth off
  5. Use an encryption level of at least WPA2

Friday, March 23rd, 2012

Google Privacy Updates Vs. Your Privacy

If you missed the uproar, Google recently changed their user privacy policies to simplify users’ experience while using Google sites. What changed with Google’s policies was pretty simple. Basically, every Google site you use will now combine your user data (searches, likes, etc.) and sell that data for use of advertisers. This means you can expect more specific and precise ads, and a user profile that is eerie close to what and who you are.

The EU was none too happy with this, and even tried to stop the policies from happening. If you happen to prefer privacy over having your personal data on display in front of any advertiser willing to throw ads at you, there are a few things you can do to keep your info safe.

1. Don’t sign in.
Simple enough. Whenever you use a Google site, don’t sign in. this includes Gmail, YouTube, Picasa, Blogger, Feedburner, Orkut, Android (which might be a little more difficult), and several others. Just don’t sign in.

2. Review what Google knows about you
Go to your dashboard and manage your settings and profiles manually. You can also delete parts of your browsing history you don’t want Google to keep. This will let you see what Google knows about you, and even let you edit some of it.

3. Use an Anonymizer
There are sites out there that defend you from forms of network surveillance that threaten piracy. Tor is one of these, and it’s free. You can use it to make your searches invisible and private.

4. Be someone else for a while
PCWorld recommends a tactic to confuse and trip Google in its tracks: lie about your identity. That’s right, lie. Their idea is that if you should sign in with an alternate name for every site you use. They write:

When a site asks you to open an account, use a different login name and address than you’d need to buy something. Tell Google you live in Seattle; tell Bing you live in San Jose. Tell Twitter you live on a different planet.

If it confuses anyone trying to keep track of you online, it serves them right. No one has the right to follow you all the time without your consent. No one has the right to know everything you do. No one has the right to insist you always tell the truth when they’re asking intrusive, manipulative questions without answers to which they won’t give you the free service they promised when you hit their site in the first place.

 

Monday, March 19th, 2012

BolehVPN looking for full-time Support Staff

BolehVPN is looking for full-time support staff! Tasks include, manning live chat, replying to support queries and various administration tasks to keep the business running smoothly.

Flexible, mobile working hours and ability to work from home! Minimum requirements are basically

  1. Computer tech savvy
  2. Good command of English
  3. Ability to work independently
  4. Resides preferably in Kuching (though Kuala Lumpur can be considered as well)

Remuneration is flexible but will be based mainly on qualifications and how well we think you can fill the job. Fresh graduates are encouraged (does not need to be in the IT line). Submit your applications to reuben at bolehvpn dot net with your CV, a photo of yourself and your expected remuneration.

Friday, March 16th, 2012

Improving the Way we deal with our Customers

With the rapid proliferation of social media and new technologies to connect with our customers, we’re always seeking new ways to improve our customer service.

First of all, we’re testing Get Satisfaction which presents a clean interface and a transparent way for us to communicate with our customers and community. If you have an idea to submit to us, suggestions to improve our service , feedback/queries on our services or even support requests, we’ll be happy to reply there!

Secondly, we’ve signed the Company-Customer Pact. We feel that it’s something that we at BolehVPN pride ourselves on, in that we present a human face to our customers and people know who they’re dealing with. At the same time, customers too have their obligations as well and we’re hoping that this Company-Customer pact improves interactions as a whole between companies and their customers.

Along with open, authentic communication comes the mutual responsibility to make it work. As each of us is both a customer and an employee, we share in the rewards and challenges of candor.

For Companies:

  1. Be Human

    Use a respectful, conversational voice, avoid scripts and never use corporate doublespeak.

  2. Be Personal

    Encourage staff to use their real names and use a personal touch.

  3. Be Ready

    Anticipate that problems will occur and set clear, public expectations in advance for how you will address (and redress) issues.

  4. Be Accountable

    Make it easy to contact you and cultivate a public dialogue with customers to demonstrate your accountability.

  5. Be Earnest

    Demonstrate your good intentions by speaking plainly, earnestly and candidly with customers about problems that arise.

For Customers:

  1. Be Understanding

    Show the respect and kindness to people inside the company that you’d like shown to you.

  2. Be Yourself

    Use a consistent identity and foster a long-term reputation with the company.

  3. Be Helpful

    Recognize that problems will occur and give companies the information and time required to competently address issues.

  4. Be Fair

    Share issues directly, or in a community where the company has an opportunity to respond, so it can work with you to solve problems.

  5. Be Open

    Give companies the benefit of the doubt and be open to what they have to say.

Monday, March 12th, 2012

Using VPNs For Protection From Deep Packet Inspection

 

With the rise and fall of the SOPA and PIPA bills (not to mention ACTA), Deep Packet Inspection has come into wider circles of conversation, but it is still something often forgotten about when discussing data security. Since it can be used to protect users from privacy and slow connections, many people simply ignore it. It turns out that there is a growing controversy as to the other uses of deep packet inspection.

Deep packet inspection is a way for ISPs to monitor the internet traffic of millions of people simultaneously. PC World summarizes deep packet inspection by explaining that:

… Your PC packages all the information you send and receive online into packets of data. Internet routers read the labels on those packets to determine what they are, who they’re from, and where they’re going; this is how most Internet traffic works, and it’s how the firewall on your router distinguishes which packets of data make up that email message from your sister and which packets of data are from a spammer in Georgia.

Deep packet inspection is mostly used for good: blocking the spread of viruses, identifying illegal downloads, and used in ways to alleviate network congestion. But it does have the possibility of being used against you in more malicious ways.

… In the absence of strict legal restrictions, your ISP is free to root through all the information you exchange online and use it as they see fit. Personal data like your age, location, and shopping records can be logged and sold in anonymized batches to advertising companies, and law enforcement agents can monitor and curtail your Internet access without your knowledge. Without strict limitations to preserve user privacy, this sort of deep data filtering can significantly impair your ability to remain anonymous online.

This means that you may be risking your privacy every time you go online. Cnet remarks that “the easiest way to cover your Web tracks is to encrypt your data and network connection. The most popular encryption services use a virtual private network.” VPNs keep your data safe from both private and public eavesdropping, and so far has remained as the most consistent way to keep trackers at bay.


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