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'VPN' How Tos

How to Use Firefox Private Network to Encrypt Your Web Traffic

Mozilla this week began piloting its own browser-based VPN service, and if you're located in the U.S. you can start testing it for free right away. Called the Firefox Private Network, the service promises Firefox users a more secure, encrypted path to the web that prevents eavesdroppers from spying on your browsing activity and hides your location from websites and ad trackers. In that respect, it won't protect any internet traffic outside of your web browser, but it's a good option if you want to use an encrypted connection on the fly when you're using Firefox on a public Wi-Fi network, for example. As a time-limited beta, the Firefox Private Network is currently free to try, although this does suggest it may become a paid service in the future. You also need to be a U.S. resident logged into your Firefox account using Firefox desktop browser. If you can fulfill those pre-requisites, you can install the private network by navigating to this page, clicking the blue + Add to Firefox button, then granting permission for the network to be added to the browser. Click the door hanger icon that appears at the top-right corner of the toolbar, and you'll see a switch that you can use to toggle the VPN on and off. A green tick in the icon indicates the secure network is active and your browsing activity is being encrypted. Opera browser offers a similar free VPN service that cloaks your web browsing, but with the added benefit that it lets you choose the continent that you want your connection to reside. So if you're looking to access a location-restricted

'VPN' Articles

Opera VPN iOS App Will Be Permanently Discontinued at the End of April

Just under two years after launching on the iOS App Store, Opera this week announced that its free "Opera VPN" app will be permanently discontinued as of April 30, 2018. Opera's virtual private network app masks the user's true IP address and allows them to bypass firewalls, block tracking cookies, change their virtual location to unlock geo-specific content, and more. At the end of April, the app will be shuttered on both the iOS and Android App Stores, but the company noted that it aims to "make sure your privacy is still looked after" following Opera VPN's discontinuation. This mainly refers to users who were paying for Opera Gold on mobile, which introduced a Tracker Blocker, 10 additional regions, increased speeds, and dedicated customer support for $29.99/year. These subscribers will have the option to redeem a free one year subscription to SurfEasy's Ultra VPN and migrate all of their data from Opera to SurfEasy, a company that Opera acquired in 2016. Even those who don't have an Opera Gold plan will have the chance to obtain an 80 percent discount on SurfEasy's entry level Total VPN tier. In terms of pricing, SurfEasy's Ultra plan is currently priced at $6.49/month and the Total plan is $3.99/month. This is a free upgrade for Opera Gold users, as SurfEasy Ultra offers unlimited usage on up to five devices, access to 28 regions and a strict no-log policy. SurfEasy is also available on more platforms, currently supporting Windows, Mac, iOS, Android and Amazon devices. Users will be able to enjoy world-class customer support, too. Opera Gold users will be

U.S. Senators Ask Apple Why VPN Apps Were Removed From China App Store

Two U.S. senators have written to Apple CEO Tim Cook asking why the company removed third-party VPN apps from its App Store in China (via CNBC). Reports that Apple had pulled the VPN apps first arrived in July, following regulations passed earlier in the year that require such apps to be authorized by the Chinese government. In the open letter dated October 17, Senators Patrick Leahy and Ted Cruz write that China has an "abysmal" human rights record when it comes to freedom of expression and free access to online and offline information, and say they are "concerned that Apple may be enabling the Chinese government's censorship and surveillance of the internet". Senators Ted Cruz (R-Texas, left) and Patrick Leahy (D-Vermont) "While Apple's many contributions to the global exchange of information are admirable, removing VPN apps that allow individuals in China to evade the Great Firewall and access the internet privately does not enable people in China to 'speak up'." "To the contrary, if Apple complies with such demands from the Chinese government it inhibits free expression for users across China, particularly in light of the Cyberspace Administration of China's new regulations targeting online anonymity."The senators go on to note that Cook was awarded the free speech award at Newseum's 2017 Free Expression Awards, where he said: "First we defend, we work to defend these freedoms by enabling people around the world to speak up. And second, we do it by speaking up ourselves." In the bipartisan request, the senators then ask Cook to explain Apple's actions by

Apple Pulls VPN Apps From China App Store As Russia Signs Law Banning Their Use

Russia has banned VPNs and other software that enables users to gain anonymous access to websites. The new law was signed by President Vladimir Putin on Monday and will come into effect on November 1st (via TechCrunch). Leonid Levin, chairman of the Duma's committee on information policy and technology, was quoted by state-run media as saying that the new law is not targeted at "introducing new bans for law-abiding citizens" but aims to prohibit access to illegal content. However, privacy advocates see the law as another way for the Russian government to restrict access to political content that it disagrees with. In 2015, it became mandatory for all user data from Russian citizens to be stored in Russian-based servers, and last year another law was passed making it necessary for internet service providers to retain traffic data for up to a year. Recently the government also threatened to block access to the Telegram encrypted messaging platform unless the company that runs the app provides more information about itself. Elsewhere, virtual private networks took another blow over the weekend, as reports emerged that Apple has removed the majority of VPN apps from the App Store in China, following regulations passed earlier in the year that require such apps to be authorized by the Chinese government. The action was first revealed by ExpressVPN, a provider based outside of China. The company said in a blog post that "all major VPN apps" including its own had been removed from the App Store. "We're disappointed in this development, as it represents the most

Swiss Encrypted Email Provider Launches ProtonVPN With Free Subscription Tier

Encrypted email provider ProtonMail today launched its own VPN service called ProtonVPN, which includes a free user tier in its pricing plan. The Swiss-based company said it had been testing its VPN service for four months with the help of over 10,000 members of the ProtonMail community, and the group was ready to make ProtonVPN available to everyone starting Tuesday. The Proton group said they were motivated to create ProtonVPN to combat increased threats to online freedom, such as the recent repeal of Obama-era rules designed to protect consumer internet browsing history, calls by British Prime Minister Theresa May for increased online surveillance, and the attempts by the U.S. FCC to dismantle net neutrality. "In the past year, we have seen more and more challenges against Internet freedom," said ProtonMail Co-Founder Dr. Andy Yen, "now more than ever, we need robust tools for defending privacy, security, and freedom online. "The best way to ensure that encryption and privacy rights are not encroached upon is to get the tools into the hands of the public as soon as possible and widely distributing them," said Yen. "This is why, as with ProtonMail, we're committed to making a free version of ProtonVPN available to the world."The group says it has worked to make the best possible VPN service by addressing many of the common pitfalls with existing VPNs. Features therefore include a Secure Core architecture that routes traffic through multiple encrypted tunnels in multiple countries to better defend against network based attacks, a no logs policy backed by

Opera Desktop Browser for Mac Officially Launches With Built-In VPN

Norway-based company Opera Software has brought its VPN feature to the masses with the release of Opera 40 desktop browser for Mac. For those unfamiliar with the technology, a VPN creates an encrypted tunnel from the user's computer to the VPN server, which hides browsing activity from other users on the local network and enhances security and privacy online. It shields a user's real IP address, allowing them to bypass firewalls, block tracking cookies, and access geo-restricted content regardless of their true location. "If people knew how the internet truly works, I believe they all would use a VPN," said Krystian Kolondra, SVP of Opera browser for desktops, in a blog post. "By making our browser VPN free and easy to use, we hope to make it an essential tool, just as the lock and key is to your house." We know that people are concerned about their privacy online and that the interest for VPN is increasing. However, two major obstacles are blocking people from using it: VPNs are too complicated to use, and they require a monthly subscription. Opera resolves both issues by introducing its free and easy-to-use service right into the browser.Opera's VPN supports AES-256 encryption and auto-selects the best server to route users' traffic through, based on speed, latency, and traffic congestion. Currently the service has server locations in the U.S., Canada, Germany, Singapore, and the Netherlands. VPNs typically come in the form of separate plug-ins or client apps, making Opera one the first major browsers to include one as standard. The feature comes after the