New Version of Ghost Path Client

New Ghost Path VPN Client

We’ve just released a brand new update to the Ghost Path VPN client. This version is meant to improve usability.

We recommend all Ghosts update to the newest version as soon as possible. You can download by logging in at ghostpath.com/members and clicking Downloads.

New Default VPN Servers

New installs of the software will see the closest VPN server automatically become the default. As always, you can change that to any server that you choose, but pre-populating with the nearest server will help new users get connected more quickly and easily.

New Random Port Setting

We’re also turning on the random port connection setting by default for new installs. This helps you stay more secure by keeping you from staying on a single port too long.

Will Updating Erase My Ghost Path Configurations?

Updating to the new version of the Ghost Path app retains all settings from the previous version, including your username and your VPN server selections.

Full List of Changes

  • VPN server defaults to nearest server for new installs
  • Random port setting is enabled by default on new installs
  • Fixed a bug related to server list updates

As always, contact support if you run into any problems at all.

New Ghost Path Client Version Available

New Ghost Path VPN Client

We just released a brand new version of the Ghost Path VPN client, and it’s a big one. We’ve released support for Plex, our multi-hop VPN solution that makes our VPN more secure than ever.

We recommend all Ghosts update to the newest version as soon as possible. You can download by logging in at ghostpath.com/members and clicking Downloads.

TAP Driver Fixes

With the recent release of Windows 10 came a slew of networking problems. The TAP drivers utilized by Windows to connect to our OpenVPN setup was problematic before Microsoft released updates. Now we are bundling those updates into this new version to insure that everyone is using the latest TAP drivers.

New Software Privacy Options

The Ghost Path VPN client no longer logs connection activity or IP addresses by default. In certain situations our support team may need connection logs to help diagnose a problem, so we will send instructions for enabling the logs in this rare case.

Will Updating Erase My Ghost Path Configurations?

Updating to the new version of the Ghost Path app retains all settings from the previous version, including your username and your VPN server selections.

Full List of Changes

  • Plex support added (multi-hop VPN connections)
  • Updated OpenVPN version to 2.3.9
  • Windows: Updated TAP drivers.
  • Windows: Use block-outside-dns OpenVPN option on Windows 7 and newer
  • In-client logs and IP address history are now turned off by default.
  • All logs and IP address history data will be deleted on startup when logging is disabled in settings
  • Corrected OpenVPN issue that resulted in “too many servers” error in certain groups.
  • Mac OS X: Fixed bug that resulted in hang during system shutdown
  • Server list timer settings no longer require a restart

As always, contact support if you run into any problems at all.

New Version of the Ghost Path VPN Client Available

New Version of Ghost Path VPN Client Released

A brand new update to the Ghost Path VPN client is now available! We recommend all Ghosts download and install the new version as soon as possible.

Lots of changes and improvements this time. Here are some of them:

  • Leak protection featured now on by default for new installs.
  • Enhanced leak protection for IPv6.
  • Added ability to add gateway servers, cities, and countries to groups via right click.
  • Allow application to start minimized.
  • Several bug fixes
  • Mac OS X client: added ability to close client with CMD+Q
  • Several other minor changes and fixes.

As always, contact support if you run into any problems at all.

How to Hide an IP Address

How to hide your IP address

Many of us who use the Internet every day have never heard of an IP address., but this simple collection of numbers is a major part of security on the web, and determines how we use parts of a network to access the global Internet.

An IP address is a binary number, made into a set of numbers, that shows where a specific message is coming from on the web. Each device or part of a network has its own IP address according to the Internet Protocol that’s been set up to make Internet use universal. But there are some ways to complicate matters by hiding an IP address and shielding Internet messages from revealing the location and identity of the sender.

IP Addresses and Hacking

In some cases, obscuring the IP address of an Internet signal request has to do with some types of hacking.

One common example is called “IP address spoofing.” This involves forging parts of a data packet to hide the identity of the person who’s sending the message and the network components that he or she is using.

In IP address spoofing, the header of an Internet data packet is changed. Hackers may forge a different address, to make it look like a packet was sent by a different device or network.

IP spoofing is sometimes used in type of cyberattacks called ‘denial of service’ attacks. These attacks can flood victim networks with a lot of traffic and overload a system, and they’re something that today’s businesses and government offices are taking seriously. DoS attacks, as they’re called, can disrupt business and sink revenue, even if the site is only down for a short time.

However, not all IP spoofing is hacking, and this method does have some legitimate uses, for instance, in testing networks or parts of network systems.

Why Would You Hide an IP Address?

Tools for hiding IP addresses aren’t just for hackers.

There are some legitimate reasons why someone might want to shield an IP address.

In some cases, users may simply want to hide their geographical locations. We’ve all heard about Facebook scares, where some users worry that predators or others will get their geographical location from the signals they send over the Internet, to find them and harm them. Although that’s unlikely, hiding an IP address can make a user feel safer.

Also, many networks and services will lock out users from certain geographical locations, a process called geoblocking or geolocation. In any case, it’s not illegal to get around geoblocking, to hide a user’s real location and where he or she is sending from.

In other cases, you may be doing mystery shopping, researching a competitor’s products and services, or doing other kinds of research where revealing the IP address could be damaging to your results.

But one of the most common reasons for hiding IP addresses comes down to something simple — digital marketing. Company web sites and web pages often track all Internet requests, using cookies and other tools. Some of these are pretty sophisticated, and many of us don’t even know they are in place. In some cases, governments have taken a hard look at how data is collected about users online, in order to try to protect consumers, but there’s still an awful lot of tracking out there.

Lots of savvy Internet users want a little protection against this kind of intrusive marketing. They don’t want every web step they take to be endlessly analyzed and responded to, with hyper-aggressive emailing or marketing campaigns. They just want to remain a little bit anonymous over the web. And that’s another reason why users might take steps to hide their IP address from anyone who gets their hands on the data packets, or receives a network request.

How to Hide an IP Address

Generally, those who want to hide an IP address will use some type of VPN, proxy, or smart DNS service.

A proxy is simply a device or component that puts itself in the place of the original device or component to substitute an IP address.

One way to think about this is that in local networks, networks that are not necessarily analyzed by Internet protocol, it’s possible to ‘bounce’ signals around within those networks in ways that don’t get advertised over Internet channels. So, with a proxy, network users put these intermediary servers and other machines in place so that, when they send a message from a private machine, it looks like it’s coming from the public proxy instead.

There are many different types of proxy tools available, as well. For instance, there are web-based proxies that provide these services wirelessly. Then there are hard-wired proxy servers that, as mentioned above, act as go-betweens for a user and a recipient.

Another type of proxy is an anonymity network, where a third party may set up network structures to help others mask an IP address.

All of these are effective for hiding IP addresses and making sure that individual web user behavior isn’t broadcasted to the world. But especially for companies and enterprises, there’s another more common way to put IP address shielding in place.

The Virtual Public Network

A Virtual Public Network or VPN is a valuable security tool. Ghost Path offers state of the art VPN services to help individuals make their web use safer and more effective.

These kinds of setups essentially provide “secure tunnels” for Internet messaging. They connect the public global Internet to private networks and encrypt data securely at the point of exit, so that it travels the Internet in an entirely secure way.

In many VPNs, engineers often put a firewall between the client and host servers, so that remote users have to authenticate themselves and establish their identities. That prevents different types of unauthorized access. Encryption often utilizes certain keys that are held by stakeholders, so that hackers or any other outside parties do not have access to usable data. Instead, they get an encrypted result that is useless in terms of poking and prying for information.

VPN’s also help to deal with dangers related to wi-fi hotspots and all other kinds of situations where sensitive data can get jeopardized as individuals browse the web and transmit data using mobile apps. A real danger is logging into mobile banking over a public wi-fi connection. Hackers can ‘snoop’ data being transmitted on an open wi-fi network and potentially gain access to any data transmitted, including usernames and passwords. Ghost Path can help set up effective VPN structures where every remote user at every level of a business is taken care of, so that no matter if people are using the network in a company office, or out in the field, everything stays safe.

VPN’s and IP Addresses

Not only does connecting to a VPN hide your true IP address, you have the option of choosing the IP address that you want to use. Each of our Ghost Path VPN servers has one or more IP addresses associated with it at any given time. When you connect to that server you are assuming that IP address. For example, if you want to appear to be coming from Las Vegas then choosing the Las Vegas VPN server will accomplish that.

In short, VPN does much more than hiding IP address. It cloaks the remote user from having their identity broadcasted, but it also protects all sorts of sensitive data that you might transmit online, including:

  • usernames and passwords
  • your browsing activity
  • any other data that you transmit

IP Exhaustion & the IPv6 Transition

It’s important to note that the particular technologies in place now to handle IP address documentation may not be around forever. One reason is because the actual agencies in charge of the Internet are starting to change how IP addresses are written, and how they’re used.

In the U.S., agencies like ICANN register Internet domains and addresses. At this time, regulatory agencies around the world are moving from an IPv4 to an IPv6 format. The IPv4 format, which included 32-bit numbers, has become impacted by what professionals call ‘exhaustion,’ and IPv6 is a way to extend the these addresses to fit a much larger global user base than existed when the Internet was originally built.

Looking Toward the Future of Privacy

To continue to keep on top of new technologies, check out what Ghost Path is doing around the world. Our servers are popping up in many different countries worldwide, as we anticipate the biggest security and privacy changes that our customers will see in the coming years.

4 Questions to Ask BEFORE Buying a VPN

If you regularly use public WiFi, travel for work, worry about Internet security, or simply value you privacy, you’re probably considering getting a VPN (Virtual Private Network).

4 questions for your VPN provider

A VPN is essentially a protective “tunnel” that secures the connection between your laptop, smartphone or tablet and the Internet. This ensures that all your online activity is protected from hackers, peeping toms, or others with malicious intent who are using the same network.

But, before you got out and buy one, it’s important to consider your needs and usage habits so that you choose the best possible VPN for you!

Here are 4 questions to consider before you buy a VPN:

  1. Do you regularly travel out of the country? Many of your favorite services, like Netflix, Hulu, or Amazon on Demand, are blocked once you travel outside of the USA, and many decide to get a VPN to bypass these limitations. To ensure you get the right one for you, ask your VPN service provider if they have exit servers in the U.S. meaning that you can “appear” to be in the United States when you’re actually enjoying a cappuccino in Rome. (GhostPath VPN is totally equipped to help you bypass any foreign country limitation, so you can catch up on House of Cards even while you’re abroad.)
  2. Can it be used across all your devices? You may think you only need a VPN for your computer, but the truth is more and more Internet security breaches are occurring on our smartphones and tablets because they’re portable and we can easily use them in public (often on unsecured WiFi networks). (Our GhostPath VPN works seamlessly with laptops, computers, smartphones and tablets, so no matter what device you’re using, you’re covered!)
  3. Can I use it on my router? Using a VPN in conjunction with your wireless router is a great way to protect all of your internet connected devices in one fell swoop. (GhostPath supports using DD-WRT to connect to the VPN at the router level, meaning all your internet connected devices are protected. Keep in mind DD-WRT will only work if it’s supported by your router.)
  4. Are there any limitations? Make sure to ask about bandwidth limitations, as that can greatly impact your user experience. Also, ask if the VPN you’re considering works with all service providers. (GhostPath syncs with all major operating systems including Windows, Mac OS X, Ubuntu, Android, and iOS. And, there are no download limits, no throttling, and no maximum number of server changes! You are free to use our service however you see fit.)

Click here for more information on our VPN service.

 

Some questions inspired by this post from PC World.

5 Simple Steps To Keep Your Home Wi-Fi Secure

Screen Shot 2014-05-20 at 12.16.32 PMDo you have Wi-Fi in your home?

Chances are the answer is “yes”.

Today, Wi-Fi is essential because of the growing multitude of devices that only work if connected wirelessly, like mobile phones and tablets.

Even most desktop computers use Wi-Fi for their internet connections nowadays because it’s just simpler to connect to Wi-Fi than it is to run an unsightly network cable across the floor.

All of this Wi-Fi is great, but is it safe?

We’ve all heard horror stories about some unsuspecting family who has a criminal next door that uses their Wi-Fi to do some ghastly deed, ultimately resulting in legal trouble for the victimize family. Now, in all likelihood, that won’t happen to you, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t take the proper precautions to ensure that your home Wi-Fi is as safe and secure as possible.

Here are 5 simple steps you can take to secure your home Wi-Fi connection:

Encryption – One of the easiest, quickest ways to protect your home network is to encrypt it. In fact, most routers support encryption already, just be sure to use either the WPA or WPA2 settings — they provide the best level of security. Once you encrypt your network, you’ll have to enter a password whenever you wish to connect, but that minor inconvenience definitely outweighs the headache of getting hacked.

Change Passwords – Many routers come with preset passwords for working with the device settings, and this password is different from the password that you use to access your Wi-Fi itself. Hackers often know standard default passwords and then are able to manipulate your router. Be sure to change the router’s device password after installation.

SSIDs – Another safety measure you can take is to set your router so that it does not broadcast your service set identifier a.k.a. SSID, which is your network’s name. Once you disable your SSID broadcasting, your network’s name will no longer be visible on nearby computers and devices. This means that only people who know your network’s name will be able to find and access it.  

Firewall – Most wireless routers come with built-in firewalls, however sometimes these firewalls are turned off when the router is shipped. Double check that your router’s firewall is turned on.

Disable Remote Admin – Often routers allow you to access the router remotely and administer changes. Unless this is a feature you need and are very familiar with, it’s often best to disable it so that hackers cannot gain administrative access to your Wi-Fi network for their own personal gain.

To learn how GhostPath VPN can protect your privacy online, click here.

Latest Version of the Ghost Path VPN Client Now Available

new version vpn client

We’ve just released the latest version of our Ghost Path VPN client. We recommend all Ghosts download and install the new version as soon as possible.

Here are some of the changes / enhancements in this latest release:

  • Updated openvpn binaries, openssl libraries, certificates in response to Heartbleed
  • Fixed issue caused by having too many gateway servers in a group. Lowered to match openvpn argument limits.
  • Gateway status indicators in application header.
  • Remove inactive gateway servers from connection list when starting a VPN session.
  • Improved descriptions for connection status. Takes leak support status into consideration.
  • Mac OS X: Updated build environment, libs, etc.. this fixed some random crashes.
  • Other small bugfixes and cosmetic changes.

As always, contact support if you run into any problems at all.

Why You Should Consider Using a DD-WRT Router

Wi-Fi Security

DD-WRT is third-party firmware designed to upgrade and enhance the functionality of OE wireless internet routers by replacing the router’s original, integrated firmware. The big question is, “Why would you want to replace the original firmware?”

The problem with the original firmware is that router manufacturers often intentionally limit their product’s full capabilities. The limitations are designed into the preinstalled firmware. DD-WRT does not impose those limitations, allowing your router to become powerful enough to rival those used in enterprise IT environments. Using a DD-WRT router unleashes a variety of ways to realize enhanced performance and functionality. Even better, it doesn’t cost you a dime.

Benefits of Using DD-WRT

It’s one thing to have expanded power, but the real benefits are derived from knowing how to harness it for your benefit.

If we were to list all the benefits you can enjoy from using DD-WRT, the list would be longer – much longer than we have space or time to list here. So, is a short list of what we consider the top features and benefits of DD-WRT:

  1. IPv6 support. With IPv4 addresses becoming increasingly scarce, you’ll appreciate DD-WRT’s built-in IPv6 support.
  2. Advanced Quality of Service controls are available on some DD-WRT builds.
  3. A highly configurable and very powerful firewall that is based on iptables firewall construction. You can easily edit the iptables firewall via DD-WRT’s interface.
  4. DNS controls such as DNSmasq, which allows simplified DNS configuration behind the firewall and makes host-name lookup faster. You also get support for DNS providers such as No-IP, TZo, DynDNS and others.
  5. The access point is visible only to your wireless clients, preventing inadvertently giving access to each client’s shared files.
  6. Easy access to multiple source access-control solutions such as WiFiDog, HotSpot System, ChilliSpot and others.
  7. Extensions, extensions, and more extensions. You can add functionality far beyond the original limitations of the router, such as external USB connectors.
  8. DD-WRT plays well with VPN. Instead of configuring each of your devices to connect to a VPN (*ahem* Ghost Path) you can configure the router itself to connect over VPN, protecting all devices on your network.

The best thing is that DD-WRT is FREE! Well, at least for now.

Securing Your Entire Home

Because your home network gains the power of an enterprise-level router, you also get better security. No more neighbors stealing your Wi-Fi connection!

For one, DD-WRT ignores unrequested packets that go through your WAN port, making it difficult for a hacker to even know that you have a network there. It even provides better protection against Trojans, which do not pass through your Internet connection, hence, bypassing your firewall.

You gain a range of security protocols to make your Wi-Fi secure. There’s WPA that even supports RADIUS, there’s TKIP, AES and a combination of both. There’s WPA2 and WEP. You can choose the safest options: WPA + AES, WPA + TKIP + AES. Or, if you are feeling generous, you can disable these protocols and give Wi-Fi access to those who can see your network. Setting up security for your DD-WRT router is very easy, using its Web-based interface.

Again, DD-WRT’s built-in VPN connectivity allows you to automatically send all your network traffic over the VPN, greatly increasing security.

Need to Know

There are some things that you should know before trying, installing and using DD-WRT firmware for your router. First, using DD-WRT invalidates the manufacturer’s warranty support for your router. This is no different than what typically happens when you make performance-enhancing changes to your car. You will not be able to call Linksys, D-Link, NETGEAR, and others, if something were to go wrong with your router. Be sure to research the ramifications as well as the benefits before you modify your stock firmware with DD-WRT.

Second, it is entirely possible that your router will be bricked, turning it into a lovely paperweight. As with modifying anything, there is always the potential for suffering other unintended consequences. So, again, do your homework and weigh the risks before installing DD-WRT.

Third, manufacturers aim to make it easier for non-technical users (un-geeks and anyone over 55) to tinker with and install their routers.

The grass may be greener on the DD-WRT side of the fence. Just be cautious when scaling the top of the fence and be especially careful of what you land in.

New Ghost Path VPN Client Version Just Released

Ghost Path VPN Client

The latest version of the Ghost Path VPN client has just been released. We recommend all Ghosts download and install the new version as soon as possible.

Here are just a few of the changes / enhancements in this latest release:

  • Improved handing of OpenVPN connection time-outs
  • Leak protection can now be disabled without requiring a program restart
  • Fixed issue that caused active previous instances of OpenVPN to go undetected
  • Improved OpenVPN logging in-client
  • Fixed bug that caused issues when using ‘Launch at startup’ feature with ‘Connect at startup’ feature.
  • Mac OS X: Fixed bug that prevented ‘Launch at startup’ feature from working.
  • Windows: Resolved an issue that caused problems with TAP drivers
  • Fixed bug that caused some authentication failures to go undetected.
  • Enforce OpenVPN 64 remote address limit when building a VPN session’s IP list.

As always, contact support if you run into any problems at all.

How To Choose A VPN Server

Choosing a VPN server

If you follow our blog then you already know all the reasons why you need a VPN. Whether you’re a business owner who has employees working on location, if you’re a student using free Wi-Fi, or if you’re simply shopping online for your husband’s birthday gift, a VPN will protect you from scammers, viruses and potential identity theft. Continue reading