New Feature: Configure Your Own Port Forward

Set up VPN Port Forwarding on Ghost Path

We’ve released a new feature that customers have been asking about. Now, you can manage and configure port forward settings yourself, directly in your account, without having to rely on our support team to set it up for you.

What is a Port Forward?

Port forwarding is the process of opening up a specific port through the VPN that is public-facing. This allows outside traffic to access your computer. An example of this would be remote access, where you would use port forwarding to access your home computer while you’re traveling.

There are inherent security risks with port forwarding since you’re allowing outside traffic through a port, so be sure to weigh the potential risks before setting it up. There are many legitimate uses for port forwarding, so the benefits of your specific situation may outweigh the risks.

Port Forward Requirements

Each Ghost Path username is allowed to forward one port, and you have to specify whether you want the TCP or UDP protocol. Once a port forward is configured it takes a few hours for it to take effect throughout the network.

How Do You Configure the Port Forward?

It’s a really simple process. Simply log in to the Ghost Path website and click on VPN settings. Follow the instructions to configure everything. We’ve put together an article in our knowledgebase about Port Forwarding with a bit more detail. As always, feel free to reach out to support if you have any questions.

Using Ghost Path VPN to Watch the FIFA World Cup Online

World Cup 2018 Russia

The 2018 FIFA World Cup, hosted by Russia, is fast approaching. The opening match of the World Cup between host Russia and Saudi Arabia will be June 14 at 11 AM ET.

What is Ghost Path VPN

Ghost Path is one of the world’s most secure VPN providers. A VPN is a virtual private network, which is like an added layer of security for your internet connection. If you’re connected to Ghost Path then no one can look at your internet data and determine what you’re doing – all of your data is encrypted.

Another benefit to using a VPN is the ability to avoid geographic restrictions. When you connect through a Ghost Path VPN server, third-party websites and services think that you are located where the VPN server is located. This allows you to access sites that would otherwise be unavailable to you because of your country.

Using Ghost Path VPN to Watch the World Cup Online

The best site for watching the World Cup is tvplayer.com (not an affiliate link). You’ll need to connect to a Ghost Path server in the UK to be able to access the site. Once you’re connected go to tvplayer.com (not an affiliate link) and watch the BBC iPlayer and ITV Hub channels. You can try the free membership at tvplayer.com (not an affiliate link) or start the free trial of the paid membership.

Nice and simple.

You can find the complete schedule at FIFA.

The Password is…..

The Problem

When working to secure our data we often overlook the most obvious of vulnerabilities, our passwords! We make our passwords easy for us to remember and in doing so they’re easier to break. First things first, a randomized 8 digit password is very strong. It’s made even stronger when providers require our passwords to have at least one uppercase letter, one lowercase letter, one special character, and one number. That process will generate 18,170,005,425,000 different passwords. If you were able to try 100 passwords a second, it would take you over 5,000 years to attempt every password! Surely, a randomized password would be almost impenetrable, right? Therein lies the problem, our passwords are not random. We compromise our passwords when we create them.

The characters we choose that compose our passwords are often words or numbers that have significance to us. For example, many numbers are often birth years, or just the number 1. Sometimes, it’s easier just to use a sequence of numbers like 123. By making the password relevant to us and easier to remember, we have made it easier to crack. In 2016 the 25 most common passwords made up about half of all passwords.

The Solution

Passwords are inconvenient. We’re supposed to have long, complex passwords and store them in our heads. To complicate our lives even further, we’re not supposed to duplicate our passwords for any site. While this may be ideal it’s also entirely impractical. The best way to maneuver through this seemingly impossible dilemma is to use a password manager.  LastPass and Dashlane are both excellent choices that provide users with the security of having a complex password without the vulnerability of writing it down or the inconvenience of forgetting passwords.

Take a moment to consider how many passwords you have. Do you use the same password for different accounts? Do any of your passwords contain numeric sequences? Are you vulnerable?

 

Sources:

https://keepersecurity.com/public/Most-Common-Passwords-of-2016-Keeper-Security-Study.pdf

How To Tell If Your ISP Is Throttling Facebook Video

ISP Throttling Facebook

By now everyone is familiar with Facebook video, the videos that play automatically as you scroll over them in your Facebook feed. Facebook video is rapidly growing in popularity right now. It’s even starting to rattle the popularity of Youtube in terms of number of videos uploaded daily.

The meteoric rise in popularity over the past year has gotten everyone’s attention, including your ISP. Recently I’ve discovered that Facebook videos stutter, buffer, and load much more slowly than they have in the past, particularly in the evenings. Generally, slowly loading video is caused by one of two things: either the video itself is not being delivered quickly enough from the provider (Facebook in this case) or your internet connection isn’t fast enough to handle the video without issues. I certainly believe that Facebook and a likely myriad of CDN’s can handle the delivery side, so that leaves the ISP as the most likely culprit. I haven’t seen any slowdowns with any other general downloading or browsing, so maybe the problem is related strictly to video. Could my ISP, Uverse, be throttling Facebook video?

This article is going to teach you exactly how to run your own tests to see if your ISP is throttling Facebook video. The easiest device to test with is actually your phone. I have an iPhone and it’s super-easy to change your network settings, which is handy here because you want to be able to change your settings quickly.

You’ll probably want to wait until evening to run your test. I usually notice the slowdowns after 7 PM.

Step 1: Find some video in the Facebook App

Open the Facebook app and scroll through your newsfeed looking for videos. Videos in ads should be ignored… ads always have a knack for not being throttled.

Facebook Video on iPhone

If the video plays smoothly then you may be OK. If you see any signs of buffering or stalling then you should keep testing.

Step 2: Turn Off Your Wi-Fi

Next, turn off your Wi-Fi connection so that you’re using your mobile data provider’s connection. I use Verizon and haven’t ever noticed slow video when I’ve had at least a decent signal, so I trust them for this test. Plus, it’s in Verizon’s best interest for you to use as much data as possible so they can charge you more $$$.

Turn off WiFi on iphone

Once Wi-Fi is disabled scroll through your timeline again looking for videos. All Facebook videos are coming from the same place, so theoretically if one is being throttled then all of them are being throttled. You shouldn’t watch the same video as before because it may be pre-buffered or loaded from your previous viewing.

This is where you would most likely be able to see if your ISP was throttling your connection. If you had poor video playback in step 1 and don’t in step 2 then you’ve found your bottleneck.

Step 3: Testing With A VPN

If you don’t want to use your mobile data to test in Step 2 then you can use a VPN to accomplish the same thing. When you’re connected to a VPN your ISP can’t see what kind of data you’re receiving or where it’s coming from, making it impossible for them to throttle.

Turn on VPN iPhone

The idea here is the same as in Step 2. Once you’re connected to VPN you should look for more videos in the Facebook app and see how they perform.

Testing On Other Devices

You can use the same general procedure to test Facebook video on your desktop, laptop, tablet, etc. You won’t be able to test with your mobile data provider using other devices so you’ll need to rely on a VPN.

Conclusion

As Facebook video grows it wouldn’t be surprising to see more ISP’s try throttling it. Netflix, Hulu, Youtube, HBO Go / HBO Now, and other video sites are easy targets for throttling because they cost ISP’s quite a bit more than general web traffic. You can test to see if your ISP is throttling other services in the same way you test Facebook video.

If you have any questions or comments then leave them below. Let us know if you find any evidence of throttling from your ISP.

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.

The Risks of Online Gaming & How to Stay Safe

Whether you’re an all-out “gamer” or simply enjoy a few hands of online poker every now and then, all that online gaming fun comes with its own set of risks.

WThe risks of online gaminghen we turn to the internet for gaming entertainment often the last think we think about (or want to think about) is the fact that we’re opening ourselves up to potentially be the victim of scams, identity theft or viruses.

If you spend any time gaming, then take a few minutes to read through the risks below and how to avoid them!

The Risks…

  • Large, online gaming communities may feel “friendly” but the truth is, you’re surrounded by strangers, which means you could unthinkingly share too much personal info like your full name, email address, age or even online passwords.
  • When you download “cheats” you could actually be downloading corrupt software that contains viruses.
  • Illegally downloading games could lead to severe penalties or even prosecution.
  • Getting rid of old game consoles, computers, mobile devices, etc. that still contain your personal info can put you at risk of identity theft.

Ok, now that you recognize some of the risks of online gaming, let’s go over how to protect yourself so you can keep on gaming without the worry.

How to Stay Safe…

  • Make sure you have updated antivirus software.
  • Only play authorized, legitimate versions of games that you have obtained/purchased legally and from the proper sources.
  • Choose a secure username that does not reveal personal info.
  • Create strong and long passwords.
  • Never share personal info with other players.
  • Keep your game software up-to-date.
  • Delete all personal info before disposing of or selling unwanted gaming devices.
  • Establish rules and guidelines for your children when they’re playing online (and model good behavior)!

To protect yourself even further, consider setting up a VPN so that you can mask your location and identity and never worry about online gaming hazards again! For more information about getting a Virtual Private Network, click HERE.

 

Risks & safety measures inspired by this post on GetSafeOnline.org.

What The Big Dogs Are NOT Telling You About The Security Of Your Mobile Device

Screen Shot 2014-09-02 at 10.57.29 AMEver feel like you’re not getting the whole story?

Well, we’ve done some digging and it turns out that there’s quite a lot that the big dogs (namely Google and Apple) are NOT telling you about the security of your mobile device.

According to a recent Unisys study on workplace mobile habits, it was found that many business users access important corporate data using non-secure methods, like public WiFi. Plus, an increasing number of employees are accessing their workplace’s business applications on their personal devices, putting both themselves, sensitive data and their company at risk.

And worse, most people don’t give a second thought to the security of their devices before logging on at a WiFi hotspot or checking their email using mobile data.

Here are some enlightening facts about our mobile device habits & security:

  • By 2020 there will be 50 billion (yes, with a b) internet-connected devices
  • 51% of organizations have experience data loss in the last year from non-secure device usage
  • 32% of Americans say they prefer to use simple passwords; a practice that puts you & your data at risk
  • In a recent media company security breach, it was uncovered that 3,000 users had the password “123456” and 2,000 users used “password” as their password

In order to better protect yourself, your data & your mobile device, get a VPN (virtual private network), which will encrypt your data and protect your privacy no matter what device you use to connect to the Internet.

 

This post was inspired by this infographic.

3 Myths & Truths About Your Child’s Safety Online

Screen Shot 2014-08-25 at 11.26.27 AMThere’s a lot of talk these days about the many risks of children being online.

We hear news story after news story about cyberbullying, online child predators, and others with malicious intent lurking around every corner. Sure, there are risks, and practicing safe online usage is essential, but most of the time the benefits of the Internet far outweigh the potential hazards.

In today’s post, we’re debunking some common myths about your child’s safety online, and we’ll fill you in on the real truths of each situation.

MYTH #1: Social media transforms kids into bullies.

TRUTH: Social media is just another outlet for bullying — it doesn’t turn kids into bullies. Most kids who engage in online bullying are also often bullies at school and usually have another reason for acting out, like family issues, school problems, etc. The most productive thing to do is for parents and teachers to educate themselves about the warning signs of bullying so that they can step-in before the behavior goes too far.

MYTH #2: Never post photos of your children on social media — it’s too dangerous!

TRUTH: By using the appropriate privacy settings, you can post pictures AND keep your children safe. To ensure that your kids remain safe & protected, (1) use privacy settings that limit your posts’ reach to only family and trusted friends, (2) limit your audience by using photo-share sites that require a login to see pictures, like Flickr, and (3) don’t tag or identify your children in the photos.

MYTH #3: Strict parental control setting are the best way to protect your children online.

TRUTH: Using just one measure for online security gives you a false sense of safety. Parental controls are just one piece of the puzzle, you also need to openly discuss online safety precautions with your children, share the risks of being online, establish agreed-upon rules, and encourage your children to be both responsible and respectful when online.

To further protect your children from online risks, consider setting up a VPN to ensure privacy, security & safety while online. For more information, click HERE.

 

This post was inspired by this article.

 

Censorship & Security Issues While Traveling

If you’re a frequent traveler, you likely know the headaches and risks that can arise with censorship, geographic restrictions and unsecured WiFi.

In our wired world, we often take for granted the ease and security of connecting to the Internet at home, and then when we travel, we’re suddenly hit with outrageous usage fees, limited access and compromised public WiFi that puts our data and identities at risk.

Well, we put together a fun infographic that demonstrates the censorship and security issues travelers face, as well as a solution that’ll remove the blocks and the worry!

Travel VPN Infographic

For more info about VPNs (virtual private networks), click here.