Everything You Wanted to Know About IPv4 VS IPv6

IPv4 vs IPv6 Comparison

The internet is a complex beast. While it appears to run seamlessly and autonomously, there are protocols, associations and governing factors that need to work in harmony so you can see the latest Facebook update from the girl you hated in High School. One such protocol is IPv4 or Internet Protocol Version 4.

IPv4 is the fourth version of the internet protocol and has been sending your data from point A to B since the early 80s. In a nutshell, IPv4 tells your data packets where to go and how to get there in the most efficient way possible. Some people have used the example of the post office and how it routes letters from  sender  to destination on the most efficient path.

Why the Change? What’s Wrong with Continuing to Use IPv4?

Part of the problem with IPv4, like most things from the Reagan administration, is it’s not quite working like it used to. While the internet isn’t going to fall apart tomorrow, it is, however, in need of updating. That’s where IPv6 comes into the picture.

The IPv4 backbone was allotted a few billion IP addresses when it was created. At the time, the personal computer was still a pipe dream for most people and having a few billion addresses seemed sufficient. Well, after several decades of technological advancements, we have more computers than there are IP addresses.

For quite a while, there have been workarounds to help stretch IPv4 to the max. NAT (Network Address Translators) have been essential for this. More on them in a bit. Nevertheless, the time is fast approaching where we will not be able to wring  anymore  juice from this orange and need better options. IPv6 is set to eliminate many of those problems plaguing us.

What’s So Good About IPv6?

IPv6 will firstly offer many more addresses. How many you ask? Well, here is the number of available addresses (via  IT Knowledge Exchange ) 340,282,366,920,938,463,463,374,607,431,768,211,456.

The way the additional addresses are achieved is using a different format. I am sure you’ve seen an IPv4 IP address something like 192.90.32.197. As you can see, the address is broken into 4 sections or bytes. The sections are broken down this way:

  • Sections 1 and 2 are the network.
  • Sections 3 and 4 are the host.

The IPv6 addresses look like this 2001:cdba:0000:0000:0000:0000:3257:9652 and have 8 sections. The sections of the IPv6 address are broken down like this:

  • Sections 1-3 are the site prefix.
  • Section 4 is the subnet ID.
  • Section 5-8 are the Token or interface ID.

What’s the Reason for All the Additional Addresses?

Good question, I’m glad you asked.

Well, during the era of neon colors, spandex pants and cocaine rehab we call the 80’s, hardly anyone had a computer at home. The lack of computers meant there was fewer people were connected to the internet.

Once the internet became more populated and a bit more mainstream along with the price of computers was affordable to families, everyone started jumping on the digital bandwagon. Schools, businesses, and many homes started having a computer and  dialling  up the internet on their 56k modem.

Now, the majority of the people have a computer at home and work, a smartphone, a tablet, a smart TV hanging on their wall and many new vehicles have Wi-Fi or need to be connected to something somewhere.

All of these devices need some way to route information to and from the internet. This is where the additional addresses will come onto the scene.

Currently, the addresses are like apartment buildings. You have a single IP address with multiple sub-addresses for the individual devices on your network. Right now in my house, for example, there are 3 computers, 3 tablets, a Roku and 2 smartphones all connected to a single router using a modem as the conduit to the internet.

All of these are using the same main IP address thanks to NAT (Network Address Translators). NAT allows for just this scenario. Instead of each device needing its own unique IP address, any connected device shares the same main IP address.

With the complete adoption of IPv6, Each of these devices will have their own address making the transfer of data smoother and more exact. Also, the ability to multicast information from one device to many is greatly improved.

How Accessible is IPv6 Right Now?

Most current operating systems, including mobile OS have been set up and/or ready to transition to IPv6 for a while now. If there was a proverbial switch flipped and every internet connected device and entity could only use IPv6, from a device standpoint we’d be okay.

A major hurdle will be the everyman’s home networks. I talked earlier about having several connected devices running  through  my home router. Well, many consumer-level routers providing Network Address Translation (NAT) to funnel many devices to a single broadband or DSL connection are not compatible with IPv6.

This will pose a bit of a problem for the all out implementation of IPv6. Remember a few years back when analog TV went away? Even though it was a couple year process, there were still people out there refusing to upgrade their television or get a converter box. They were dead-set on trying to get the analog channels and watch TV the same way they always have.

The change to IPv6 will be similar in that regard. People resist change being forced upon them, especially the less tech savvy.

Are There Any Websites Using IPv6 Now?

Many of the major sites are either set up and available for anyone running IPV6 or have at least tested it. Sites like Facebook, Google, YouTube, Yahoo and others are all set and ready to go. A while back, Netflix was beta testing their streaming service over IPv6 pathways.

While having sites onboard is really important, so is having an ISP able to connect you to the network. Comcast, love ‘em or hate ‘em, has done testing with IPv6.

What Does IPv6 Do for Security?

Security with IPv6 is a different monster than we are used to. While the basic premise is the same, the additional features add both good and bad things when it comes to security. Let’s look at some examples of the security pros and cons of IPv6.

IPv6 Security Pros:

  • Network layer encryption and authentication for IP-based networks.
    • The encryption and authentication for all of your data is done at the IP level.
  • Huge, scarcely populated address spaces enable it to be highly resistant to malicious scans and not easily used by automated, scanning and self-propagating worms and hybrid threats.
    • This means it is much more difficult to “guess” an address or have a worm get into the device and do what it’s intended to do with no outside help.
    • It’s the difference between having your email password being your pet’s name and your anniversary (spot61087) to something that is a level of actual security ( 5Yg@l^pWgl682![=TnA8* ).
    • Auto-configuration of addresses makes probing for a weakness more difficult.

IPv6 Cons:

  • Most attacks are from the application level and data is not usually intercepted en-route.
  • Still open to many of the same attacks as IPv4.
    • Sniffing attacks – Data captured en-route to hopefully find useful information in a non-encrypted form.
    • Application layer attacks – These can range from viruses and worms to web application attacks, as well as others.
  • Still too new for most administrators so it’s easier for hackers to exploit the lack of knowledge to gain access  in  many of the same ways they can currently access networks on IPv6.
    • Networks will be easily hackable if the network is poorly designed.
  • The viruses will need to be much more complicated to do damage, also making them more difficult to battle.

Always Connected

An area where the additional features of IPv6 will benefit us is the ability to expand. Right now we are on the verge of having everything that runs on electricity connected to the internet for some reason or another.

Everything from your refrigerator to your car or your lamps at your house to your coffee pot at work. Everything is on the way to being a button press away. While this is mostly a strive toward convenience, having a totally connected lifestyle will open us up for total vulnerability too.

The P in IPv6 Doesn’t Stand for Privacy

The more connected you are, the easier you are to spy on in any number of ways. The watchful eye of big brother or other data mining individuals will have greater potential access to you. The complete roll-out of IPv6 is not going to eliminate the need for privacy saving techniques. Being able to encrypt your information will be more important than ever the more you ways you are connected.

An increasingly popular way is using a VPN service. A VPN ensures your data is secure  leaving and being received by your device by herding it all through VPN servers before it hits the public internet. Using a VPN will help you get around geo-restrictions as well as keep your data safer.

As more devices are connected to the internet and to each other, having a truly secure and encrypted connection will be the last bastion of privacy.

Right now there are “hacks” to upgrade security of home routers. DD-WRT firmware works with many manufacturers of routers to essentially unlock the router and remove restrictions. These firmware hacks will make sure all of your devices are running through the VPN not matter if there is special software on the device using the Wi-Fi or not.

Mobility & IPv6

IPv6 is mainly coming about to accommodate the number of devices being connected to the web, especially the mobile devices. Right now mobile devices present difficulties when for the IPv4 setups we’re currently using.

As we migrate into using IPv6, mobile connections to the web will become easier to accomplish and potentially faster due to the lack of the data configurations needing to be stored on the server like they are now using IPv4. Each of the devices will have their own address and the hop from tower to tower or server to server will be faster and smoother.

Whenever a new version of anything rolls out, there are always hiccups. I’m sure IPv6 will be no different. The unsung heros who maintain and improve the internet are working hard to make sure as many of the problems can be solved as possible. While IPv4 was good in it’s hayday, we have different needs now and need the ability to expand as needed. Right now we can’t do that because of the antiquated IPv4 system.

What are your concerns when it comes to upgrading the routing system for the internet?

Do you see a shift in cyber attacks, viruses?

Do you see governments implementing so-called security policies “for our own good”?

Leave your thoughts on IPv4 vs IPv6 in the comments below.

10 People Who Need a VPN [infographic]

Do you need a VPN?

We’ll get to the answer to that question in a minute, but first, let’s back it up.

Do you know what a VPN is?

VPN is a Virtual Private Network. And, it’s an effective, safe and easy way to add security and privacy to both public and private networks. Basically, it enables you to freely use and browse the Internet without the fear of putting yourself at risk of cybercrimes, hackers, or geographic restrictions.

As you can imagine, having a VPN can be really beneficial, but there are specific groups of people who really can benefit from having a VPN.

If you’re wondering if you are a one of them, check out the infographic below to find out!


Click HERE to view infographic in a new page.

 

For even more info about how a VPN can benefit you, visit GhostPath.com.

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.

10 People Who Should Be Using A VPN

Screen Shot 2014-07-21 at 10.21.07 AMFirst off, let’s start with the basics: what is a VPN?

VPN stands for Virtual Private Network is a way of adding security and privacy to both public (like coffee house WiFi) and private networks (like your home or office WiFi). It enables you to freely use and browse the Internet without the fear of putting yourself at risk of cybercrimes, hackers, or geographic restrictions.

Needless to say, a VPN service is highly useful and can benefit a number of different people with various needs.

Here is a list of 10 types of people who should be using a VPN:

1. Any who uses public WiFi at hotels, airports, coffee shops, restaurants, etc.

2. People who enjoy streaming content using Hulu, Netflix, Pandora, etc.

3. Employees and students who want to break out of restricted networks at work or school.

4. Anyone who likes to download/upload P2P files anonymously.

5. Vacationers who want to watch home-specific entertainment while traveling, like sporting events, local TV, etc.

6. People who want to secure their online phone calls to prevent eavesdropping.

7. Business travelers who need to bypass countries’ web censorship and content surveillance restrictions.

8. Anyone who does not want their searches logged & recorded by search engines like Google, Bing & Yahoo.

9. People who work with sensitive issues and wish to avoid reprisals & tracebacks because of research like journalists, market researchers, detectives, and lawyers.

10. All who believe that privacy is a basic right!

Do you fall into one or more of these categories?

Then you will enjoy & greatly benefit from using a VPN service.

For more information about how a Virtual Private Network can improve your online experience, click HERE.

 

Photo & 10 categories originally presented by Net For Beginners.

 

 

How Safety Savvy Are You Online? Take The Quiz To Find Out!

Few of us go a day (or more likely a few hours!) without going online, whether it be to check our email, do research for work, look-up a funny YouTube clip, peruse our social media accounts, or simply pass the time.

But, with so much time spent in cyberspace, we’re also putting ourselves at risk for hacking, identity theft and scams.

If you’re wondering how online safety savvy you are and if you’re putting yourself at risk, take this fun, 6-question quiz to find out.

Want to boost your online safety?

Sign-up for GhostPath’s VPN service & enjoy a 7-day money back guarantee!

How To Surf The Web Anonymously

Screen Shot 2014-05-08 at 3.01.18 PM

Have you heard that nearly everything you do or create on the Internet gets recorded somewhere, somehow?

Meaning that for every blog post you write and every photo you share, there’s a copy of it somewhere on the Internet. It doesn’t matter if you erase it, a copy will still be there for people to find. Not to mention the fact that our searches, sites we visit and other activities are tracked, too.

But what is more unsettling is that even if you just visit a particular Web site, you are often unknowingly giving out your personal information, such as your current location, what device you are using, and even where you go to after that. Kind of creepy, right?

Well, it gets worse…depending on where you live, this data may then be collected, sorted, analyzed, and even accessed and used by the government and other parties.

But, don’t worry — there is something you can do about it!

There are now Web services that allow you to browse anonymously. These services essentially act as the middle man between you and the Web site that you want to visit. This means that the Web site will not gain access to your private, personal information.

You have to remember, though, that while the destination Web site will not see your personal information, the “anonymizer” service, itself, may be keeping server logs that could record your data…and these logs could be subpoenaed. So, be sure to look for an anonymizer service that does not keep logs!

If you’re worried about protecting yourself and your data online, we’re here with some helpful solutions.  Read on to learn how to surf the Web anonymously.

Disable any extensions

Anonymous browsing services will protect you from people who have physical access to your computer. This means it will not leave anything about your history, and it will delete any cookies and private data when you close the browsers. Google, for example, has the Incognito mode for Chrome browsers.

However, there’s one more reason for you to use Incognito and other browser’s anonymous browsing mode: it disables any plugin or extension by default. Plugins and extensions can store private data and share these with the Web sites you visit without you even realizing it!

Without plugins or extensions running, you can be sure that Web sites cannot obtain data from them.

Get a second browser

Chrome, Firefox, Internet Explorer, Safari and other well-known browsers are available for free. Even if you have a favorite browser for your daily activities, it makes a great deal of sense to use a second browser for sites that you want to visit anonymously.

By second browser, we mean a browser that you do not use to open e-mails, access your social media accounts, and do your online shopping, among other usual activities online.

Why?

Because some anonymizer services – which may include those of your favorite browser – could still leave cookies on your machine, which could be used to find out who you are.

Use a Web proxy

If you only wish to anonymize select activities (and if you do not mind the slow speeds), you might want to check out Web proxies.

All you need to do is go to a Web proxy site, enter the URL you want to visit, and voila! You’re there…anonymously!

Be reminded, however, that some content may not display when you use a Web proxy. Forms may also not get submitted, such as when you are logging into your Web mail service.

A better option would be to use manual proxy servers that work like a Web proxy, but in this case, you will need to set your browser to use the proxy’s IP address.

Do not login

You’ve probably noticed that today there are countless sites that require you to use (or create) a username and password in order to read a complete article or use other functionalities of the Web site. Or, perhaps, they ask you to connect to the site using Facebook or Twitter.

Why?

Because the site wants identifying information about you.

Think twice before logging in or registering on any site with which you’re unfamiliar.

Don’t want to create a username & password, but still want access to the site?

Check out BugMeNot.com to see if they have log-in credentials that you can use instead.

Use TOR

TOR is short for The Onion Router.

What it does is simple: your browser will be performing the same data requests, but it will pass through a series of TOR servers, and at each of these transmissions, your data will be encrypted. This way you can access all your favorite sites without being “followed”!

Get a VPN

VPN stands for Virtual Private Network. These networks enable you to browse anonymously by hiding your IP address and replacing it with that of another server.

When you use a VPN you can rest assured that your data is secure and safe from hackers, cyber scams, identity theft and phishing email fraud.

How To Protect Your iPhone From Peeping-Toms

DeathtoStock_Wired9Did you know that any time you use public WiFi with your smartphone you are putting yourself at risk?

That’s right — public WiFi is a playground for hackers who are just waiting to access your secure data.  But, here’s the good news…

You can do something about it!

The solution in three words: Virtual Private Networks.  Virtual Private Networks, or VPNs, serve to protect you, your data and your identity in a number of ways, but the most important thing to understand about VPNs is this: VPNs secure the Internet connection you are using so that all of the data you are transmitting is encrypted.  This makes it more secure from hackers and other people who are trying to see what you are sending or receiving.

More specifically, a VPN is a collection of computers or networks that are joined together over a public network such as the Internet.  You can use a VPN to connect your data centers, or to access your home network without the need to log into a computer on the same local area network.  A VPN could also be used to secure transmissions and messages if you are using an untrusted network that is open to the public.  So, as you can clearly see, VPNs offer you a world of benefit in the smartphone era.

Here are a few more reasons why VPNs are so vital for smartphone users:

1. Having a VPN allows you to access your files and other data on your network even when you are away from home, your office or when you are traveling.  A lot of companies are letting their employees use their own devices for work, and having a VPN is a great way to keep your transactions, messages and data safe.

2. Use VPN when you are on public Wi-Fi.  Public Wi-Fi puts you at risk, and you never know who may be trying to hack into your phone.  Having a VPN on your iPhone or Android will keep you safe when you are connecting to a public Wi-Fi in a coffee shop, airport, hotel or elsewhere.

3. VPN allows you to be more secure.  If you use your smartphone for work, you will appreciate that VPN easily makes your transmission, e-mails and other communications safe, encrypted and secure.

4. If you are using your iPhone or Android to download files, you should also use VPN.  This is also true if you are paranoid about BitTorrent files.  Sometimes, just having a torrent-downloading app on your iPhone could put you at risk, but a VPN will protect you against that potential problem.

5. With VPN, you can use your smartphone to watch your favorite TV shows back home.  When traveling, you can connect to a VPN and check out your TV shows, sporting events or even watch Netflix online, even if it is restricted where you are.

Now Accepting Bitcoin Payments

Bitcoin VPN

We’re excited to announce that we are now accepting Bitcoin payments for our VPN service. Bitcoin is a great way to pay for our service while keeping your identity private. All we need to process a Bitcoin payment is an email address that we can send your username and password to.

All About Bitcoin

If you’re new to Bitcoin then there is a bit of a learning curve. Here are some of the best Bitcoin resources that we’ve found:

  • Bitcoin.it is a wiki with everything you need to know about Bitcoin.
  • Coinbase is an easy to use Bitcoin wallet. Great place to get started.
  • Bitpay is our Bitcoin merchant.

To create a Ghost Path VPN account with a Bitcoin payment you can go to our Pricing page and choose your plan. Then choose Bitcoin when asked. As always, we’re here to help if you run into any problems.

Looking Under the Hood of Privacy Statements

Privacy Statements

Do you remember how it felt the first time you bought a car? Do you recall the excitement of just looking? Do you remember when you first saw the one you just had to have? You loved the color. You loved the style. You loved the interior. And you especially loved the audio system!

If you are a parent, you probably don’t get that excited any more … about cars that is. The truth is that you almost certainly do feel that same way when you see something new from the field of technology, whether it is the latest in computers, mobile devices, or TVs. We can’t stand the idea of not having the latest-greatest-up-to-datest device or deal, even though it will be virtually obsolete before we get it home. Now do you remember the feeling? Of course you do. It’s just directed at different objects than it was before.

Now that you recall the feeling, do you also recall what your father said to you while you were in your original automobile ecstasy? I remember it as clear as if it were yesterday: “Don’t forget to look under the hood.” Not that I knew what I was looking at, but it sure did scare some salesmen. The practice also kept me from buying cars that I would have been a sucker for otherwise.

If you thought that this article was about internet security, you are right. I’m here to warn you to take heed to your father’s advice – “Don’t forget to look under the hood.”

With the proliferation of mobile devices, smartphones and smart TVs, and “the cloud,” our senses are being flooded with a plethora of things that we think we need because they provide more entertainment experiences, connectivity, and ability to do things like we have never been able to do before. But what do we know about how all this new technology is invading our privacy? Better look under the hood.

Asking a vendor about security, whether you are about to buy a product or a service, will always get you exactly the same thing that every waitress tells you when you ask if the restaurant makes a good hamburger: “It’s awesome!” Unfortunately, the waitress sometimes can’t tell hamburger from humbug. Did you really expect her to say, “Not so good?”

Visit any internet service site and you will see a statement that says that they would like to collect your user information in order to serve you better. You start to wonder if that could be a problem, but the site directs you to their privacy statement, and now you feel comfortable. That’s about as useful as the car salesman offering to throw in a set of floor mats. And, oh, by the way, if you are buying a product or service in person and you ask about the privacy and security of your personal information, what do you think they’re going to tell you? You are talking to a SALES person, not an internet security specialist!

Do you really believe that your information is safe in a cloud that you can’t even see? That is accessible by everyone else on the planet, including some rather nefarious individuals and the NSA? You may even think that GPS is pretty cool. I personally don’t want to have everyplace I go and everything I do, physical or cyber, tracked and saved for future information. Do you really want strangers to know your purchasing habits or viewing choices? Or your children’s? Think of the Security Policy statement as the hood. Lift it up. Examine what it really says, and think about what this latest-greatest thing has the potential to expose about your personal life and your family’s personal life, to anyone with a corrupt mind and a keyboard. Know what you are really getting into. The life and the identity you save may be your own. Or your family’s.