nano freedome

A match made in digital heaven

When an enigmatic and groundbreaking artist started making waves on Youtube, the public was simultaneously curious and in awe of this new type of sonic assault, detached from any specific genre, culture or style. nano draws on life experience accumulated in NYC and Japan to create a truly global aesthetic. nano’s music transcends the confines of nationalities and ethnicities, and reflects nano’s “no national borders” motto. Despite being the product of a united and connected world, nano chooses to be shrouded with a veil of mystery and privacy. Like we here at Freedome, nano believes that personal privacy is a choice and the only person to control it should be YOU YOURSELF. We created Freedome because we LOVE the digital and connected world we all live in. We love it so much, that we want to give everyone the tools to enjoy it to the max by not having to worry about the negative sides that come with it. It’s all about choice and keeping control. A lot of your personal information is shared without your approval, and we should be able to share everything you want without fear of your stuff being stolen or used against you. Just like nano, we think that sharing your passions and keeping your privacy are not mutually exclusive. To celebrate our mutual  love for privacy and a connected world, nano has teamed up with Freedome with a special exclusive song, which can be found here. Join our global troop of digital freedom fighters. Your privacy, your choice.

April 22, 2015
BY 
kids laptop remote working take your kids to work

How about ‘Take Your Work to Kid’ Day?

In the United States, Australia and Canada, April 23 will be Take Our Sons and Daughters to Work Day. But given our changing economy and workplace, is one day enough to improve the bonds between parent and child? Originally created to give girls a chance to "shadow" their parents in the workplaces women have so often been excluded from, Take Your Kid to Work Day, as it's often called, was expanded in 2003 to include boys as a way to help all kids see "the power and possibilities associated with a balanced work and family life." It's a nice ideal, but it isn't much of a reality, at least in many industrial countries. Americans spend an average of 1,788 hours a year at work. Most parents with full-time jobs will spend almost two-thirds of their day working and sleeping, leaving little time for anything else. Hopefully your country is a little better at balancing work/home. Finnish workers, for instance, spent 1,666 hours on average at work in 2013 that's 122 hours or 3 full weeks less than their American counterparts. Don't be jealous: German workers only averaged 1,388 hours at work in 2013. Chances are wherever you live your kids already see you at work. A 2012 survey found that 60 percent of Americans are email accessible for 13.5 hours a weekday with an extra 5 hours on the weekend. Given the extraordinary demands work makes on us, perhaps you can make a demand on your work to be a bit more flexible. Given that we're nearly always accessible, why can't parents plan around their kids' schedules and get some work done? Activities like sports, dance, karate and other arts offer parents a chance to be an active observer of their kids while getting some work done on a mobile PC or device while their children are being supervised by another adult. Given that 70 percent of millennial use their own devices for work, it's likely that younger parents already do this to some degree on their phones and tablets. But they're likely not thinking about potential data leakage that can occur, especially when using public Wi-Fi built on old technology that could expose your identity and possibly even your email. But with security and a virtual personal network -- like our Freedome VPN -- you can be about as secure in the office as you're out in the world seeing how your kids work, as they get another chance to see you. Cheers, Sandra [Image by Wesley Fryer | Flickr]        

April 21, 2015

Latest Posts

nano freedome

When an enigmatic and groundbreaking artist started making waves on Youtube, the public was simultaneously curious and in awe of this new type of sonic assault, detached from any specific genre, culture or style. nano draws on life experience accumulated in NYC and Japan to create a truly global aesthetic. nano’s music transcends the confines of nationalities and ethnicities, and reflects nano’s “no national borders” motto. Despite being the product of a united and connected world, nano chooses to be shrouded with a veil of mystery and privacy. Like we here at Freedome, nano believes that personal privacy is a choice and the only person to control it should be YOU YOURSELF. We created Freedome because we LOVE the digital and connected world we all live in. We love it so much, that we want to give everyone the tools to enjoy it to the max by not having to worry about the negative sides that come with it. It’s all about choice and keeping control. A lot of your personal information is shared without your approval, and we should be able to share everything you want without fear of your stuff being stolen or used against you. Just like nano, we think that sharing your passions and keeping your privacy are not mutually exclusive. To celebrate our mutual  love for privacy and a connected world, nano has teamed up with Freedome with a special exclusive song, which can be found here. Join our global troop of digital freedom fighters. Your privacy, your choice.

April 22, 2015
kids laptop remote working take your kids to work

In the United States, Australia and Canada, April 23 will be Take Our Sons and Daughters to Work Day. But given our changing economy and workplace, is one day enough to improve the bonds between parent and child? Originally created to give girls a chance to "shadow" their parents in the workplaces women have so often been excluded from, Take Your Kid to Work Day, as it's often called, was expanded in 2003 to include boys as a way to help all kids see "the power and possibilities associated with a balanced work and family life." It's a nice ideal, but it isn't much of a reality, at least in many industrial countries. Americans spend an average of 1,788 hours a year at work. Most parents with full-time jobs will spend almost two-thirds of their day working and sleeping, leaving little time for anything else. Hopefully your country is a little better at balancing work/home. Finnish workers, for instance, spent 1,666 hours on average at work in 2013 that's 122 hours or 3 full weeks less than their American counterparts. Don't be jealous: German workers only averaged 1,388 hours at work in 2013. Chances are wherever you live your kids already see you at work. A 2012 survey found that 60 percent of Americans are email accessible for 13.5 hours a weekday with an extra 5 hours on the weekend. Given the extraordinary demands work makes on us, perhaps you can make a demand on your work to be a bit more flexible. Given that we're nearly always accessible, why can't parents plan around their kids' schedules and get some work done? Activities like sports, dance, karate and other arts offer parents a chance to be an active observer of their kids while getting some work done on a mobile PC or device while their children are being supervised by another adult. Given that 70 percent of millennial use their own devices for work, it's likely that younger parents already do this to some degree on their phones and tablets. But they're likely not thinking about potential data leakage that can occur, especially when using public Wi-Fi built on old technology that could expose your identity and possibly even your email. But with security and a virtual personal network -- like our Freedome VPN -- you can be about as secure in the office as you're out in the world seeing how your kids work, as they get another chance to see you. Cheers, Sandra [Image by Wesley Fryer | Flickr]        

April 21, 2015
BYOD

Do you ever use your personal phone to make work related calls? Or send work related e-mails? Maybe you even use it to work on Google Docs, or access company files remotely? Doing these things basically means you’re implementing a BYOD policy at your work, whether they know it or not. BYOD – that’s bring your own device – isn’t really a new trend, but it is one that’s becoming more widespread. Statistics from TrackVia suggest that younger generations are embracing BYOD on a massive scale, with nearly 70% of surveyed Millennials admitting that they use their own devices and software, regardless of their employer’s policies on the matter. This is essentially pressuring employers to accept the trend, as the alternative could mean imposing security restrictions that limit how people go about their work. Consequently, Gartner predicts that 38% of businesses will stop providing employees with devices by 2016. It kind of seems like workers are enforcing the trend, and not businesses. But it’s happening because it’s so much easier to work with phones, tablets, and computers that you understand and enjoy. Work becomes easier, productivity goes up, life becomes more satisfying, etc. This might sound like an exaggeration, and maybe it is a little bit. BYOD won’t solve all of life’s problems, but it really takes advantage of the flexibility modern technology offers. And that’s what mobility should be about, and that’s what businesses are missing out on when they anchor people to a specific device. BYOD promotes a more “organic” aspect of technology in that it’s something people have already invested in and want to use, not something that’s being forced upon them. But of course, there are complications. Recent research confirms that many of these same devices have already had security issues. It’s great to enjoy the benefits of using your own phone or tablet for sending company e-mails, but what happens when things go wrong? You might be turning heads at work by getting work done faster and more efficient, but don’t expect this to continue if you happen to download some malicious software that infiltrates your company’s networks. You’re not alone if you want to use your own phone, tablet, or computer for work. And you’re not even alone if you do this without telling your boss. But there’s really no reason not to try and protect yourself first. You can use security software to reduce the risk of data breaches or malicious infections harming your employer. And there’s even a business oriented version of F-Secure's popular Freedome VPN called Freedome for Business that can actually give you additional forms of protection, and can help your company manage an entire fleet of BYOD and company-owned devices. It’s worth bringing these concerns to an employer if you find yourself using your own devices at the office. After all, statistics prove that you’re not alone in your concerns, and your employer will most likely have to address the issue sooner rather than later if they want the company to use technology wisely.  

April 17, 2015
sign license

We blogged last week, once again, about the fact that people fail to read the license terms they approve when installing software. That post was inspired by a Chrome extension that monetized by collecting and selling data about users’ surfing behavior. People found out about this, got mad and called it spyware. Even if the data collection was documented in the privacy policy, and they technically had approved it. But this case is not really the point, it’s just an example of a very common business model on the Internet. The real point is what we should think about this business model. We have been used to free software and services on the net, and there are two major reasons for that. Initially the net was a playground for nerds and almost all services and programs were developed on a hobby or academic basis. The nerds were happy to give them away and all others were happy to get them for free. But businesses run into a problem when they tried to enter the net. There was no reliable payment method. This created the need for compensation models without money. The net of today is to a significant part powered by these moneyless business models. Products using them are often called free, which is incorrect as there usually is some kind of compensation involved. Nowadays we have money-based payment models too, but both our desire to get stuff for free and the moneyless models are still going strong. So what do these moneyless models really mean? Exposing the user to advertising is the best known example. This is a pretty open and honest model. Advertising can’t be hidden as the whole point is to make you see it. But it gets complicated when we start talking targeted advertising. Then someone need to know who you are and what you like, to be able to show you relevant ads. This is where it becomes a privacy issue. Ordinary users have no way to verify what data is collected about them and how it is used. Heck, often they don’t even know under what legislation it is stored and if the vendor respects privacy laws at all. Is this legal? Basically yes. Anyone is free to make agreements that involve submitting private data. But these scenarios can still be problematic in several ways. They may be in conflict with national consumer protection and privacy laws, but the most common complaint is that they aren’t fair. It’s practically impossible for ordinary users to read and understand many pages of legalese for every installed app. And some vendors utilize this by hiding the shady parts of the agreement deep into the mumbo jumbo. This creates a situation where the agreement may give significant rights to the vendor, which the users is totally unaware of. App permissions is nice development that attempts to tackle this problem. Modern operating systems for mobile devices require that apps are granted access to the resources they need. This enables the system to know more about what the app is up to and inform the user. But these rights are just becoming a slightly more advanced version of the license terms. People accept them without thinking about what they mean. This may be legal, but is it right? Personally I think the situation isn’t sustainable and something need to be done. But what? There are several ways to see this problem. What do you think is the best option?   [polldaddy poll=8801974]   The good news is however that you can avoid this problem. You can select to steer clear of “free” offerings and prefer software and services you pay money for. Their business model is simple and transparent, you get stuff and the vendor get money. These vendors do not need to hide scary clauses deep in the agreement document and can instead publish privacy principles like this.   Safe surfing, Micke     Photo by Orin Zebest at Flickr

April 15, 2015
Spring Clean your Devices

Spring cleaning is a popular pastime in many parts of Europe and North America. The cold weather is (hopefully) gone, and many people have already started the dusting, mopping, and sweeping that a good clean entails. Getting rid of clutter, old junk, and other types of waste never hurts. It avoids damage due to build up and lets you see that everything in your home has a proper place. Smart phones and computers need similar tender loving care, and I don’t mean just wiping down the dust. Computers and phones accumulate considerable amounts of wear and tear damage when you use them. Not just the mechanical parts either. Software performance degrades over time, and can cause computers to break down, or even result in security issues. Spring cleaning your phone doesn’t have to take a lot of time, or a lot of money. You can do it for free and can probably get through it in less than 10 minutes. Here’s a quick review of three things you can do to keep your phone running safe and sound. Check your Internet set-up: Many people don’t know this, but your router can be hacked. Things like weak passwords and outdated software allow hackers to break into your router and change the settings, essentially letting them manipulate what you see and do online. F-Secure recently launched a new tool called Router Checker that can help you check to make sure you’re connecting to the Internet safely. Router Checker launched less than a month ago, but has already received positive attention from websites like Tom's Hardware and Geek.com. It’s fast, free, and simple to use, so it’s worth taking a second to check the Internet set-up on your phone (or PC) to make sure it's working the way you want. Get rid of waste: Waste builds up in computers and phones, and over time this causes their performance to deteriorate. Spending a few minutes to clean out this waste and tighten the digital nuts and bolts on your software can pay off with longer lasting batteries, faster browsing and apps, and more storage space. F-Secure Booster is a free Android app that makes cleaning out your phone easy. Lots of the maintenance that phones and computers need is time consuming and difficult. F-Secure Booster centralizes different maintenance tasks into a user-friendly app. You can use it to shut down unnecessary processes that eat up your battery and memory, clean out temporary files and other data that wastes storage space, and even delete digital traces stored by your browser and other apps. It’s a quick way to make sure your phone runs quickly and securely. The PC version has a freemium offering that can clean our your computer, but also a premium variant with even more features, like a software updating tool. Secure your apps: According to F-Secure Labs, Android is a favorite target for mobile malware writers. That means people using Google’s platform need to be extra cautious about the apps they use. Fortunately, there’s a free app that can help protect your mobile phone from malware. Freedome is a popular, one-button VPN that offers users a number of different forms of protection, including App Security. App Security for Android basically checks the apps on your phone or mobile device to see if there’s anything dangerous about it. Freedome is available for a free 14-day trial for Android users. You need to buy a subscription if you want to keep using Freedome after your trial ends, but App Security will continue to function, even if you don’t subscribe. It’s a great way to keep an eye on your apps, and Freedome also offers mobile phone users communication encryption, web browsing protection, and even a selection of virtual locations that they can use to access region locked content. It’s a great way to make sure your phone stays protected after your spring clean!  [ Image by uncoolbob | Flickr ]

April 10, 2015
webpage screenshot TOS

Do you remember our stunt in London where we offered free WiFi against getting your firstborn child? No, we have not collected any kids yet. But it sure was a nice demonstration of how careless we have become with user terms of software and service. It has been said that “Yes, I have read then license agreement” is the world’s biggest lie. Spot on! This was proven once again by a recent case where a Chrome extension was dragged into the spotlight accused of spying on users. Let’s first check the background. The “Webpage Screenshot” extension, which has been pulled from the Chrome Web Store, enabled users to conveniently take screenshots of web page content. It was a very popular extension with over 1,2 million users and tons of good reviews. But the problem is that the vendor seemed to get revenues by uploading user behavior, mainly visited web links, and monetizing on that data. The data upload was not very visible in the description, but the extension’s privacy policy did mention it. So the extension seemed to be acting according to what had been documented in the policy. Some people were upset and felt that they had been spied on. They installed the extension and had no clue that a screenshot utility would upload behavior data. And I can certainly understand why. But on the other hand, they did approve the user terms and conditions when installing. So they have technically given their approval to the data collection. Did the Webpage Screenshot users know what they signed up for? Let’s find out. It had 1 224 811 users when I collected this data. The question is how many of them had read the terms. You can pause here and think about it if you want to guess. The right answer follows below.   [caption id="attachment_8032" align="aligncenter" width="681"] Trying to access Webpage Screenshot gave an error in Chrome Web Store on April 7th 2015.[/caption]   The privacy policy was provided as a shortened URL which makes it possible to check its statistics. The link had been opened 146 times during the whole lifetime of the extension, slightly less than a year. Yes, only 146 times for over 1,2 million users! This means that only 0,012 % clicked the link! And the number of users who read all the way down to the data collection paragraph is even smaller. At least 99,988 % installed without reading the terms. So these figures support the claim that “I have read the terms” is the biggest lie. But they also show that “nobody reads the terms” is slightly incorrect.   Safe surfing, Micke   PS. Does F-Secure block this kind of programs? Typically no. They are usually not technically harmful, the user has installed them deliberately and we can’t really know what the user expects them to do. Or not to do. So this is not really a malware problem, it’s a fundamental problem in the business models of Internet.   Images: Screenshots from the Webpage Screenshot homepage and Chrome Web Store    

April 8, 2015
Snowden, Last Week Tonight, John Oliver

John Oliver -- the host of HBO's Last Week Tonight -- surprised the world on Sunday by punctuating a report on government surveillance with an exclusive interview of Edward Snowden taped in Moscow. But could the comedian's pointed attempt to focus attention on an issue of digital freedom that the public is largely ignoring actually influence policy? It's happened before. In a widely praised segment last June, Oliver helped spark a massive backlash to propose Federal Communication Commission guidelines that would have ended Net Neutrality as we know it. "Seize your moment, my lovely trolls," Oliver told his viewers, after directing them to the FCC site to offer their opinions on policies what would lead to preferential treatment of some data. "Turn on caps lock, and fly, my pretties!" Since then, the Obama Administration fully embraced Net Neutrality and the FCC followed by voting for a 400-page order that aims to "preserve the open internet." [youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XEVlyP4_11M] This weeks segment on the PATRIOT Act focused on Section 215, which has been used to justify bulk collection of electronic communication and is among the provisions of the law set to expire in June. Noting the consensus that the provision needs to be reformed, Oliver described what the law allows, "Section 215 says the government can ask for 'any tangible things' so long as it's for 'an investigation to protect against international terrorism.' That's basically a blank check." He went on to echo the pessimism our Security Advisor Sean Sullivan offered when he made "One Definitive Prediction" early this year. "Section 215 and Section 206 of the USA PATRIOT Act and Section 6001 of the Intelligence Reform and Terrorism Prevention Act will be reauthorized before their June 1, 2015 expiration date," Sean wrote. He added, "Don't expect reform in 2015. The violation of your digital freedom will continue." To show why this highly controversial provision was about to be rubber-stamped for five more years, Oliver showed interviews where random people in Times Square were asked to explain who Edward Snowden is. The closest someone got was to call him "the Wikileaks guy," who is actually Julian Assange. In Moscow, when Snowden lives in exile, Oliver attempted to explain to the former NSA contractor why his story -- which made international news in 2013 -- hadn't prompted any significant reforms in the US. The host explained that Americans don't care about foreign surveillance, but they do care about the government looking at their junk -- literally their private parts. "I guess I never thought about putting it in the context of your junk," Snowden said, after walking through a breakdown of National Security Agency initiatives like PRISM, MYSTIC and XKeyscore in the context of a picture of Oliver's junk. The Birmingham-born comic's unique brand of humorous deep dives into under-investigated news stories has been branded "investigative comedy" by some critics. But with his Net Neutrality story, Oliver veered toward "comedic activism." Unfortunately, Oliver didn't give his viewers an action to take at the end of the surveillance show. Perhaps shining a massive light on the story -- the show has already been viewed online more than 3 million times -- will be enough to influence lawmakers. But given the split in the American public's concerns between surveillance and worries about groups like ISIS, the chances for true reform seem dim. And that would make Sean very pessimistic. Because @iamjohnoliver is correct, if we can't get the USA to reform its own domestic surveillance… nothing will be reformed. — Sean Sullivan (@5ean5ullivan) April 7, 2015

April 7, 2015