Less worrisome online life with F-secure safe

NEW RESEARCH: More than half of the top 100 URLS are tracking you

You’ve probably never heard of most of the 100 top URLs in world.

In fact, most users have no idea that they’ve even accessed most of the 89 domains the average user interacts with in a month.

A new F-Secure Labs study of the top 100 URLS accessed by customers all over the globe shows that of the world’s top URLs only 15% were accessed directly. The remaining 85% were accessed by other websites or software on the users PCs. Of the 85% accessed automatically, 10% come from ad-serving domains, 35% are ad-serving domains with tracking components and 19% are purely tracking domains.

This means that at least half of the URLs your browser accesses are not providing you any content. Instead, you are the content, providing anonymous marketers precious information about your interests, tastes and lifestyle.

“We are more honest with search engines than we are with our families,” F-Secure Chief Security Officer Mikko Hypponen said recently. “Search engines know more about you than your family members know about you.”

But the NSA, Google and Facebook aren’t the only ones tracking your online behavior. Nearly every site you load, every link you click is sending your information to be recorded possibly for eternity, given the how inexpensive it is to store data.

And when connecting through “free public Wi-Fi”, the risks of data loss only escalate.

Users of Freedome by F-Secure – the next generation VPN solution that allows you to become untraceable — have become intimately aware of how much tracking is aimed at them. Freedome alerts users of every blocked attempt to track a device through a site or an app. In just a few weeks, the average user is likely to see thousands of attempts to trace activity blocked.

“The trackers are not going away,” said F-Secure’s Director of New Concepts Janne Pirttilahti. “Their goal is to monetize every second of your life whether you are opening your wallet or not.”

Pirttilahti notes we cannot even know how our data will be used as new ways to predict and influence our behavior are developed.

“That’s why they’re trying to track everything you do. They don’t even know everything they want to know yet. Your privacy is the cost of using the web—unless you actively protect yourselves with a solution like Freedome.”

More posts from this topic

yahoo

What You Need to Know About the Yahoo Hack

Reports that half a billion Yahoo accounts were hacked in 2014 "by a state-sponsored actor" were confirmed today by the tech giant. This hack of "names, email addresses, telephone numbers, birth dates, encrypted passwords and, in some cases, security questions" is the largest in the company's history and one of the most consequential breaches of all time. Our security advisor Sean Sullivan told CNN what Yahoo users need to know right now: [youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kO-70yKF4bE] He also gave a longer interview to Data Breach Today about the wider implications of the hack. The most important takeaway from this attack is you should always use an extra layer of protection -- in this case Yahoo's two-factor authentication on all your accounts -- and never reuse any important password. Even though Yahoo's passwords stored your passwords with encryption, it's still possible for criminals to get access to them, especially if they are weak. A former Yahoo employee told Reuters that the answers to security questions were deliberately left unencrypted to help catch fake accounts more easily because fake accounts that used the same answers over and over. Sean always uses nonsense answers for so-called security questions so they aren't guessable by anyone who knows him or follows him on social media. He recommends you do the same. So what should you do now? Sean recommends you "walk, not run" to your Yahoo account to disable your security questions and change your password -- and change them on any other site where you've used them to something unique. Make sure you create non-human passwords -- not patterns like yahoo1985. Make them long and difficult to remember. If they're between 20 and 32 characters, they are nearly uncrackable, as our senior researcher Jarno Niemelä recommends. And to deal with all that complexity, use a password manager like our F-Secure KEY, which is free on one device. You can also store your nonsense answers to your security questions in there. Then turn on two-factor authentication, if you haven't already. If you're wondering who might have carried out such a massive attack, Sean does have a hypothesis. [Image by Christian Barmala | Flickr]

September 23, 2016
BY 
android_wi-fi

How to Create a Portable Hotspot on Android with VPN on

Many Android users (myself included) have long found it annoying that creating a working portable hotspot is not possible while using a VPN on the device that shares the connection.  From the user interface to the lines of code that power the app behind it, a driving principle of designing Freedome has always been to make the kind of VPN that only makes your online experience better, without hindering it in any way. Tethering with VPN is now possible This is why we are extremely happy - both personally and for our users - to announce that our new Android release (out now on Google Play) makes it possible to have Freedome turned on while sharing your connection with other devices. We are also the first (as far as we know) major VPN provider to make this happen. Instructions on setting up a portable hotspot The new update automatically allows you to create a portable hotspot with Freedome VPN, so the instructions are fairly simple. Download Freedome VPN on your Android Turn on the portable hotspot feature from your Android settings Keeping it simple, as usual! A note on privacy It’s worth noting for the sake of your privacy that the tethered device’s traffic will NOT go through the VPN tunnel of the device sharing the connection. As Freedome lead Android developer Antti Eskola (who, by the way, you can thank for making this feature a reality) says: “Android does not allow tethered devices access to the VPN tunnel. This is a deliberate choice forced by Android for security reasons. For instance, when using VPN to access your employer’s network, they might not want your friends and family there. Also a VPN tunnel shared with others wouldn’t really be a private network anymore” In other words, remember to use Freedome on laptops and any other devices you connect to your own hotspots with. If you have any questions, drop us a line on Twitter. Enjoy!

September 23, 2016
BY 
webcam

QUICK TIP: Change the Default Passwords on Your Webcams and Baby Monitors

If you don't want to read the manual for the new Wi-Fi-connected device you just installed in your home, do yourself a favor and at least check how to change the default password. A new report finds that more than 100,000 devices in the United Kingdom alone could be possibly be accessed by peeping strangers. How is this possible? "Two words," explains F-Secure security advisor Sean Sullivan. "Default settings." Most consumers don't seem to imagine that their baby monitor, web cam of Wi-Fi router might be targeted by a hacker. "That’s called security through obscurity and it just does not work," Sean explains. "There are 'deep-web' search engines --such as Shodan -- that routinely scan for devices on the Internet. And just about anybody can find interesting things there that shouldn’t be publicly accessible but are." Often all online intruders need to do is type in the password that the manufacture sent the device out with. "You need to change the webcam’s password to something complex and unique," he says. "Don’t worry about having to type it all the time, you’ll probably only need to configure the associated mobile app once. And then the app will remember the password for you." This one simple step will greatly reduce your risk of having your devices hacked. Still many of us won't do it. The time to get rid of this terrible habit of leaving default passwords untouched is now, before our homes become so overrun by Wi-Fi-connected devices that hackers begin to devote serious resources to this sort of intrusion and possibly find some convenient way to monetize it. So don't let your fear of not being able to remember the passwords for all these devices become the weak link in your security. "Once you’ve set your secure password, store it someplace safe for future use," Sean says. He suggests a using a password safe like F-Secure KEY or a piece of paper in a secure location in your home. Just don't store it anywhere in sight of a webcam that still is using its default password. [Image by DAVID BURILLO | Flickr]

September 22, 2016