Accusing CIA of conducting mass surveillance, Wikileaks has created a hot environment by releasing a trove of documents. With this incident being the most surfaced issue nowadays, many concurrent controversies regarding mass surveillance and malicious attacks on sensitive data have been reported.
Crowd pleasing social websites, tech giants and the most powerful governments have also been vulnerable to these attacks. A couple of days ago, the report disclosed Whatsapp user being prone to data breach which could transfer all their personal data to a Hacker very easily using a malicious image. Similar was the case with the White House’s members preferred Confide app, found exposed to the hackers who could access through and could also imitate friendly contacts, amend the messages in transit and spy on contact details, as told by a cyber security firm.
However, for individuals and companies who compromised their personal information and sensitive data in similar attacks, it’s been a great distress and a matter of concern that how to keep their data secure from such vulnerabilities.
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To encounter and overcome the probability of such malicious attacks people are moving towards encryption and VPN like technologies. To talk about these issues surrounding encryption we hooked up with Marty P. Kamden, CMO of the NordVPN to have some discussion regarding VPN and how it could be helpful in protecting our data.
Starting with his initiative, we have asked him about certain security tools which could help people protect their privacy.
BE ENCRYPTED: How did you come up with the idea of NordVPN?
KAMDEN: The problem with today’s communication is that your internet service provider knows who you are, where you live, what you do online, what your credit card number is, and the numbers you crunch electronically. Governments and hackers use such unprotected information for gains, without any formal authorization.
In the world where online privacy and security matters more and more, a team of highly experienced professionals came together with a goal to bring back internet freedom. In turn, an easy to use VPN solution, NordVPN has built that ensures encryption technology is intuitive and accessible to everyone.
BE ENCRYPTED: Security experts recommend TOR. How will you suggest VPN over Tor?
KAMDEN: We understand the power of decentralized structure and the anonymity that TOR provides. NordVPN offers a unique solution Onion over VPN that encrypts user internet traffic before entering TOR network, ensuring additional privacy.
BE ENCRYPTED: FBI Director purported encryption as a ‘dark corner’ of a room where criminals take shelter. What’s your say on this statement? What is encryption in your opinion?
KAMDEN: We disagree with this opinion because the main purpose of a VPN is to offer people security and privacy online. People have the right to keep their data private from hackers, tracking or even government surveillance. There are a number authoritarian governments that have severe freedom of speech limitations, intrusive state Internet surveillance, mass internet censorship, or no Net Neutrality protection issues that Internet users can mitigate with VPNs. Unfortunately, those who want to stay private for criminal purposes will always find a way, no matter if it’s through a VPN or any other method.
BE ENCRYPTED: Mass surveillance has become a debated issue lately and it’s not in the policy of the government to spy its citizen. What reforms do you think should be taken to ensure the privacy of people? Or will encrypting everything be an obligation for every person?
KAMDEN: Mass surveillance is an invasion of people’s privacy. When data is collected, it’s unknown if it will remain secure and it’s never clear in whose hands it will end up (i.e. in Australia, over 20 agencies have access to user metadata, which is retained and stored by ISPs for 2 years). Therefore, we encourage people to use VPNs and other ways of encryption (secure email, secure communications apps) to guard their privacy.
BE ENCRYPTED: I have heard many people say that they rather prefer a VPN in their home country than a foreign company. What is your opinion?
KAMDEN: It’s best for security if a VPN is located in a country whose government doesn’t require companies to keep customers’ logs. NordVPN is located in Panama, and we don’t store clients’ logs, therefore all their browsing data is completely secure.
BE ENCRYPTED: VPN companies (and some paid ones) generally claim that they do not keep logs; however, they do so anyway. What’s your stance and policy regarding the matter?
KAMDEN: As explained in the previous answer, NordVPN is located in a country, where companies do have to keep client’s logs by law. Our servers are set up in such a way, that all data is immediately sent to /dev/null directory. This directory acts like ‘black hole’ within the server. No information can possibly be retained from there. We cannot comment on other VPNs claims.
BE ENCRYPTED: Member FIVE EYES countries by law want every company to keep records for minimum 12 months. Since you have servers there, aren’t you liable to keep records as well? If not, how?
KAMDEN: We operate in Panama and we follow legislation of Panama that does not oblige data retention. Since we have control of the servers we have set up, all the data is immediately sent to /dev/null directory and the server does not keep any log to start with. So, even in the unlikely scenario that a server was confiscated, there would be nothing of interest on the servers.
BE ENCRYPTED: Wikileaks reveals that CIA spied on citizens by exploiting the vulnerabilities in the devices previously unknown to the vendors; that gave CIA an opportunity to circumvent entirely the basic function that it was supposed to provide. Do you think your VPN client software might be compromised which could allow them access to the encrypted tunnel?
KAMDEN: The good news is that even though it was revealed that C.I.A. could potentially access and tinker with people’s devices (i.e. via injected malware), the WikiLeaks findings also show that encryption is still out of reach even for government spies. It is highly recommended to use secure privacy tools, such as VPNs, which help hide the user’s true location (IP address) and encrypt all the information that is being transferred through the Internet. NordVPN helps anonymize browsing the Internet with its modern security protocols and no logs policy.
BE ENCRYPTED: Speaking of VPN, people often ask what encrypted tunnel is and how does it protect data-in-transit?
KAMDEN: Encrypted tunnel keeps all the information private between the entry point (user’s computer) and the exit point VPN server.
BE ENCRYPTED: What’s your idea regarding future alternatives for VPN?
KAMDEN: Decentralized web might be the future of the Internet, since decentralization idea is gaining popularity among mainstream developer community. Till then, Internet users must be careful about their Internet privacy, and take initiative to implement available encryption tools.
There are already many existing ways to encrypt one’s Internet activities: secure email service providers or encrypted messaging apps, while, VPN services remain one of the must-have encryption services.
Overall, encryption – be it via encrypted email, messaging or VPN technology – remains the most secure tool available to protect one’s online privacy and security.
BE ENCRYPTED: In your opinion what might be the next great technological advancements in security features of your VPN?
KAMDEN: We have a number of features that we plan to unveil in the foreseeable future, which is confidential at the moment so you will have to wait for it. Some of the latest improvements include improvements to our server picker algorithm, which selects the best server in a country of your choice, making NordVPN apps even more intuitive and simple to use.
BE ENCRYPTED: What sort of security tools are you currently excited about? What will you suggest people?
KAMDEN: For secure email, we recommend such providers as ProtonMail, and for secure communications, one of the most reliable apps is Signal. DuckDuckGo is a search engine that provides information from hundreds of sources and keeps the search private. Avira Antivirus Pro protects your Android device from malicious apps, banking Trojans, and other mobile threats. It comes with anti-virus scanner, app lock, and even phone finder. It is very important to ensure that any security tool you use, be it your firewall or antivirus, update the app to ensure any issues are patched. People must make sure they are cautious about their online privacy in general and take steps to ensure they are always secure.