First, we’ll take a look at the risks the auditor labeled as high and critical.
Using the Frida framework together with the Objection toolkit, Cure53 discovered that on iOS, Mozilla VPN’s WireGuard configuration allows device backups to be stored within the iCloud.
While iCloud backups are encrypted, they’re not end-to-end encrypted by default. Unless the user changes this in advanced options, Apple will be able to read the WireGuard private key.
Another big risk is tied to malicious add-ons.
Cure53 discovered that the Native Messaging API is used to communicate with the mozillavpnp app. The problem is that the app doesn’t restrict the application caller sufficiently enough, allowinganyone to communicate with the VPN and disable it through a malicious add-on.
To fix this issue, Cure53 suggests including a caller origin validation in the native app.
The first problem Cure53 encountered was the ability to lock a user’s account by repeatedly entering incorrect passwords. If an attacker forces the account into a permanently locked state this way, the affected user will also no longer be able to access it.
Testing also showed that third-party Android apps can crash the Mozilla VPN app at any point. However, due to the WireGuard tunnel being managed by the Android OS, the app crashing doesn’t cause the tunnel to fail. Thus, Cure53 labeled this as a medium threat.
Another issue is that the daemon socket on macOSdoesn’t have sufficient access control enforcement. This allows other users on the same device to access and clear daemon logs, leak the public keys of the connecting client, and terminate the VPN connection.
A similar problem exists due to the VPN clientexposing a local TCP interface running on port 8754. Another user on the same localhost can send requests to the port and terminate the VPN connection.
In addition, Mozilla VPN’s captive portal notification feature sends unencrypted HTTP requests outside of the active tunnel. This creates the risk of deanonymization, which opposes the entire purpose of using a VPN.
While Mozilla’s VPN demonstrates strengths in security and privacy, the Cure53 audit has identified critical areas for improvement.
Addressing these issues will be crucial for Mozilla to ensure the highest level of privacy and security for its VPN users.
Twitch is set to shut down its operations in South Korea in February 2024.
The popular streaming platform cited high network usage fees as the main reason.
Twitch is shutting down in South Korea
X (formerly Twitter) isn’t the only major platform that had to make unpopular decisions this year over high network costs.
One of the most popular streaming platforms, Twitch, also decided to cut its costs by ceasing its operations in South Korea. The Amazon-owned company announced this in its latest blog post.
The platform will officially leave the country onFebruary 27, 2024.
During the past few years, Twitch did its best to diversify its content, but the platform is still primarily gaming-oriented. With South Korea being one of the largest gaming nations in the world, this move carries some extra weight.
The platform said it will help streamers from the country migrate to other platforms by encouraging them to share links to their new channels.
According to the estimates, Twitch draws about 35 million daily visitors worldwide, 300,000 of which come from South Korea.
Korean legislation and high fees
One of the biggest reasons for the move is South Korea’s newly passed legislation that forces major content providers to pay additionally to use networksin the country. According to some estimates, network fees in Korea were ten times higher than in most other countries.
The decision to leave the country is the result of several years of careful consideration by Twitch’s financial team. For a long time, the company has been operating at a significant loss in South Korea.
With more and more competitors in the field (like Kick and Rumble), Twitch seems to be fighting an uphill battle as of late.
Even after capping video quality at 720p, the expenses were still too high for the company to manage. According to some, this has caused an adverse effect, with many viewers switching to alternative platforms such as YouTube and AfreecaTV.
Twitch isn’t the only global service affected by the country’s new network fee legislation. Netflix dealt with the same problem and was caught up in a years-long battle with Korea’s SK Broadband over usage fees. They finally found common ground in September this year.
After 24 hours on YouTube, the trailer for the highly-anticipated new Grand Theft Auto title achieved over 90 million views.
This means the video has surpassed the record previously set by YouTuber MrBeast.
GTA 6 trailer breaking world records
Rockstar released the GTA 6 trailer ahead of schedule due to a leak on X. The publisher acted quickly, removing the leaked footage and uploading the video to its YouTube channel.
In just 24 hours, the trailer exploded and surpassed 90 million views. This made it themost viewed non-music video during its first day on the platform.
The record was previously held by MrBeast’s video titled Every Country On Earth Fights For $250,000! The popular philanthropist and YouTube sensation achieved 59.4 million in the first 24 hours.
The GTA 6 trailer also came close to beating the record for most views in the first 24 hours set by the music video for Butter by South Korean band BTS which had about 108 million views.
At the time of writing, the trailer has over 100 million views. So, it has already reached the view count of the GTA 5 trailer which has been on YouTube for 12 years.
Obviously, the trailer is also No. 1 on Trending for gaming on the platform.
This all shows just how much hype surrounds the new Grand Theft Auto title, set to arrive in 2025. Fans have been rewatching and dissecting the trailer, looking for any piece of information they can find.
The current installment, GTA 5, is the world’s second most popular game of all time (behind Minecraft), with over 190 million copies sold.
Rockstar’s parent company, Take-Two Interactive expects GTA 6 to make $8 billion in revenue for fiscal year 2025.
What’s new in GTA 6?
The trailer for GTA 6 didn’t disappoint. It showed a new level of rendering quality and the first female lead character in the franchise.
It also looks like the game will be a part love story, as Lucia and the other unnamed male lead character (reportedly Jason) appear to have a relationship that’s reminiscent of Bonnie and Clyde.
Throughout the video, fans can see scenes of criminal activities we’ve got used to in the franchise such as armed robberies and police chases.
They’ve also been promised a world that’s bigger and more detailed than ever before. The trailer shows players will be returning to Vice City in the fictional state of Leonida.
However, unlike GTA: Vice City, the new game will be set in modern day. It will also feature a lot of social media and satire on American society.
Another thing many fans have pointed out is updated NPC behavior. A scene in the trailer shows beachgoers applying sunscreen, taking photos, and jogging with their dogs.
Additionally, players will get to experience more wildlife, with alligators, flamingos, ducks, and other animals shown in the video.
What platforms will GTA 6 be on?
In a separate press release, Rockstar announced that GTA 6 will arrive on PS5 and Xbox Series X/S. Therefore, it looks like this will be a similar situation to the Red Dead Redemption 2 release, with the PC version coming out later.
However, with the game being over a year away, the publisher may decide that a simultaneous PC release is a good idea. Or at least the gap between console and PC releases won’t be as wide as it often is.
In whichever way you use the web, these data brokering statistics will make you think twice about what you lay on the line about yourself.
Whenever we’re online, we unknowingly share our personal information with others. In some cases, this is harmless.
However, much of the time, we’re allowing organizations to collect mass amounts of information to sell or share with others. This is known as data brokering.
The brokers round up our data and profit from its distribution. Many companies are then using it to create personal profiles of us.
Targeted ads are also a result of this. Even some employers, when considering job candidates, even turn to data brokers to purchase criminal history reports.
But, how big of an impact does data brokering really have on us?
Let’s find out by exploring some surprising statistics.
Eye-Opening Data Brokering Statistics
Check out these statistics which highlight the true extent of data collection and brokering in 2023:
The data for 18 to 25-year-olds costs an average of $0.36
One of the largest US data brokers, Acxiom, has over 2.5 billion consumer records worldwide
A combination of data brokers has 90% coverage of US Facebook users
62% of organizations are aware of AI-powered recommendations, and 24% are currently deploying them
Only 43% of people are aware of their right to be forgotten
General Data Brokering Statistics
The collection of personal data plays an important role in our day-to-day lives. This section reveals key information about the value companies put on our data.
1. The data broker market size is on track to reach $365.70 billion by 2029
(Source: Maximise Market Research)
Dubbed as the “oil of the 21st century”, data has become one of the most valuable commodities of our era.
As we continue to produce exponentially more data over the next few years, the total data broker industry revenue will grow from $268.73 billion in 2022 to $365.70 billion by 2029.
2. Almost 60% of internet users have more than 12 data points publicly available
A data point represents a single piece of information about a person. Your age, income, gender, education level, phone number, and email address are all examples of common data points that brokers collect.
59.35% of internet users have 12 data points publicly available, and the remaining 40.65% have between 2 and 11.
So, as you can probably guess, if you use the internet for any reason, your personal details can be viewed, shared, sold, or even stolen.
3. The data for 18 to 24-year-olds costs an average of $0.36
The data for younger people is the most expensive, with the total cost of the 18-24 demographic exceeding $14 million every year.
The least valuable data is for people over 55, costing just $0.05 per person. Typically, as you near retirement, your income and shopping habits will decrease, so companies have less use for your data.
Other information such as our gender, ethnicity, and income also impacts our data’s value.
For example, if you earn between $10,000 and $100,000, your data is worth $0.02 – $0.07. Interestingly though, your data’s value shoots up to $0.33 if you earn between $120,000 and $150,000.
4. 62% of organizations are aware of AI-powered recommendations, and 24% are currently deploying them
(Source: Acxiom Annual Trends Report)
In recent years, the adoption of artificial intelligence has skyrocketed, and many industries are using this technology to streamline their operations.
According to a survey, almost a quarter of organizations are already using AI algorithms to analyze customer data and suggest relevant products or services.
Data Broker Statistics
Data broker companies are the ones who directly profit from collecting and selling our sensitive information. Since these companies often buy and sell from one another, it’s impossible to accurately pinpoint how much of our data they own.
However, we can still use some key data broker statistics to put the degree of their operations into perspective.
5. There are over 4,000 data brokering companies worldwide
(Source: Web FX)
More than 4,000 data brokering companies are operating around the world. With the larger companies having data for millions of users, we can all assume that at least one of them knows information about each of us.
6. A combination of data brokers has 90% coverage of US Facebook users
90% of US Facebook users have at least one data broker-provided attribute, meaning that their information is readily available for companies to purchase. The US has the highest Facebook user broker coverage in the world, closely followed by Australia with 81.3% coverage and the UK with 74.4%.
7. One of the largest US data brokers, Acxiom, has over 2.5 billion consumer records worldwide
(Source: Acxiom Global Data)
Acxiom is currently one of the leading data brokers in the US. This company boasts that it has over 2.5 billion records from consumers around the world. Acxiom claims to enable companies to “reach over two-thirds of the world’s digital population in a privacy-compliant manner” through its services.
8. Acxiom has a catalog of over 12,000 global data attributes
(Source: Acxiom Customer Data)
Acxiom also has a wide array of global data attributes that it sells to other companies. It can collect these through public records, purchase histories, internet activities, and commercial sources (such as retailers and credit card providers).
9. Experian generated $6,619 million in revenue during 2023
Data brokers can make a whole lot of money from our data. As the world’s largest data broker company, Experian generated an incredible $6,619 million in revenue this year. Although not all of this was made from selling data, it still shows how lucrative this industry really is.
Data Privacy Statistics
Data brokers exist to collect and distribute sensitive information about us. Is this against our best wishes? Or do we simply not care about what happens to our data? Let’s take a look at some interesting statistics about the public’s perception of data privacy.
10. 80% of people want to know more about how their data is used
Many of us feel that we’re in the dark when it comes to our data. In a 2022 survey, the majority of participants stated that online privacy is important to them and they want to know more about how their data is used.
Despite this, only 60% use tools to increase their privacy. Is this due to a lack of knowledge of privacy-protection tools? Or do most people believe that taking control of their privacy is simply not an option?
11. 21% agree that the most important activity an organization can do is refrain from selling their information
When it comes to building trust, over a fifth of survey participants agreed that the most important thing a company can do is refrain from selling their information.
However, not everyone is completely against their data being sold. 39% said that transparency (i.e. providing clear information on how their data is being used) is the most important factor for building trust.
12. Only 43% of people are aware of their right to be forgotten
There are various regulators across the world that govern the way data can be used, processed, and stored. The GDPR, a European privacy regulator that focuses on data minimization, grants everyone the right to ask organizations to delete their personal data.
If certain criteria are met, an organization must erase the person’s data within a month. This is known as the right to be forgotten.
According to Surfshark’s survey, less than half of people are aware they can delete their digital footprint.
13. 63% of people block or routinely delete some or all cookies on their web browsers
(Source: Consumer Reports)
Cookies are text files that consist of pieces of data that help websites identify and remember you. Whenever you visit a website for the first time, you’ll see a pop-up that asks you to select your cookie preferences.
Cookies are useful as they help sites recognize each user and recall information such as their login details. Some even play an essential role in our online browsing experience.
Despite their uses, cookies can also be used to put our online privacy at risk. They collect a lot of sensitive data such as our browsing activity which may then be sold between companies.
If you want to increase your privacy and make it harder for websites to track your online behavior, you can choose to delete your web browser’s cookies. According to the 2022 Consumer Reports study, only 63% of people routinely do this.
14. 75% of people are concerned about the privacy of their personal data that companies collect and store
(Source: Consumer Reports)
In the same study, almost three-quarters of the participants claim they are concerned about the privacy of their personal data that is collected and stored by companies. Many of the remaining 25% said they were not concerned since they didn’t have anything worth stealing.
However, as other statistics show, any and all of our data is of value to companies.
15. 68% of people strongly support prohibiting the sale of personal data without consent
Regulators worldwide are in a cat-and-mouse race with data brokering companies. As technology advances, new data collection laws must be put in place to protect us.
A YouGov poll reveals that the majority of people support banning the sale of personal data without their consent. Additionally, 61% agreed that companies should be required to provide easy-to-understand explanations of their data collection and use practices.
Clearly, many of us want more to be done regarding the protection of our information. So, how come data brokers appear to have almost complete free reign when it comes to collecting and selling data?
Overall, our personal data is one of the most valuable commodities in the world. Companies are willing to spend millions each year to find out more about us and our activities.
These worrying data brokering statistics show that chances are, if you use the internet, there’s a data broker that possesses your data.
Although many of us are concerned about how our data is being used, few are actually taking steps to safeguard it.
Thankfully, there are some simple ways to prevent at least some of our information from landing in the hands of data brokers. For instance, using a VPN will conceal your IP address and make it harder for companies to trace your browsing activity back to you.
Who is the biggest data broker?
Experian is the world’s largest data broker. This company collects information from over 1 billion people, generating millions of dollars in revenue each year.
How big is the data industry?
The data broker market was valued at $268.73 billion in 2022 and is on track to grow to $365.70 billion by 2029.
How much do data brokers pay for data?
The amount a data broker will pay for your data depends on various factors such as your age, gender, ethnicity, and income. For instance, the data for younger demographics is much more expensive than for older ones.
How much do data brokers make?
According to various salary research websites, data brokers can earn between $56,000 and $84,000, depending on their experience. Data brokering companies themselves can generate millions in revenue every year.
How many data brokers are there?
There are more than 4,000 data broker companies worldwide, including Experian, Acxiom, TransUnion, Oracle Data Cloud, and CoreLogic.
Rayobyte, formerly known as Blazing SEO, is a premium proxy provider that provides its scraping tool for free. The vendor’s wide variety of features makes it a good choice for individuals and businesses.
Its services include residential, data center, mobile, and ISP proxies. These are perfectly optimized to bypass IP bans, CAPTCHAs, and anti-scraping technologies.
Coverage is pretty limited to about 300,000 IPs across 25 locations. But its network capacity of 20+ petabytes/month shows it enjoys a wide customer base.
Securing your proxies is simple by using a username and password. Or you can whitelist your IPs that grant access to the service.
A proxy list generator helps you craft a list of servers for scraping tasks. All it takes is just a few clicks to get it ready.
You can let Rayobyte switch regions automatically from a list of 150 countries. Likewise, it’s possible to set geographical locations based on your preference.
Targeting by states and cities enables you to gather region-based data quickly. This can get even faster by assigning up to 10,000 IPs for sessions.
Available protocols include HTTP for speed, HTTPS, and SOCKS5 for security. Regardless of your choice, you’re guaranteed to always experience reliable connectivity.
The outcome is different when it comes to network performance. Downloads average 100Mbps with a response time of 2.0 seconds.
The 96.50% success rate of requests falls short of the competition. But it’s better than other services that didn’t make it on this list.
When it comes to support, you have the option of sending email requests. Responses can take up to a day, so it’s better to get used to the knowledge base.
Pricing is pretty affordable, starting at $0.0018/scrape. Apart from that, Rayobyte provides 5000 free requests for using its scraping bot.
With Omegle’s recent exit from the online chat scene, many are seeking worthy alternatives to fill the gap. As someone who has used the platform and understands the digital safety, I’m here to guide you through the best Omegle alternatives.
Each platform offers its unique flavor of connection and interaction. Plus, I’ll share some practical safety tips to make sure your online chat experience is both fun and secure.
Let’s dive in:
Best Omegle Alternatives
Chatroulette, often hailed as the pioneer of random video chatting, burst onto the scene, offering an entirely new way to meet people online.
Its premise is simple yet captivating: connect with random strangers around the world through video chat. The platform’s charm lies in its unpredictability and the sheer excitement of not knowing who you’ll encounter next – it could be someone from a distant corner of the globe or just around the corner.
Features and User Experience
Chatroulette’s interface is straightforward, focusing solely on the video chat experience. Users are randomly paired with others, and either party can leave the chat at any time to start a new connection. This roulette-style matching system is what gives the platform its edge, creating spontaneous interactions that range from humorous and quirky to meaningful and profound.
Unpredictable and spontaneous connections.
Simple, user-friendly interface.
Global reach, offering a diverse range of interactions.
Potential exposure to inappropriate content due to lack of moderation.
Limited features beyond basic video chatting.
The primary concern with Chatroulette is the risk of encountering explicit or inappropriate content, as the platform historically lacked robust moderation. This unpredictability, while exciting, also poses privacy risks, as users may inadvertently share personal information or be recorded without consent.
Immediately disconnect from any inappropriate or uncomfortable chats.
Tinychat stands out in the world of online chat platforms by offering a variety of themed chat rooms. It caters to a wide range of interests, from gaming and music to simple, casual conversations. This platform is not just about connecting with random individuals. It’s also about finding and building communities with shared passions and interests.
Features and User Experience
Tinychat allows users to join existing chat rooms based on various topics or create their own. These rooms can be public or private, offering flexibility in how users engage with others. The platform supports video, voice, and text chatting, making it versatile and accommodating different communication preferences. Tinychat also integrates social media elements, allowing users to share and follow different rooms and profiles.
Wide variety of chat rooms catering to different interests.
Ability to create and customize your own chat rooms.
Supports multiple forms of communication (video, voice, text).
Can be overwhelming for new users due to the sheer number of rooms.
Some chat rooms may lack moderation, leading to potential exposure to inappropriate content.
There is a learning curve.
The main safety concern with Tinychat revolves around its open chat room environment. Rooms with lax moderation can become hotspots for inappropriate behavior, cyberbullying, or unwanted content. Additionally, the platform’s social media-like aspect can sometimes blur the line between public and private information sharing.
Stick to well-moderated and reputable chat rooms.
Be cautious about sharing personal information, even in seemingly safe spaces.
Use Tinychat’s privacy settings to control who can join your rooms and who can view your profile.
ChatRandom modernizes the concept of random video chatting, offering a streamlined and user-friendly platform. It’s designed for those who love the spontaneity of platforms like Omegle but prefer a more controlled and modern environment. ChatRandom stands out with its additional features like gender and geographic filters, which add a layer of customization to the random chat experience.
However, keep in mind that those features come with a paid plan. Using the free version isn’t suitable if you don’t want to see NSFW content only.
Features and User Experience
ChatRandom’s interface is intuitive, making it easy for newcomers and former Omegle users to navigate. You can quickly start chatting with random people and have the option to filter connections based on their preferences.
This added control is a significant plus, allowing you to tailor your experience to your comfort level. The platform also offers various chat modes, including private one-on-one sessions and larger group chats.
User-friendly interface with easy navigation.
Filters for gender and location provide more control over chat connections.
Multiple chat modes cater to different social preferences.
The free tier is practically unusable.
The user base is smaller compared to other platforms.
Potential for encountering bots or fake profiles.
While ChatRandom offers a more refined chat experience, you can still encounter the usual risks associated with online chatting, such as exposure to inappropriate content. The anonymity of the platform can also be a double-edged sword, offering privacy but also making it harder to identify and avoid potential dangers.
Use the platform’s reporting and blocking features to deal with inappropriate behavior.
Avoid sharing personal information, especially in public chat rooms.
Be cautious and use common sense when engaging in conversations with strangers.
Bazoocam offers a unique twist in the world of online chat platforms by focusing on localized connections. It’s particularly popular in European countries and provides a platform for users to engage in conversations with people closer to home. This approach not only fosters a sense of community but also increases the chances of real-life interactions and friendships.
Features and User Experience
Bazoocam’s interface is straightforward to use. You are randomly paired with others in your region. The platform also includes fun features like games, which users can play together during their video chats, adding an element of casual entertainment to the conversation.
Focus on local connections can lead to more meaningful interactions.
Simple and user-friendly interface.
Integrated games provide a unique and enjoyable chatting experience.
Limited global reach, which might restrict the diversity of interactions for users seeking international connections.
The platform’s simplicity might not appeal to users looking for more advanced features.
Potential language barriers, as users are more likely to encounter speakers of their local languages.
The emphasis on local connections can be a double-edged sword. While it allows for community building, it also increases the risk of encountering people you may know in real life, which could lead to privacy concerns. Additionally, as with any chat platform, there’s the risk of encountering inappropriate behavior or content.
Consider using a VPN to alter your virtual location if you prefer more anonymity.
Be cautious about sharing details that could reveal your identity or location.
Report any inappropriate behavior to the platform moderators.
Camsurf has carved out its niche in the online chat world by prioritizing user safety and simplicity. It’s an ideal platform for those who value a secure environment for chatting without sacrificing the fun and spontaneity of meeting new people. Camsurf’s commitment to maintaining a friendly and respectful community sets it apart from many other chat platforms.
Camsurf is without a doubt my top Omegle alternative safety-wise. However, it lacks that fun and casual Omegle vibe many users were fond of.
Features and User Experience
Camsurf offers a clean and straightforward interface, making it accessible to users of all ages and technical abilities. The platform includes features like instant video chat and the ability to filter connections by language and location. One of Camsurf’s standout features is its active moderation, which helps maintain a safe and welcoming environment for all users.
Strong emphasis on user safety and moderation.
Simple and intuitive interface, suitable for beginners.
Filtering connections based on language and location adds a level of customization.
The strict moderation might limit the freedom of conversations compared to less moderated platforms.
The user base is smaller, leading to fewer available connections at times.
Some users might find the platform too basic if they are looking for more advanced features.
Despite its strong focus on safety, no online platform is entirely risk-free. Users on Camsurf can still encounter inappropriate behavior, although the likelihood is reduced thanks to the platform’s active moderation. There’s also the general risk of sharing personal information with strangers, which can lead to privacy issues.
Take advantage of the platform’s reporting features to alert moderators of any rule-breaking behavior.
Keep personal information private, especially in public chat rooms.
Use the platform’s filters to control the type of connections you make.
How to stay safe on online chat platforms
Protect Your Personal Information
Always be cautious about the personal information you share. Keeping details like your full name, address, and contact information private is crucial in safeguarding your identity and well-being online.
Use a VPN
A VPN is a vital tool for enhancing your privacy and security on chat platforms. It encrypts your internet connection and masks your IP address, making it harder for others to track your location or intercept your data. Here’s how to use a VPN effectively:
Connect to a server in a location different from your actual one, to anonymize your online presence.
Stay Alert to Scams
Be aware of common online scams. If someone asks for money, personal details, or tries to direct you to external websites, it’s likely a scam. Trust your instincts and disengage from suspicious interactions.
Many Omegle alternatives open up a world of new connections and experiences. Each platform offers unique features and communities, catering to diverse interests and preferences.
By following these safety tips and using tools like VPNs, you can enjoy these platforms to their fullest, knowing you’re taking the right steps to protect yourself online.
Looking to optimize my home network led me to look for the best router for Tomato. While the added control options and easy VPN setup make the firmware appealing, not all routers support it.
So, I dug deep and found 5 great options. I based my picks on the following factors:
Performance and speed
Ease of use
Without further ado, let’s get into it:
Best routers for Tomato at a glance
For those in a hurry, here’s an overview of my top picks, along with their use cases and standout features:
Wi-Fi 6 support, 1.8 GHz quad-core processor
1.6 GHz dual-core processor, 512MB RAM
Asus RT-AC66U B1
NETGEAR Nighthawk X6
Now, let’s dive deeper and see what each router has to offer:
Best Tomato routers – reviews
Here are the top routers for Tomato Firmware in 2023:
The ASUS RT-AX88U stands out as a top-tier router, boasting the latest advancements with Wi-Fi 6 technology. This ensures you get faster speeds and an extended range, making it an ideal choice for those who prioritize high performance and desire advanced control over their network.
One of its notable features includes 8 Gigabit LAN ports, catering perfectly to wired devices. Additionally, it supports AiProtection Pro, offering advanced security, and AiMesh for mesh networking, which lets you seamlessly expand your Wi-Fi coverage.
With a robust 1.8 GHz quad-core processor at its core, the RT-AX88U is adept at handling heavy traffic, marking it as an ideal choice for gaming enthusiasts and those streaming in 4K.
The Adaptive QoS is another great add-on, ensuring gaming packets are prioritized for a smoother online play experience. You’ll also appreciate the ASUSWRT interface, known for its user-friendliness and simple setup and management.
The added advantage of the ASUS Router App means you can manage your network even when you’re on the move.
And finally, the ASUS RT-AX88U offers both VPN server and client modes, ensuring secure remote access and online privacy.
✅ Pros: Enhanced security perfect for gaming, flexible QoS support, 8 GigE ports for better wired connections.
❌ Cons: Might heat up a bit upon flashing with Tomato.
2. NETGEAR R7000P
The NETGEAR R7000P brings improved performance from previous models coupled with the latest security features.
Designed with modern households in mind, it supports MU-MIMO, ensuring optimized performance in environments bustling with multiple devices.
Another standout feature is Beamforming+, which aims to enhance the router’s range and stability.
You also get 802.11ac Dual Band Gigabit Wi-Fi technology. It delivers an impressive AC2300 Wi-Fi performance, which breaks down to speeds of up to 1625 + 600 Mbps.
The R7000P supports OpenVPN, allowing you to set up a secure VPN server and access your home network remotely.
✅ Pros: Great range, optimized for gaming and streaming.
❌ Cons: Reboot times might be long.
3. Linksys WRT1900ACS
The Linksys WRT1900ACS delivers a high-quality, open-source-ready solution.
This model is designed for those who prioritize the flexibility of custom firmware installations like Tomato.
With dual-band support and speeds of up to 2600 Mbps, it promises a seamless internet experience for both casual browsing and intensive tasks.
One of its standout features is the powerful 1.6 GHz dual-core processor, ensuring that the router can handle multiple devices and heavy traffic without any hiccups. Additionally, the router comes equipped with 512MB of RAM, which further boosts its multitasking capabilities.
The WRT1900ACS also boasts a user-friendly interface, making it easy to set up and manage your network. Its four high-performance antennas ensure that Wi-Fi coverage is extensive, reducing dead spots in larger homes.
With its open-source readiness, the WRT1900ACS is highly compatible with various VPN services, making it a favorite among privacy enthusiasts.
✅ Pros: Open-source firmware support, excellent range, and speed.
❌ Cons: Might warm up a bit, relatively pricey
4. Asus RT-AC66U B1
For those who are budget-conscious but still want a reliable and Tomato-compatible router, the Asus RT-AC66U B1 is a perfect choice.
This model offers a balance between performance and affordability. With dual-band support and speeds of up to 1750 Mbps, it caters to most household needs, from streaming to gaming. One of its notable features is the ASUS AiProtection, which offers advanced security against online threats.
The router also supports ASUS AiCloud, allowing you to access your data anytime, anywhere. The three external antennas ensure a stable and wide-reaching Wi-Fi signal.
Furthermore, the intuitive ASUSWRT dashboard provides users with full network control, making it easy to optimize and set up.
This model comes with built-in VPN client and server support, offering users a secure and encrypted connection.
Under the hood is a 1 GHz dual-core processor with three offload processors, ensuring that the router can handle heavy network traffic and multitasking with ease. This is further enhanced by its 256MB of RAM and 128MB of flash storage, which facilitate quick response times.
Unlike traditional dual-band routers, the X6 offers an additional 5 GHz band, ensuring that more devices can connect without experiencing congestion.
Additionally, you get four Gigabit Ethernet ports for wired connections and two USB ports (one USB 3.0 and one USB 2.0) for sharing printers, files, or connecting external storage devices. The router also boasts six antennas, ensuring a wide range and strong signal throughout larger homes.
Regarding security, the Nighthawk X6 offers VPN support, guest network access, and parental controls. Additionally, the router supports WPA2 wireless security protocols and comes with a built-in firewall for added protection.
✅ Pros: Great performance, wide coverage, and advanced security features
❌Cons: Setup may be complex for beginners
How to choose the right router for Tomato
Since all of the routers above are compatible with Tomato, let me show you the different considerations to take into account in order to pick the best one for your needs.
Performance and speed
For those who demand high bandwidth for activities like gaming or 4K streaming, the router’s performance is paramount.
Routers with dual or tri-band capabilities that support the latest Wi-Fi standards are ideal. With its Wi-Fi 6 technology, the ASUS RT-AX88U is a top contender in this category.
A router’s hardware, such as the processor’s speed, RAM, and storage, plays a significant role in its overall performance, especially when running custom firmware like Tomato.
The Linksys WRT1900ACS, with its powerful 1.6 GHz dual-core processor and 512MB of RAM, stands out in this regard.
Security should always be a top priority. Routers offering advanced security features, such as VPN support, parental controls, and guest network capabilities, are ideal.
The Asus RT-AC66U B1 comes with ASUS AiProtection, providing advanced security against online threats.
Range and coverage
For those with larger homes or multiple floors, a router offering extensive coverage is essential. Routers with multiple antennas and beamforming technology are ideal.
The NETGEARR7000P, with its Beamforming+ technology, ensures a wide-reaching and stable Wi-Fi signal.
Ease of setup and use
An intuitive interface is crucial, especially for those new to custom firmware. Routers that offer user-friendly dashboards and mobile apps for remote management are preferred.
The ASUS RT-AX88U is known for its user-friendly ASUSWRT interface, making setup and management a breeze.
Lastly, while it’s tempting to opt for high-end models, many mid-range routers offer excellent performance and support Tomato firmware. Determine your needs and find a router that offers the best value for your money.
For those on a budget, the Asus RT-AC66U B1 provides a balance between performance and affordability.
How to install Tomato firmware on your router
Installing Tomato on your router can seem daunting, but with the right steps, it’s a breeze. Here’s a simplified guide:
Check compatibility: Ensure your router model is compatible with Tomato firmware.
Create a backup: Always back up your current router settings. This allows you to revert if needed.
Download the firmware: Visit the official Tomato website and download the appropriate firmware for your router model.
Access router settings: Type your router’s IP address into your browser. It’s usually 192.168.1.1 or 192.168.0.1, but you can check the label on the back of your router.
Log in: Log in with your credentials. If you haven’t changed them, they’re also found at the router’s back.
Update your firmware: Navigate to the firmware update section and upload the Tomato firmware file.
Follow On-Screen Instructions: The router will guide you through the installation process. Once complete, your router will reboot with Tomato firmware installed.
Selecting the best router for Tomato firmware can truly boost your online experience. From enhanced security features to advanced customization options, Tomato offers numerous benefits.
Read my buyer’s guide, check out the in-depth reviews, and make a decision. There are no wrong choices here.
Wondering if you need a VPN for torrenting? This article will answer all your questions.
Torrenting is undeniably an efficient method for sharing and downloading files.
However, because it implies sharing your IP address and it’s often associated with copyright infringement, it’s natural to wonder if you need extra measures of safety.
Let’s delve into the intricacies of torrenting, the role of VPNs, and practical advice for safe torrenting.
Do I need a VPN for torrenting?
Yes, you need a VPN for torrenting. It will ensure anonymity and security. Torrenting exposes your IP, making you vulnerable to surveillance and cyber threats. A VPN hides online activity and hides your IP address.
It also helps avoid ISP throttling, which can slow down your internet speeds and allow access to geo-restricted content.
Here’s a quick overview on how VPN features can help you when torrenting:
Encryption: A VPN encrypts the data sent from your device, turning it into a code that can only be deciphered with the correct encryption key. This stops malicious torrent users as well as ISPs and other entities from knowing what you do online.
Hiding IP addresses: A VPN masks your real IP address, making it difficult for anyone to trace your internet activity back to you. In a torrent swarm, other users will only see the VPN server’s IP address, not yours.
Additional Layers of Security: Extra fetures like a no-logs policy, an emergency kill switch and safe browsing protection that stop access to known malicious sites can protect your privacy and prevent certain cyber attacks.
How about we go into greater detail on this?
Risks associated with torrenting
Let’s take a closer look at the main risks of torrenting and how the above-mentioned VPN features might help stop them or at least diminish their impact.
When you participate in a torrent swarm, your IP address becomes visible to all other peers. This exposure can lead to targeted cyber attacks or doxxing.
This makes it more difficult for copyright holders and authorities to track your torrenting activity. Not knowing who’s torrenting makes it impossible to enforce any legal action.
That said, it’s best you stray away from illegal torrenting altogether. Always check the description and the comments of the torrent files before you download them to make sure you stay within the limits of the law.
ISP throttling and bans
Some Internet Service Providers (ISPs) monitor P2P traffic and may throttle your internet speeds or ban your service for torrenting.
Comcast initially denied that they were specifically targeting BitTorrent traffic but later admitted to “delaying” peer-to-peer communications as a form of network management.
➡ A VPN encrypts your internet traffic, making it difficult for your ISP to discern the nature of your online activities and apply throttling measures.
Minimize the impact of cyber attacks
Don’t get me wrong. A VPN isn’t able to detect and block viruses, but it can in some ways secure your connection so if you get a virus, the impact won’t be as big.
Torrent files can be a breeding ground for malware phishing attacks, viruses, and other malicious software.
Not all torrent sites provide legal and regulated torrent files, so if you’re not playing safe, you may compromise your device, along with all personal data on it.
For instance, a poisoned BitTorrent client incident in 2018 led to a malware outbreak that attempted to infect 400,000 PCs, as reported by Tripwire.
➡️ While a VPN does not prevent malware per se, it can provide an added layer of security when combined with reputable antivirus software.
It can prevent accidental downloads from unsecured websites by allowing access to safer torrent sites that may not be available in your area. Furthermore, many VPNs do nowadays employ extra security features for safer browsing.
When you enable these, the VPN will stop you from accessing sites that were associated with viruses, phishing, or other forms of cyber threats in the past.
Using torrents can also pose a risk to network security, especially if you’re on a corporate or public network.
This can not only affect your device and data but can also be compromising for other people connected to the same network.
➡ If you accidentally download compromised software, a VPN’s encryption can act as a barrier.
It will make it more difficult for attackers to exploit vulnerabilities in your network and get ahold of private information or compromise devices.
That said, it can’t stop or remove the virus. For that, you’ll need a strong antivirus and potentially professional help.
How to stay safe when torrenting
⚠️ Disclaimer: We do not condone illegal torrenting, and using a VPN to engage in such activities is not encouraged.⚠️
To torrent safely and minimize risks, consider the following practical tips:
Use a reliable VPN
Now, using a VPN is essential, but not just about VPN will work. You’ll have to use a premium-level VPN with built-in privacy features.
This feature cuts down your internet connection if the VPN stops. Basically, it prevents you from downloading torrents when you’re not protected by the VPN.
This will therefore prevent data leaks in case of disconnections. Your IP address and torrenting activity remain completely confidential.
Furthermore, it’s essential to use a VPN that keeps no activity logs.
This essentially means that the service itself doesn’t know and cannot know what you do online. This will prevent them from sharing your data, even if legally bound, because there’s no data to begin with.
Lastly, good encryption algorithms are a must. The VPN you use should employ unbreakable options such as ChaCha 20 or AES-256 bit. These are practically indecipherable.
As much as I like free stuff, the sad truth is you won’t find a good torrenting VPN that’s free.
Free VPNs either don’t have enough data to support torrenting, log, and sell your data, or are simply very slow for any downloading to actually take place.
But if you want to save some bucks, you can get good deals if you subscribe for a longer period of tie.
These special VPNs come with a bunch of advantages. They’re super fast, and they don’t crash easily, so you can share files without any problems.
One important feature to look for in a VPN that claims to be P2P friendly is special servers that are set up just for sharing files.
Verify Torrent sources
Only download torrents from reputable sources.
Look for verified uploaders or sites with user ratings and feedback. If you notice any comments that say the file is malicious or infected, click away.
The tricky part about torrent sites is that many host both legal and illegal torrents.
Because many of these files operate by allowing users to share files without much intervention, some may share unsafe or unrightfully owned torrent files.
Some reputable torrent sites that you can trust include:
Internet Archive: The Internet Archive’s “Wayback Machine” includes a vast collection of public domain content, including books, music, movies, and more. You can find these items available for free download through their torrent service.
Public Domain Torrents: This site offers a collection of classic movies and videos that are in the public domain. You can download these movies legally and for free.
Legit Torrents: Legit Torrents hosts a collection of legally available software, games, music, and more. It’s a platform for open-source and freely distributable content.
Jamendo: Jamendo is a music platform that allows artists to share their music for free. You can legally download and share music from independent artists under Creative Commons licenses.
Linux Distros: Many Linux distributions, like Ubuntu, Debian, and Fedora, are distributed via torrents. Downloading these Linux distributions via torrents is not only legal but also often faster and more reliable.
Etree: Etree is a community-driven site focused on sharing live concert recordings, particularly from bands that allow fans to record their shows. It’s a legal resource for concert enthusiasts.
Project Gutenberg: Project Gutenberg offers a vast collection of free public-domain eBooks. You can download classic literature and other written works legally.
Bitlove: Bitlove is a platform for subscribing to podcasts through torrents. It allows you to legally download podcast episodes via BitTorrent.
Run antivirus scans
Always scan downloaded files with reliable antivirus software before opening them. If it finds something, make sure to remove any trace of the file from your computer as soon as possible.
For best security, enable real-time protection on your antivirus.
These days, most anti-malware and antivirus software have this feature. Even built-in tools like Windows Defender have it.
Be aware of the copyright laws in your country and stay updated on the legalities of the content you’re downloading.
As I mentioned, it cannot always be easy to tell which torrents are legal and which are not.
But, as a rule of thumb, if the source you’re getting your torrent from doesn’t disclose whether it’s legally distributed or is vague about this information, then they probably have no right to share that file.
How different countries approach illegal torrenting
Using a VPN when torrenting is generally a good idea wherever you are. However the risks may be higher if you live in countries with heavy regulations against copyrighted downloads.
The approach to illegal torrenting varies by country, with each jurisdiction enforcing its copyright laws and internet regulations differently:
United States: The U.S. has a “three-strikes” policy in place, and ISPs may be required to hand over the details of suspected infringers to copyright holders. Repeat infringers can face termination of their internet service.
European Union: Many EU countries have strict copyright laws, and users can face hefty fines. For instance, in Germany, users can receive “Abmahnungen,” legal notices that demand payment for copyright infringement.
United Kingdom: In the UK, the Digital Economy Act aims to combat copyright infringement. ISPs send out “educational” letters to users suspected of illegal downloading. While these letters do not demand payment or threaten legal action, they serve as a warning, and persistent infringement could lead to further measures.
India: Copyright infringement is a serious offense in India, and ISPs are required to have a due diligence framework to ensure compliance with copyright laws. Users found torrenting copyrighted material can face fines and imprisonment. However, enforcement varies across the country, and the use of VPNs is widespread.
Asia: Countries like Japan and South Korea have very stringent anti-piracy laws. Japan criminalizes illegal downloading, with penalties including fines and imprisonment. South Korea operates a “three-strikes” policy similar to that of the United States.
The use of VPNs in these countries can provide a layer of privacy and security for internet users.
However, it’s important to note that while a VPN can hide your IP address and encrypt your internet traffic, it does not make illegal activities legal.
Responsible use of torrenting technology, with a clear understanding of the laws in your country, is essential.
Do you need a VPN for torrenting? If you’re concerned about privacy, security, and the potential legal implications of torrenting, the answer is a resounding yes. A VPN can provide the necessary shield and peace of mind to enjoy the benefits of torrenting without the associated risks. However, it’s important to use this technology responsibly and to respect copyright laws. Remember, the goal is to stay safe and legal in the vast world of the internet.
When choosing a VPN for torrenting, look for one that supports secure protocols, has a no-logs policy, and offers high-speed connections. By taking these precautions and following the practical advice provided, you can ensure that your torrenting experience is both safe and enjoyable.
VPNs hide our online footprints, offering safety from the prying world. Still, can our ISPs ban us for seeking privacy?
Let’s find out!
Can ISPs Ban VPN Users?
Technically, ISPs have the capability to detect VPN traffic and might take action based on their policies or local regulations. However, outright banning a user solely for using a VPN is rare.
Legitimate uses: VPNs are essential tools for businesses, allowing employees to access company networks securely from remote locations. Banning VPNs would adversely affect these legitimate users.
Consumer backlash: With increasing awareness about online privacy, any move to ban VPNs could result in significant consumer backlash and potential loss of customers.
Legal implications: In many countries, the use of VPNs is entirely legal, and any move to ban them could result in legal challenges.
Why are Internet Providers Concerned About VPN Usage?
There are several reasons why an internet service provider (ISP) might be wary of VPN users:
Loss of data insight: Like social media, ISPs often track user data for various reasons, including selling it to advertisers. VPNs prevent them from accessing this data.
Bandwidth concerns: Some users employ VPNs to download or stream large amounts of content, which can strain the ISP’s network.
Legal and regulatory issues: In some regions, the use of VPNs is restricted or banned, and ISPs might be obligated to enforce these regulations.
How ISPs Block VPNs
Understanding how ISPs detect and block VPNs can be crucial for users who rely on these tools for privacy and security.
Here’s a breakdown of the common methods ISPs employ:
Port blocking: VPNs use specific ports to connect to the internet. ISPs can block these standard ports, preventing VPN traffic from passing through. For instance, the OpenVPN protocol typically uses port 1194. By blocking this port, ISPs can effectively disrupt OpenVPN connections.
Deep packet inspection (DPI): DPI is a more advanced method where the ISP examines the data packets sent through their network. By analyzing these packets, ISPs can determine if the traffic is coming from a VPN network and subsequently block or throttle it. DPI can differentiate between regular web traffic and VPN encrypted traffic, making it a potent tool for ISPs.
IP address blacklisting: ISPs maintain a list of known VPN server IP addresses. By blocking traffic to and from these IPs, they can prevent users from connecting to popular VPN services.
Traffic analysis: By monitoring the amount and frequency of data being transferred, ISPs can make educated guesses about VPN usage.
Blocking VPN websites: A more direct approach is to block access to VPN provider websites altogether. By doing so, users can’t sign up for the service or download the necessary software in the first place.
What to do if Your ISP Restricts VPN Usage
Finding out that your ISP is restricting your VPN usage can be frustrating, especially if you rely on it for privacy or to access certain content.
If you’re facing this issue, don’t worry. Here’s a step-by-step guide to help even the most novice users navigate this challenge:
1. Switch VPN Protocols
Step 1: Open your VPN application. This can usually be found in your computer’s system tray or on your mobile device’s home screen.
Step 2: Navigate to the settings or preferences section of the application.
Step 3: Look for an option labeled “Protocol” or something similar.
Step 4: You’ll likely see options like OpenVPN, L2TP, WireGuard, etc. Switch to a different protocol from the one you’re currently using.
Step 5: Reconnect your VPN and test to see if the connection is now stable.
2. Use a Different Port
Step 1: In your VPN application, head back to the settings or preferences section.
Step 2: Find an option that allows you to customize the port number.
Step 3: Change the port number. For instance, if you’re using OpenVPN, it typically uses port 1194. You can try changing it to 443, which is the standard port for HTTPS traffic and is less likely to be blocked.
Step 4: Save your changes and reconnect your VPN to test the new port.
3. Contact Your ISP
Step 1: Find the customer service number for your ISP. This can usually be found on your monthly bill or on their official website.
Step 2: Call the number and, when prompted, choose the option to speak with a customer service representative.
Step 3: Politely explain that you’re having trouble using your VPN and ask if there are any restrictions in place.
Step 4: Listen to their response. They might offer a solution, clarify their policy, or provide information on why the restriction is in place.
4. Consider Changing ISPs
Step 1: Research other ISPs available in your area. Look for providers known for being VPN-friendly.
Step 2: Read reviews and see if other customers have had issues with VPN restrictions.
Step 3: Once you’ve identified a potential new ISP, contact them to inquire about their policies on VPNs.
Step 4: If satisfied, proceed with the steps to switch providers. This may involve scheduling an installation appointment and terminating your contract with your current ISP.
While ISPs have the technical capability to detect and potentially restrict VPN usage, outright bans are rare.
VPNs offer numerous legitimate benefits, and any move to ban them would likely face significant challenges. If you’re experiencing issues with your VPN, consider the steps mentioned above to ensure a smooth and private online experience.
In my testing, Lightway averaged download speeds of 70 Mbps, making it excellent for smooth HD and 4K streaming.
However, the custom Lightway protocol is only available to ExpressVPN users.
IKEv2/IPSec (Internet Key Exchange version 2/Internet Protocol Security) offers high encryption and authentication and fast and stable performance.
It’s also compatible with most platforms and devices, as it can switch between networks without losing the connection.
This protocol is ideal for streaming on mobile devices, as it can handle network changes and interruptions without affecting the speed or quality of the stream.
In my testing, KEv2/IPSec gave an average download speedof 64 Mbps, which is good enough for streaming.
However, one drawback of IKEv2 is its exclusive use on port 500.
This can be exploited by streaming services, such as Netflix, Hulu, or BBC iPlayer, who have the option to block the port.
OpenVPN supports both the TCP and UDP transport protocols. This allows users to choose the one that best suits their needs.
For instance, UDP is typically faster and more suitable for streaming, while TCP is more reliable but may be slower.
Here are more details on each:
OpenVPN TCP (Transmission Control Protocol)
OpenVPN TCP differs from UDP in how it handles data transmission. It checks for errors and resends lost packets, which means it can ensure data integrity and reliability.
However, this also means it may be slower and less smooth than OpenVPN UDP.
OpenVPN TCP is ideal for situations where reliability is more important than speed, such as browsing sensitive websites.
But, it may not be the best choice for streaming, as it may cause buffering or lagging issues.
OpenVPN UDP (User Datagram Protocol)
OpenVPN UDP is one of the most widely used VPN protocols. It offers a high level of security and encryption, along with good speed and reliability.
It’s also compatible with most platforms, devices, and streaming services.
OpenVPN UDP is ideal for streaming because it prioritizes speed over reliability. Unlike the TCP version, it doesn’t check for errors or resend lost packets, which means it can deliver data faster and smoother.
However, this also means it may not work well on unstable or congested networks, where packets may get lost or corrupted.
How to choose the best protocol for streaming with a VPN
When selecting a VPN protocol for streaming, there are a few key factors to consider based on your specific needs and setup.
Here are some general tips:
Evaluate your internet speed: Faster connections can better handle protocols like WireGuard. Slower ones may need OpenVPN
Consider the level of security you want: Some protocols, such as OpenVPN UDP, prioritize speed over encryption.
Check device and platform compatibility: Some protocols work better on certain devices. For instance, newer protocols like WireGuard or IKEv2 may not support some older devices.
Research if your streaming services block protocols: WireGuard/NordLynx can usually avoid blocks, while IKEv2 may be prone to blocks.
See which protocols your VPN provider offers: Most don’t cover all protocols. And some options like Lightway and NordLynx, are only available on ExpresVPN and NordVPN, respectively.
Test different protocols to compare speeds: Connect to the same server to see which delivers the best results.
Check for reliability issues: Some protocols are more prone to packet losses.
Consider the cost: Some providers, like ExpressVPN and NordVPN, charge more than their competitors.
Streaming with a VPN can enhance your experience by allowing you to access more content from different regions.
However, not all VPN protocols are suitable for the job. While some may prioritize speed, others are more well-suited for privacy and security.
I’ve helped you evaluate the best VPN protocols for streaming—NordLynx, Lightway, and WireGuard came up as the top 3.
If you choose from any of them, I’m sure you’ll enjoy high-quality streaming without buffering or interruptions.
The Telegram app stopped working in the southern parts of Russia on October 30. The potential causes haven’t been resolved yet.
In fact, more and more users are reporting that the app isn’t working.
Telegram unresponsive in regions close to Dagestan
Residents of the southern regions of Russia are saying that Telegram has been unresponsive for two days now. Over 16,000 complaints have been registered yesterday alone.
Users have trouble accessing chats, sending and receiving messages, and loading photos and videos.
Most of the complaints come from the Krasnodar region (37%), Rostov region (15%), and Stavropol region (10%). However, the problem exists in other areas as well, including Moscow and St. Petersburg.
According to some reports, the malfunction may be connected with the recent events in Makhachkala. Over 60 people have been arrested after storming the city airport and protesting following an arrival from Tel Aviv on October 30.
There are also rumors that the authorities jammed communications during the riots to make it difficult for protestors to coordinate.
Cybersecurity expert, Alexey Kurochkin, said that he believes Telegram doesn’t have anything to do with the failure. This is evidenced by the fact that the app still operates normally in other territories.
Experts have assured users that their data will remain safe even while the app is down. They believe this to be the case as Telegram uses double encryption and other strong security systems.
Telecommunications companies Tele2, VimpelCom, and MegaFon have all confirmed that the unavailability of the app isn’t related to the operations of their networks.
The State Duma said that the failure of Telegram in the southern territories isn’t connected to a Roskomnadzor blocking unless a court decision was made, which hasn’t been confirmed.
Deputy head of the State Duma Committee on Information Policy, Oleg Matveychev, stated that Roskomnadzor operates only according to the law. He said that if the authorities haven’t given any orders to the court, this may indeed be a Telegram failure.
However, with the responses from officials being rather vague, many Russians still believe that the government has blocked/disrupted Telegram in regions close to Dagestan.
Some comments hint at using the app’s web version in combination with a VPN as the most likely way to access the platform at the moment.
It’s also important to keep in mind that only some VPNs would be able to get around this problem.
Oleg Matveychev stated that Roskomnadzor now has a list of VPNs that are ready to comply with the country’s laws. He said these providers are willing to restrict access to the content the authorities want to block.
However, the list of these VPNs hasn’t been made public.
Following the Makhachkala airport incident, the State Duma deputy from Dagestan, Sultan Khamzaev, asked to prohibit VPNs that allow access to resources the government blocks.
Telegram has continuously grown in Russia, especially after other social networks left the country following the war with Ukraine. As of 2023, it has over 48.8 million daily users, which translates to about 40% of the country’s population.
Companies also started implementing it in their operations and families use it to stay in touch. Some Russians even work in commercial Telegram chats.
Therefore, it’s no surprise that so many questions have arisen about why the app isn’t working.
The last time something like this happened was on August 21, when the app was unavailable for about an hour.
Can a hotel see what you’re browsing in incognito mode? That’s quite a nagging question, especially if you’re privacy-minded, and even more so, if you’re tired from a long trip.
Luckily, we’re here to give you an answer. And even better – ways to browse safely on any network.
Ready? Let’s get into it:
Can hotels see what you are browsing in incognito mode?
Technically, hotels can monitor the traffic on their Wi-Fi network. What’s more, incognito mode only prevents your device from saving your browsing history.
As a result, it doesn’t shield your online activity from the network you’re on.
But in that case:
What does incognito mode do?
Incognito mode offers a layer of privacy by not storing search history, cookies, and site data on your device.
It can be quite handy if you’re buying someone a gift and you don’t want them stumbling on that gift shop site in your browsing history. But when it comes to actual online security, it doesn’t deliver.
That’s because third parties, like hotels, ISPs, and snoopers can still see your IP address, the websites you visit, your location, and a lot more.
With that being said:
What can hotel Wi-Fi see?
When you’re connected to hotel Wi-Fi, the hotel can:
Identify connected devices
Measure data usage
Track the websites visited
However, they can’t see the content of encrypted sites, which are those that start with “https://”.
But if you think that’s good news, think again. Since a hotel’s Wi-Fi is essentially a public network, there’s more to be cautious about:
Fake Wi-Fi networks: Hackers can set up devices to imitate a legitimate hotel Wi-Fi network. If you connect to this fake network, they can intercept your data.
Logged data: Hotels log internet usage on their systems. They might not see your exact searches, but they can see the domains you visited, plus the duration and the time of the session.
Access by others: Not just the hotel network admin, but potentially others can access these logs or even your devices. Hotel Wi-Fi security measures can sometimes be lax, making it easier for breaches.
Luckily, there are ways to browse anonymously and safely even on the most unsecured networks:
How to browse safely on hotel Wi-Fi
Here are some handy tips that’ll help you safely use your hotel’s Wi-Fi:
Bandwidth Management: To ensure all guests have adequate bandwidth.
Marketing: To gather data on guest browsing habits for marketing purposes.
What are the risks of using hotel Wi-Fi?
There are several potential threats. These include packet sniffing (intercepting and analyzing network traffic), DNS spoofing (redirecting internet traffic to fake websites), and man-in-the-middle attacks (intercepting communication between two parties).
Is it safe to use credit cards on hotel Wi-Fi?
It’s risky. Cybercriminals can use techniques like man-in-the-middle attacks to intercept your credit card information. It’s recommended not to use credit cards on public Wi-Fi without protective measures like VPNs.