AFP: US funds software for Russians to slip past censors

AFP: US funds software for Russians to slip past censors. “Russia has intensified its restrictions on independent media since attacking its neighbor in February, with journalists under threat of prosecution for criticizing the invasion or for even referring to it as a war. The US government-backed Open Technology Fund is paying out money to a handful of American firms providing virtual private networks (VPNs) free of charge to millions of Russians, who can then use them to visit websites blocked by censors.”

Top10VPN: Russian VPN Spending Since the Invasion of Ukraine

Top10VPN: Russian VPN Spending Since the Invasion of Ukraine . “The Russian Federal Treasury has published over 200 official procurement documents for VPN technology with a combined value of almost $10 million since the invasion of Ukraine. The documents reveal state officials’ need to circumvent their own government’s censorship of the internet in Russia.”

Washington Post: How millions of Russians are tearing holes in the Digital Iron Curtain

Washington Post: How millions of Russians are tearing holes in the Digital Iron Curtain. “Daily downloads in Russia of the 10 most popular VPNs jumped from below 15,000 just before the war to as many as 475,000 in March. As of this week, downloads were continuing at a rate of nearly 300,000 a day, according to data compiled for the Washington Post by the analytics firm Apptopia, which relies on information from apps, publicly available data and an algorithm to come up with estimates.”

‘Largest real-time surveillance system in existence’: Class-action suit details Facebook’s scope of snooping on users (Daily Dot)

Daily Dot: ‘Largest real-time surveillance system in existence’: Class-action suit details Facebook’s scope of snooping on users. “New court documents released Wednesday in an antitrust lawsuit show the extent of data mining done by Facebook-owned VPN Onavo—and the company’s knowledge of its capabilities. Onavo was founded in 2010 by Guy Rosen and Roi Tiger and sold to Facebook in 2013. Guy Rosen currently serves as Meta’s (formerly Facebook’s) Head of Integrity.”

Independent: Russian VPN use has increased 1,000% as citizens bypass Putin’s censorship

Independent: Russian VPN use has increased 1,000% as citizens bypass Putin’s censorship. “Russian remand for VPNs has increased over 1,000 per cent in the past month, as citizens look to get information from outside of the country in the face of external sanctions and internal censorship. The Kremlin has been blocking external news organisations such as the BBC, as well as social media sites like Facebook and Twitter; meanwhile, companies like Apple, Microsoft, Sony, Google, and more have been pulling services from Russia and Belarus.”

PC Magazine: Google Brings Its VPN to iOS Devices

PC Magazine: Google Brings Its VPN to iOS Devices. “Google’s virtual private network (VPN) service is now available on iOS devices. The descriptively named VPN by Google One, which was exclusive to Android smartphones when it debuted in October 2020, is now available to Apple smartphone owners who pay for at least 2TB of storage via the cloud backup service, the company says.”

Techdirt: The VPN Is On Everybody’s Shitlist After Years Of Scammy Providers And Empty Promises

Techdirt: The VPN Is On Everybody’s Shitlist After Years Of Scammy Providers And Empty Promises . “As privacy scandals and hacks grew over the last decade, VPNs quickly emerged as a sort of mystical panacea, that could protect you from all harm on the internet. Of course, this resulted in a flood of VPN competitors who were outright scams, made misleading statements about what data is collected, or failed to protect consumer data. The end result is a new trend in the press where about once a month we get a new story informing you that you probably don’t actually need a VPN.” Gack, I can’t imagine connecting to public or even semi-public networks (hotel WiFi) without using a VPN.

VentureBeat: 3 SSL VPN vulnerabilities disclosed in 2019 are still routinely exploited

VentureBeat: 3 SSL VPN vulnerabilities disclosed in 2019 are still routinely exploited. “Vulnerabilities in SSL VPN products are some of the most exploited by attackers for initial access to target networks, acting as a doorway for exploitation. Earlier this year, Tenable Research named three VPN vulnerabilities as part of its Top Five Vulnerabilities of 2020. Although all three vulnerabilities (CVE-2019-19781, CVE-2019-11510, CVE-2018-13379) were disclosed in 2019 and patched by January 2020, they continue to be routinely exploited more than halfway through 2021.”

The Markup: How Private Is My VPN?

The Markup: How Private Is My VPN?. “To get a sense of exactly what sorts of information VPNs are grabbing, The Markup examined the privacy policies of 14 popular VPN companies. We also ran their websites through Blacklight, our tool for detecting third-party trackers. And we searched through our Citizen Browser data for VPN Facebook advertisements to see not only how VPNs are marketing themselves on Facebook but also how they’re making use of that platform’s personal-data-driven advertising machine.”

Celebrating Mozilla VPN: How we’re keeping your data safe for you (Mozilla Blog)

Mozilla Blog: Celebrating Mozilla VPN: How we’re keeping your data safe for you. “Developed by Mozilla, a mission-driven company with a 20-year track record of fighting for online privacy and a healthier internet, we are committed to innovate and bring new features to the Mozilla VPN through feedback from our community. This year, the team has been working on additional security and customization features which will soon be available to our users.”

The Register: Seven ‘no log’ VPN providers accused of leaking – yup, you guessed it – 1.2TB of user logs onto the internet

The Register: Seven ‘no log’ VPN providers accused of leaking – yup, you guessed it – 1.2TB of user logs onto the internet. “A string of ‘zero logging’ VPN providers have some explaining to do after more than a terabyte of user logs were found on their servers unprotected and facing the public internet. This data, we are told, included in at least some cases clear-text passwords, personal information, and lists of websites visited, all for anyone to stumble upon.”

PC World: Mozilla’s paid, unlimited VPN service goes live

PC World: Mozilla’s paid, unlimited VPN service goes live. “Last year, Mozilla began testing the FIrefox Private Network, in its Test Pilot beta network. Today, Mozilla makes it official: the renamed Mozilla VPN is now available for Windows, for $4.99 per month. It rolls out in the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom, Singapore, Malaysia, and New Zealand today, with plans to expand to other countries this fall.”

BetaNews: Firefox Private Network VPN renamed to Mozilla VPN and priced at $5 per month

BetaNews: Firefox Private Network VPN renamed to Mozilla VPN and priced at $5 per month. “Mozilla is a company that I trust more than some others (I trust no person or company 100 percent, however!) thanks to its respectable data privacy principles. That is why I surf the web with Firefox whenever I can. That company has been beta-testing a VPN service of its own called ‘Firefox Private Network VPN’. Yeah, that name stinks as it is too wordy. Thankfully, the company has wisely decided to rename it to the much cleaner ‘Mozilla VPN.’ In addition, we learn how much the VPN service will eventually cost — $4.99 a month.”