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Privacy and security | UR Browser

Category: Security (page 1 of 2)

Small team, great achievements and even bigger ambitions for 2019!

privacy browser vpn

2018: Guerrilla Anti-Tracking and Embedded Virtual Private Network Shielding

We are still a start-up and even though we are a small team, and do not always get to address all your messages and needs, they do concern us and we do listen to them! Thank you for that!

We are sharing all of them with our product team who is prioritizing each of those along with our planned features and improvements, so that they will be eventually addressed.

For the past year, we had to reduce the communication efforts in favor of focusing more on the product and achieving some major milestones:

  1. Improve stability and security with UR 61 release, (do we want to link to an old version in this post vs. just having a reference to it in plain text?) adding anti-fingerprinting capabilities and improving the HTTPs enforcing;
  2. Introduce a unique feature in the browser: a full VPN client with UR 62, not only to protect the browser traffic but all your device’s traffic;

We will not talk about the first one as we already have on the blog and it’s already too old, we are already working to bring UR to Chromium 71.

We do want to share with you more about the latest VPN feature and why we considered it such an import part of the puzzle.

Why does a browser need a VPN?

For those of you who are not aware of what a VPN is and why you should use one here is a short intro.

By its’ meaning a Virtual Private Network is an internet security service that allows users to access the Internet as though they were connected to a private network. This encrypts the Internet communications as well as providing a strong degree of anonymity. Some of the most common reasons people use VPNs are for location anonymity, the right to online privacy, to protect against snooping on public Internet connections, to circumvent Internet censorship, or to connect to a business’s internal network for remote work purposes.

Generally, when users create an Internet connection to visit a website or to access an online service, most Internet traffic is unencrypted and very public. The device that initiates the request through a browser or another app, will connect to their Internet Service Provider (ISP), and then the ISP will connect to the Internet to find the appropriate web server to fetch the request website or service. Information is exposed with every step of the Internet request. The IP address is exposed throughout the process, the ISP and any other intermediary can keep logs of the user’s browsing habits and interests. Moreover, the data flow between the user’s devices and the webservers is unencrypted, which creates opportunities for malicious actors to spy on the data or perpetrate attacks on the user, such as a man-in-the-middle attack.

When using a trusted VPN service to connect to the Internet, users gain a higher level of security and privacy by:

  • The VPN client connects to the ISP by creating an encrypted connection
  • The ISP connects the VPN client to the VPN server, maintaining the encrypted connection
  • The VPN server decrypts the received data from the user’s device and then connects to the Internet to access the web server in an unencrypted communication, exposing only the IP address of the VPN server and masking users’ IP

How VPN works. What is a VPN.

This is known as a ‘VPN tunnel’ the encrypted connection between the VPN Client and VPN server passes through the ISP, blocking the ISP and/or malicious actors from seeing a user’s activity.

 

Beware, VPN and Proxy extensions are not enough!

In the past UR explored, as did other competitors, the so-called ‘VPN extensions’ or ‘proxy-extensions.’ They offered a similar service as a VPN but with a few important drawbacks like: not fully encrypted communications and solely browser request protection, excluding by its tech limitations the requests issued by any other apps running on the device.  A potential negative effect of this lack of coverage could be – the location was masked while surfing websites w

ith UR, yet other local apps/services would expose user’s location when communicating with their servers on the Internet. To avoid such scenarios users would have had to subscribe in addition, to other VPN services, requiring the installation of an additional software: a VPN client.

We stopped that type of service a while ago when such weaknesses surfaced.  However, many players in the space continue to proposes ‘proxy-like’ features advertised as VPNs, while not offering true VPN protection.

Leveraging open-source, with the power of Open VPN and a great partnership (don’t want to promote another solution and took out the links), we have built a powerful and multi-faceted privacy took that combines the utility of a browser with the protection of a VPN.

In addition to standard private browsing features, UR Browser now offers the same level of protection as other stand-alone VPN clients. And as usual, we’ve made it extremely simple to use so that not only tech savvy users can benefit from it.

If this solution is appealing to you, check it out now ! (currently available only for Windows)

2019: Let the real privacy battle begin!

Still in beta but improving rapidly, here are some key updates you can expect from UR in 2019:

  • The latest Chromium patches (on Windows, and as soon as possible on Mac too)
  • Upgraded privacy and anti-tracking features
  • An improved browser anti-fingerprinting technology (more on browser anti-fingerprinting here)
  • A bunch of under-the-hood and functional fixes (for example online streaming services and translations services had been disabled due to privacy concerns, now will become optional)
  • A VPN build for Mac
  • New features like secure account synchronization, improved bookmarks and offline web content management
  • Integrated private Search engine

We are considering opening our source code too while mobile and Linux versions are in planning as well, and should go into development later this year.

These are some of our resolutions for 2019, wish us good luck to achieve the most!

 

 

28 fake advertising agencies causing forced redirections!

28 fake ad agencies

Scams of all kinds multiply on the web, from now classic Viagra to Windows pop up inviting you to clean your PC urgently. The organization of the culprits is gets increasingly sophisticated. Continue reading

Your computer is infected ! Call Microsoft.

If you frequently use Chrome on your Windows PC, you may have already seen a page during a surfing session telling you that your computer was infected, that your browser was blocked, and that in desperation there was only one thing left for you to do: Call Microsoft! Continue reading

Sharing everything carries
unsuspected risks…

Mark Zuckerberg has often said: his ultimate vision is to connect all the inhabitants of the Blue planet (and perhaps beyond) into a culture of integral sharing. Continue reading

Spectre allows the execution of malicious scripts via your browser!

meltdown spectre malicious scripts browser

You’ve probably heard of two vulnerabilities recently revealed by a 22-year-old German researcher, a member of Google’s Project Zero team, Jann Horn: Meltdown and Spectre. Continue reading

A new warning against
malicious browser extensions.

malicious-extensions-chrome

Today, Google Chrome holds nearly 60% market share in the world of browsers (followed by FireFox and Internet Explorer, both oscillating at around 13%). A dynamic ecosystem has developed around this market leader. Continue reading

If your computer is slower than usual, it may be the fault of your browser …

If you constantly use your internet browser (especially Chrome), you will probably notice that the more tabs you open, the slower your machine gets. Each open tab consumes resources from your processor.
There are ways to pause unused tabs, such as The Great Suspender, but these are extensions that can cause other issues, even at the security level. Continue reading

Browsers are two-way windows.

browsers are open windows

For most of us, web browsers are an open window to the endless twists and turns of the internet. But these two-way dormers also allow the outside world to intrude, at times, sneakily into our privacy, record our every move on the web so as to understand our aspirations and influence our behaviour, not to talk of simply infecting our machines, by pure desire to harm or to sell us a cleaning solution. Continue reading

Using your browser to save your passwords? Be careful, you could be tracked …

password could be cracked browser

Remembering different passwords for the wide range of sites we visit daily is a real challenge. How many times did you not have to press the “forgotten password” link to generate a new one? Some services have noticed the aberration of the classic password and offer to authenticate via a code received by SMS or a push notification in a dedicated app. This saves you from constantly having to go back through email. This is the most secure technique, which is also found in the double-authentication process. Continue reading

‘WannaCry’ Wakeup Call For Online Security

 

Ransomware - paying for access to files

A massive cyber attack struck the globe last Friday, affecting 150 countries and over 250,000 computers including those of major government organizations and corporate operations. This ransomware dubbed ‘WannaCry’ is fearsome because once it is activated on a device, it encrypts all the files so that they are inaccessible. At that point, it instructs the computer owner to pay a ransom in Bitcoin in exchange for unlocking their files. 

So what can you do to make sure you’re protected against this vicious ransomware?

  • Be a conscious clicker: an email or some other form of message can contain infectious attachments and links that can spread malware onto your device.You can simply hover your cursor over email links to reveal the URL’s destination. If you are not sure, do a search on the sender to find out more and stay on alert.
  • Don’t be forgetful about updates: immediately install updates to your operating system and to all your software as they become available. Such updates for your device’s system are designed to fix vulnerabilities which ransomware can target. 
  • Backing up your files is key: ransomware works with a hacker first encrypting your hard drive, which makes your computer still operable, but the catch is that you can’t access any of your files. If you already have your important files backed up on an external drive, you would not have to pay a hacker to decrypt them if you get attacked.
  • Remain aware on social media: social media is all about connecting and sharing with others. Therefore, it is essential to remain in a security headspace to avoid clicking on infectious downloads when on Facebook, Instagram, or even Snapchat.
  • Always stay official: remember to only download apps from official application stores. This will reduce the probability of downloading a pirated versions of apps that contain infectious malware.

All in all, staying vigilant on the web is the most crucial wisdom. Hackers around the globe are always looking for new ways to make trouble in return for their almighty dollar, so don’t make their lives easy.  Always think twice before clicking and make sure you are using updated versions on your system. If your device becomes affected, get in touch with Europol for assistance in your native language.

Sources

Fortune, http://fortune.com/2017/05/14/ransomware-wannacry-faq/

Owl Detect, https://www.owldetect.com/uk/stay-safe-online/archive/nhs-cyber-attack-what-steps-have-you-taken/

ABC News, http://abcnews.go.com/US/simple-things-protect-ransomware-attacks/story?id=47410339

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