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Sneaky Sneaky!

Doing a mighty sneak.
source 

Sneaky Threats to Your Privacy

You know that we here at FoxyProxy love privacy.  It’s kind of what we do and it has been our core value since 2006.

We also know that a lot of you go through your daily lives doing things like working, cooking, family stuff, and generally living, and so you may not have a minute to think about all the things that might be putting your privacy at risk.

That’s where this handy post comes in!

We’re going to outline some privacy threats that you may not have even thought about, so that you can have even more tools at your disposal.

Hidden cameras. We shared this story about an AirBnB which was found to have an undisclosed camera tucked away. Luckily, the family found it by doing a quick scan for wifi devices. While the company does allow cameras if they are disclosed, it’s smart to always check to see if there is a device hidden somewhere to look in on you.

Another option would be a wifi jammer such as this one  which easy to use and, as a bonus, means you can act out your own Cyberpunk fantasy and yell “I’M JAMMING THE SIGNAL!”

You know you thought of this.

 

Public Wifi.  Sure, free public wifi sounds great. And it’s something a lot of us probably don’t give much thought to as we stand in line, drink our coffee, or go about our days in the public realm. But! We often don’t think of the risks that come along with it.  Here’s a great article which lays out some of the things you can do to keep yourself more secure.  What’s one of those steps? Using a VPN of course. 

 

Data Tracking.  It’s no secret that when you hop onto a browser, most of what you do is being logged somewhere. There are some pretty easy steps to take to limit this insidious tracking, however. The big browsers do have various settings that you can manipulate to limit what gets tracked. However, as we just shared with you, that’s not anywhere near perfect. Browser extensions are available which block various ads, trackers, and cookies and are easy to use.  Or, if you’re willing to try something new, you could migrate your usage over to the one of the privacy focused browsers such as Brave or even go all out and use the Tor browser.

Lots of choices are emerging in the browser market, so keep an eye on new developments as the big guys try to win back the hearts of the privacy-minded.

 

 

The Internet of Things.   This should go without saying. And yet, here we are. 

Have Some Privacy for The Holidays

 

EFF YEAH, PRIVACY!

With the various winter holidays come lots of gifts, and with lots of gifts come lots of privacy concerns. Have no fear, though! There are ways to shore up your defenses, so to speak.

We tried to find a picture of a fox in a tank. You know, defensive. We’re rolling with it.

Our Pals at Mozilla have issued their second annual *privacy not included guide to the season’s more popular tech-centric gifts, with categories such as ‘Can it spy on me?’ and ‘Can I control it?’ to help folks figure out the privacy particulars of their devices.

First course of action when you get a fancy pants new tech toy is to pay attention to all those permissions it’s going to ask you the fist time you fire it up. Are you really going to be using that new thing for phone call? If the answer is ‘No, literally no one actually calls anyone anymore’ then don’t say yes if it asks for access to your contacts. Take those permission requests one at a time and actually think about if it’s necessary.

Settings, settings, settings  After your thing is all set up and dazzling you with its bells and whistles, take the time to do a deep dive through the settings. Default settings will be skewed to the manufacturer’s preference, not yours. Do a bit of Googling and figure what you can change, and how.

Happy Holidays, and if all else fails just take the batteries out and use your device as an expensive paperweight.

YES YOU WANT 50% OFF!

WE LOVE YOU GUYS

Really and truly!  That’s why we’re giving you a chance to get 50% off any of our plans, now through Saturday the 24 at Midnight. 

Just use the code : black-friday-2018 and you’ll get 50% off. 

50%! If you’ve been trying to decide on trying us out, or if you’re an existing customer who wants to expand your plan, now’s your time. 

See? Easy peasy. Now go get internetting!

 

 

Get To Know The World

96 countries

That’s how many countries around the world we currently offer VPN/Proxy service for. Chances are, there are at least a few on the list that you don’t know much about, so we’re taking the opportunity to highlight a couple of them below.

We’ve been doing this for 12 years!   In Internet years, that’s quite a lot. We’re practically elder statesmen. Twelve years in the business means we know what we’re doing, and our customer support reflects that.

We are committed to giving you the best service, the most reliable product, and respecting your privacy first and foremost. We don’t store or track your data, log which sites you visit, none of it!

We have core values that are important to us. 

We advocate for privacy, free speech, free press, government transparency, sensible copyright and sensible DRM. We’re members of the Electronic Frontier FoundationCenter for Democracy and TechnologyFreePressStop Watching Us, and the Mozilla Foundation.

We donate money and resources to non-profit organizations that are aligned with our principles, like the Center for Biological Diversity, who help endangered fox species, the Tor Project, so you can see we put our money where our mouth is.

 

So, do a little reading, go down some travel rabbit holes, and learn a bit about where some of your fellow humans come from.

GHANA

Ghana is a nation on the Western African coast with centuries of history full of powerful kingdoms and rich artistry. Today, Ghana is known for friendly people, beautiful palm lined beaches, astounding natural scenery and wildlife, and a robust economy which includes a good amount of digital tech manufacturing which fuels bustling cities.

Ghana is home to a diverse population which speaks over 40 languages, with most people speaking several of them. I can only speak English, and barely, at that.

Oh, and insanely fashionable people. I mean, just look at these ladies. You can’t compete.

You have been slain by the fierceness coming through your screen

 

JORDAN

Jordan is an ancient land  steeped in history . We all know what the famous Treasury of Petra looks like  (It’s where Indiana Jones found The Holy Grail. I was as disappointed as you to find out there’s no secret cave and ancient Templar inside) but it’s so much more than that. Famously hospitable people, amazing food, and luxurious resorts pair with 20,000 years of human history.  20,000 years. That’s hard to comprehend.

Jordan also has The Dead Sea,  where you can happily float around in one of the world’s saltiest bodies of water surrounded by gorgeous scenery.

Sign us all the way up.

 

 

And Now a Moment of Delight

Enjoy a nice thing today

 

Good Morning!

Pretty much all commerce these days is digital, isn’t it?  It makes things move faster, sure, but sometimes it’s nice to be reminded that there’s a human (we assume) behind the transaction.

Case in point, this delightful note we got with an enclosed check paying for our service.  Posted with permission, of course!

 

It reads:

“Thank you for your past services. I love your services and help.

PS enclosed is a check for two more years of service.’

Thanks, this genuinely made us smile.

 

And in other news!

We’ve ordered some t-shirts with our very own fabulous fox on them, and they’ll be arriving very soon for future giveaways and other fun stuff. Interested? WATCH THIS SPACE for more details!

FoxyProxy Employees Endangered in China

 

 

TL;DR As of August 15, 2018, we sell only proxy services in China, not VPN. Available services are HTTP/HTTPS proxy servers, SSL proxy servers, and SOCKS5. This goes against our core values of uncensoring the internet, but two of our employees are at risk.

Normally in a blog post, we come at you with a little snark and a bit of humor. That’s not going to happen this time around, because the topic deserves a serious tone.

A Statement from FoxyProxy on Censorship

Internet censorship is something that many people are aware of, but haven’t directly experienced for themselves. For some, it’s limited to the annoyance of geo-location blocks keeping them from watching their favorite foreign shows or keeping up with sports teams back home.

However, censorship goes so much further than that, and has real world consequences for many.

A year ago, in August 2017, China announced a ban on VPN companies selling VPN service. Enforcement was to begin in February 2018. At FoxyProxy, we weren’t immediately affected, even though others were arrested and even sentenced to 9 months in prison:  it seemed like enforcement would focus on Chinese developers of VPN mobile apps intended for the domestic Chinese market.

Earlier this week, one of our vendors had their office raided by the Cyberspace Administration of China (CAC) after the CAC detected VPN services on servers hosted by that vendor.

The office was raided, the servers were taken, business shuttered, and the owners are being interrogated and charged.

One of our employees is a Chinese national living in America who, along with another employee, makes yearly trips to visit family back home. A recent trip included a visit to the office of the now defunct vendor, where tea and hospitality was enjoyed.

Our employees are now wondering – will they be able to visit home again? Will they be detained or questioned by Chinese immigation? Will their family be harassed by authorities? These are all very real questions being faced.

We must do everything to protect our employees, even when it goes against our core mission to provide uncensored internet across the globe.

We have other vendors in China. We received a notice from one of them yesterday, warning us to disable VPN services on our servers. It’s unclear why this vendor was not harassed to same extent by the CAC.

In any case, we have decided to discontinue VPN services in China at this time, as the risks are too great to real life people involved. Hopefully this is just a temporary setback, and if things go well we will be able to provide VPN service again. Proxy services in China are unaffected. As usual, we will continue to offer HTTP/HTTPS proxy servers, SSL proxy servers, and SOCKS5 proxy service in China. Such service is not illegal in China.

We are offering pro-rated refunds or credit to anyone with FoxyProxy VPN service in China who does not want to use proxy services. Thank you for understanding – please wish luck to our Chinese American employees and the affected vendor.

New Servers, Oh Yes Indeed

This handsome little guy is a Corsac Fox, found in Central Asia

We Can Do That For You

Something you may not know about us is that we love filling custom orders. If the country you need isn’t listed among the 96 we currently offer,  let us know and we’re going to do our best to get a server there for you!

Recently, we added three new countries to our list, all from client requests.  We’ve been in business for 12 years (that equals about 35 years in ‘Tech company years’) because we pride ourselves on delivering what our customers need.

Do you have a special request? Get in touch!

Check out our newest server locations below! 

KYRGYZSTAN

Seriously, just look at this place

Kyrgyzstan is home to astounding natural beauty, millennia of history,  and legendarily hospitable people.

RÉUNION

The prettiest island you probably never heard of

Réunion is a French owned island to the east of Madagascar. Full of volcanic mountains and a rainforested interior, this little paradise is perfect for a getaway.

 

KAZAKHSTAN

Not a still from Blade Runner

Ninth largest country in the world, Kazakhstan is full of gleaming modern cities, and beautiful open wildernesses.

Ready to book your trip yet? 

 

Yes, You’re Being Listened To and Recorded.

YES, THEY ARE LISTENING

It’s no secret that smart home devices and personal assistants such as Alexa and Google Home record your voice when you give them commands.  They do this for practical reasons, and it’s part of how they work so well.

While a lot of people just sort of accept that your web usage is being tracked, mined, and recorded (Unless you take steps to circumvent that) some folks are understandably weirded out by the idea of your voice recordings being stored somewhere.

Apple users have less to worry about, as the questions they ask Siri aren’t accessible. They are logged differently, using a string of random numbers instead of a user name, or other identifiable data, and Apple erases the connection between those queries and the numerical codes after six months.

WANT TO BE EMBARRASSED? 

Everything you have asked a Google powered assistant can be accessed and listened to by you. This includes the home assistant, as well as on your phone or laptop.  Just head on over to https://myactivity.google.com/ while logged into your Google account and you can hear all those things you asked it when you needed an answer right away.

Yes, you really do sound like that. Weird, isn’t it?

Alexa users can find a list of all their questions by going into Settings > History in the Alexa app. If you use more than one Alexa device, each one will have its own listenable recordings.

SO YOU WANT TO CLEAR YOUR HISTORY?

Have no fear, Dear Readers. The wonderful nerds over at Popular Science have compiled a series of how-to guides on how to go about doing just that.

The Wired Magazine article linked above also has some handy hints on how to stop them from recording you at all, though doing so on a long term basis will turn a smart speaker into essentially a pricey paperweight.

Well there you have it, Dear Readers, a little bit of control over the data that flows into all the things that make your life convenient!

Sneaky Like A Fox

 

Concerns about online privacy are nothing new. From tracking cookies and invasive ads, to spyware and data mining, your information and browsing habits are a juicy prize sought after by more than just marketing companies.

But how do you keep prying eyes off of your data? Well, there are a lot of simple steps you can take.

VPN USAGE

First up, get yourself a good VPN service. May we suggest our own? Not to toot our own horn (toot toot) but we’re pretty great at offering you top notch VPN service, and we’ve been doing it for over 10 years.

More and more people are realizing that VPN service is a strong step towards privacy. The many-tentacled and omnipresent Social Media behemoth more commonly known as Facebook has been pushing its own VPN service, Onavo. Unsurprisingly, it’s bad.

Stick with the folks whose main purpose is privacy, rather than a nebulous beast which feeds itself on your private data, daily growing more all-seeing. Your best interests are not in mind there.

 

BROWSER ADD ONS

Browser add ons and extensions can be a really easy and effective way to take steps towards privacy. Invasive ads, tracking cookies, and unsecure websites can be a giant pain to anyone hopping onto the ol’ Information Highway.

Surf the web with all the confidence of Brent

Below are some great ones for you to check out!

  • PRIVACY BADGER 
    Privacy Badger is a great, simple to use  anti-tracking web browser extension which our friends over at Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) launched. It blocks tracking cookies and spying eyes while browsing.  Privacy badger  also builds a blocklist and watches the bad behavior, and block certain sites, activities, and cookies.It is pretty light weight, and has a simple green/red/yellow system so you can control what gets blocked.
  • HTTPS EVERYWHERE
    This add-on is a joint venture project of Tor browser and EFF. It rewrites the requests and directs you to secure sites with HTTPS. When the extension gets installed it establishes a connection to SSL and locates the most secure versions of the websites you visit. With a pedigree like Tor and EFF, it’s a great and easy step to ramp up your privacy while browsing.
  • UBLOCK ORIGIN
    uBlock Origin is great because it gives you  easy to use overall control, letting you decide what to block or allow.  If you’re more comfortable doing more in-depth controls, it also lets you deep dive into specifics regarding blocking and allowing.

 

STORING YOUR INFO

If you’ve ever done any sort of shopping online or filling out of forms, you’re familiar with the ‘HEY DO YOU WANT US TO STORE YOUR INFO?? EH?? IT’LL MAKE IT EASIER NEXT TIME, WE PROMISE!’ routine.  No doubt you also get asked about saving your passwords. (Full disclosure: your blogess here saves hers. Just can’t remember them otherwise, and I just never think to do a password locker thing.)

There are pros and cons here, honestly. It really can make things a lot easier if you frequently need fields filled in, or make a lot of regular purchases online.

However, since all browsers now synchronize this info to the cloud (so that, when you are using multiple devices, the CC info and passwords you store on one device is accessible on the other devices) — are they storing it securely? It’s undoubtedly a huge attractions for hackers, so what happens if that info is revealed? Is it sufficiently encrypted such that even quantum computers or computers can’t decrypt it with a lot of time and energy?

If you do choose to store your credit card and password info, make sure that you lock your devices when stepping away. Doing so will help make sure that if someone snags your device, they won’t have instant access to not only your 1528 embarrassing selfie attempts, but all that important password info.

Just do us a favor – DO NOT USE fingerprint unlocking on your phone or other device–that is not protected; a judge can compel you to unlock your device using your fingerprint but cannot compel you to reveal your password(s) — at least in the US. While some judges are challenging this, better safe than sorry.

Stay private, FoxFriends.

Free Accounts for People in Iran

We searched for ‘Iranian Foxes’ and this is what we got.
IRANIAN PROTESTS

As many of you likely know, thousands of Iranians have been holding anti-government protests over the past week. We won’t be getting into the why’s or discussing Iranian politics in our post today, but we will be touching base on the Iranian government’s decision to block access to many social media apps as well as VPN access in order to quash protests.

We have decided to offer free accounts to people in Iran in order to help them communicate during this time. 

Some words from Eric Jung, FoxyProxy founder:

 “We hope protesters from all backgrounds can unite and create real change in this regime of repression. We offer free accounts to all Iranians in order to bypass the censorship imposed by their government during this time leading up to revolution. Blocking social media and communications only infuriates citizenry, and we hope it backfires.”
Because the Iranian government has blocked VPN access, SSL Proxy servers are needed to get around this censorship.  Happily, all FoxyProxy accounts come with VPN + SSL, HTTP, and SOCKS proxy server accounts.
           Chrome and Firefox users can contact support to help get our SSL proxy servers working, as there is a trick to getting our SSL proxy server to work with Chrome and Firefox, as we are still using unsigned SSL certificates (that is something we are slowly changing and the rollout should be complete within a month). We will soon be putting an article on our help page to help you through it.
If you’re in Iran and wish to get a free account, get in touch.