Category Archives: Uncategorized

The Internet of WE ARE WATCHING YOU.

IT SEEMED LIKE A GOOD IDEA AT THE TIME

The Internet of Things (an actual term used to refer to the ever growing list of internet connected gadgets populating our homes) seems like a good idea. I, your blogess, love the idea of walking into a room and commanding it to tend to my environmental needs, like Picard dictating his favored ambient temperature, light level, and music selection all at once before ordering a nice mug of Earl Grey (hot).

I also dance like this

However.

We just aren’t there yet, as much as I wish we were. It seems that daily, we see another story about ‘Smart’ devices recording, watching, listening in. Here’s a short list of Smart Things which have betrayed their users:

Printers
Teddy Bears
Sex Toys
Refrigerators
Baby Monitors

Some companies are starting to realize that consumers are becoming more aware of this problem. Mozilla has come out with a gift guide for the privacy minded  to help consumers navigate their options.

F-Secure has developed a router designed to offer your Internet of Things protection against hacking, and you can easily find guides online to help you take the steps to up your IoT security.

In the end, it makes sense to take all the security steps you can. Assume that if it has a camera, a microphone, or is wi-fi enabled that someone, somewhere, can listen in.

After the xbox began greeting my husband when he waked into the room, we took this lo-fi approach

 

 

US Secret Service Subpoena and Our Reply

TL;DR read one of the subpoenas we’ve received from the United States Secret Service and our response to it (“We have no documents or records…”)

We Don’t Log Your Activity and We’ll Prove It

Some people think that VPN companies in the United States can’t possibly keep you private. That’s simply not true: companies in the US have the freedom to say to the government screw off when subpoenaed for information they don’t have. And that’s what we do at FoxyProxy.

We get many subpoenas from various government agencies — some from the US federal government, some from US state governments, and some from governments outside of the US (most recently France). Our response to these subpoenas is always the same: we have nothing. And that’s because we don’t log anything about you. How can we provide information about our customers’ activity when we don’t have it?

We can do this because there are no data retention laws in the US, unlike in the EU and many other countries.

To prove it, we’re sharing a subpoena and our response. This one is from the United States Secret Service, July 2017, with our response in September 2017. We’ve redacted names and phone numbers to, ironically, maintain the privacy of the Secret Service agent and prosecutor responsible for the subpoena 🙂

Click the image for the complete document and our response.

Some VPN Companies Lie

Some of our competitors, like PureVPN and WANSecurity, thinks it’s ok to lie to their customers about their privacy policy and then share tracking information with the FBI:

The logs showed how within the span of minutes the same VPN IP address had logged into Lin’s real Gmail address […] PureVPN was later able to link the stalking activity with Lin’s home and work IPs. The information in the affidavit may shock some PureVPN customers, as the company boldly advertises on its privacy policy page that it does not keep any logs.

As of this writing, PureVPN’s privacy policy page still says, “You are Invisible – Even We Cannot See What You Do Online. We Do Not monitor user activity nor do we keep any logs. We therefore have no record of your activities such as which software you used, which websites you visited, what content you downloaded, which apps you used, etc.”

There’s no reason to think this incident is the first or last from PureVPN and WANSecurity.

Another VPN provider, HotSpot Shield, is dealing with a complaint filed with the Federal Trade Commission alleging they collect data and intercept traffic… a contradiction of their privacy policy to “never log or store user data.”

What Can You Do?

There are many websites that tell you to choose your VPN provider based on privacy and logging alone. That’s not enough. They forget to compare VPN performance, customer support, and native access (connecting to your VPN provider without having to install their proprietary software–which often has malware, advertising, or tracking).

They forget to tell you who is the real customer for most VPN providers: the venture capitalists. The investors. The people who financed the company. They want their money back, and with interest. The VPN company can give that quicker and bigger if they monetize you.

Since our inception in 2006, FoxyProxy has had no investors. We’ve had many such opportunities and passed them over: we won’t compromise our customers for a dollar. We don’t need the money and we don’t need to sell out our loyal following.

 

Bye for Now to Our Firefox Browser API

Similar to our earlier announcement about end-of-life for FoxyProxy Plus For Firefox, we’re announcing the end of our Firefox Browser API, at least for now. This includes the javascript API, the proxy:// protocol, and the command-line interface.

These changes will take effect with the next major release of FoxyProxy Standard, Plus, and Basic for Firefox, likely in August 2017 but definitely before Firefox 57 in November 2017. This is because WebExtensions are going to be the only supported way of developing Firefox add-ons by November 2017.  And WebExtensions do not yet support the capabilities we need for our API.

This API was the only one its kind offered by any proxy add-on, for any browser. Among other things, it enabled websites to manipulate your proxy settings (with your permission). For example, with the proxy:// protocol, you could click a link on a webpage and have your Firefox proxy settings changed automatically–no tweaking on your part. This was commonly used by websites that published free proxy server lists… click a link, change your proxy server. Don’t like that one? Click another link on the webpage to change your proxy server again. But no more.

With the javascript API, a website could build an entire proxy and URL pattern editor and allow you to instrument FoxyProxy right from a webpage. But no more.

With the command-line interface, you could change which proxy was enabled/disabled right at start-up browser start-up. This was perfect for use with PhantomJS or Selenium. Again, no more.

Once support for these features return to Firefox add-ons, we’ll re-implement them.

 

FoxyProxy Plus: possible end-of-life in November 2017

FoxyProxy Plus on Firefox

Note: Don’t confuse FoxyProxy Plus with FoxyProxy Standard and FoxyProxy Basic! Support for Standard and Basic aren’t going away!

FoxyProxy Plus, a Firefox extension that we started selling on April 22, 2009 and our only closed-source product for many years, is likely going away. Although we’ve been updating FoxyProxy Plus over the years to stay compatible with Firefox, we stopped selling it some years ago, so this should not affect any but the most die-hard of fans. You can see our current page for it isn’t complete and doesn’t allow you to purchase it.

Mozilla announced in February 2017 that support for legacy addons will be dropped when Firefox 57 is released on November 14, 2017. FoxyProxy Plus is a legacy addon. Due to technical limitations with Firefox 57 and above, it may not be possible to port FoxyProxy Plus to Firefox’s new platform. We are still researching this, but wanted to tell you now so you can prepare for the possible drop in support of this product. You’ll still be able to use FoxyProxy Plus with versions of Firefox older than 57. Mozilla will tell you not to use old versions of Firefox, however, due to security holes that are plugged in every new version.

The two features that FoxyProxy Plus adds above and beyond the other editions of FoxyProxy for Firefox are:

  • Switch proxies based on your current local (LAN) IP address, rather than the typical URL (website) address.
  • URL Training. Click a button to automatically add URL patterns for any/all URLs on a page.

Thanks to all of you who purchased licenses of FoxyProxy Plus over the years! We will update this blog when we know if we’ll be able to port FoxyProxy Plus to Firefox 57 and above.

Fun With Staff Profiles: Bartas Edition

Welcome to our newest staff member! **not an actual photo of him
Welcome to our newest staff member!
**not an actual photo of him

Welcome Bartas!

We’d like to welcome to our team Bartas, who will be taking on the roles of  technical support analyst and programmer.  We thought this would be a great time to start doing some staff profiles so that you, our beloved customers, can get to know the people behind the proxies. 

We asked Bartas a few questions as the inaugural profile. Here’s what he had to say!

 

The actual Bartas, overlooking his new career
The actual Bartas, overlooking his new career

Where are you from, and what’s the best thing about your home town?

Well, I grew up in a small mountain town in Colorado. The best thing about that town is it’s smallness and cuteness. It had all these nice little shops and there were only a few thousand people living there. There was this true small town feeling. I also remember spending all day jumping from rock to rock in the river that runs through the middle of the town on a hot summer day. And in the winter during the ski season, you could hear the “booms” of the dynamite the avalanche control crews used on unstable snow pack way up above the treeline.

What drew you to FoxyProxy? Were you a user prior to joining the team?

I remember using the original FoxyProxy extension for Firefox a long time ago. What drew me to FoxyProxy was speaking with Eric, the founder and CEO of FoxyProxy, and realizing that we were on the same page on many issues such as privacy in computing as well as a commitment to excellent customer service.

How long have you been interested in computer programming?

But really I first got into programming when I was 10. My parents bough me a toy computer. It was sophisticated enough to have Basic, but too sophisticated for me to understand everything at once. From then on, my driving question in terms of computers is, “How does this thing really work underneath it all?” I’m pretty handy with C (erm, pointers ftw), and I just dived into javascript.

May or may not apply to 99% of the FoxyProxy team
May or may not apply to 99% of the FoxyProxy team

You’re something of a baker, according to your bio. Do you have any feelings on The Great British Bake Off’s ‘Brexit’ from the BBC? (I also love baking, and this broke my heart.)

You know, I love baking, but I have to say I haven’t seen The Great British Bake Off. But now it’s on my list of shows to watch.

What’s an interesting hobby you have that people might not expect from you?

A few months back I heard about the health benefits of broccoli sprouts. I just started, but they are already germinating and soon I won’t have to pay five dollars for a handful of sprouts from the store!

Have you got any pets?

My one pet is a snuggly Australian Cattle Dog/American Bulldog. He’s really sweet, inquisitive, and loyal.

Star Trek or Star Wars, and why?

First of all as a disclaimer, I have only seen a few movies from each universe, not to mention the other media both universes have produced. Based purely on feel and my uneducated judgement on the subject, I’ll have to go with Star Trek. (this is the correct answer. – ed.) 

picard_clapping

It’s Weird Out There.

Winter. It's coming.
Winter. It’s coming.

We’re here for you

Look, it’s a weird time right now. The world is going through some stuff and no matter what area of the globe you occupy, chances are that things are happening which are making you say ‘This is weirder than usual.’

This is weird. Funny, but weird.
This is weird. Funny, but weird.

But we’re here, as always, bringing you proxy and VPN service from across the globe and the top notch customer service that goes along with it. We have paid services, and do-it-yourself options. 

We’re here if you want some escapism and need to watch a highbrow costume drama on BBC.

Handsome brooding men absolutely counts as highbrow
Handsome brooding men absolutely count as highbrow, and I won’t believe otherwise

We’re here if you live in a part of the world that restricts the internet freedom of its citizens.

We're looking at you, Turkey. Among others.
We’re looking at you, Turkey. Among others.

Speaking of the internet and how private we humans are while using it, Firefox just released a privacy focused browser for iOS users.  It will probably come in handy for our friends in the UK, after their own government just quietly introduced some very heavy handed surveillance legislation.

 

The bottom line is, we’ve been here for 10 years with the goal of keeping information flowing over all parts of the world. We fight for Internet freedom. We advocate for privacy, free speech, free press, government transparency, sensible copyright and sensible DRM.

We’re members of the Electronic Frontier Foundation, Center for Democracy and Technology, FreePress, Stop Watching Us, and the Mozilla Foundation.

We’re not going anywhere.

 

 

Recent Outage Complaints!

We have been getting a flood of complaints about accounts not working in the last 12 hours.

We hear you!

Our servers are actually up and have been up this whole time. Our suspicion is that there is another DDoS attack on the internet causing general internet problems, like that big one that happened recently. You may have read about the recent attacks in the last week since it affected millions of people. Here is one story about it

These problems affect some geographic areas but not others. They also affect some websites but not others.

That is not something we can control, but please know we are investigating the situation and looking for remediation.

We will keep you updated!

Our Big Beautiful New Chrome Extension

Time to get up and get to it.
Time to get up and get to it.

Updated Geoshift

Recently we unveiled our new updated geoshift extension for Chrome. We re-vamped the look as well as functionality, taking suggestions from our customers. That’s you! We love you.

Included as new features: 

  • We’ve updated the design to include the country flag and full name
  • We’ve made it so that the IP address for all of your accounts are displayed in addition to the server name
  • Layout and design are re-vamped and will now pair better with smaller screens
2016-10-10-1
                                  Easy Peasy

 

It’s just as user friendly as before! All you need to do is enter your account info and our extension does the rest of the work, so there’s no need to configure anything yourself.

 

Where am I? Where are any of us, really?
Where am I? Where are any of us, really?

 

Let us know what you think, and happy browsing!

 

The BBC & You; a Love Story.

 

keep

BBC Licensing – what you need to know

We know that many of you use FoxyProxy to stream BBC iPlayer services, and have expressed some concern over the BBC’s attempt to enforce its licensing rules. 

DON’T WORRY. 

There actually is no need to buy a license, and you won’t be asked to supply any personal information to the BBC. All you need to do when you see the dialog box (see the handy illustration below) is click ‘I have a TV license.’

Another concern has been whether the BBC can somehow how figure out that you’re using a proxy. Don’t worry, the answer is no! 

2016-09-05 (2)

Once you do that,  you’ll be on your way to all the BBC programming you know and love, whether you’re breathlessly watching Paul and Mary judging bakes on The Great British Bake Off or catching up on Poldark’s bodice ripping adventures.

We really have no idea what the appeal might be.
We really have no idea what the appeal might be.

Online Journalists vs. Oligarchs

News & Foxy Highlights

A bit of exciting news: we’ve added Costa Rica to our list of available countries!

Costa Rica is home to the most magical place on Earth. The Sloth Sanctuary. 

Check out our services and choose something that’s right for you. We have paid proxy/VPN service that comes with our full customer support and service, and we also offer free downloads if you’re more the do it yourself type.

You business folks out there should also know that we offer custom plans for a whole range of corporate needs. There’s a reason we’ve been around for 10 years!

Check out some recent feedback from our customers: 

‘Rarely these days do products live up to the hype. FoxyProxy not only lives up to the hype but exceeds it beyond all expectations. Runs solid, straight out of a very easy to install package (VPN)’ – via Facebook

‘It’s been 3 months, maybe more, My Android signs in to Foxyproxy in 2 seconds, much faster than in the past. Not only that, but it has a faster transfer speed. I like what you are doing, keep it up folks. You’ll soon rule the internet proxy service.’ –  via Facebook

 

Gawking at Gawker

Some of you may have heard about the recent bankruptcy via lawsuit of Gawker media. Some of you may have even enjoyed it a little bit, because let’s be frank here…Gawker has made some very poor editorial and journalistic choices.

Very poor. One of those poor choices was to out PayPal founder Peter Thiel back in 2007. It’s never ok to out someone who doesn’t want to be outed, and that particular editorial decision came back to bite them in the ass recently when Thiel teamed up with Hulk Hogan who was suing Gawker Media for releasing a private sex tape.

The absolute best Hulk Hogan picture we have ever seen.
The absolute best/most terrifying Hulk Hogan picture we have ever seen.

Thiel financially backed Hogan in his lawsuit as retribution for the piece from Gawker outing him, with the intent of taking the company down. And it worked, as you know. So what does this mean for journalistic freedom when a man with a lot of money and a grudge can set out with the intent of silencing journalists (For all the bad pieces they ran, Gawker does employ actual journalists and has produced numerous pieces of merit)?

Here is a great piece on why we shouldn’t be celebrating the downfall of Gawker. From the article:

The Gawker story is just as much about press freedom and the emerging threat of millionaires and billionaires … who are financially capable of destroying journalists and publications for nothing more than shits and giggles.

In the end, Gawker was shuttered after having to approach a media giant for a financial lifeline. Granted, this really was just the final nail in the coffin, as this piece details that there were possibly many factors to why Univision chose to shutter Gawker.com while keeping the remaining Gawker Media properties running.

Only time will tell what this ruling and it’s fallout mean for the future of journalists who ruffle the feathers of the financially powerful, and that is a potentially dangerous road to go down.