Expert Tips for Choosing the Right VPN

A VPN can be used for a variety of reasons, from use within your personal/home life, to use within your business and work life. No two VPN providers offer the same packages and because of this, it can make your decision a little more tricky. Choosing a VPN needs to be done once you have researched the market and once you have established exactly what it is that you want. If you are not aware of what is out there then it is wise to browse the market first and foremost. Once you have done browsing you will be able to compile a list of must-haves. So, what must-haves do you need – Is speed important, is server location essential?

How To Get The Right VPN – The Considerations

With a VPN provider, there are lots of other things you still need to consider. From cost and coverage to reliability and usability. With so many choices out there it can feel a little bit overwhelming so it is best to use VPNBrains who can, and will narrow down your choices to ensure that you get the right VPN for your personal use and business use. Comparing providers ensures you get the best value for money too! In addition to comparing providers you can also establish which VPN is right for you by considering the following:

Security And Protection On Offer

Not all VPNs offer the same level of security. For example, some cannot guarantee top-level security in certain countries. If security is one of the main reasons you want to use a VPN, for example, you want to use a public or shared computer but you don’t want to share your data and information, or, you want to browse websites with added security behind you then it is crucial you check the VPNs security offer. If they don’t highlight how good their security offering is then it is probably best to look elsewhere.

Price Monthly Or Annually

If affordability is a consideration you need to think about how you can pay and when you can pay. Some providers only accept PayPal or Payoneer. Is this right for you and your lifestyle. Some providers demand an annual subscription – Can you afford this. Price consideration is important as paying month by month can also end up costing you more in the long run. It is also wise to track prices for a few days as lots of well-known VPN providers change their prices, even by a few cents every so often to attract new custom.

Reviews and Recommendations

What other users are saying and how they are reacting to a brand is important. Pay attention to the customer service that they provide, and pay attention to how quickly issues get resolved. For example, if you have an issue will they resolve it quickly or will you be paying full subscription costs for a while until they can be bothered to rectify any issues you may be experiencing. Some reviews can be fake and malicious, so it is important to have your guard up when using reviews. Also, on the flip side, there can be fake reviews stating how good a VPN is, when it is a load of rubbish, so watch out for this too. Doing due diligence and utilizing a few recommendation and review websites will ensure that you don’t get caught out.

Usage Within Your Country

This sounds simple enough right, but in reality, not all VPNs work in your country or provide adequate servers for you to use. Choice and selection are important when choosing a VPN. Everyone deserves a good selection for their subscription price and if you are not getting it, or you are not going to get it within your country then look for another provider. If a provider offers limited coverage within your country of use then you will quickly be left feeling frustrated and annoyed. Coverage and quality are important especially when purchasing annual subscriptions so always check the terms and conditions before signing up and parting with any money, and, of course, don’t be afraid to ask as many questions as possible.

A few days of research and use of comparison websites should be all that you need to ensure you choose the right VPN provider for you. Remember to ensure the site is legitimate and authentic before paying for any services as there are lots of fakes out there who look very similar to the real thing, and once you have parted with your money it can be very difficult to reclaim, so, always ensure you use real and trusted sites no matter what.

Fortinet VPN Troubleshooting and Common Issues: Using Fortinet

Access to the internet has been restricted in China since the 1990s, as the Communist government has sought ways to limit not only its citizens’ consumption of news and information but also their interaction with those outside of China. However, as both individuals and businesses seek access to information and an ability to conduct transactions with people outside of China, virtual private networks (VPNs) to circumvent these restrictions have become a necessary tool.

FortiClient, the Fortinet next-generation endpoint protection, provides users with secure remote access with a built-in VPN.

Accessing a VPN from China

Since China made it illegal to access the “foreign internet” without government permission in 1997, the use of VPNs as a workaround has proliferated. VPNs encrypt data, masking the user’s identity and activity while browsing the internet. VPNs hide a computer’s Internet Protocol (IP) address, its physical location, and browsing history, among other data. 

It is not just individual Chinese citizens or visitors to China who benefit from VPNs to access social networks and banned websites. Chinese corporations and multinational companies doing business with China also use VPNs to secure company data and make communications more private. 

Browsing the internet anonymously is not the only advantage of using a VPN. The security and privacy of VPN-encrypted connections should be the main reason users opt for VPNs when browsing the internet in China.  

Using Fortinet in China

China has also been known to target VPN companies, but luckily, it does not block the Fortinet FortiClient VPN. FortiClient is more than just a VPN. It also provides compliance and endpoint protection, which are needed for large organizations to enforce policies and track and report security issues. FortiClient also provides advanced threat protection against malware through its integration with FortiGuard. 

This endpoint protection offered by the Fortinet VPN safeguards users against the most advanced threats. While some internet users in China only want a way to access U.S.-based websites and social networks without government surveillance, malware in China is a growing problem. In fact, malware associated with the Chinese government has been identified as the driver of spear-phishing attacks. 

What Is VPN Troubleshooting?

Issues may arise when using a VPN to connect to the internet. Usually, the biggest issue is that the VPN simply cannot connect. Other times, the connection drops, or the connection is really slow.

In the next section, we will detail what you can do when you encounter particular issues.

How to Troubleshoot Some SSL VPN Issues

These troubleshooting tips can be used for the following versions of FortiGate: v5.4, v5.6, v6.0, v6.2, and v6.4.

There Is No response from the SSL VPN Uniform Resource Locator (URL)

Navigate to VPN >> SSL-VPN Settings and check the secure socket layer (SSL) VPN port assignment. Also, check the “Restrict Access” settings to ensure that the host you are connecting from is allowed.

Go to Policy >> IPv6 policy and make sure that the policy for SSL VPN traffic is configured correctly. Check the URL to connect to. It should follow this pattern:

https://<FortiGate IP>:<Port>/remote/login

Ensure that the correct port number in the URL is used.

Use a computer on the local network to connect to the VPN, rather than a computer using a remote connection.

If external authentication is used, create a local user and connect to the VPN using the newly created local account.

FortiClient Cannot Connect

Ensure that the version of FortiClient used is compatible with the user’s version of FortiOS.

Export FortiClient debug logs by doing the following:

  1. Go to File >> Settings. Under the logging section, enable “Export logs.”
  2. Set the “Log Level” to debug and select “Clear logs.”
  3. Attempt to connect to the VPN.
  4. Select Export logs after receiving the connection error.

The SSL VPN Login Hangs or Disconnects at 98%

A new SSL VPN driver was added to FortiClient 5.6.0 and later versions to resolve various SSL VPN connection issues. If the FortiOS version is compatible, upgrade to use one of these versions.

In addition, poor network connectivity can cause the FortiGate default login timeout limit to be reached. In FortiOS 5.6.0 and later, the following commands allow a user to increase timers related to the SSL VPN login.

# config vpn ssl settings 
   set login-timeout 180 (default is 30)
   set dtls-hello-timeout 60 (default is 10)
End

Tunnel-mode Connection Shuts Down After a Few Seconds

This issue can occur when there are multiple interfaces connected to the internet—for example, a software-defined wide-area network (SD-WAN). To fix this, allow multiple interfaces to connect without issue.

If FortiOS 6.0.1 or later is used, follow this command-line interface (CLI) command:

# config system interface
    edit <name>
    set preserve-session-route enable next
end

For FortiOS 6.0.0 or earlier, use this CLI command:

# config vpn ssl settings
    set route-source-interface enable
end

The following error message will be received: “Unable to logon to the server. Your user name or password may not be configured properly for this connection. (-12).”

Make sure that the browser has cookies enabled.

If a remote authentication server is used, confirm that FortiGate is able to communicate with it.

The Tunnel Connects, but There Is No Communication

Make sure there is a visual interface or a screen you can view, by going to Monitor >> Routing Monitor. 

Also, check the routing table—the data stored in a router that lists the routes to particular network destinations—on the user’s computer to ensure that the routes for the VPN are added (use the command route print on Windows, or netstat -nr on macOS).

Connects Remotely to the VPN Tunnel, but It Will Not Give Access to the Network Resources

Verify that the firewall policy for SSL VPN traffic is configured correctly by going to Policy & Objects >> IPv4 Policy and making sure that the source/destination addresses, user group, and destination interfaces are correct.

Use the command “# diagnose debug flow” to obtain more information about the network traffic. To learn more about this command, see How to use debug flow to filter traffic.

Users Are Unable to Download the SSL VPN Plugin

Go to VPN >> SSL-VPN Portals to make sure that the option to limit users to one SSL-VPN connection at a time is disabled. This allows users to connect to the resources on the portal page while also connecting to the VPN through FortiClient.

Users Are Being Assigned to the Wrong IP Range

Go to VPN >> SSL-VPN Portals and VPN >> SSL-VPN Settings and make sure that the same IP pool is used in both the VPN Portal and VPN Settings sections to avoid conflicts.

If there is a conflict, the portal settings are used.

SSL VPN Throughput Is Slow

Although many factors can contribute to slow throughput, one recommendation is to try the FortiOS datagram transport layer security (DTLS) tunnel option, available in FortiOS 5.4 and above.

DTLS allows the SSL VPN to encrypt traffic using transport layer security (TLS) and uses User Datagram Protocol (UDP) at the transport layer instead of Transmission Control Protocol (TCP). This avoids retransmission problems that can occur with TCP-in-TCP.

To make sure the DTLS tunnel is enabled on the FortiGate solution, use the following command:

# config vpn ssl settings
    set dtls-tunnel enable
end

FortiClient 5.4.0 to 5.4.3 use DTLS by default. FortiClient 5.4.4 and later use normal TLS, regardless of the FortiGate DTLS setting. To use DTLS with FortiClient, go to File >> Settings and enable “Preferred DTLS Tunnel.

Did the Big Sur Update Affect All VPN Clients?

Big Sur had a pretty rocky start. Once installed, it actually allowed up to 56 Mac apps to bypass third-party security solutions – like VPNs and firewalls.

Basically, even though you were using a VPN while running an app like iCloud or Siri, a lot of data would leak out of the VPN tunnel. That means Apple would see your IP address and what country you’re using their apps from.

Not to mention hackers would just need to find a vulnerability in one of Apple’s apps, and they’d be able to take over your device since they’d bypass your firewall. Or they could take advantage of the fact that your VPN is leaking data, and spy on your traffic to steal sensitive information.

Want to learn exactly what happened? We’ll tell you all you need to know in this article.

What Exactly Caused That Issue?

Apparently the Big Sur update came with a special key called “ContentFilterExclusionList.” That key is a part of the NetworkExtension API which a lot of security tools like VPNs and firewalls now use.

Essentially, here’s how the ContentFilterExclusionList key affects firewalls and VPNs:

  • It lets Apple’s apps bypass the encrypted VPN tunnel.
  • It allows Apple’s apps to communicate with the Internet even if the firewall says they can’t.

Did the Big Sur Update Affect All VPNs?

Time for some good news – this update doesn’t impact all VPN services! It only affects VPNs that use the NetworkExtension API. Luckily, it’s not mandatory for them to do so. As a result, many VPN providers avoided it, and used different methods (utun devices or PFCTL, just to name a few examples).

Those services are not susceptible to Big Sur’s forced traffic leaks. You can safely use Mac apps with them without having to worry about your data being compromised. Also, it looks like Apple’s built-in VPN wasn’t susceptible to traffic leaks either.

If you need help finding the best VPNs for Mac computers, just follow that link. It’s a guide from ProPrivacy (a leading VPN review site) that showcases VPNs that work extremely well on Mac devices. ProPrivacy even interviewed most of the providers on that list to confirm that their services can’t be compromised by Big Sur.

Did Apple Fix the Big Sur Issue?

Yes – Apple got rid of this problem when they launched the Big Sur 11.2 update. To make Mac apps fully compatible with firewalls and VPNs, Apple simply deactivated the ContentFilterExclusionList key.

Besides that security issue, Apple also fixed numerous other bugs – like System Preferences not unblocking when you enter your admin password, or iCloud Drive turning off because you disabled the iCloud Drive Desktop & Documents Folders option.

Apple also fixed other security flaws – like a user being able to rejoin an iMessage group even though they were removed from it. To read about all the improvements, check out this support article from Apple.

To update to Big Sur 11.2, just do this:

  1. In the upper-left corner of macOS Big Sur, click the Apple logo.
  2. Select System Preferences.
  3. Next, pick Software Update.
  4. Click Install Now.

Now just wait for the update to finish downloading and installing. Depending on your speeds, it could take a bit since it’s around 3.66GB.

Conclusion

While Big Sur brought a lot of improvements, it also endangered user data by allowing Mac apps to bypass firewalls and VPNs. Luckily, not all VPN clients were affected, and Apple solved this problem with the Big Sur 11.2 update (so be sure to download and install it ASAP).

If we forgot to mention anything about the Big Sur security issue, please let us know in the comments.

7 Reasons Ethical Hackers are a Must-Have to your Business

Reasons to Protect Your Business with White Hackers

Hacking is the process associated with spyware programs to gain unauthorized access to a business system. With malicious actions, a hacker can steal confidential information, download business files, etc. From the point of view of unauthorized access, such actions are illegal. The opposite person to a black hacker is an ethical hacker. Such a specialist legitimately sneaks into your business system to check for vulnerabilities. Login is only done with the permission of the business manager. Therefore, hire a hacker for business is the right decision.

Is there a demand for ethical hackers?

Let’s see what do ethical hackers do. White or ethical hackers provide services to increase information systems’ security with the knowledge and agreement with the customer within the framework of a contractual relationship or according to the program of reward for vulnerabilities found. Are you complicated to understand? Let’s make it simpler: white hackers hack you and your resources with your permission and for money and show how they did it so that you fix this bug and no one else hacks you.

White hackers will offer you penetration testing, or red teaming, ranging from $ 3,000 to millions of dollars, depending on the task’s complexity. The range of their services and prices varies significantly across the market and depends on specialists’ competence and company size. As you can see, the service fees are high, but darker if there were no demand, the price would not have risen so much.

What companies hire ethical hackers?

The American platform Bugcrowd has calculated that ethical hackers who help companies find bugs and holes in security systems make up to $ 500,000 a year. Virtually every major tech company and financial institution is working with ethical hackers, including Tesla, Amazon, and Facebook. Large companies are willing to pay large sums of money to hire burglars. Tesla and IJet pay hackers between $ 1,000 and $ 15,000 for finding a bug or loophole in the system, depending on its complexity and the severity problem. Mastercard is ready to pay ethical hackers from $ 3 thousand. This practice of finding errors for a fee is called bug bounty in the professional community. In American companies, there is a fairly common practice of creating separate bug bounty programs when any user can report security holes.

Do ethical hackers need a degree?

Ethical hackers usually work to find critical vulnerabilities with a price of $ 3-5 thousand. As a rule, such specialists have certificates of Certified Ethical Hacker, Offensive Security Certified Professional, and others. Accordingly, to master the direction of hacking, it is not necessary to have a scientific degree. It is enough to pass certified courses by good experts.

Ethical Hacking – Reasons to Use the Service

White hackers are known to partner with many companies that report their cybersecurity. A common task for a white hacker is to conduct penetration tests on a business system. White hackers conduct authorized hacking of the client’s systems and products while testing them for vulnerabilities and resistance to attacks. This is just a test, not to steal personal data. The system is hacked under the direction of the company. The expert records all the results and draws up a detailed report, which indicates where the vulnerabilities are in the system. Do you think about the service of white hackers? Do you want to hire a specialist, but you are not sure if? Then below, we have described important reasons.

An ethical hacker can skillfully handle a VPN

Regular networks of proxy servers can no longer guarantee complete anonymity and security. Virtual private networks have long replaced proxies. VPN provides isolated access to the network through VPN server chains and encryption of transmitted data. Therefore, if you want to hide your activity from the provider and third parties, you need to use VPN. But not all VPNs can keep you from hacking.

Only ethical hackers know how to handle the program and select the VPN servers list properly. The best service is VeePN. All you have to do is register on the VeePN website, then download the app to start using the VPN right away without the need to configure anything. You can connect to many countries because the developers took care of their users and created a huge selection of VPN server locations. You can enjoy an extensive network of VPN servers in 50 locations across 42 countries. VeePN is available on laptops, computers, and mobile devices. One account can use the service on several different devices. The program also offers a trial so that every user can be convinced of the quality of services.

Injection of malicious code

These vulnerabilities allow writing to the database of a site, service, or application. What is the threat? For example, if a hacker found such a vulnerability on the website, he could easily:

  • change any news and sections on the site, adding or deleting part of the data;
  • add or remove administrators, editors, moderators;
  • place your ad, links, text, code, script;
  • sell links from someone else’s site.

To avoid this, you must partner with ethical hackers.

Invalid authentication and session management

A fairly common vulnerability, as a rule, is caused by insufficient thoughtfulness of the authorization logic or additional session checks. From interesting examples of exploitation, we immediately remembered one exchange. Due to incorrect management of sessions combined with an IDOR vulnerability, it was possible to reset the password from any account by changing the email for recovery. Therefore, to avoid this threat, you need the services of an ethical hacker.

Cross-site scripting

The specificity of such attacks is that malicious code can use user authorization in the web system to gain extended access to it or to obtain user authorization data. Hackers can insert malicious code into a page either through a vulnerability in the web server or through a vulnerability on the user’s computer. The idea here is to force the attacked site to transmit data to the attacker’s site. Don’t want to get under attack – you need white hackers.

Ethical hackers are always proactive

If you use the services of a white hacker, then he will not wait until the cybersecurity of your business is violated, or a data leak occurs. The white hacker is immediately aware of the existing vulnerabilities before something threatens the security of the business. That is, an expert will prevent a cyber-attack.

Ethical hackers are cost-effective

Black hackers can do a lot of damage to a business, resulting in bailouts or significant money losses. If an ethical hacker can detect the weakest points in the business system and prevent an attack, you will save much more money, even though an ethical hacker’s services are high.

Ethical hackers know everything about black hackers

Even if you know how black hackers operate, you may not always stop his evil actions. Black hackers use many harmful programs that the average person does not know about in their work. In fact, by harming your business, they will earn money, although this is not legal. Ethical hackers, who know many programs and understand their functioning, will accordingly prevent any threat. You will be free from problems, and your business will flourish.

Everything VPN newbies should know about enhancing online safety

Do you know how safe you are online? Do you know what the most widespread cybersecurity threats are? And, most importantly, do you know how VPNs can help you prevent cybersecurity attacks? Find the answers to all these questions by reading below!  

Lately, everybody is talking about cybersecurity threats and how they are becoming more common than ever before. Now, this is no surprise, considering that technology is becoming more integrated into our lives by the day. We use technology on a daily basis for pretty much everything we do, from getting entertainment to ordering food, purchasing goods online, and working. So, now, it is more important than ever to consider your online security and safety when surfing the web, go through your emails, share photos on social media, or purchase goods on e-commerce sites. 

Cybersecurity threats are a real thing, and they can cause you a lot of harm, from stealing your identity to stealing your financial details and empty your account. But, before we move forward to how virtual private networks can help you prevent this from happening, let’s dig deeper into the most common online safety threats you need to protect yourself from. 

Common online safety threats

Not sure what kind of threats should you pay attention to? Here are the most common online safety threats that can put your security in danger. 

Computer virus

The most common and widespread cybersecurity threat is the computer virus. It can literally affect anyone who uses a computer. What do computer viruses do? They alter the way your device operates and can cause a lot of damage, such as deleting your data or giving access to hackers to your important and private data. 

Spyware threats

Spyware threats are another widespread threat, and some people would say the worst. This program basically monitors users’ online activity and provides hackers the opportunity to enter a users’ device without their content to steal personal information. 

Phishing

Fake companies, businesses, or individuals practice phishing to steal personal and financial information. They pretend to be something they are not to convince their victims to provide them with their personal and financial information. They use fraudulent emails and messages to do it. 

Hackers

It may seem like being a hacker is a well-paid job as there are more hackers out there than ever before. What do they do for a living? They create viruses, spyware, malware, and all the other cybersecurity threats that we’re telling you to protect yourself from. 

What VPNs are?

Now you know what threats are out there in the digital world. But the real question is, how do you prevent them and stay safe online? Our answer is: by using a VPN. 

You’ve likely heard about VPNs before as they have been growing in popularity lately. 

But what VPNs are? VPN stands for Virtual Private Network. It creates a private network when you use the internet from a public connection by establishing secure and encrypted connections to provide greater privacy. A VPN can keep your browsing history private, change your real location, and keep your internet activities anonymous. 

Benefits of VPNs

Why should you use a VPN? Virtual Private Networks provide plenty of benefits to users, including:

  • Remain anonymous online 
  • Access to geo-restricted entertainment content
  • Access to geo-restricted news and content sites 
  • Hide web browsing from the government 
  • Access to torrent sites and other restricted download sites 

The top benefits people use VPNs are because it allows them to access geo-blocked entertainment content from video streaming services such as Netflix, Hulu, or Amazon. It allows them to surf the web using public internet connections in a secure way. 

WireGuard- an extra layer of protection

When you’re not feeling safe enough online, WireGuard can add an extra layer of protection. 

WireGuard is a new technology related to VPN that has grown a lot in popularity lately among tech enthusiasts. WireGuard provides some really strong benefits such as speed and security features. 

It is an open-source VPN technology that ensures improved security online using cryptography, a method of protecting data and information by using codes. It creates a faster and simpler use of the VPN, which is why it is an excellent online security tool for VPN newbies. For improved security, WireGuard can work with other VPN technologies. In this article you can see the best VPNs for Wireguard if you are interested in ensuring that your online activity is private and your security is top-notch. 

Other things you can do to stay safe online

  • Use strong and complex passwords. Use different passwords for each of your accounts. 
  • Keep your antivirus and security software up to date.
  • Consider using proxies to secure your online connection, there are plenty of cheap proxies available 
  • Do not open links sent to you by brands or people you don’t know or trust.