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NSA Recommends Using a VPN

Recently the NSA released some guidance on how to limit the amount of location data you expose while you’re online or using your phone. Among a lot of solid tips was to use an anonymizing VPN service you trust as much as possible.

Our VPN service not only encrypts your connection to the internet through the fastest, most secure VPN technology available, but blocks trackers and malware publishers protecting you from the most common tactics.

Check it out!

Aggressive Advertising

It’s easy to see tech companies as a monolithic villain in the battle over consumer privacy. But in fact, there are countless tech companies, like mine, that believe that people have a fundamental right to avoid being put under surveillance and that it should be easy for them to exercise that right.

Gabriel Weinberg – https://www.nytimes.com/2019/06/19/opinion/facebook-google-privacy.html

What a great quote.

Unfortunately, the majority of the tech companies that matter don’t consider what they’re doing as ‘surveillance’. The argument generally heard is that through abstraction of the mass amount of data privacy is maintained. Through looking at groups of individuals and their data, instead of the individuals themselves, no one’s privacy is being violated because the data is anonymized.

Unfortunately its not the identity of information that has the undesired impact, but the detailed level of knowledge that leads to intimate feelings of a privacy violated. Intricate patterns in our behavior are elevated in a completely objective view through data. This allows those who can see and understand the data, a deeply intimate insight into human nature.

Some might argue that this knowledge puts the data owners at an advantage over individuals who might not be fully grown or educated enough to think critically about the world around them.

That aside, it still leads to creepy advertising and ultimately removing freedom of choice on the part of the individual.

This distinction between Big Ad Tech and everyone else in tech is important to keep in mind as policymakers consider new regulations intended to protect consumers’ privacy. Executives of these big companies may individually make public statements welcoming federal regulation, but in practice they are doing everything they can to weaken existing laws and shape new ones in their own interests. This strategy is very obvious to the rest of us in the tech industry. And it’s essential to get these privacy laws right today, so that people have the opportunity to opt outClose X of online tracking now.

https://www.nytimes.com/2019/06/19/opinion/facebook-google-privacy.html

In an Opinion piece on the New York Times, the author suggests the potential implications of blindly submitting to such surveillance. Advertising is totally possible without tracking people across the entire internet. A lot of tech companies are doing it already and fighting against certain influences to create laws that continue to eliminate choice from the market.

The author continues to explain the options companies have for advertising online and the proven effectiveness of alternative options to the ‘behavioral’ advertising which tracks your activity all over the internet.

Ultimately there is even evidence to suggest something like ‘contextual’ advertising can be profitable.

Skylaski VPN will continue to block common trackers and malware publishers for the foreseeable future. If you’re curious how a VPN can help protect your privacy, check out our Features & Plans.

How Do I Refer a Friend?

Skylaski VPN wants to reward you for sharing our services with your network. To support this we provide you a unique URL that your friends and family can use to Register on our website or purchase their VPN Plan.

In order to receive credit for your referral, your friend must use your unique url when selecting and checking out their VPN Plan.

Your unique referral code is available when selecting ‘Refer a Friend’ from the ‘My Account’ menu at the top of your account page.

Free Private DNS

1. 35.226.146.85
2. 35.224.238.118

These are Skylaski.com’s Free to Use Private DNS Servers.

On the Internet DNS is the service that translates common names to digital destinations. Without this service, we would have to memorize the numbers of every place on the internet we wished to go. With the service, we also gain a lot of load balancing and traffic management capabilities.

DNS is essentially your first stop on the internet everytime you look something up. It quickly becomes a log of all your activity while online. While it doesn’t know what you’re searching on Google or emailing a friend online, it knows what websites you visit and when.

It’s important that the provider of these services protect their user’s privacy rights. This is such a fundamental service that it’s no harm to Skylaski.com to provide it for free of use to all whom may need it.

Understandably, this service is not readily available everywhere and thats why it exists. If you already use Skylaski VPN you don’t have to worry about this at all.

Setup

Depending on how you’re connecting to the internet setup will be different. Generally speaking you need to find the interface for changing which DNS servers your device/client uses.

Setting up private DNS is becoming more and more common however, so a lot of applications allow you to control this manually. Below are some articles that can hopefully get you started.

  1. Android
  2. iPhone
  3. Windows
  4. Mac

Why You Should Use a Password Manager

These days every website you visit requires you to setup an account. Every single one wants to remember who you are and attempt to personalize the experience as much as humanly possible. The point is clear, you’re using passwords everywhere you go on the internet.

This becomes a big issue because you honestly can’t trust everyone with securing your passwords. Big data leaks happen all the time and often to companies and websites we would normally assume completely responsible with things like our money or identity. However, on the Internet nothing is guaranteed.

So having a strong password, one that is very difficult to guess is important, but if the people you trust the most can lose these passwords and allow them to be sold on the dark web, then all it takes is for one of them to slip up and potentially every account you ever created is at risk.

That’s where password managers come in. While there is a lot of value in remembering all your passwords in a secure location that can be recovered if someone steals your little notebook of passwords, there is even more value in generating secure passwords efficiently so that you never use the same password twice.

This way, if your laptop is stolen, or your little book of passwords goes up in flames you can recover your passwords. Also, if your bank, school, work, or favorite forum gets hacked and the passwords leaked on the Dark web, all your other accounts are safe and secure.

Choosing a Password Manager

Password Managers inherently need to be secure. Always do your research and try to find a solution recommended by security professionals you trust.

With that in mind it’s also important to get the features you need to ensure you’ll use your password manager as much as possible. If you aren’t going to use your password manager, then it’s not going to protect you and becomes a potential liability more than anything else.

Extensions & Apps

Password Managers need to meet you where you’re at. Whether that is on your laptop, desktop, phone or tablet. Make sure you choose a manager that has extension for the browsers you use & apps for the devices that need them.

Generating Passwords

Make sure your password manager can generate passwords for you, on the spot, easily AND remember them all at the same time. Remember, this is the real value of a password manager as it obfuscates the attack vector that is your password. If you’re not using a unique password for every website then a password manager can’t help you when the password you are using winds up for sale on the dark web.

Auto-Fill

If your password manager checks the first two boxes then this one is essential. If you’re using a strong, unique password on every website and app you use, then it’s going to become VERY tedious if you have to copy-paste every password from your vault into these forms every time you open your browser. This might get so annoying you’ll stop generating unique passwords, or worse, stop using the password manager altogether. Make sure your password manager can Auto-Fill these forms for you or at least make it very easy to copy what you need to your clipboard for pasting.

2nd-factor authentication

Anything that consolidates and protects your passwords must support 2nd-factor authentication. These days 2nd-factor authentication is the strongest method of authenticating users on the Internet and any application that doesn’t support it is putting it’s users at a huge disadvantage.

Let’s say your passwords do get leaked and sold on the dark web. If your accounts have 2nd-factor authentication enabled, even if the bad actor tries to use your password, they will still need that 2nd authentication method to get into your account. This gives you plenty of time to change your password if you become aware of such an event. You should be enabling 2nd-factor authentication on every account that offers it period, but 100% on your password manager.

Storing Other Notes

Some password managers, especially the ones that are highly integrated and come with auto-fill, allow you to store more than just passwords. This can be convenient if you need to write something down behind lock & key like and Address, or Credit Card information. Even better if you’re using your password manager to store the recovery keys to your accounts that use 2nd-factor authentication. Once you get familiar, there are all sorts of things you might want to keep encrypted. In the past we might encrypt specific files on our hard drive, or the entire hard drive, but its generally more secure behind a solid password manager.

sharing passwords

Some passwords you might need to share with others. This is very handy for system administrators or families. This can be handy, but not a common case so generally password managers don’t offer this for free. It’s also usually assumed the recipient also has an account with the same password manager.

Other Features

There are a lot of other features a good password manager might offer. LastPass for instance, provides free security audits where they provide a report of your passwords, their overall strength, time since last updated, and a list of accounts that might have been involved in data breaches.


Currently Skylaski.com recommends LastPass & 1Password. Both solutions are trusted by professionals and are widely used as well as have all the features we discussed above.

Don’t be a #digitalserf Secure your passwords today!

Optimize Your Google Account for Privacy & Security

These days it’s almost impossible to operate in our modern, digital economy without an account with Apple and/or Google.

In this article we’ll help you ensure your Google account is setup to maximize security & privacy as much as possible.

Security

The first step is to browse over to https://myaccount.google.com/

Once logged in you’ll want to select the ‘Security’ tab to the left.

From here feel free to take the ‘Security Checkup’, but be sure to setup a secure password as well as 2-Step Authentication.

The most important thing here is 2-Step Verification. Google supports a number of methods for 2-Step verification. They can send you a text, notify your phone via Bluetooth, setup an authenticator app. However, the most secure option is a physical security key. These will run you about $40 and are the most secure option.

2-Step verification is important because even if someone gleans your password, they still won’t be able to log into your account without access to your 2nd security key.

Privacy

Google and Apple are notorious for tracking everything you do, and by default that is mostly true. However, with Google its easy to turn off most of this.

You can get to these settings via the ‘Data & personalization’ tab.

On this screen Google provides you detailed controls over your data.

I highly recommend taking the ‘Privacy Checkup’ and going through each step in detail. Through this checkup you can delete all your Google account history and configure google to continue to do so on a regular basis. You can turn off Ad Personalization, Location History, Web & App History, Youtube History, and control what applications have access to your data.

Personal Information

The last thing we want to do is make sure we’re only sharing the personal information we want to.

Click the ‘Personal info’ tab and scroll to the very bottom. There you’ll see the link to choose what other people can see about you.

The options here aren’t as configurable as the others, but at the very least you can be aware of what’s shared and anonymize anything you may need to.

Ultimately you should always be aware of what your options are. These days a Google account is practically a necessity, but you do have options to prevent it from becoming a liability.

Setup OpenVPN® on iOS (iPhone)

This article will walk you through setting up OpenVPN® Connect on your iPhone.

1. Get OpenVPN®

OpenVPN® Connect is readily available from the Apple App Store or via this link.

2. Download Configuration

Once OpenVPN® Connect is installed we need to download our configuration file from your account page here.

3. Install Configuration

Once your configuration is downloaded you’ll need to ‘Share’ it to OpenVPN® Connect in order to setup the connection.

Once shared with OpenVPN® continue to setup the connection. Be sure to check ‘Connect after import’ to automatically connect.

4. Configure OpenVPN® Connect

Once connected, there are some additional OpenVPN® Connect settings we want to change in order to maximize Privacy and Security.

While in OpenVPN® Connect, touch the top left corner to get to Settings. From there Enable ‘Seamless Tunnel’ to ensure your phone doesn’t allow apps to connect to the internet while the tunnel is attempting to re-establish a connection.

On top of that we want to disable ‘Fallback DNS’ to ensure no apps try to perform DNS lookups without using Skylaski VPN’s private DNS servers.

Now you’re good to go. To verify connectivity you can check your VPN through your phone’s settings via ‘Settings -> VPN’, or visit icanhazip.com.

Setup WireGuard® on iOS (iPhone)

This article will walk you through setting up a WireGuard® client on your iOS device.

1. Get WireGuard®

WireGuard® is readily available in the Apple App Store or from this link.

First, download and install WireGuard® on your phone.

2. Download Configuration File

Once WireGuard is installed you’ll need a configuration file to connect to Skylaski VPN. These can easily be downloaded from your account page here.

Find your client, generate a key if needed, and then download your configuration file.

3. Install Configuration File

Once your configuration file is downloaded, open the WireGuard® app and add it using the button in the middle of the screen. Once your configuration file is added, slide the button next to the filename in WireGuard® to connect.

Now you’re connected. You can verify your connection in your phone’s ‘Settings -> VPN’ or by visiting icanhazip.com.

Setup OpenVPN® on Android

This article will walk you through setting up your OpenVPN® client on your Android phone.

1. Get OpenVPN®

First, you’ll need to download the OpenVPN® client from the Google Play Store or from this link.

2. Download Configuration

Once OpenVPN® is installed on your phone, you’ll need to download your configuration from your account page here. Set your client to OpenVPN® and Generate your configuration if needed.

3. Install Configuration

Once your configuration is downloaded, open the OpenVPN® client on your phone and add the configuration by selecting the ‘File’ tab and browsing to your downloaded configuration.

Once selected, check the ‘Connect after import’ box and ‘Add’ the connection.

4. Configure OpenVPN®

Once connected, let’s do some additional configuration to maximize Privacy and Security.

In Open VPN Settings let’s enable ‘Reconnect on Reboot’ and ‘Seamless Tunnel’ to ensure your phone reconnects upon a reboot & doesn’t allow connections when the tunnel is ‘reconnecting’.

In addition, to ensure your DNS lookups remain private, disable DNS Fallback. This helps just in case any apps don’t want to use Skylaski VPN’s private DNS servers.

5. Configure Android VPN Settings

At this point your OpenVPN® client is all setup. However, there are some additional Android settings we can enable to increase our overall Privacy and Security.

In Settings -> Connections -> More Connection Settings -> VPN -> OpenVPN

Make sure you enable ‘Always-on VPN’. This will make sure Android attempts to stay connected to Skylaski VPN at all times.

On top of that you can also enable ‘Block connections without VPN’ to ensure all connections coming from your phone use the VPN.

Once finished, you can test your connection by browsing to icanhazip.com to verify your IP Address.

Setup WireGuard® on Android

This article should step you through setting up Skylaski VPN with WireGuard® on your Android phone in 4 easy steps

1. Get WireGuard®

WireGuard® is readily available in the Google Play store or from this link.

First, download and install WireGuard® on your phone.

2. Download Configuration File

Once WireGuard is installed you’ll need a configuration file to connect to Skylaski VPN. These can easily be downloaded from your account page here.

Find your client, generate a key if needed, and then download your configuration file. If you’re using Chrome, you might have to rename the file, removing the ‘.txt’ that is appended at the end in certain versions.

3. Install Configuration File

Once your configuration file is downloaded, open the WireGuard® app and add it using the button on the bottom right. Once your configuration file is added, slide the button next to the filename in WireGuard® to connect. Once connected you’ll see a key icon in your notification bar.

4. Secure VPN Settings

Once WireGuard is setup, there are a few extra steps you can take to ensure you maximize the privacy a VPN can provide.

In Settings -> Connections -> More Connection Settings -> VPN -> WireGuard

Make sure you enable ‘Always-on VPN’. This will make sure Android attempts to stay connected to Skylaski VPN at all times.

On top of that you can also enable ‘Block connections without VPN’ to ensure all connections coming from your phone use the VPN.

Once finished, you can test your connection by browsing to icanhazip.com to verify your IP Address.