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Top Five Paid VPNs for 2018

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Finding a good VPN and using it is basic online hygiene. But before we get onto the actual numbers, let’s do a quick qualifier. What actually makes for a good VPN?

 

A great VPN has plenty of great servers

 

Servers, servers, servers. The more exit points back onto the internet your VPN has got, the shorter distance from wherever you’re at to wherever you’re going. Think of it like a teleporter that only has specific destinations it can send you to. The more destinations it’s got, the more likely it is that you can get close to your intended target.

 

This is the primary way in which a VPN can increase your network connection speed. It also has the added bonus of making it appear as if you’re in a different country, a must if you plan on watching international television.

 

Trust is key

 

You also want to be able to trust your VPN provider. One of the most common reasons to use a VPN is to protect yourself from data snoops but the one group guaranteed to still be able to see your data are the guys who are hosting its transfer. Check the privacy rules of your VPN host before you subscribe.

 

Number of devices

 

Number of keys: Most VPN providers will only rent you a number of connections and you need to decide which devices to connect. Off the back of this, does the VPN support mobile device connection as well?

 

What about the Benjamins?

 

Finally, value for money. We’ve got to include the word ‘value’ there because no half decent VPN is going to give away their services. They’ve got those servers to maintain. If you do get a free VPN double check that point about which data of yours they’re selling because, trust me, they’re making money somewhere.

 

So, who do you go with? Here’s five to get you started.

 

NordVPN: The budget-friendly all-rounder

 

Why? Well, they’re fast and offer up to 6 simultaneous connections but the real value with these guys is the price which begins at a startling $2.75 per month. It may lack some of the more in-depth features of the higher tier stuff but you can replicate a lot of that locally if you know what you’re doing.

 

It also has a handy dandy ‘Kill Switch’ which is basically a panic button to disconnect you from the net if you end up in the wrong part of the digital neigbourhood.

 

Tunnelbear: The super-secure multi-device choice

 

A bit more expensive, this one, at $4.99 per month starting price — but you do get an extra connection for your buck. It also doesn’t have as many servers as some of its competitors so you may want to check out their seven-day free trial to see if it meets your needs.

 

So why is it on the list? Tunnelbear boasts an excellent reputation for privacy and security, as well as ease of use.

 

It makes for an excellent first step to determine your needs as a user and the support is definitely there to help you get setup and running and it’s “Ghost bear” and “Vigilant” services provide extra layers of security even on top of that normally boasted by a VPN. Well worth a look if it’s your first time.

 

Pure VPN: Move fast for less

 

This group are all about speed. Based in Hong Kong, they have over 750 servers in over 140 countries and that means you’re going to get where you’re going. Fast! Whilst not as many device connections as some of the others on this list, if you’re looking for an out and out speed connection for international multiplayer gaming, this is definitely worth a look.

 

They also have a dedicated support team to help with any issues. It may make a few trims to the experience here and there with less features than other providers but the upshot of that is it keeps itself at very reasonable cost, starting at only $2.45 per month.

 

SurfEasy VPN: No logs, no tracking

 

I put these guys on my list for one reason alone. Privacy. It may not outperform some of the others all of the time but builds itself on a strong ethos and a strict ‘no logging’ policy. They don’t track what you’re doing. I will point out that only focuses on browsing, downloading and other such stuff and the government can force them into revealing what few details they have but even so, the rock solid 256 OpenVPN encryption makes these guys really very secure.

 

ExpressVPN: Fast, good… but not cheap

 

Final contender in the ring: ExpressVPN. One of the more expensive providers I’ve found but you get what you pay for in this life and ExpressVPN back up their claims with a 30 day money back option. They’re fast, secure and easy to setup.

 

They’ve got a 24/365 support line and make the same guarantees as SurfEasy on their logging policies but are based out of the Virgin Islands which does not have data retention laws.

 

They have a lot of servers (over 140) in 94 different countries so you can also expect good speeds and their service will automatically pick the best servers based on your location and that of your destination.

 

These are some of the biggest players in the VPN world and if you’re shopping for your first paid VPN, the answer’s probably here. If you need something a little more specialized, or you want to compare and contrast more deeply, check out VPNadviser.com for advice and guidance. And remember, the best VPN is the one you use!

As part of the editorial team here at Geekreply, John spends a lot of his time making sure each article is up to snuff. That said, he also occasionally pens articles on the latest in Geek culture. From Gaming to Science, expect the latest news fast from John and team.

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The United States has prohibited the sale of Kaspersky software due to concerns about security risks originating from Russia

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The United States government declared on Thursday its prohibition of the sale of Kaspersky antivirus within the nation and is urging American users of the software to transition to an alternative provider.

The Bureau of Industry and Security, a division of the Commerce Department, has implemented a unique ban on Kaspersky, claiming that the company, being headquartered in Russia, poses a threat to both U.S. national security and the privacy of its users.

Russia has demonstrated both the ability and the intention to utilize Russian companies, such as Kaspersky, to gather and weaponize the personal data of Americans. “Hence, we are obliged to undertake the course of action that we are currently implementing,” stated U.S. Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo during a conference call with journalists.

Reuters was the first to report on the ban before it was officially announced. A representative from Kaspersky did not promptly reply to the inquiry for a comment.

Starting on July 20, Kaspersky will face a ban on selling its software to American consumers and businesses. However, the company will still be allowed to offer software and security updates to its current customers until September 29. Subsequently, Raimondo stated that Kaspersky would be prohibited from delivering software updates to customers in the United States.

“This implies that the quality of your software and services will decline.” Raimondo strongly advises finding an alternative to Kaspersky without delay.

Raimondo stated that U.S. consumers who are currently utilizing Kaspersky’s antivirus software are not in breach of any legal regulations.

Raimondo stated that individuals and businesses in the United States who currently use or have previously used Kaspersky products and services are not breaking the law, have not committed any wrongdoing, and will not face any legal consequences. “I strongly urge you to cease using that software and transition to an alternative as soon as possible to safeguard yourself, your data, and your family.”

Raimondo announced that the Department of Homeland Security and the Justice Department will collaborate to notify American consumers. Additionally, the U.S. government will establish a website to provide affected individuals with the necessary information to comprehend the rationale behind our actions and guide them in taking appropriate measures.

According to a high-ranking official from the U.S. Commerce Department, the federal cybersecurity agency CISA will engage in communication efforts with critical infrastructure organizations that rely on Kaspersky software in order to assist them in identifying alternative options. The official further stated that they have no intention of specifying any particular action by Kaspersky that prompted today’s decision. (The Commerce Department asked reporters not to reveal the official’s identity.)

The ban, which was announced on Thursday, represents the most recent intensification in a protracted sequence of measures taken by the U.S. government against Kaspersky, a company based in Moscow.

In September 2017, the Trump administration implemented a prohibition on the utilization of Kaspersky software by U.S. federal agencies due to concerns that the company may be coerced into assisting Russian intelligence agencies. In a previous report, it was disclosed that Russian state-sponsored hackers had illicitly acquired classified U.S. documents that were stored on the personal computer of an intelligence contractor. This breach occurred due to the use of Kaspersky’s antivirus software, making it the first documented case of espionage resulting from the use of this particular company’s software.

The Wall Street Journal reported in April 2023 that the decision to prohibit Kaspersky has been under development since last year.

According to the company itself, Kaspersky has more than 240,000 corporate clients globally and over 400 million individual customers. The senior official refrained from disclosing the exact number of U.S. customers that Kaspersky has. However, the official mentioned that there are a substantial number of customers, including critical infrastructure organizations as well as state and local government entities.

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Google Chrome now has a ‘picture-in-picture’ feature

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Google is getting ready to make a big change to how its Chrome browser works. This is because new browsers from startups like Arc are making the market more competitive. The company said on Wednesday that it will be adding a new feature called “Minimized Custom Tabs” that will let users tap to switch between a native app and their web content. When you do this, the Custom Tab turns into a small window that floats above the content of the native app.

The new feature is all about using Custom Tabs, which is a feature in Android browsers that lets app developers make their own browser experience right in their app. Users don’t have to open their browser or a WebView, which doesn’t support all of the web platform’s features. Custom tabs let users stay in their app while browsing. Custom tabs can help developers keep users in their apps longer and keep them from leaving and never coming back.

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If you make the Custom Tab into a picture-in-picture window, switching to the web view might feel more natural, like you’re still in the native app. People who send their customers to a website to sign up for accounts or subscriptions might also find this change useful, since it makes it easier for users to switch between the website and the native app.

After being shrunk down to the picture-in-picture window, the Custom Tab can be pushed to the side of the screen. Users can tap on a down arrow to bring the page back to the picture-in-picture window when it is full screen.

The new web experience comes at a time when Google is making it easier for Android users to connect to the web. People can find their way to the web with AI-powered features like Circle to Search and other integrations that let them do things like circle or highlight items.

The change is coming to the newest version of Chrome (M124), and developers who already use Chrome’s Custom Tabs will see it automatically. Google says that the change only affects Chrome browsers, but it hopes that other browser makers will add changes like these.

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Threads finally starts its own program to check facts

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Meta’s latest social network, Threads, is launching its own fact-checking initiative after leveraging Instagram and Facebook’s networks for a brief period.

Adam Mosseri, the CEO of Instagram, stated that the company has recently implemented a feature that allows fact-checkers to assess and label false content on threads. Nevertheless, Mosseri refrained from providing specific information regarding the exact timing of the program’s implementation and whether it was restricted to certain geographical regions.

The fact-checking partners for Threads—which organizations are affiliated with Meta—are not clearly specified. We have requested additional information from the company and will revise the story accordingly upon receiving a response.

The upcoming U.S. elections appear to be the main driving force behind the decision. India is currently in the midst of its general elections. However, it is improbable that a social network would implement a fact-checking program specifically during an election cycle rather than initiating the project prior to the elections.

In December, Meta announced its intention to implement the fact-checking program on Threads.

“At present, we align the fact-check ratings from Facebook or Instagram with Threads. However, our objective is to empower fact-checking partners to evaluate and assign ratings to misinformation on the application,” Mosseri stated in a post during that period.

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