FlashRouters Privacy News Center: Russia VPN Update, NSA VS. ISO, Router Vulnerabilities & More

Welcome to the FlashRouters Privacy News Center, your one-stop shop for news on worldwide Internet privacy.

Whether it is a hardware vulnerability potentially exposing the privacy of users or a draconian government snooping in on their citizens, FlashRouters provides a solution for online safety in a constantly changing world. Now, let’s check in on this latest Internet privacy top stories.

FlashRouters Privacy News Center

Russia VPN Ban Update: 50 Providers Blocked

After asking the question, “What Happened To The Russian VPN Ban?“, our question was finally answered. Russia first blocked access to cloud-based messaging service, Telegram. Shortly after, Russia proceeded to block over 50 VPN services offering access to Telegram. The Taganasky court banned Telegram over its refusal to hand over encryption keys to the Russian government.

Does The NSA Sabotage And Backdoor Your Internet Of Things Devices?

With Edward Snowden’s revelations on NSA leaks still fresh on our minds, organizations have taken the NSA’s suggestions with a grain of salt. The International Standards Organization has battled with the NSA once again over which cryptographic algorithms to use in IoT devices. Thankfully, the ISO has won these battles, citing that NSA algorithms “Simon” and “Speck” pose security threats to our devices.

Millions Of Home Fiber Routers Vulnerable To Hackers

A recent and comprehensive assessment performed on various GPON routers by vpnMentor show an apparent vulnerability. This vulnerability allowed a way for attackers to bypass authentication on devices. Specifically, this vulnerability is found within GPON HTTP servers. Luckily, this vulnerability has been remedied and quickly patched by vpnMentor.

The Top 25 Most Popular Passwords Of 2017

Every year, SplashData sorts through millions of stolen logins and compiles a list of the most popular ones. Every year is a surprise and 2017 was no different. Unsurprisingly, the top two passwords are “123456” and “password“, with some interesting new additions “starwars” and “monkey.” Is your password in the top 10?

  1. 123456
  2. Password
  3. 12345678
  4. qwerty
  5. 12345
  6. 123456789
  7. letmein
  8. 1234567
  9. football
  10. iloveyou

More Steps To Secure Your Home Network

A FlashRouter provides open-source firmware such as DD-WRT, OpenWRT and TomatoUSB to secure and protect your home network from exploits, whether they come from hackers or snooping governments.

Choose from our most popular VPN & Security Enhanced FlashRouters or creach out to our Team of Open Source Experts for more information!

Comparing YouTube TV, DirecTV Now, & Sling TV

As cord-cutting becomes a popular alternative to cable television, companies are scrambling to get your money.

The options can be overwhelming. FlashRouters has a rundown of some of our favorite live TV streaming services to get you started on cutting the cord.

YouTube TV Cord-cutting option

YouTube TV

YouTube TV launched only last year, making it one of the newest cord-cutting options available. It is a TV streaming service that lets you watch live TV from major broadcast and cable networks.

For $35 per month, subscribers enjoy local and national live sports and shows as they air. Incidentally, this service allows subscribers to record their favorite shows without storage limits, as well as the ability to stream wherever. Ultimately, YouTube TV allows up to 6 accounts under one membership, allowing personal DVR libraries and 3 simultaneous streams.

YouTube TV includes over 50 channels, including ABC, CBS, FOX, NBC, and many more. Additional sports channels and premium networks such as SHOWTIME, Shudder, SundanceTV, and Fox Soccer Plus are also available for an additional monthly charge.

Currently, YouTube TV is only available in the United States.

Sling TV

Sling TV Cord-cutting Option

The second cord-cutting option is Sling TV, or Sling Television. Sling TV is an a la carte TV streaming service, meaning you can pick and choose which channels you have.

At only $20 per month, Sling TV is our cheapest cord-cutting option. This plan is called Sling Orange and includes 23 channels, including ESPN, AMC, the Food Network, A&E, TNT, CNN, and many more. Paying $25 per month gives you Sling Blue, which includes 45 live channels, including NBC, USA, Bravo, and SyFy. It also allows up to 3 simultaneous streams.

Sling TV’s selling point is its a la carte TV streaming options. These options are extra packages that add more channels to the Sling Orange or Blue plans. These packages include sports, entertainment, comedy, kids, news, and lifestyle packages.

Moreover, much like YouTube TV, Sling TV is only available in the United States.

DirecTV Now Cord-cutting Option

DirecTV Now

DirecTV Now is DirecTV’s very own cord-cutting option. Interestingly enough, this service is offered by DirecTV, a satellite television company.

This service starts at $35 with other packages. Take a look below to see which one suits you.

DirecTV Now Plans

DirecTV Now also offers premium channels such as HBO or CINEMAX for $5 per month and SHOWTIME or STARZ for $8 per month.

Meanwhile, if you couldn’t tell, the common trend with these live TV cord-cutting options is that they are only available in the United States.

How To Access Cord-Cutting Services Outside The United States

Thankfully, a solution exists for those wanting to start cord-cutting outside of the United States.

This is achieved with a virtual private network. A VPN allows individuals to get around geographically locked content by tunneling all your data through secure servers all over the world.

Some customer favorite VPN providers include:

  • NordVPN – Affordable EU-based VPN service with fast reported speeds worldwide.
  • IPVanish – The premier US-based VPN provider that owns and operates their own servers.

Not only does this assist in circumventing geographic restrictions, it encrypts and protects your data as well.

As a matter of fact, picking a secure server located in the United States tricks streaming providers such as YouTube TV or Sling TV into thinking you are in the United States.

VPN Cord-Cutting With A FlashRouter

What Makes a FlashRouter Different?

To make your cord-cutting experience even better, a FlashRouter is hands down your best option. Our FlashRouters are upgraded with open-source firmware such as DD-WRT or Tomato.

A VPN typically allows for one connected device at a time, disallowing multiple users to access the internet. With a FlashRouter, you get the benefits of a VPN on your entire home network. Moreover, that means geographic workarounds as well as encryption for all your connected devices.

Furthermore, are you planning to stream Direct TV Now on an Apple TV? or Sling TV on a Roku? In any case, if you want to use a VPN on either of these devices, they will have to be connected to a VPN router, as these streaming players can only be used through a VPN on the network level.

Start cord-cutting today with some of our bestselling devices:

Top Netgear VPN Router for Netflix- R7000 TomatoUSBAsus RT-AC56U DD-WRT Netflix VPN Router
R7000 Nighthawk TomatoAsus RT-AC56U DD-WRTAsus RT-AC5300 AC5300 DD-WRT
1 Ghz Broadcom Processor, 3 Ext Antennas800 Mhz Broadcom, Wireless-AC, USB 3.08 External Antennas, 1.4 GHz Broadcom
Top Range, Enhanced TomatoUSB VPN Splitter FirmwarePopular for High Speeds in Smaller Homes.Advanced Processing Speeds, Powerful WiFi, USB 3.0

Any questions? Feel free to send us a message!

Russia VPN Ban Update: 50 VPN Providers Blocked

A little over a month ago, FlashRouters asked the question, “What happened to the Russian VPN ban?”. At the time, it seemed Vladimir Putin’s plan to introduce a Russian VPN ban had plundered. Furthermore, this plundering of Putin’s VPN ban was believed to have been the result of the technical incapability of the Roskomnadzor.

The Roskomnadzor is titled as the Russian government’s Federal Service for Supervision of Communications, Information Technology and Mass Media. According to Karen Ghazaryan of the Russian Association for Electronic Communications, the Roskomnadzor does not have the technical solutions to implement a true ban of VPNs.

However, we did suspect the Russian government would enact a blanket ban on VPNs, as we have seen in China. Now after some development, we see that the Russian government is claiming to have blocked access to over 50 VPN providers.

Russian VPN and Telegram Ban

On April 13th, Moscow’s Tagansky court blocked access to Telegram in Russia. Telegram is a cloud-based messaging service. The Taganasky court banned Telegram over its refusal to hand encryption keys for the service to the Russian government.

Shortly after the ban, the Russian government claimed to block 50 VPN services offering access to Telegram. The Russian government has not revealed which VPN services were blocked, so there is still speculation about the validity of this claim.

Regardless of validity, this claim is a step in a scary direction. Now that the Russian government is claiming to block access to not only VPN services but banning messaging apps as well, the fight for Internet Privacy in Russia is seeing serious opposition from a draconian state.

Using a VPN Router to Avoid VPN Ban in Russia

Best DD-WRT Wireless-AD Compatible Netgear Router - R9000 Nighthawk AD7200

If the Russian government has in fact blocked access to VPN services, one possible workaround is to purchase a pre-configured VPN FlashRouter.

A FlashRouter, like the Netgear Nighthawk R9000 DD-WRT pictured above, can offer an alternate method of VPN integration to encrypt your entire network. The VPN FlashRouter will encrypt all connected devices, including devices which have no native VPN support like Roku, Xboxes and much more.

If you would like your router to arrive working with your VPN out of the box, provide us with your VPN username and password and we will pre-configure the device.

However, due to customs issues, shipping routers directly to Russia can be frought with issues. This does not mean all hope is lost! Using a service like Qwintry freight forwarding service is a good middle ground to utilize their expertise in navigating any transportation issues if you are looking to ship to Russia.

Have any other about VPN and Internet Privacy questions? Let us know.

Best Asus Routers for DD-WRT and Tomato Open Source Firmware

Asus RT-AC56U

Here at FlashRouters, we only stock the best of the best wireless router brands available. This includes, but is not limited to Linksys, Netgear, and Asus. Today, we will be highlighting some of our best Asus routers and showcasing how open-source firmware makes them even better.

Open-Source Firmware On Asus Routers

Our Asus routers come pre-flashed with your choice of two different open-source firmware. These firmwares are DD-WRT and Tomato.

Both of these firmwares fully upgrade your router’s capabilities, whether it be stability, performance, or even the ability to use a VPN. Some upgrades include:

Whether your preferred firmware is DD-WRT or Tomato, you will not be disappointed. At this point, there are no major functional differences between DD-WRT and Tomato firmware. The difference between DD-WRT and Tomato firmware shows itself in the design of the graphic user interface (GUI) of each router.

To see the differences between the two firmware, compare and contrast this DD-WRT emulator with this Tomato emulator.

Best ASUS Router For Installing DD-WRT Alternative FirmwareAsus AC5300 - 8 External Antennas

ASUS RT-AC5300 AC5300 DD-WRT FlashRouter – The ASUS RT-5300 comes packed with a powerful Broadcom 1.4 GHz dual-core processor. It boasts 8 powerful external antennas for maximum WiFi coverage for larger homes and offices.

ASUS RT-AC87U AC2400 DD-WRT – The ASUS RT-AC87U sports a Broadcom 1 GHz dual-core processor. It includes 4 powerful external antennas that will be more than enough for a typical home WiFI set up. This router comes with a QSR1000 wireless chip, the only Wireless-AC chip that includes 4×4 MIMO.

Best ASUS Router – Tomato

ASUS RT-AC3200 AC3200 Tomato FlashRouter – With a dual-core Broadcom processor clocking in at 1 GHz, the ASUS RT-AC3200 is nothing to scoff at. It includes six high-powered external antennas for easy coverage of larger homes.

ASUS RT-N66U N900 Tomato FlashRouter – The ASUS RT-N66U, deemed The Dark Knight, includes a modest 600 Mhz processor. Although it may look like a small device, after flashing with Tomato firmware, its internal antenna can reach Wireless-N ranges of up to 450 feet!

The FlashRouters Solution

With a FlashRouter, the problems that come with stock firmware are a thing of the past. Stability issues, security issues, and performance issues are no more.

Benefits of FlashRouters

So what are you waiting for? Upgrade your wireless network with a FlashRouter today!

Does The NSA Sabotage And Backdoor Your Internet Of Things Devices?

The International Standards Organization and the NSA are back at it again. This time, they’re fighting over which cryptographic algorithms to use in our “Internet of Things” devices.

This leads us to pose the question: does the NSA sabotage and backdoor our gadgets?

A History Of NSA Sabotage

The ISO believes the NSA does, in fact, sabotage devices. Furthermore, cryptographic standards are already at risk of NSA sabotage. This has been made evident by the research of whistleblower Edward Snowden.

Snowden’s documents prove the NSA has sabotaged the National Institution for Standards and Technology’s cryptographic standards. These documents effectively nullified and discredited the institution.

Even more so, numerous networking experts claim that the NSA meddled with the now-defunct WEP protocol, furthering these convictions.

A Win For The ISO

For the past three years, the ISO has rejected the NSA’s request that their cryptographic algorithms “Simon” and “Speck” should be the standard in all IoT devices.

These proposed cryptographic cyphers have been effectively shot down by the committee members of the ISO, citing:

Two delegates told WikiTribune that the opposition to adding these algorithms was led by Dr. Tomer Ashur from KU Leuven University, representing the Belgian delegation and it was supported by a large group of countries.

Israeli delegate Orr Dunkelman told Reuters he did not trust the U.S. designers following the September meetings.

“There are quite a lot of people in NSA who think their job is to subvert standards,” said Dunkelman. “My job is to secure standards.”

The NSA said Simon and Speck were developed to protect U.S. government equipment without requiring a lot of processing power, and firmly believes they are secure.

Securing Your Network from the NSA

While the ISO has won this battle, this does not mean that our struggle against the NSA is finished. It is important to take every step you can in order to secure your home network, not only from the NSA, but from all snooping and nefarious traffic.

Using a Virtual Private Network will allow you to tunnel your Internet traffic through a remote server, changing your geo-location and encrypting all of your traffic. However, most VPN providers offer subscriptions with device limitations. Furthermore, not all devices have native VPN support. Devices like gaming consoles and smart TVs require a VPN router for encryption.

With a FlashRouter, like the above-pictured Netgear R7800, you can take advantage of a wireless VPN network, wherein all connected devices will be encrypted by the VPN. This is the case whether or not a device has native VPN support.