Best VPN & Privacy Articles of 2018: 2018 FlashRouters Recap

2018 was another monumental year for cyber-security. Here at the FlashRouters blog, we covered trends in privacy, security, and worldwide tech news. Curious how the world of routers developed over 2018? Here are the best FlashRouters posts of 2018.

Best FlashRouters Posts of 2018: Privacy

Privacy featured heavily in our stories this year. Accordingly, we’ve compiled a list of some of our best FlashRouters Privacy posts in 2018.

ISO vs. NSA

In May, we covered the International Standards Organization’s battle against the National Security Agency. Providing security for citizens against snooping government agencies is one of FlashRouters’ chief concerns. The NSA is no exception.

In 2013, whistleblower Edward Snowden revealed the corruption internal to the National Security Agency. Through his research, we learned the NSA sabotaged the National Institution for Standards and Technology’s cryptographic standards. This sabotaging of security standards has effectively nullified and discredited the institution.

This time around, the NSA would like their cryptographic algorithms “Simon” and “Speck” to serve as the standard for all IoT devices. While the NSA firmly maintains that these algorithms are secure, and are made to require little processing power, many ISO members did not believe these claims.

The International Standards Organization, to its credit, has rejected this request for three years. Further, as this action reveals, the ISO shows no signs of acquiescing to the NSA.

Firmware Vulnerabilities

In June, we wrote on a topic dear to our hearts: firmware vulnerabilities, specifically factory firmware vulnerabilities. FlashRouters “flashes” routers with Open Source firmware. This process removes the vulnerabilities found in factory firmware.

With this in mind, it is important to understand just how flawed factory firmware is. In June 2018, Insignary, a firm that runs binary-level code scanning, brought to light the fact that most wireless vendors have yet to patch old firmware vulnerabilities.

These vulnerabilities include the key re-installation attack known as KRACK, the Denial of Service attacks FFmpeg and OpenSSL, and a remote code execution attack called Samba. In other words, using a router with factory firmware opens the door to these attacks. An Open Source FlashRouter, on the other hand, like the Netgear R7800, voids these vulnerabilities.

Router manufacturers rarely support and update routers after the first two years. Conversely, the communities behind Open Source firmware are consistently repairing router flaws.

Amazon Alexa Privacy Concerns

In December, we expressed our concerns about Amazon Alexa.

Amazon Echo and its voice-controlled intelligent personal assistant service, Alexa, is presently the most highly-rated smart speaker system on the market.

Many Alexa users believe the device is recording every word it hears. This is not the case, as in fact Alexa is set to be on the lookout for a wake word. However, without the security of a Virtual Private Network from an Open Source router, the Amazon Echo is vulnerable to attacks from hackers.

Even if a hacker were to access only voice commands, this would still be a serious cause for concern. Thankfully, a FlashRouter is able to provide remedy for this issue.

Best FlashRouters Posts of 2018: Hacks and Attacks

Secure Your Routers From Rusian Malware VPNFIlter

Hacks and attacks also featured heavily in our stories this year. To that end, we’ve compiled a list of some of our best FlashRouters Hacks and Attacks posts in 2018.

VPNFilter Attack

In May, the Russian malware bug known as VPNFilter came to our attention. VPNFilter infected at least 500,000 devices in at least 54 countries.

This is a particularly dangerous bug. VPNFilter can delete itself and render infected routers inoperable. Additionally, VPNFilter may be used to incorporate infected routers into a botnet to be used in a Distributed-Denial-of-Service attack.

Thankfully, flashing your router with Open Source firmware can prevent this vulnerability.

Xfinity and Reddit Hacks and Bugs

In June, security researchers discovered the Xfinity router activation website was leaking sensitive information. This leak allows would-be hackers to easily obtain Comcast customers’ SSIDs and passwords. With this information, a hacker has unauthorized access to routers, exposing unencrypted traffic on customer’s wireless networks.

In August, we revealed how attackers hacked Reddit. By intercepting two-factor authentication from Reddit employees’ phones, hackers were able to access their accounts.  This enabled the attackers to gain read-only access to backup data, source code, and other logs. Some of these logs included all Reddit data prior to 2007, including user e-mails, private messages, and internal files.

In both of these cases, we recommended a number of security steps to take to ensure privacy against hackers. However, more than anything, we recommend taking advantage of a VPN service.

Best FlashRouters Posts of 2018: VPN Bans Around The World

best posts 2018

The use of VPNs once again came up as an important issue. Countries and businesses alike have banned or severely restricted VPNs.

Countries Taking Actions Against VPNs

2018 brought us VPN bans in Russia as well as in Turkey. As draconian governments continue to infringe on the privacy of individuals, it is more than likely that more countries will follow suit in 2019.

One way to get around VPN bans is to purchase a pre-configured FlashRouter. Supplying the FlashRouter Support Team with your VPN username and password will allow the device to show up at your door plug and play. Also, if the country you are in has blocked access to VPN sites, bringing a pre-configured FlashRouter over the border will allow unlimited Internet access.

Streaming Services Blocking VPNs

Draconian governments are not the only actors looking to stop VPN use. Streaming services, abiding by copyright law, are looking to do the same.

2018 saw an uptick in the list of streaming services blocking VPN traffic. Netflix, Hulu, Sling TV, HBO Now, Amazon Prime Video, YouTube TV, and Google Play all blocked traffic from VPN servers during the year.

This does not mean all hope is lost. In fact, some of our most trusted VPN providers, ExpressVPN and NordVPN, are working around the clock to provide working servers for these services.

Best FlashRouters Posts of 2018: The FlashRouters Privacy App

2018 also saw the introduction of the FlashRouters Privacy App.

The Privacy App expands VPN compatibility to all wireless and wired devices, including those without native VPN support. With the FlashRouters Privacy App sorting and managing devices is simple, even as more devices connect to the VPN network.

The FlashRouters Privacy App also includes simple server switching and a by-device VPN kill switch.

To view the full list of features, just visit our FlashRouters Privacy App Page.

Have questions about our App? Curious about router news in 2019? Send us a message.

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