Category Archives: Security

Top 3 Reasons For A Wireless Router Upgrade

 

Assuming that a wireless router is a set-it-and-forget-it device is an increasingly bigger security risk. If you are truly interested in the best performance and maximum privacy, vigilant monitoring of your home network is a must.

Older wireless routers are often the culprit when network security or WiFi performance problems arise due to unfixed manufacturer flaws or outdated hardware performance.

When issues are consistently occurring, a wireless router upgrade can be the cure!

The Importance of A Wireless Router

A wireless router is the centerpiece of any home network. Every device that uses a connection to the Internet takes advantage of the network created by the router to get online. For more information, FlashRouters has a comprehensive overview of what a routers actually does.

Single Router Setup

A powerful wireless router provides connected devices with the speed and performance to keep activities, like Netflix streaming and online gaming, working optimally.

The speed of a wireless connection is based on a variety of factors, starting with your Internet Service Provider (ISP) package. ISPs offer various subscription packages which are differentiated by bandwidth limitations. Economy subscription packages offer slower connectivity, as ISPs incentivize subscribers to purchase advanced plans for greater bandwidth.

The second factor affecting the speed of the wireless connection of devices is the distance from the router. Simply put, devices that are closer to the router will have a stronger connection to the router’s wireless network.

Furthermore, the make and model of the router affect how fast data is processed. The number and size of antennas, the speed of the internal processing unit (CPU), and the amount of flash memory embedded in the router all affect performance.

Still unconvinced? Here are the top reasons to upgrade:

More Devices Covered

According to research, the number of devices connected to the Internet of Things will jump from nearly 27 billion in 2017 to 125 billion in 2030. Having the proper wireless network infrastructure to support more devices is critical.

Enter MU-MIMO. MU-MIMO technology (Multiple User Multiple Input Multiple Output) reduces competition between devices on the WiFi network. With a MU-MIMO router such as the Netgear R7800 DD-WRT or the Linksys WRT3200ACM, multiple devices communicate with the network at the same time.

Before the introduction of MU-MIMO, routers used SU-MIMO technology (Single User Multiple Input Multiple Output). Devices connecting to networks using SU-MIMO technology compete for connectivity, as the network processes requests on a first-come, first served basis (as shown above).

In other words, devices form a line, like people entering a theater through one door. No one can enter the theater before the previous person enters. Likewise, device requests are processed only once the router processes the preceding device’s request. Consequently, if a network has many bandwidth-hogging devices, congestion can occur. This can lead to slow speeds and subpar performance.

A router using MU-MIMO technology, meanwhile, fixes this problem by breaking up bandwidth into streams. The router processes individual streams simultaneously, allowing for more devices to connect concurrently, thereby decreasing congestion. It is as if the theater above opened two, three, or four doors, instead of one. That allows for greater speeds and better connections.

Upgraded WiFi Standards

A wireless router upgrade can help your network stay up to date with the latest wireless standards. Check out the chart below to see how some of the older wireless standards compare.

 Wireless-GWireless-NWireless-ACWireless-AD
Max Throughput (Speeds):54 Mbps900 Mbps5300 Mbps7200 Mbps
Max Wireless Range (Radius):75 Ft200 Ft500 Ft500 Ft
Wireless Channel Widths:20 Mhz20/40 Mhz20/40/80/160 Mhz5/10/20 Mhz
Wireless Bands:One 2.4 Ghz (Single Band)One 2.4Ghz & One 5 Ghz (Dual Band)One 2.4 Ghz & Two 5 Ghz (Tri-Band)One 2.4 Ghz, Two 5 GHz Bands, & 60 GHz Bands (Quad-Stream)

As shown above, newer wireless standards allow for more device connections thanks to additional wireless bands. Wireless-AD expands on Wireless-AC by adding another wireless band. The new 60 GHz band allows for short range, powerful connections, reducing the load on other bands. Less load means that devices have a longer lifespan, saving you money.

Upgrading to a router with a newer wireless standard will extend wireless range considerably. Newer wireless routers come with more external antennas for better range and connectivity. Case in point, the Asus RT-AC5300 DD-WRT VPN FlashRouter. This customized Open Source router takes the top spot for range with eight external antennas, ensuring that any house can be covered by the network.

Better Security

Upgrading your wireless network also helps deal with the number one issue: security. Older routers are less likely to have updates and therefore have more vulnerabilities. Newer routers are more commonly updated and have better security protocols. However, even they are not free from trouble.

Recent router attacks like VPNFilter have shown that regular routers and stock router firmware are still full of security flaws and vulnerable to hacks. Plus, manufacturers are slow to respond to known flaws. So where does that leave you?

Luckily there is a open-source firmware solution like DD-WRT. It is constantly updated, ensuring that there are minimal issues and if issues do arise, they are resolved quickly. However, installing DD-WRT is difficult, time-consuming, and could leave your brand-new router nonfunctional. That’s where FlashRouters comes in! We’ll take the hassle out of upgrading your wireless network and let you enjoy your upgraded wireless network experience.

Upgrading To A FlashRouter For Maximum Performance

A wireless router upgrade is a great start, but upgrading to a FlashRouter is a more complete solution. A FlashRouter is a customized wireless router upgraded with highly customized open-source firmware. Upgrading to a FlashRouter provides added network stability and performance, increased range, and upgraded security.

Our router experts continually check routers for the newest builds, test them, and configure them onto your unique product. We then help you configure the router to ensure the optimal configuration for your environment. Check out some of our Wireless-AC FlashRouters below:

Linksys
Linksys WRT32X AC3200 Netgear R6400V2 AC1750 Asus RT-AC5300 AC5300
Wireless-AC3200 Mbps
1.8 GHz Marvell Processor
4 Ext Antennas
Top Gaming Router
Wireless-AC1750 Mbps
1 Ghz Broadcom Processor
3 Ext Antennas
Top Economy Router
Wireless-AC5300 Mbps
1.4 GHz Broadcom Processor
8 Ext Antennas
Great For Large Homes
$349.99$199.99$499.99

Interested in upgrading to the ultimate home networking centerpiece? Check out the Netgear Nighthawk R9000 X10 AD7200. It boasts a powerful 1.7 GHz Quad Core Processor and 4 high powered external antennas will provide a powerful bedrock for any wireless network.

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

Bonus: VPN Protection

Upgrading to a FlashRouter allows for additional capabilities and upgrades to an already powerful wireless router, such as making it compatible for a VPN.

Furthermore, each one of our DD-WRT FlashRouters comes with our free FlashRouters Privacy App. The FlashRouters Privacy App revolutionizes and simplifies using a DD-WRT router with a VPN. With the Privacy App, users can:

  • Switch between locations with the tap of a button (as seen below using IPVanish)
  • Manage which devices go through the VPN and which don’t
  • Change VPN Providers with a few clicks on the same device

Want better support for your entire network? The FlashRouters Privacy App is here to help.

Any questions or concerns? Feel free to send us a message!

How To Use Tails And VPN To Increase Privacy

If you’re concerned about your Internet privacy, you’ve probably heard about Tails (The Amnesic Incognito Live System) and Virtual Private Networks.

Here is a rundown on how to use these tools to help protect your data.

What Is Tails OS?

tails-and-vpn

Tails is a Linux-based, live operating system that you can boot up on almost any computer from a USB drive or DVD. Tails runs independently of the computer’s operating system, leaving no trace unless you explicitly ask it to.

The goal of Tails is to preserve your privacy and anonymity and to help circumvent censorship. It includes several applications pre-configured with security in mind. These include but are not limited to: web browser, instant messaging client, email client, office suite, and many more.

Tails uses the Tor anonymity network to protect your online privacy. Tor works by bouncing your connection around a volunteer-based network of relays around the world.

Using Tails And VPN To Increase Privacy

The best way to use Tails and VPN in unison is by placing the VPN connection before the connection to Tor. This setup yields the most benefits, including but not limited to:

  1. The Tor network thinking you are the VPN server.
  2. If the Tor network is compromised, they must also get past the VPN server.
  3. If your ISP blocks the Tor network, the VPN allows access to the Tor network.

This configuration enables Tails to operate exactly as designed but with a VPN server between your computer and the Internet. This can be easily achieved with a VPN FlashRouter.

What Makes a FlashRouter Different?

A FlashRouter is a custom wireless router with VPN capabilities, allowing for easy connection to your favorite VPN provider. This set up allows for perfect connection from your Tails computer, to your VPN provider, to the Tor network, enabling multiple layers of security.Best DD-WRT Wireless-AD Compatible Netgear Router - R9000 Nighthawk AD7200

Have any questions on which FlashRouter to choose? Check out our most popular models or contact our support team for more assistance!

EU Copyright Directive Approved: Catastrophic Results Ahead?

The European Parliament has voted in favor of the EU Copyright Directive. This controversial piece of legislation could lead to catastrophic results for Internet users in the EU. Two articles within the EU Copyright Directive – Article 11 and Article 13 – have been referred to as the “link tax” and the “meme ban.” While defenders of the legislation state the Directive will help stop digital piracy, many fear the effects of these new laws will be nothing short of Orwellian.

Nevertheless, the Copyright Directive is not yet law. The European Council, Commission, and Parliament still need to decide on a final wording, a process that will likely last until December 2018. Once that happens, the Directive will need to be approved one more time by the European Parliament in January 2019. However, Internet users in the EU should still focus on protecting their home networks from even more totalitarian legislation.

First and foremost, the EU Copyright Directive is a form of legislation limiting the use of copyrighted content on online platforms. Proponents of the Directive say that this will help content creators as users will no longer be able to share copyrighted materials. As a result, these proponents believe that content creators will be properly paid for the use of their copyrighted material.

However, the Directive’s opponents see a much darker scenario. Article 13 of the Directive, referred to above as the “meme ban”, states “online content sharing service providers and right holders shall cooperate in good faith in order to ensure that unauthorized protected works or other subject matter are not available on their services.”

The Best VPNs To Prevent The Government From Viewing Your Data

What can EU Internet users do? While using a Virtual Private Network will not prevent the “link tax” or “meme ban” from going into effect, it will protect your network from any snooping intruders, be they of the government or unlawful citizenry. Here are some of the most popular and trust worthy providers:

  • NordVPN – Use over 5156 servers from 62 countries around the world. Pay using bitcoin for maximum security. No logging and military grade AES 256-bit encryption!
  • ExpressVPN – Over 2,000 VPN servers in 148 server locations in 94 countries. Unlimited bandwidth, speed, and server switches. Recommended VPN service for China.
  • IPVanish – No logs! Own and operate their own servers. Over 40,000 IPs on 1,000+ servers in more than 60 countries! Recommended VPN service for the Middle East, including UAE & Dubai.
  • HideMyAss – Connect to a VPN server in seconds. Automatically chooses the least loaded server in a location to ensure top speeds.

Article 11: The Link Tax

Now, back to the specifics of the EU Copyright Directive.

Article 11 has been referred to as the “link tax.” Concerning Article 11, “information society service providers” (news aggregators like Google News) must provide “remuneration” for the “digital use” of “press publications.”

In other words, if a news aggregator site posts a portion of a news article, they will have to pay the publisher of the original article. Article 11 is not clear on just how much of the original article will have to be posted before the initial publisher must be paid. The most recent version of the bill does provide an exemption for “legitimate private and non-commercial use of press publications by individual users”. However, the idea of having to pay for posting a portion of an article should be disturbing for anyone who believes in a free and open Internet.

Article 13: The Meme Ban

Article 13 states that “information society service providers,” sites like YouTube, Facebook, and Twitter, which rely heavily on user-generated content, will be responsible for taking down content that infringes on copyright. A preceding version of the article mentioned the use of “content recognition technologies,” referring to a potential “upload filter”.

Furthermore, Article 13 has been referred to as the “meme ban” as many memes use copyrighted images. Defenders of the Directive believe that memes will be protected by parody laws. However, many believe the “upload filters” will not be able to distinguish between memes and other material.

Protecting Your Network From Draconian Governments

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

There is not much that EU Internet users will be able to do to protect themselves from the Copyright Directive. Facebook, YouTube, Google, and other giants of the Internet will be forced to comply with the legislation if it passes. With this, users will be forced to comply as well.

However, this does not mean that EU citizens need to fall prey to any and all draconian Internet rules. Using a Virtual Private Network from a service like IPVanish or NordVPN on a FlashRouter (like the R9000 pictured above) will allow you to encrypt your entire network. While encryption will not be able to protect you from having content blocked by “upload filters”, it will be able to protect your network from any outside intruders, like the a snooping government or individuals with prying eyes.

In a world of ubiquitous Internet use, it is important to make sure your connections are secure and encrypted. Just as we remember to lock the door to our homes at night, we should do the same for our WiFi networks. While we may not be able to stop every totalitarian action placed by governments in order to limit our Internet use, we can still protect ourselves using a VPN.

The Reddit Hack: What Happened And How You Can Protect Yourself

Reddit Logo

Recently, attackers hacked Reddit, the web’s most popular social news sharing site. According to the Reddit security team, the hack happened on June 19. An attacker was able to compromise a handful of employee accounts within their cloud system and source code hosting providers.

How Attackers Hacked Reddit

In the past few years, “two-factor authentication” has been implemented to help secure online accounts. Two-factor authentication is an extra layer of security that forces users to verify their identity by receiving a text, e-mail, or a separate app.

However, attackers were able to intercept the two-factor authentication from Reddit employees’ phones, granting access to 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.

How Reddit Is Handling The Attack

In this particular Reddit hack, attackers, by gaining read-only access to systems that contained backup data, source code, and other logs, were unable to alter any information. The Reddit security team has since “taken steps to further lock down and rotate all production secrets and API keys, and to enhance our logging and monitoring systems,” as stated in their announcement.

Key Areas Of User Data That Was Accessed

  • All Reddit data from 2007 and before including account credentials and email addresses
    • What was accessed: “A complete copy of an old database backup containing very early Reddit user data — from the site’s launch in 2005 through May 2007. In Reddit’s first years it had many fewer features, so the most significant data contained in this backup are account credentials (username + salted hashed passwords), email addresses, and all content (mostly public, but also private messages) from way back then.”
    • How to tell if your information was included: “We are sending a message to affected users and resetting passwords on accounts where the credentials might still be valid. If you signed up for Reddit after 2007, you’re clear here. Check your PMs and/or email inbox: we will be notifying you soon if you’ve been affected.”
  • Email digests sent by Reddit in June 2018
    • What was accessed: “Logs containing the email digests we sent between June 3 and June 17, 2018. The logs contain the digest emails themselves — they look like this. The digests connect a username to the associated email address and contain suggested posts from select popular and safe-for-work subreddits you subscribe to.”
    • How to tell if your information was included: “If you don’t have an email address associated with your account or your “email digests” user preference was unchecked during that period, you’re not affected. Otherwise, search your email inbox for emails from noreply@redditmail.com between June 3-17, 2018.”

The Reddit team has reported the issue to law enforcement, who are fully cooperating with their investigation. Additionally, Reddit is also messaging user accounts that could potentially be compromised.

This includes enhanced logging, more encryption, and token-based two-factor authentication instead of SMS-based two-factor authentication.

What Users Can Do About The Reddit Hack

First, users are recommended to check whether or not their data has been accessed according to the above instructions. Users are then recommended to change their passwords on Reddit as well as other accounts that may have the same password.

Following these steps will ensure that a further data breach or Reddit hack will not affect your accounts.

Protecting Your Data With A VPN FlashRouter

What Makes a FlashRouter Different?

Furthermore, using a Virtual Private Network, or VPN, is recommended to protect your online anonymity. A VPN allows for users to encrypt and route their online data to secure and remote servers around the world.

With a VPN connection, the Reddit servers are unable to see your IP address or connection. Reddit would only be able to see your VPN’s connection.

Connect All Devices To VPN

A FlashRouters allows your entire home network to benefit from these VPN services, protecting any device you connect to it. For example, accessing Reddit via mobile phone, tablet, or desktop will be protected through your VPN connection.

The FlashRouters VPN Privacy App

Each FlashRouter also comes included with the VPN Privacy App. This is a free app that runs directly through your Internet browser to simplify the VPN router experience.

FlashRouters Internet Privacy App for VPN Routers

Check out some of our best Flashrouters of 2018 or contact our support team for more information!

 

Verizon VPN: What Is It And Why You Shouldn’t Use It

Verizon VPN

Watch out: Verizon VPN is now “a thing.” The Internet Service Provider has unveiled that they will be launching a Virtual Private Network service dubbed Safe Wi-Fi. But is this service really safe? Can you really trust Verizon to protect your information?

Verizon VPN: Can You Trust Them With Your Data?

For most users, using a VPN means uncompromised security and encryption. A VPN means freedom from logging, tracking, and prying eyes. Using Verizon’s VPN goes against everything a VPN stands for.

In essence, the point of a VPN is to circumvent your ISP and hide your information from them. When your ISP owns your VPN, are you really hiding your information?

Verizon’s Supercookie Technology

A few years ago, Verizon was forced to settle with the Federal Communications Commission over their “supercookie” web tracking software. This allowed for tracking of interests and actions by Verizon without user consent.

Verizon had been selling information gathered by their “supercookie” technology to third parties to use for ads. Luckily, the FCC has since cracked down on Verizon’s shady business and forced an opt-out solution for their “supercookies.”

Verizon Does Not Support Net Neutrality

With Net Neutrality dead and gone, it just gives ISPs like Verizon all the more power over your online information. The new rules, or lack thereof, allow for ISPs to sell your online data without consent. With a Verizon VPN, this makes selling your information easier than ever.

The Verdict

Are you really prepared to give up your privacy to Verizon? Of course, it may be enticing at only $3.99 a month with the promise to block advertising and secure your connection, but there are so many better options.

With the Verizon VPN, only devices connected to your Verizon account can access the service. Is this to limit the connections to the VPN? Or is it to track your online activity through the VPN? Who knows?

This also means that you can only use the service on certain devices, which does not include your Wi-Fi only iPad or Mac device.

Alternative VPN Services

Luckily, FlashRouters has teamed up with the best and most trustworthy VPN providers to offer you the best services and privacy solutions. Take a look at some of our favorites below.

  1. ExpressVPN  Now offering the easiest to use custom plug and play VPN router solutions. Top performance in Asia and Australia.
  2. NordVPN – Top service for users in the EU.
  3. IPVanish  Level 1 server speeds worldwide & popular in countries like Saudi Arabia & the UAE.
  4. PrivateInternetAccess  Always a VPN service budget favorite.

Once you select one of these top-notch VPN providers, the next step is to protect your home wireless network and devices. How do you do this? With a FlashRouter of course!

FlashRouters: The All-In-One Solution

What Makes a FlashRouter Different?

A FlashRouter offers capabilities and features beyond your normal everyday router. With open-source DD-WRT firmware pre-installed on each FlashRouter, you get a supercharged and privatized router to protect you and your family.

DD-WRT allows our FlashRouters to be VPN capable, effectively routing any connected devices to any VPN provider of your choice, regardless if they support VPN connections or not. This means that your iPhones, iPads, and various other tablet devices can be protected as well.

Better yet, DD-WRT also has the capabilities to block ads on your entire home network, keeping trackers and “supercookies” out of your browsing data.

And for the cherry on top, we’ve developed a new and intuitive router app to streamline your home network experience. The FlashRouters VPN Privacy App runs directly from your Internet browser enabling users to quickly change options and settings from your computer or mobile phone.

Ready to protect your home network? Check out our best FlashRouters of 2018 or contact our support team for more information!