Best Background Check Sites in 2018 Who Put Quality on Top

Check into someone, you will be amazed by how many options will be turned up. There are hundreds of sites out there which all claim to be able to take the hard graft and long hours out of background checks and deliver you the information you need quickly and easily. Some will deliver on this promise, while others will just take your money and run. Which is why choosing the right background check site is an important decision.

That is where this article comes in. Because just as a background check site can take the legwork out of looking into someone’s history, so too we have taken the legwork out of choosing a background check Site. We have tested all of the main players on the market against the core criteria which our research and feedback from users tells us are the main things most background check site users are looking for. And we have distilled the market down to four sites which we are confident make up the Best background check Sites 2018. So, to find out everything you need to know about background check Sites as well as which sites we recommend, just keep on reading.

Best background check sites 2018

Picking through the huge number of background check sites to find the right ones for you can be a daunting prospect. There are hundreds on the market, and while many are quite legitimate and will do their best for you, there are more than a few that you would be best advised to steer clear of. In seeking to identify the best background check sites available at the moment, we therefore employed a number of core criteria which research and user feedback suggested were the main things customers were looking for from these sites. Those criteria were:

  • Comprehensive background checks – Different sites will collate data from different sources and some are far more comprehensive than others.
  • Accurate and comprehensible reports – The end-product that the customer receives is all important, but the quality and detail of final reports can vary wildly from site to site.
  • Ease-of-use – Most background check sites use a dashboard to allow users to easily manage their projects. But some of these can be easier to use than others.
  • Thorough research – There are a few sites which will do little more than a basic internet search and then put what they find in a pretty report document. But most customers expect more than that, so we have sought out those sites which go the extra mile to find out as much as possible.
  • Search customization – A good background check site will allow you to customize your research depending on the information you have available and what you want to know. We have only recommended those sites with the best possible search customization options.
  • Effective customer support – Background checking is an imprecise science and it is quite common for users to need to engage with the site to get to the information they need. Good customer support is therefore vital.
  • Mobile apps – As well as a good desktop dashboard, more and more background check site users want to be able to access their data on mobile devices too. Not all sites can offer this facility to date, so we have only picked out sites which have mobile apps available.

It is important to state that while we have only had positive experiences with all of the background checking sites we have recommended in this article, background checking is not a precise science. We cannot absolutely guarantee that all of our recommended sites will get everything right every time. But we can guarantee that they will always do their best to deliver customer satisfaction and that they are the very best that are available on the market in 2018. The four background checking sites we recommend based on the above criteria are:

1 — CheckMate

Based on our testing and the core criteria most users prioritise, the best background check Site on the market in 2018 is definitely Instant CheckMate. Users of CheckMate can set up a background check using an absolute minimum of information. Their service lets you search by full or even partial name, as well as last known location. This means they are great for researching long-lost friends, relatives, or even new neighbours you want to find out more about. Their prices, in general, are a little higher than some of their rivals, but you can be sure of the quality of work being done for that money. Their reports are also detailed, accurate, and easy to read, while their customer service is open around the clock on both phone or email.

CheckMate offers a basic and premium level of service. If we are honest, the basic CheckMate service is a bit limited, but it will still offer you information on things like sex offender status, criminal records, marriage and divorce records, details of relatives, address history and any public social media profiles. For detailed information on such things as financial history, court records, driving licenses and weapons licenses, you will need to pay a bit more for their premium plan. CheckMate only has an app available for Android devices at the moment, so while iOS users may not fancy them, for everyone else, they are one of the best background check sites around.

2 — BeenVerified

BeenVerified is another background check provider which offers a comprehensive research service and delivers consistently impressive results. Like CheckMate, their prices are generally a little higher than the market average and their pricing structure is a bit more complicated too. But they do offer a superb level of service For the price of their standard rates, you can expect them to search through financial records, property reports, social media photographs, criminal records and convictions, address history, and the names of known relatives.

If you are willing to pay a little more for their premium service, BeenVerified will go into even more detail, including sending a runner to courthouses to seek out more detailed criminal records. Their reports are all detailed and accurate, but their Premium rate reports were amongst the best we received from anyone. BeenVerified offers high-quality apps for both iOS and Android devices too, as well as a customer support service that is open seven days a week, offers long out-of-office hours and can be accessed via email or phone.

3 — Truthfinder

This site’s name is a bold one, but in testing it’s certainly living up to its billing. Truthfinder claim to search through millions of public records and can provide such information as contact details, current and previous addresses, criminal and court records, driving records, personal information, and details of known relatives. In addition, they also offer what is described as a “deep web research” service which claims to dig out more information from social media and other online resources than any of their competitors. Their results are unquestionably comprehensive and their reports of a high standard.

Like other background check sites, Truthfinder offers basic and premium rates. If you want details such as a person’s education history, voter registration records, weapons and other licenses held, you will need to pay a little more. But their prices are about average for the background check market at the moment and good value for money given the service they provide. Truthfinder only offers an Android app at the moment, which means iOS users cannot access their data on the go. But their desktop dashboard is another well-thought-through one and Truthfinder is another provider which offers 24/7 customer support too.

4 — Intelius

Our final recommended background check site for 2018 is Intelius. Intelius offers background checks which cover an enormous range of data sources and these are available at an extremely reasonable price. The research that goes into an Intelius background check includes a criminal records check, financial history research, information on property records, educational history, job history, and a lot more besides. They also offer a reverse phone number lookup service. Intelius are one of the best-regarded sites around and with good reason. Their attention to detail is remarkable and they have already completed more than 50 million background checks for satisfied customers from across the USA.

The Intelius offer is not just an automated one either, there is a human element to much of what they do too. This includes sending an individual to search through non-digitized records in criminal and civil courthouses to ensure no information slips through the net. Intelius customers will access their reports and any other information through the sites dashboard. This is a nicely designed and easy-to-navigate tool, which most users love. Their reports are also well regarded too, being both accurate, detailed, yet easy to read. Intelius offers dedicated apps available for Android and iOS mobile devices too, to let their customers access their data on the go. And their excellent customer service team can be contacted via email, on the phone, or through their online troubleshooter service.

What is an online background check?

Online background checking sites the place to go if you want to find out more information about just about anyone. They offer research services and will search through all publically available information and data about a person based on the details someone enters into the site. This can be as little as a partial name, an email address, or even just a phone number. These sites will delve into thousands of different sources to find out as much about that person as they can, or as much as their customer has asked for. They will then collate all of this information they gather into an easy-to-read report. Background checking sites use a completely legal process to access and compile information that is already in the public domain.

They are there to take away the stress of finding this information. They use the latest technology to search through a huge range of sources of information automatically and fast. They then compile that information to build a clear portrait of the person being checked. If the process is done by an individual manually it would take many days of hard graft. But a background checking site can do the job in a fraction of the time and for a minimal amount of effort. When they have done this, they will provide customers with a straightforward report which distills all of this information into an easily-readable format which tells you everything you need to know.

Where do background checking companies source their information?

This really is a $64,000 question, and there is no clearly defined answer to give. Every background checking site operates differently and they will all use gather data from a different selection of sources depending on what data they have access to and what their individual customers are looking to find out. Having said that, background checking sites will still generally look at the same type of data even if they are getting it from different places. It is all information that is freely and legally in the public domain and available to be accessed.

The type of information they will access includes things like criminal records, education records, credit check records, driving records, social security data, litigation records (to reveal details of any legal proceedings they were involved in), archive records, personal references, and any information that has been posted publicly on social media sites and other web forums. Because this data is openly available, most of these sites have set up algorithms which allow them to search and compile this information much faster than a regular researcher could manually. So, if you want to carry out a background check that is quick, thorough, and reliable, a background checking site is the only way to do it.

Why are some background checks free while others have to be paid for?

A lot of people will search around for a free background checking site when they first decide to do a check into someone. The idea of paying for all this information that is freely in the public domain anyway is something many are uncomfortable with. That is understandable, but also unrealistic. Carrying out a background check is not a simple task. It requires using either man-hours or technology to access and search the data, and then putting that information together in a report requires yet more resources.

If you want a comprehensive, accurate, and reliable background check to be carried out, then there is inevitably going to be some cost involved. What is impressive is the fact that many of the best background checking sites have kept this cost so low. Prices can vary quite a bit between different background checking sites and if affordability is a big deal for you, this is something worth considering when choosing which site to use. But do bear in mind that if you do go for a cheaper option, you do run the risk of compromising on the quality of service you receive too. And you get nothing for free these days, and any background checking site that is offering a report for free is highly unlikely to provide with either in-depth or trustworthy information.

When can I use a background check?

There is a potential moral dilemma that can be involved in running a background check on someone. It might feel intrusive or akin to spying on them, which is why it is important to remember that background checking sites are not accessing any information that is not already readily available and in the public domain. This is not surveillance to try and find out something new about someone, it is merely looking at information about them that is already openly available.

However, there are still some laws in the USA over when you can and cannot run a background check on someone. If you are thinking to use a background checking site, it is important that you are aware of the handful of circumstances when doing so could be against the law. Not all of the sites themselves make this completely clear, which is why we have compiled an easy-to-follow list of what background checking sites can and cannot be used for.

Background checking sites can be used for…

It’s ok to use a background checking site in the following scenarios:

  • Finding out about your new neighbors
  • Looking into your new partner
  • Seeking out long-lost friends or relatives
  • Finding out who keeps calling your phone
  • Identifying sex offenders in your community
  • Research what information is publically available about yourself

Background checking sites cannot be used for…

It is not ok to use a background checking site in the following scenarios:

  • Researching future employees without their permission This is considered illegal under the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) in the USA. If you do want to research a potential employee, you must first obtain written permission from them to do so.
  • Researching the background of domestic workers – Looking into the history of potential cleaners or other domestic assistants is also illegal under the FCRA unless you have first obtaining written permission.
  • Finding out if someone is eligible for credit, insurance, scholarships, or grants is also illegal under the FCRA.
  • Identifying suitable tenants for a property to be rented out. Again, this is illegal under the FCRA.

If you do attempt to use a background check company for one of these four purposes and are caught doing so, you could face legal repercussions including potentially having to pay significant damages to the person you have looked into.

Conclusions

background checking is a big business right now and there is no shortage of sites around that claim to offer the best service available. Inevitable, some are much better than others and if you do want to carry out a background check, it can be hard to choose which site to use. In this article, we have used the main criteria most users are looking for from a site and combined that with our experiences testing these sites to pick out the four sites which we feel are the best background checking Sites on the web in 2018.

Have you had any experiences using a background checking site? How did you find them? How did our recommended sites work for you? Are there any other background check

Read Best Background Check Sites in 2018 Who Put Quality on Top by David Spencer on AddictiveTips – Tech tips to make you smarter

Reverse Phone Lookup: What Can You Learn From One?

Ever had a missed call from a number you don’t recognize and wanted to know who was calling? Or have you ever wanted to know who your partner or kids are messaging and calling all the time, but they just won’t tell you? Perhaps you have come across a random phone number and are wondering who it is for. This is where a reverse phone lookup can help. It is a confidential service that can give you a remarkable amount of information just from the ten digits of a cell phone or landline number.

Performing reverse phone lookups is just one of the services offered by public records research companies. These are businesses which offer a research service that allows users to access publicly available information about people quickly and easily. They offer various types of services including background checking, people searching as well as reverse phone lookups. In this article, we are going to tell you everything you need to know about reverse phone lookups, including exactly what information you can expect to learn. We will also recommend the very best public records research companies to carry out your reverse phone lookup.

How to run a reverse phone lookup

There are different ways to carry out a reverse phone lookup. One simple way is simply to enter the phone number into a search engine and see what comes up. If it is a company calling you, it is quite likely that this will tell you who it is. But if it is an individual’s landline or a cell phone number, you might not have quite so much luck.

In this instance, the easiest way to run a reverse phone lookup is to use a public records research companies to do the job for you. These companies which specialize in carrying our background checks and other searches of publically available information use the latest technology to quickly scour multiple sources and dig out all the information that is available on any given number. They will then provide all of the information to you in an easily-digestible report which can be accessed online or on your smartphone or tablet. There are lots of companies that offer this service, but we have picked out the top four further up this article.

Best reverse phone lookup providers

A quick Google search for public records research companies and background checking sites will reveal that there is no shortage of providers around. And while not all of them offer a reverse phone lookup service, a large majority do. So, choosing which reverse phone lookup provider to use can be a difficult decision.

We have done the legwork you and tested the reverse phone lookup service on all of the main sites to try and identify which providers do the job best. As part of this process, we have also identified the core criteria that most users are looking for from a reverse phone lookup provider based on both our own testing experiences and feedback from users of these services. The core criteria that we have used in making our final decision were:

  • Proper research –There are a few charlatans who will basically just Google a number and then tell you what they find. You can do this for free, so we have only identified providers which go the extra mile and have carried out as much research as possible.
  • Accurate and comprehensible reports –There is no point using a site to carry out a reverse phone lookup if the information makes no sense to you when it comes back. We have therefore identified those companies which offer easy-to-understand, accurate, and readable reports.
  • Minimal Information Requirements – The best reverse phone lookup sites will be able to provide you with information regardless of how much or how little information you give them to start with. We have identified sites that can deliver comprehensive reports based only on a phone number, with no more information needing to be provided.
  • Ease-of-Use – Some of the sites that offer reverse phone lookups can be easier to use than others. Most will offer a dashboard to enable you to access the information they have found easily. But some of these dashboards are easier to navigate around than others, so we have tried to only pick out those sites with an easy-to-use user interface.
  • Good Customer Support –The best reverse phone lookup sites will offer all clients an effective customer support service and reliable customer communication.
  • Mobile apps –Many users tell us that they value the ability to access data on the go highly. So, we have ensured that all our recommended providers offer mobile apps as standard.

It is important to be clear to all readers that performing reverse phone lookups is not a precise science. We cannot absolutely guarantee that the sites we have recommended in this article will get everything right all of the time. Having said that, a phone number is a definite piece of information and as long as you enter it correctly into the site, there is no reason why the site should make a mistake given the advanced technology they bring to these searches. There are four sites we have identified which our testing suggests offer a consistently reliable reverse phone lookup service that meets all of the core criteria we have identified above. Those four sites are:

1 — BeenVerified

Our number one recommendation for a site to turn to for a reverse phone lookup service is BeenVerified. They are priced a little higher than others, but their service is every bit as impressive as their rivals. BeenVerified is a site which only needs a phone number to get going. They will also run a comprehensive search of multiple public data sources to turn up as much information as possible about each number.

They claim to offer a different range of information to Intelius, with age, addresses, social media profiles, and additional contact information all likely to be uncovered. They BeenVerified online dashboard is another which is well-designed and easy to use, while their reports are also usually easy-to-read and well laid out. BeenVerified is another provider which has mobile apps for both iOS and Android devices. They also offer a great customer service which is available via email and phone and which operates long out-of-office hours which makes it ideal for those at work.

2 — CheckMate

Another provider of reverse phone lookup service which we have no hesitation to recommend is Instant CheckMate. They offer a similar service to both Intelius and BeenVerified, and actually claim to be able to link a phone number to even more information. As well as an address and personal information about the individual, they also claim to be able to find out about criminal records from a phone number too. In practice, we only found this information came back once or twice, but it was impressive none-the-less when it did.

CheckMate also runs one of the most comprehensive social media searches too, with all the latest new sites searched in addition to all the old favourites. Checkmate is a little more expensive than the market average for reverse phone lookups, but with a great dashboard and well-designed reports, they do deliver a great service for their customers. This a help service which is available around the clock by phone or email, and which we were really impressed with. They do however only offer a mobile app for Android devices at the moment, which is a shame.

3 — TruthFinder

While we have ranked Truthfinder third on this list, they still offer a superb reverse phone lookup service which both our testing and reader feedback has shown to be every bit a match for the other providers on this list. Their reverse phone lookup service can offer all the usual information, plus a few extras that none of their rivals claim to offer. This includes details of other people who might be associated with the number, possible pictures linked to the phone, details about the owner’s education and employment, and much more.

This is all delivered in a report which is also easy-to-navigate and pretty comprehensive. They are a bit too keen to try and push users to upgrade to their full background checking service for our liking, but that shouldn’t take away from what they deliver in their standard reverse phone lookup service. Truthfinder’s pricing is around average in our experience, but they also only have an Android app available at the moment. However, they do also offer round the clock customer support, which is provided on a toll-free number and delivers impressive results.

4 — Intelius

If there is any site on the market at the moment which runs BeenVerified a close second, then it has to be Intelius. Both our testing and the feedback we have received from users suggests that Intelius offers the best reverse phone lookup service around at the moment. They don’t need a lot of information to get going. Just a phone number will do. Intelius will then search through hundreds of different data sources to find out as much information as they can about the number.

Their results are impressive. As well as the name behind the number, Intelius can also find details about the type of cellphone being used, the carrier serving the phone, the name, address, and location of the owner, and even such details as their address history, age, relatives, and more. The Intelius online dashboard is available to all users and it is a nicely designed and easy-to-use tool. Intelius also offer mobile apps for both Android and iOS devices too. Perhaps the best features of Intelius is the way it delivers its information. No matter how much information they have unearthed, the Intelius reports are always accurate and easy-to-read. Their customer service is pretty impressive too and can be contacted via email, on the phone, or through their online troubleshooter service.

What is a reverse phone lookup?

The concept of a reverse phone lookup is remarkably simple. It is a method to find out who the person or organization behind a random phone number is. There was a time when we could use a telephone directory for this purpose. But the advent of the cell phone and the decline of landlines means that, while directories do still exist, they are far less common and not nearly as comprehensive as they once were. That is because they do not carry cell phone numbers.

A reverse phone lookup is a modern way to do the job. public records research companies such as the ones we have recommended above, have access to millions of different sources of publically available information. They can use the latest technology to scour these data sources for information about any phone number. And while there are no cast-iron guarantees, there are very few occasions when they cannot tell who is behind a number. Often, they can give you a great deal more information on top of just a name.

What information can you get from a reverse phone lookup?

A lot of the time, all people want to know from a reverse phone lookup is who is behind the number. Whether it is an individual or a company, once you know who is calling you, you can make a quick decision about whether you want to speak to them or not, and whether it is a junk call or something more important. But there are some situations, such as if you are trying to find out who it is your partner or child keeps calling, that you may want to know a bit more.

If you need it to, a reverse phone lookup is able to reveal a great deal more information than just a name. Because most public records research companies will search through all available data, they will often uncover a lot more information. This can include such things as addresses, address history, email addresses, social media accounts, marital status, occupation, relatives, and much more. There are no guarantees of course and each number will throw up different information, but it is quite common for a full reverse phone lookup to be able to paint quite a clear picture of an individual just from their phone number.

Why run a reverse phone lookup?

There could be any number of different reasons you might want to run a reverse phone lookup. They can be run on both landline and cellphone numbers which means that there are various different motivations depending on how you have come across the number. Some of the most common reasons include:

  • Receiving a missed call or multiple missed calls from a number you don’t recognize.
  • Your partner or child is making multiple calls to the same number and you want to know who they are talking to and why they are running up such a big bill.
  • You find a reference to a telephone number somewhere but have no recollection of what it is.
  • You are expecting an important call, and have a missed call, but are not sure if it is the call you are waiting for.
  • You have been receiving harassing phone calls / prank calls / silent calls and want to track down the culprit.

Conclusions

Reverse phone lookup is a useful service for a number of different reasons. They can provide you with not only the name behind the number, but a wide variety of additional information as well. There are a lot of online sites which offer a reverse phone lookup service, but some are much better at it than others. In this article, we have highlighted the best four reverse phone lookup providers on the market at the moment.

Have you ever carried out a reverse phone lookup? How successful was the experience for you? Did you use one of our recommended providers? If so, is there any feedback on your experience that you would like to share with our readers. We always welcome comments and opinions from all of our readers, so why not share them with us using the comment boxes below.

Read Reverse Phone Lookup: What Can You Learn From One? by David Spencer on AddictiveTips – Tech tips to make you smarter

Russia Bans Telegram, VPN Use Soars. What Should I Do?

It was announced on April 16th that the popular encrypted online messenger app Telegram was to be blocked in Russia. Under new draconian legislation, messaging services must now comply with court orders to hand over their encryption keys the the Russian government. Telegram was not just unwilling to do so, but unable, since their privacy protocols are such that even they don’t have access to these keys.

 

Since that day, the Russian internet has collapsed into chaos. The Russian media regulator, the Roskomnadzor, has blocked access to millions of IP addresses in an attempt to stop Russian people from accessing Telegram. The knock-on effect of this has seen thousands of innocent websites suddenly become unavailable in Russia. As we will explain in this article, the best solution to restrictions on Telegram and the wider internet censorship that is occurring is a VPN.

Best VPN to evade online censorship in Russia

If you have been affected by the chaotic situation on the Russian internet, then you are probably considering signing up with a VPN to save yourself a whole load of hassle. But which VPN to choose? There are a lot of VPNs on the market and, despite Russian government efforts to ban VPN use, almost all of them remain available in Russia.

The type of website currently unavailable in Russia is extremely varied. Everything from online retailers and social media sites to online games and video streaming sites are currently offline. To access all of these, Russians need a VPN which can fulfill a few core criteria. Those are:

  • Fast connection speedsSome VPNs can slow down connections which is not good for any users, but especially bad for online gaming and streaming videos and other content.
  • Encryption strength and security – To keep your online activity hidden from both the Russian authorities and your own ISP, Russian users should be looking for a provider which can offer the strongest levels of encryption possible.
  • Effectiveness of privacy policies – To help keep your online activity safe from prying eyes and the Russian authorities, users will also want to choose a VPN with reliable privacy policies.
  • Size of server network – Russia is a big country and choosing which is the best server to connect to will depend on where you are located. As a result, the more servers available to users, the better.
  • Simultaneous connections – Russian online censorship is affecting all internet connections, so users should be looking for a provider which allows them to use a VPN on all their internet-enabled devices at the same time.
  • No bandwidth restrictions – Some VPNs have data limits which can severely restrict what you can do online. Most users these days will want unlimited access, and this is especially true for those who use the web for data intensive activities like streaming and online gaming.

Having identified these criteria, the next question is which VPNs can tick all of these boxes. We have looked at all the main VPN providers on the market right now to see which VPNs can do the best job for Russian internet users. We have found four VPNs than offer a great all-round service and will suit the needs of almost all Russian internet users. Those VPNs are:

1. ExpressVPN

ExpressVPN is a premium VPN provider that delivers everything Russian internet users need from a VPN provider right now. They specialise in super-fast connection speeds, and their huge network (more than 1,500 servers in 94 countries around the world) consistently offers some of the best speeds around. Their encryption is robust too, with 256-bit AES encryption over OpenVPN as standard. Being located in the British Virgin Islands means ExpressVPN can offer fantastic privacy provisions including a completely reliable no user logs guarantee.

ExpressVPN has no bandwidth restrictions for any subscribers and you can use their service on up to three devices at any one time. This is not as many as their rivals but should still be sufficient for most users. Their prices are a little higher than many of their competitors, but their large and loyal customer-base suggests that they do still offer excellent value for money.

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2. IPVanish

IPVanish is another world-class VPN provider which offers a great service for Russian internet users. Its reputation is built on its super-strong encryption provisions, and their L2TP and OpenVPN protocols both use 256-bit encryption as standard. IPVanish also offers shared IP addresses and a kill switch to all users. Their privacy policies are also excellent and they are another provider which offer a reliable no user logs guarantee.

While strong encryption might be their most prominent feature, IPVanish can also offer fast connection speeds too. Just as importantly, these speeds are also consistent across their entire server network too. That server network is another big one, with more than 850 servers in 60+ countries around the world open to all subscribers. They have no bandwidth restrictions and also offer five simultaneous connections to every user. Their all-round service is excellent and IPVanish is another VPN which will offer a secure and fast VPN service to all Russian internet users.

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3. NordVPN

NordVPN is relatively inexpensive, but still provides world-class service. There was a time when NordVPN had a reputation for being a bit slow, but they have since made a sizable investment in upgrading their network to super-fast servers.  Their encryption is also very robust with 256-bit encryption on OpenVPN connections available as standard as well as the usual features such as a kill switch and shared IP Addresses.

NordVPN also has an impressive range of additional security features including double VPN servers (which encrypt your data, passes it through a proxy server, then encrypts it again before routing it through yet another server) along Onion over VPN servers (which push your traffic through the TOR Network as well as a VPN for additional security). Their privacy provisions are second to none, with no user logs guaranteed. And their server network is one of the biggest around, with an enormous 1779 servers available in 61 countries globally. With no restrictions on user data and up to six simultaneous connections for every subscriber, it is little wonder Russians are turning to NordVPN in such large numbers.

Why was Telegram blocked in Russia? 

In 2016, Russia passed sweeping new counter-terrorism legislation commonly known as the Yarovaya Laws. Part of this new legislation was a requirement that encrypted communications providers must allow Russian security and intelligence agencies access to their services. Failure to do so would result in a fine at first and continued non-compliance would see the service being blocked altogether. Telegram, which was founded by Russian citizen Pavel Durov, was one of the first to fall victim to these new rules. In 2017, they were fined 800,000 rubles (US $14,000) for refusing to hand over their encryption keys to the country’s Federal Security Service (FSB).

They appealed, but in March of this year, the Russian Supreme Court ruled against them and gave Telegram a deadline of April 4th to hand over their encryption keys or see their service blocked across the country. Telegram responded by explaining that the demand was “technically impractical” because the way Telegram sends encrypted messages means that the company itself simply doesn’t have access to the Encryption keys. They also argued that the ruling was unconstitutional in Russia because it breached Russian citizens right to freedom of communication. Having missed the April 4th deadline, the Russian media regulator, known as the Roskomnadzor, announced on April 16th that Telegram would be blocked across Russia.

How has Russia tried to block Telegram?

Telegram was aware that the Russian authorities were likely to try and block their service in Russia. Given that Russians only made up 7% of Telegram users, other companies might have shrugged their shoulders and turned their focus to other markets. But Telegram was founded by a Russian and Pavel Durov was determined to keep his service available in his home country. Telegram, therefore, preempted the move by shifting their entire service onto shared servers, primarily hosted by Google Cloud and Amazon Web Services. The effect of this is to spread their service over a huge number of servers. To completely block Telegram, Russia would have to block millions of different IP Address. The question was whether Russia would choose the nuclear option or not.

The answer could already be seen in their recent efforts to block another encrypted communication app called Zello. In that case, the Roskomnadzor provided ISPs in Russia with a list of 36 different Internet subnets which they were required to block. These comprised a total of more than 15 million IP addresses. And of course, they have tried a similar approach with Telegram. It is difficult to make an accurate estimate of the extent of these blocking efforts in this case, though one report (in Russian) makes a conservative estimate of almost 18 million IP addresses being blocked.

The knock-on effect of efforts to block Telegram

Moving Telegram onto shared servers means it is not the only site using those IP addresses. So, when the Russian authorities blocked those servers, they also prevented Russians from accessing a huge number of other innocent websites too. Given the number of IP addresses being blocked, it is no surprise that thousands of other websites are reporting connectivity issues in Russia. Affected sites include Google, YouTube and Gmail, as well as Viber, Spotify, and the Russian language social media network Odnoklassniki. A number of online games are currently unavailable in Russia including Guild Wars and World of Warships are also offline. Additionally, countless online retailers (including Amazon) and other websites are also reporting issues too.

Ironically, one online service which doesn’t seem to have been taken down is Telegram, which continues to be accessible in Russia more than a week after this ban first came into force. While there is believed to have been a decline is access to Telegram of around 70% it is still available, and the service has added a useful feature for Russian users which allows them to switch IP Addresses within the app if they encounter a problem.

How is this possible? The blocking efforts of the Roskomnadzor have been scattergun at best and the size of Telegram means that blocking access completely would involve taking down pretty much every AWS and Google Cloud server. As they make up a huge chunk of the internet, that would be a huge gamble by the Russian authorities. And the ban on Telegram has actually ironically served as a great marketing tool for the service in Russia. It is being discussed in Russian media and more Russians are aware of the service than was the case before. Indeed, it has been reported in some quarters that there has been an increase in the number of downloads of Telegrams app in Russia since April 16th.

Where do VPNs come in?

VPNs are an effective tool for accessing censored content online. As part of the inherent security and privacy benefits they bring, a VPN can encrypt your online data and also change a user’s IP address. This is the piece of code which tells ISPs and websites where in the world you are located. If you are in a country where internet censorship is commonplace, such as Russia, by connecting to a VPN server outside of your country, you are able to view websites that are usually unavailable. And because your data is encrypted, your ISP cannot see what you are doing online to place restrictions on you either.

The Russian authorities are well aware of how VPNs are used and actually banned them in Russia from November last year. But this ban has had no impact so far, with many experts suspecting that authorities in the country lack both the resources and technical knowledge to be able to implement an effective ban. Telegram, too, are aware of the potential of VPNs and see them as valuable tools in their campaign to keep their service available in Russia. Pavel Durov has recently pledged millions of dollars in bitcoin funding to VPNs which remain operational in Russia. And the statistics suggest that the Russia people are well aware of the importance of VPNs to their continued free use of the internet and services like Telegram too.

Our study shows a huge spike in VPN use in Russia

An examination of search engine results for the term ‘VPN’ across Russia shows an increase of almost 240% in the number of people running a search on the term. This pattern is consistent across the whole country, not just in major cities as might have been expected. Indeed, it was in smaller cities and towns such as Krasnoyarsk Krai (270% increase), Rostov (260% increase) and Omsk (240% increase) where some of the biggest increases were seen.

It seems that this spike has been caused not so much by people wanting to access Telegram, but the other websites which have got caught up in this issue. Searches for terms ‘VPN Telegram’ or ‘Telegram VPN’ were only up by around 104%, whereas the term ‘VPN’ on its own saw a much higher increase. We can, therefore, deduce that the efforts by Russian authorities to block Telegram is having the unintended consequence of driving more internet users behind encryption than was the case before.

Of those VPNs that we have recommended for use to get around the Telegram block in Russia, VyprVPN reported a growth in new accounts in Russia of more than 190%, while mobile downloads were up 198%. ExpressVPN reported even bigger increases with a 300% rise in sales to Russia. And NordVPN, which is gaining tremendous popularity in Russia, reported a 254% rise in sales there. Their CEO, Marty P. Kamden, released a statement highlighting these figures and said, “We are having a lot of first-time users from Russia. People simply need to connect to a VPN server to reach any IP address where they can download Telegram.” Our data suggests that may not be the primary motivating factor, but it is clear that more Russians are now accessing the internet via a VPN than ever before.

Conclusion

Russia’s attempts to block Telegram has resulted in a massive increase in VPN use across the country, which the authorities there obviously hadn’t foreseen. While their efforts to block Telegram have been largely ineffective, they have successfully taken scores of other websites down. This has left frustrated Russian internet users with little choice but to turn to a VPN to gain access. As a result, their online data is all now protected by their VPNs encryption and no longer accessible to the Russian authorities either. The whole purpose behind the Russian regime’s efforts to block Telegram is to gain more control over what Russians are doing online. But their bungled attempts have had the opposite effect and actually raised the profile and usage figures of tools which help keep Russians private and secure online as well as granting them access to a free and open internet, unrestricted by the Russian state. And they can still use the Telegram messaging service if they want too.

Have you been affected by the Russian government’s efforts to block Telegram? Are you a Telegram user or have you found other sites you frequent have gone offline? Have you turned to VPN to regain access? Which of the VPNs we have recommended in this article do you use? How effective have they proved to be? We are always interested to hear the thoughts and experiences of all our readers, so why not share them with us using the comment box below!

Read Russia Bans Telegram, VPN Use Soars. What Should I Do? by David Spencer on AddictiveTips – Tech tips to make you smarter

How to Install Selfless on Kodi – IPTV Kodi Add-On

Searching for a good IPTV addon for your Kodi installation can be frustrating. The Selfless addon is the proverbial needle in the haystack, and has proven to be a godsend among users starved for reliable streaming solutions. Today, we’ll briefly discuss its pros and cons, as well as how to get it installed on your device. Read on!

Always Use a VPN With Kodi

Before diving into the installation instructions, take a moment to consider your security online. Kodi itself is a safe, open-source platform created by well-intentioned developers who simply want to make your streaming experience a positive one. While all official content is free and legal, some third-party addons may grant access to copyrighted content. For this reason, authorities in various countries paint all Kodi traffic with a broad brush, and may levy countermeasures against its users.

A VPN can help by encrypting all of your data and hiding your IP Address. Anyone snooping in on your data stream will see only a garbled mess of unintelligible encryption routed from a server that is almost certainly not the point of origin. But which VPN provider should you choose?

IPVanish – The Best VPN for Kodi

If you’ve been searching for a VPN which is virtually tailored to the Kodi experience, look no further than IPVanish. Connection speeds are stable and blazing fast across their entire network of proxy servers (950 strong in more than 60 countries worldwide), ensuring that your streams are as crisp and smooth as possible while bypassing geoblocking.

Exceptional 256-bit AES encryption makes it virtually impossible for third parties to see what you’re doing, while IPVanish’s strict no-logging policy ensures that your provider will never been in a position to snitch on you in a pinch. After extensive testing of all the options on the market, we can confidently say that IPVanish is the best VPN for Kodi.

IPVanish offers a 7-day money back guarantee which means you have a week to test it risk-free. Please note that Addictive Tips readers can save a massive 60% here on the IPVanish annual plan, taking the monthly price down to only $4.87/mo.

How to Install Selfless Kodi Add-on

  1. On the Kodi homepage, navigate to SYSTEM (the cog icon) > File Manager > Add Source > None
  2. Type the following EXACTLY: http://bliss-tv.com/blisstv/ and select Ok
  3. Highlight the box underneath and give this media source a name like blisstv and then click OK
  4. Go back to your home screen.
    • For Kodi 17 Krypton or later: Select Add-ons > Add-on Browser (open box icon)
    • For Kodi 16 or earlier: Select SYSTEM > Add-Ons
  5. Select Install from Zip File > blisstv > repository.bookmark.X.X.zip > and wait for the Add-on enabled notification
  6. Select Install from Repository > Bookmark repository > Video Add-ons > SelfLess > Install
  7. Congratulations! Your addon is now installed and ready to use.

Selfless Addon First Impressions

In terms of design, Selfless leaves something to be desired. However, this initial negative is vastly outweighed by the addon’s range of content on offer. So long as you are looking for English-language content, you’ll be hard pressed to want for more. A quick glance at the main menu reveals several tabs:

  • The Big List
  • Manual Links
  • WWE SmackDown Live
  • Rock’n’Roll
  • USA Channels
  • 24/7 Shows
  • Video on Demand
  • WWE Live
  • Olympic 2018 Live
  • Sports Heaven
  • UK Channels
  • Live Games

As you can see, there are a few areas where Selfless particularly excels. Live sports is one, with the Sports Heaven and Live Games sections providing multiple links to most major sports event.

Digging Deeper into the Pros and Cons

  • Pros

Selfless offers a lot of content, and while it takes a bit of effort to find, you will be rewarded in the end. This slight sticking point can be explained by the fact that Selfless is a relatively new addon. However, being a fresh face at the Kodi party, the addon receives a regular updates from the developers. This ensures that the user experience is improving all the time, while (perhaps more importantly) keeping broken links to a minimum. In testing, we found most links to be quite reliable, while the quality of streams on offer was generally of a high standard.

  • Cons

As alluded to before, the design and lack of search features can make finding what you want a time-consuming process of trial and error. Additionally, some categories also require you to download an additional addon for them to work. We are usually wary of that, but in this instance, there doesn’t appear to be anything malicious going on. It is nonetheless an unnecessary annoyance.

Conclusion

Selfless is not perfect and if the developer truly wants to evolve it into a quality IPTV addon, there is still work to do. But at a time when reliable IPTV addons are a rare and prized commodity, Selfless is a worthwhile addition to any Kodi library.

Read How to Install Selfless on Kodi – IPTV Kodi Add-On by David Spencer on AddictiveTips – Tech tips to make you smarter

Why Smart Homes Need A VPN: 4 Reasons to Do So

In the past decade or so, the internet has gone from a informational convenience to in indispensable tool that shapes virtually every aspect of our daily lives. And its next stop is our homes, as the Internet of Things (IoT) revolutionizes the way we do just about everything. Smart homes are truly the wave of the future!

If you are unfamiliar with ‘IoT’, the term refers to the huge range of internet-connected devices and gadgets we can buy which help us to do every possible kind of daily task. And the term ‘Smart Home’ refers to the IoT devices we use in our home. These days, almost every conceivable device can be connected to the internet. This brings huge possibilities, but also huge risks too. It is vital that we take steps to protect ourselves from these risks which is why, as we shall explain, smart homes need a VPN.

What is a Smart Home?

A smart home makes use of internet-connected devices to help us manage every aspect of our living. These devices, which are frequently given the umbrella term ‘Internet of Things’ (IoT), are modern versions of everyday items that are now connected to the internet. As a result, many can be managed remotely often using apps on your smartphone or programmed to perform tasks automatically.

Many newly built properties these days claim to be smart homes. They might include things like automated lights and an inbuilt sound system. There could well be an app to help you manage your heating or air conditioning remotely (so you can be sure that your house is at the right temperature when you get home from work), as well as helping you to be more energy efficient. But even older properties are moving in this direction. When you buy a new boiler, for example, it is likely to be connected to the internet. And even items as mundane as your refrigerator or your coffee machine can be internet-enabled. Smart homes are coming whether we like it or not, which is why we all need to be prepared.

What is the Internet of Things (IoT)?

The Internet of Things, or IoT, is a term used to describe an interconnected network of everyday devices designed to make our home lives easier. Slowly but surely, IoT devices have moved into the mainstream.

Most gadgets and appliances that you buy for your home these days will be connected to the internet. For some, there are clear benefits for the user. Being able to remotely manage your home security system, alarms, and CCTV cameras is clearly very useful. Equally, being able to control things like lights and heating systems means you don’t have to worry about your house when you go on holiday. The days of leaving the radio on to make people think there was someone at home are very much in the past. Nowadays you can turn on the lights as usual in the evening from anywhere in the world. By the same token, you can save on your electric bill by programming your home to power down its devices when you’re not at home!

But even smaller gadgets are being connected to the internet these days too. If you buy a smart coffee machine, you can programme it to remember how you like your coffee and to make it for you automatically so it is ready when you wake up in the morning. It can even send you a notification when its ready to drink. Your robot hoover can vacuum your house while you are out. Your Smart TV can record programmes for you automatically, notify you when shows you like are on, and even change channels automatically to ensure you catch the ten o’clock news each night. When the IoT first came into the public consciousness, it was billed as something which would revolutionise our lives. And little-by-little, it is doing just that.

Why Smart Homes need a VPN

The proliferation of IoT devices and the rise of smart homes can make many everyday tasks much easier and this is all thanks to being connected to the internet. But their greatest asset also brings with it their biggest risk. Because the grim reality is that the internet is not a safe place. While many internet users are well intentioned, there are no shortage of hackers out there who are looking to steal or con their way to a fast buck at the expense of less-savvy internet users than themselves. Equally governments of all countries, whether authoritarian regimes or fully-fledged western democracies, have seen the internet as an opportunity to monitor their citizens. As a result, the use of IoT devices comes with considerable security and privacy risks, which we have outlined below.

  1. Security risks – It might seem a bit far-fetched to think that hackers might want to break into your coffee machine. But when you consider that items such as your house alarm and your car are all connected to the same network, the possibilities for hackers become more clear. There have already been countless cases of car thieves successfully stealing cars by hacking into their onboard computer systems. Equally, many houses fitted with the latest security systems have also fallen prey to the same style of attack. Hacking into a relatively small device can enable access to everything you do online in the home too. This means online banking, shopping habits, and other sensitive information could potentially fall into the hands of someone who has managed to hack into your smart doorbell.
  2. Privacy risks – As well as the risks of losing online bank details to hackers, there are more specific privacy risks related to IoT devices too. As they extend into every aspect of our lives, it is possible to use the data they collect to paint a very detailed and accurate portrait of our lives. It is quite conceivable to use data from IoT devices to work out when people are in and out of the house, what they are doing while they are at home, and even where they go when they are outside. People’s home are supposed to be a sanctuary where they can relax and do what they want in private. An unsecured IoT network puts this at risk by essentially placing surveillance equipment in every room in the house.
  3. Surveillance risks – As well as potentially harvesting data about every aspect of our lives, some IoT devices can carry even more obvious privacy risks. If you have CCTV cameras inside or outside your house, these can be hacked to literally watch what you are doing. There have also been several cases of baby monitors being compromised and hackers being able to watch children in their bedrooms. And it is well know that accessing the webcams that are built into all smartphones, tablets, and laptop computers is pretty easy these days. And there is the latest trend for personal assistant devices such as Amazon’s Echo, Apple’s HomePod, and Google’s Home. By placing these devices all over our homes, we are putting active cameras and microphones into every room and trusting that they are only operating when we switch them on. However, there is a growing body of evidence that suggests they are not and that we are in fact helping big tech companies, governments and hackers to surveil us even as we sleep.
  4. The folly of trust – By snapping up these IoT devices and turning our homes into smart homes, we are placing a great deal of trust in the manufacturers of these devices. But why should we do that? User data is a valuable commodity for big business these days and many IoT manufacturers see their devices as an easy way to gather such information. Plenty will either sell this information to third parties or otherwise use it elsewhere in their business to promote their own products and services to you. By buying their product, you are likely to have already consent to allow them to do this in the terms and conditions small print. And by not taking steps to secure your own devices, you are offering carte blanche to not only the manufacturers, but anyone who can compromise their device, to breach your own online security and privacy too.

Why are IoT-enabled devices not secure?

Some IoT devices do come with inbuilt security features. This is especially true of larger items such as home alarms and CCTV systems. But these systems are rarely flawless and so sophisticated are modern hackers these days that few can withstand a sustained attack for long. Many smaller IoT enabled devices do not even try to be secure, and can be easily compromised by even the most novice of hackers.

There are a number of reasons why this is the case. The biggest one is probably cost. In its early days, IoT-enabled devices were expensive and as a result didn’t sell in big numbers. Manufacturers realized that to make IoT devices commercially successful they had to be priced at the same level people were used to paying for such items. As a result, security features tended to be jettisoned to keep prices down. Size is also a factor. Many IoT-enabled devices are extremely small and adding security would make them noticeably bigger. As a result, security is no longer seen as a priority by the manufacturers of IoT-enabled devices and their users are the ones that suffer the consequences of this.

How to keep to your Smart Home safe

With the risks of being connected to the internet as great as ever and IoT device manufacturers abdicating their security responsibilities, the onus falls instead on users to ensure that their smart home is secure and their privacy protected. This is no great break with tradition. Users of computers and smartphones are well used to having to invest in security software to protect themselves. But with IoT devices lacking that same level of user interface it is often not immediately clear how you can protect them.

The answer is simple. The best tool to keep your IoT devices and Smart Home safe and secure is a VPN. However, to protect everything, you will need to install your VPN not on your computer or smartphone, but directly onto your Wi-Fi router. A VPN works by encrypting all of your online data and then passing it through an external server to anonymise it before that data heads off to its intended destination.

By installing a VPN onto a router, you are ensuring that your entire Wi-Fi network is protected. This means that any device that connects to your Wi-Fi is automatically protected by your VPNs encryption and all its data is passed through the VPNs external server.  As IoT devices all have to be connected to your Wi-Fi connection in order to work properly, this applies to them too and means that everything in your Smart Home can be protected with a VPN.

Best VPN to secure your Smart Home

There are no shortage of different VPN providers on the market at the moment and all are well aware of the vulnerability of smart homes and the potential their products have to perform a vital service for users of IoT-enabled devices. Nevertheless, some providers are still better suited to the job than others. When choosing the Best VPN to secure your Smart Phone, it is sensible to consider the following criteria:

  • Router compatibility – For a VPN to protect a Smart Home, it must be capable of being installed on a router. Most VPNs these days are, but there are still a few that are not. Equally, some also offer better guidance on router installation than others.
  • Encryption strength and security – the purpose of using a VPN to protect a Smart home is Security, so users want to find a VPN with the best possible encryption.
  • Effective privacy policies – There is no point keeping your IoT data private if your VPN provider is then going to leak it, so finding a VPN with reliable privacy protections is a must.
  • Fast connection speeds – Some VPNs can slow internet connection speeds down and with multiple devices connected to your router this could have a big impact on your home Wi-Fi. So, it is important to choose a VPN with the fastest possible connection speeds.
  • No usage restrictions – Some VPNs, especially free ones, can restrict the amount of bandwidth you can use each month. This is no good for Smart Home owners, so it is vital that your chosen provider has no such restrictions.

On the basis of these four core criteria and our extensive testing of almost all the major VPN providers on the market today, we are recommending the following three VPNs as our top providers to keep your Smart Home secure.

1. ExpressVPN

As the name suggests, ExpressVPN is one of the quickest VPNs around. It also offers one of the most comprehensive all-round VPN packages too, which is why it is a great choice if you want to keep your Smart Home secure. As well as lightning fast connection speeds across its entire VPN server network, ExpressVPN offers superb encryption. Their entire network SSL is secured with 256-bit encryption, which is about as good as it gets these days.

ExpressVPN’s privacy provisions are also excellent, with absolutely no user logs being retained. As ExpressVPN is based in the British Virgin Islands, where there are no data retention laws, this means when they say they keep no logs, they mean it. With no restrictions on bandwidth, you can use the internet as much as you want without any service restrictions coming into place either. ExpressVPN is quite simply one of the best VPNs on the market today and is ideal to keep your smart home secure.

2. IPVanish

If any provider comes close to what ExpressVPN can offer, then it has to be IPVanish. IPVanish is another well-established VPN and while its connection speeds are far from sluggish, it is their security provisions which really make them stand out from the pack. IPVanish employs 256-bit encryption across both L2TP and OpenVPN protocols. It is also one of the few mainstream providers which currently uses shared IP Addresses across its network too. This provides an extra level of protection and makes it even harder to track your online activity back to you.

IPVanish also comes with a cast-iron guarantee that no user data will be collected, while there are also no usage restrictions whatsoever. Their subscription prices come in a little cheaper than ExpressVPN’s too. And given the level of service they provide, IPVanish offers superb value for money.

3. NordVPN

NordVPN is the cheapest of the three VPN providers we recommend for smart home owners. But that doesn’t mean you have to compromise on quality to save money. NordVPN’s encryption easily competes with the other two providers on this list. They also offer a range of additional security features not available on other provider too. These include a Double VPN server option, which reroute your internet data via two servers for extra protection and Onion over VPN servers, which redirect your traffic through the TOR network as well as a VPN server for extra security. With shared IP address and a kill switch available too, the NordVPN security provisions are impressive.

They are also based off-shore, in Panama, which means their no logs guarantee is totally watertight too. And while in the past their connection speeds let them down, investment in new super-fast servers means this is no longer an issue. With no restrictions on bandwidth for any user either, and great guidance for use on routers available, NordVPN are another provider which offer a compelling service package for smart home owners.

How to install a VPN on a Wi-Fi router

Every VPN is different, so how to install your VPN onto your router may depend on which provider you have subscribed to. All should provide their own specific guidance as to how to do this. But, in general, the process is broadly similar. We have outlined the general process below, but it is worth seeking out your own providers guidance, either on their website or via their customer support service, before beginning.

You will of course need to ensure that you have a router which is able to support a VPN client. The easiest way to do this is to buy a router which already has this capacity. There are growing number of routers from all the major manufacturers which tick this box and this is certainly the approach we would recommend. The other two ways to install a VPN onto a router involve either flashing a custom firmware onto an existing device to add the capability or buying a router which has already been pre-flashed. Both are technically tricky and can be more prone to errors. So, the best bet is to buy a router which proudly states that it offers ‘VPN Client’ or ‘VPN Client Mode’ on its box.

Once you have purchased such a router, all you need to do is follow this simple process:

  1. Subscribe to your chosen VPN provider. To do this, you will need to head over to their website using the links on this page and then choose the subscription package that best suits your needs. Follow the onscreen payment instructions and once that has been processed, you are all set.
  2. On your computer, log into your VPN account and seek out the option for Manual Config. You will need to look for the details for the PPTP and L2TP-IPSec protocols. This should give you a list of server address around the world. Keep this tab open.
  3. You will now need to access your router’s Control Panel and login using your administrator’s password. Every router does this differently, but its instructions or the manufacturers online support should be able to tell you how.
  4. Once you have logged in, click on Settings followed by
  5. Now configure your Internet connection to L2TP (which is more secure than PPTP) by inputting the information from the Manual Config page you opened in step 2.
  6. Once you have done this, click save, and after a few moments, your router should now be connected to your VPN of choice and all of your internet-connected devices will be protected.

Conclusions

Smart homes and the Internet of Things are not just visions for the future, they are already an integral part of our modern lifestyles. And this is only going to increase as the technology develops. Whether we like it or not, Smart Homes are here to stay, and it is vital that we take the necessary steps to protect our security and privacy while using them. The best way to do this is by using a VPN, such as the ones we have recommended in this article, to protect all of the data being communicated by our IoT devices.

A VPN is not a foolproof solution to all of the risks associated with Smart Homes and the IoT. But it does ensure that all of the data their devices are transmitting is encrypted and secure. And it also ensures that any data that is intercepted cannot be directly traced back to your physical location. By using a VPN, the threat posed by hackers and government surveillance officers to IoT devices is significantly diminished and that is a really great start to ensuring that your Smart Home is secure.

What is your experience of IoT devices and new Smart Home technology. Have you suffered any security or privacy breaches as a result of having these devices in your home? Do you use a VPN installed on your router to keep these devices secured? How did you find the installation process for doing this and do you feel safer as a result? We are always interested to hear your thoughts and opinions, so why not share them with us using the comment box below.

Read Why Smart Homes Need A VPN: 4 Reasons to Do So by David Spencer on AddictiveTips – Tech tips to make you smarter