Is my phone listening to me?

Have you ever noticed your Facebook ads changing after you mentioned something in a conversation? Like that time you were discussing an upcoming hiking trip with your partner and started seeing ads of sleeping bags and tents. Or when you were considering getting a dog and were immediately bombarded with pages…

Is it true that my phone is listening to me?

In 2011, Apple introduced Siri, the first virtual assistant designed for iPhones. It paved the way for Alexa, Google Assistant, Cortana, and many others. They listen to your voice all the time and, after you trigger a special command, recognize you so you can make calls, send texts, ask questions, and control your device.

We can definitely say that your phone is listening to you. It has to always listen to you so it can hear your voice command and assist you. However, things are not that simple.

Apple randomly selects a small portion of users’ conversations with Siri to analyze them and see how they can improve the quality of their service. In 2019, a report revealed that Siri can sometimes be mistakenly activated and record private matters, such as people having sex, discussing business, and even talking with their doctors, all of which might later be passed on to contractors responsible for analyzing voice recordings. Apple apologized to its users and promised to improve its policies. But Siri’s case is not an exception, as Amazon’s Alexa and Google Assistant are using similar systems.

Why is my phone listening to me?

When you ask Google Assistant or Siri to find something, this information is used for online advertising. It’s no different from typing something into Google Search. If you’re looking for car dealerships in your city, related ads will start chasing you across the internet. In a way, a virtual assistant is just another search engine.

A VPN service will surely give you more privacy when you use your phone. It will encrypt your traffic and hide your IP. You can easily install the app in desktop and mobile devices and use it on all of them simultaneously. With a single NordVPN account you can protect up to 6 devices.

Protect your privacy.

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Is listening to me without my knowledge legal?

When you’re using a virtual assistant, you agree to the terms and conditions of the service provider. And since you’ve given your consent, it’s legal to track your conversations with Google Assistant, Siri, or Alexa for marketing purposes.

It only becomes illegal if an app is spying on you without your consent. That’s why it’s important to review the permissions you’re giving to certain services and learn about the ways your phone is tracking you. If the photo editor you just downloaded asks to access your microphone, consider it fishy, as it can record your voice in the background and use this information for malicious purposes.

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How to make my phone stop listening to me

A virtual assistant is just another feature on your smartphone, speaker, watch, or any other device. If you don’t use it or feel unsafe, you can disable it.

How to disable “Hey Siri” on iOS:

  1. Go to Settings > Siri & Search.
  2. Toggle off Listen for “Hey Siri”, Press Side Button for Siri, and Allow Siri When Locked.
  3. Tap on Turn Off Siri in the pop-up.

How to disable “Ok Google” on Android:

  1. Go to Settings.
  2. Select Google > Account Services > Search, Assistant & Voice > Voice.
  3. Select Voice Match and toggle off Hey Google.

5 tips to protect your privacy on a smartphone

  1. Only download virtual assistant apps from official stores. Google Assistant and Siri are the most popular options among smartphone users, but there are a handful of more specialized virtual assistants. Some people download them from questionable sources and risk installing malware.
  2. Review app permissions. Check your phone settings and review the permissions you’ve given to your apps. If some of them can access your microphone for no solid reason, it’s a red flag.
  3. Delete your voice request history. While Siri claims not to keep your voice request history, Google Assistant does. If you were to lose your phone, somebody could extract your search results and use them for wrongdoings. You might be wondering, “What does Google know about me? The short answer is: a lot.
  4. Use a VPN. A virtual private network masks your IP address and encrypts traffic, thus enhancing your privacy. If you’re looking for ways to stay away from snoopers and hackers, look no further than NordVPN. It’s an easy-to-use app that wraps your phone in a security layer and mitigates the risks of being attacked online. (Note: It won’t affect voice monitoring services that you have authorized)
  5. NordVPN encrypts your traffic with a high-end encryption, hides your IP, thus no one can see where you are and what you do online. With just a single click you can enjoy top-notch protection and privacy.

  6. Update your software regularly. Hackers exploit known software vulnerabilities while developers patch security flaws to be one step ahead. Updates are boring, but they enhance your privacy like nothing else.

Stay protected with just a single click.

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How VPNs are helping fight online censorship in Myanmar

Myanmar was plunged into chaos in early 2021 after a military coup overthrew the elected government and seized control. Internet censorship and freedom of speech violations became the new reality for millions of Burmese, but VPNs can help activists and free speech advocates push back. How did it all start? In…

How did it all start?

In February, the military detained elected members of the country’s ruling party, the National League for Democracy (NLD). They also arrested other influential figures, including ministers, the president, opposition politicians, and activists. The new government claimed that the elections of November 2020 were fraudulent, and began a year-long state of emergency.

As the military took power, it suspended TV broadcasts, telephone lines, and internet access.

Following the coup, protests broke out across the country, with many innocent people killed and imprisoned. While the international community condemned the military’s actions and the ongoing violence, as of writing the situation in Myanmar is still tense.

Restricting the internet

Since the beginning of the coup nationwide restrictions on the internet were introduced, so people wouldn’t be able to organize protests, access news, and spread information.

Most internet users in Myanmar rely on mobile data and Wi-Fi, which is now regularly blocked or restricted. Hardwired internet access is still available, but is mostly used by banks, corporations, and regime officials.

The military stated that they had no plans to ease the restrictions as violence is allegedly being provoked online.

How are Internet companies involved?

Reports say that in the months before the coup, Myanmar’s telecom and internet service providers were forced to install spyware. This allowed authorities to view text messages, listen to calls, and track users’ location.

Facebook, WhatsApp, Instagram, and other websites were blocked to suppress any critical voices. The Facebook ban is extremely important — the service is used by half of the country, as the primary means of communication. Anonymous sources inside the protest movement have said:

“The situation in Myanmar is getting worse day by day, the death toll is increasing. Many social media platforms, some useful websites for education, and Google services are banned and they still want to control all our activities. Moreover, the internet is cut off from 1am to 9am everyday.”

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How a VPN helps you bypass censorship

Being able to communicate with the outside world is crucial during times of civil unrest. However, when the internet is restricted and major services banned, the entire country is left in the dark. This is where a VPN can help.

A VPN, or virtual private network, encrypts your traffic and hides your IP address. That means that nobody can see what you do online, what websites you visit, and where you’re located. Your ISP or your government would only be able to see that you’re using a VPN.

NordVPN has more than 5500 servers in 59 countries. Since Facebook is inaccessible in Myanmar, you can connect to a server in a country where it’s available and use it without any limits.

NordVPN even has obfuscated servers that hide the fact you’re using a VPN, benefiting users in restrictive environments.

NordVPN’s support for social causes

Everyone deserves the right to freedom of expression and secure internet access. And yet millions of Burmese live in terror with no opportunity to be heard. NordVPN provides freeEmergency VPN assistance for human rights activists, NGOs, and journalists facing online censorship.

In 2020, NordVPN received 7,100 Emergency VPN requests from Iran, Hong Kong, Venezuela, and other countries known for heavy surveillance.

When the situation in Myanmar started to escalate, Emergency VPN requests were arriving every day from journalists, political activists, doctors, researchers, and others. Since the beginning of the coup, almost 10,000 Myanmar citizens have contacted us and asked for VPN access. According to testimony from a protester in Myanmar:

“The military is attacking press freedom in Myanmar. They revoked licenses of five local media companies and arrested journalists. We, Myanmar citizens, now have to take the role of journalists.”

A long battle awaits Myanmar to retrieve its rights and restore peace. NordVPN’s Emergency VPN program is just one small gesture to support this fight.

5 quick ways to protect your Facebook account

In 2020, Facebook leaked over 500M user details. News of Zuckerberg’s privacy mishaps, amid relentless big tech tracking scandals, makes you want to run a mile from Facebook. But, instead of boycotting the site, you can adjust your Facebook privacy settings in five quick steps. 1. Choose a strong password Certain…

How to protect your Facebook account

1. Choose a strong password

Certain websites and apps let you log in with Facebook, so hackers will go to great lengths to steal your Facebook account password. Use NordPass to create a strong 12-character password, and it’ll store them for you in an encrypted format for full protection.

Password Dos and Don’ts:

  • Never reuse passwords. Generate new passwords for each online account to avoid all of your accounts getting hacked at once.
  • Never use dictionary words. It takes seconds for hacking software to guess an eight character dictionary-word password, but a nonsensical mixed-character password could take centuries to crack.
  • Use a password manager. NordPass secures your passwords by encrypting them on your device before they reach the server, so it’s impossible even for NordPass employees to see them. It also stops you using dangerously easy passwords for the sake of being able to remember them.

2. Turn on 2FA (two-factor authentication)

Hackers can jump over one hurdle, so make it harder for them by setting up 2FA with your Facebook account.

When two-factor authentication is activated, Facebook will ask you to sign in with your password and your phone. After entering your password and the code sent to your registered phone number, you’ll be granted access to your Facebook account.

How to turn on 2FA with your Facebook account

3. Enable login alerts

Like your own security butler, Facebook will notify you by email, text message, or Facebook notification whenever your account is logged into. This is great for nipping any Facebook account breaches in the bud and is extremely easy to set up.

How to set up login alerts on Facebook

    1. In your profile, click the arrow in the top-right corner, and then click Settings and Privacy.
    2. 1

    3. On the left-hand side, click Security & Login.
    4. 2

    5. Scroll down to find Get alerts about unrecognised logins and click the Edit button.
    6. Choose where you’d like to get the notifications and then click Save Changes.
    7. 2

If you’ve been locked out of your account for security reasons, you can learn how to unblock your Facebook account here.

4. Stop Facebook tracking your location

Facebook tracks and stores your locations, allowing you to geotag your photos, and find free hotspots and friends nearby. More importantly for the company, this helps them to target you with relevant ads.

Facebook also operates a tracking scheme called Background Location. When it’s turned on, Facebook can track the exact location of your device even when you’re not using the app. You can turn off Background Location in your device settings.

If you turn off location tracking, you won’t be able to find nearby friends or public Wi-Fi, for instance. However, it will limit your exposure to tracking from third parties, which may store your data in unencrypted databases and use your personal information for large-scale surveillance schemes. Here’s everything Facebook knows about you.

Note: Facebook may still store personal location data when you check in, RSVP to an event, or tag your location in a photo. So, bear this in mind if you want to keep your location data totally private.

How to turn off Facebook location tracking

    1. From the arrow in the top-right corner of your profile, choose Settings.
    2. 1

    3. Find Location in the left-hand panel.
    4. 1

    5. From here, you can view all of the locations that Facebook has logged and Turn Off location tracking.

5. Manage how your data is used for ads

You may not know this, but companies work with social media sites to track user data. It allows Facebook to target you with the right ads, and it also helps companies analyze their customers’ habits. Facebook may also collect information about websites and apps you use off of Facebook, and other apps may receive additional non-public information from your Facebook account. All of this rings alarm bells in our minds.

With all the scandals surrounding big tech tracking and data breaches, you might want to hide your online activity and app traffic, for better Facebook account security.

How to stop apps sharing your activity with Facebook

  • Limit how often you sign in to apps with Facebook, as this gives the app permission to track your Facebook activity, and vice versa.
  • Adjust the app settings within Facebook. This will stop other websites and apps from using and storing your Facebook data, giving you a little extra online privacy.
    1. From the arrow in the top-right corner of your profile, choose Settings.
    2. 1

    3. Click Apps and Websites in the left-hand panel.
    4. Click Ad Settings.
    5. Click Ads shown off of Facebook and toggle the switch to Off.
    6. 1

Hide your online activity with a VPN

Securing your Facebook account is really about securing your data and personal information against unnecessary tracking by third parties and your ISP. On top of the privacy principle, your data could be breached if it’s stored in unsafe databases. It’s unclear how third-party tracking companies store your data, and it’s nearly impossible to find out just how far your browsing activity is being shared.

Using a VPN is one the fastest ways to hide all of your online activity from snoopers. Here’s how a VPN can help secure you online.

    1. A VPN encrypts your entire connection, hiding your searches, the websites you visit, your location, and your IP address. Since your IP address is what links your activity to your device, nothing can be traced back to you as an individual either.
    2. A VPN secures your app traffic. Most of us are so concerned with website traffic that we forget about the dangers of revealing our app traffic. NordVPN also protects all of the outgoing data from your apps, which prevents your ISP from tracking and selling your activity.

The NordVPN app is the best way to stay truly private online, and it can be used on laptops, smartphones, tablets, and PCs with a single login.

Online security starts with a click.

Stay safe with the world’s leading VPN

What can someone do with my IP address?

Your IP address is essential for sending and receiving information online. However, if a hacker knows your IP address, they can use it to seize very valuable information, including your location and online identity. Using this information as a starting point, they could potentially hack your device, steal your identity, and…

There are dangers to someone knowing your IP address, but they’re rarely discussed. Criminals can use your IP to launch various cyberattacks and scams against you and others. Before we begin, however, let’s start with finding out what your personal IP address is: What is my IP?

By the end of this post, you’ll know what to protect yourself against and discover ways to hide your IP address. Pretty neat.

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How can someone find my IP address?

Your IP address is a unique string of numbers assigned to you by your ISP – like a delivery address for online traffic. If you connect to a different Wi-Fi or move house, your IP address will change along with your location.

Most ISPs use dynamic IP addresses, which aren’t fixed to your device, but you can have a static IP if you wish to (you can learn more about different types of IP addresses here). For example, if you want your computer IP address to always stay the same, you’ll be able to specify that through the device’s settings. This can be useful when port-forwarding, if you want certain data to be sent directly from your router to your computer IP address.

Since your IP address holds certain information about you, someone may want to use it for malicious purposes. There plenty of ways people can get hold of your IP address. Here are just a few:

    1. If you torrent files. When you download content from torrent sites, every member of the swarm (total seeders and leechers) can see your IP address. All they need to do is check the list of peers.
    2. By borrowing your device. If somebody borrows or uses your computer, they can find out what your IP address is in seconds, as there are countless free websites that let you do that.
    3. From an email. If you send an email to someone, they can check the header of the message, which could contain your IP address. Yahoo! and Microsoft Outlook are known to include IP addresses in the email header.
    4. Clicking on a link. Any link you click on will need to provide your iP address for the server at the other end to deliver the content provided by the link. Whoever owns that server will see your IP address.

What can people do with your IP?

While your IP address won’t give away sensitive information like your phone number or apartment position, hackers can still use your IP against you. If a cybercriminal knows your IP address, the consequences can be devastating:

  • Someone can get your location and intrude on your privacy in real life

    Your IP address shows what city you’re in, so if someone ill-intentioned finds it out, you could be in trouble. Let’s say you’ve announced that you’re going on holiday on your social media. A criminal only needs to do a little extra digging to find your house and burgle it while you’re away.

  • Someone can use your IP to hack your device

    The internet uses ports as well as your IP address to connect. There are thousands of ports for every IP address, and a hacker who has your IP can try all of those ports to brute-force a connection, taking over your phone for example and stealing your information.

    If a criminal does get access to your device, they could also install malware on it, which could expose your IP.

  • Someone can impersonate you to get hold of your IP address

    Your ISP could reveal your IP address to someone else. Criminals who know your name on social media can contact your ISP and try to impersonate you or use a vishing attack to steal your personal details. Remember that telecom operators are only humans who use systems with vast amounts of personally identifiable information.

  • Employers can track your activity

    IPs are owned by ISPs, and each IP is assigned to a user. When you’re connected to your work network your employers could potentially see and track everything you do online – giving you hardly any privacy at all.

  • A hacker can hit you with a DDoS attack

    If a hacker has your IP address, they could harm you with a DDoS (Distributed Denial of Service) attack. A DDoS attack uses an army of computers controlled by a hacker to flood your device with traffic so it disconnects from the internet and completely shuts down.

  • Cybercriminals can frame you for illegal activity

    Hackers are known to use hacked IP addresses to download illegal content that threatens national security as well as anything else they don’t want traced back to them. Protect your IP address, and you will protect yourself.

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How do I stop someone from using my IP address?

You should always protect any personally identifiable information even if you think the risks do not apply to you. With enough determination, a bad actor can stitch together an entire identity just by going online, and your IP could be the starting block.

Here are three ways to protect your IP address and prevent yourself from being exploited by hackers:

    1. Change your privacy settings
    2. Change the settings on all your instant messaging as well as any other apps to “private” and don’t accept calls or messages from people you don’t know. Hackers are known to gain access to your IP address through messaging apps like Skype.

    3. Update your firewall and router
    4. A criminal can hack your router remotely and retrieve your IP address, especially if you’re still using the default one. Change the password of your router regularly and be sure to use a long mix of upper and lower case letters, numbers, and special characters.

    5. Use a VPN
    6. A VPN completely hides your IP address and encrypts your internet connection. Even better, a VPN bypasses content filters as well as internet access bans and prevents third parties like your ISP from eavesdropping on your data. Your online activity cannot be traced back to you, giving you a powerful layer of security.

      NordVPN has more than 5500 servers in 59 countries, providing you with the best speeds available. With one NordVPN account, you can protect up to six different devices: smartphones, tablets, laptops, and more. You can also install it on your router and secure gadgets that don’t support VPN functionality directly.

      You can jump from one server to another in seconds, changing your IP address and masking your location. Protect your online privacy today.

Try NordVPN free for 30 days!

Protect your IP address from hackers

Ethiopia’s tensions, elections and internet shutdowns

Imagine if your internet connection was cut multiple times every year. Then imagine if, when you were online, a single message or post could land you in prison. This is the brutal reality for Ethiopia today. What is happening in Ethiopia? Ethiopia is another country facing internet restrictions amidst election turmoil….

What is happening in Ethiopia?

Ethiopia is another country facing internet restrictions amidst election turmoil. The election is supposed to take place on June 21 and is the first multi-party election in the country since 2005.

For decades the country has been ruled by The Ethiopian People’s Revolutionary Democratic Front (EPRDF), which has now merged into the Prosperity Party. This group is not known for its democratic approach and support of freed speech.

Recent armed conflicts, alleged massacres targeting ethnic and religious groups, and civil strife have dominated the election process. In this climate, it’s not unlikely that the ruling party will continue its long history of draconian internet restrictions.

The world is actively observing this political event, but it’s still uncertain whether or not it will bring Ethiopia closer to real democracy. Facebook has launched a special campaign monitoring Ethiopian social media content in the runup to the election, and removing hate speech, violence-inciting content, and misinformation.Between March 2020 and March 2021, Facebook detected and removed a staggering 87,000 pieces of hate speech from Ethiopian accounts.

Internet restriction in Ethiopia

Ethiopia doesn’t rank well on internet freedom lists. The Ethio telecom internet provider and the Ethiopian Telecommunication Agency regulate the internet in the country. Both are controlled by the national government. Ethio telecom is the country’s sole state-approved internet service provider (ISP), so it’s almost impossible to get online without them.

All alternative means to connect to the internet are prohibited by law. Ethio telecom also initiated the ban of foreign online telephony providers, attempted to restrict anonymous web browsing or used deep packet inspection to block Tor services.

The EPRDF also uses internet filtering to block oppositional and politically critical content. In this way, the government has been able to arrest and convict Ethiopian bloggers and journalists. Many are now imprisoned. These tactics have intensified in recent years:

  • In 2019 Ethiopia experienced a complete internet shutdown for four days. Instant messaging services were actively suppressed.
  • Following the death of civil rights activist Hachalu Hundessa in 2020, authorities shut down the internet again for two weeks.
  • The most recent shutdown related to the 2020 Tigray conflict and mostly affected the Tigray region. Internet and telephone connections were cut.

Related articles


How can a VPN help Ethiopia?

The Ethiopian government uses extensive online surveillance systems. Because of their stranglehold on ISPs, they’re able to monitor the activity of internet users across the country. In Ethiopia, online privacy is a matter of freedom and imprisonment, life and death.

NordVPN stands for online freedom and has numerous various campaigns promoting free speech and journalism. We work to support activists operating in harsh conditions and fighting for free of speech, and try to actively provide privacy and protection for those in need.

Apart from encrypting your traffic and hiding your IP from data snoopers, NordVPN also offers some additional protective features:

  • Kill Switch immediately cuts your internet connection if your VPN server is down. That means, even if your VPN coverage is lost, there is no chance that your data will be exposed;
  • Obfuscated servers hide the fact that you use a VPN and help you to bypass various VPN blocks;
  • Double VPN provides you with an additional layer of encryption, which is especially useful in high-risk areas. Not even your ISP can spy on your data once it’s encrypted.

NordVPN also offers emergency VPN services to help people fight extreme cases of censorship. The program can provide a free VPN for six months to people facing the threat of censorship and violence. You can apply for it here.

Vigilante malware blocks people's ability to visit torrent sites

Malware that blocks access to popular torrent sites is being disseminated via Discord and in infected pirated video games downloaded from BitTorrent repositories [[post-object type=”divider” /]] The anti-piracy malware was uncovered during research performed by the cybersecurity company Sophos. Once infected, the exploit prevents the user from visiting over a…

Malware that blocks access to popular torrent sites is being disseminated via Discord and in infected pirated video games downloaded from BitTorrent repositories

The anti-piracy malware was uncovered during research performed by the cybersecurity company Sophos. Once infected, the exploit prevents the user from visiting over a thousand websites relating to torrenting and piracy.

According to the security firm, the vigilante-style malware is relatively non-complex and can be fixed pretty easily to recover access to the torrent and privacy-related websites it blocks. 

Unusual malware

In their blog post on the subject, researchers at Sophos note that the unconventional malware departs from accepted norms for exploit behavior:

Instead of seeking to steal passwords or to extort a computer’s owner for ransom, this malware blocks infected users’ computers from being able to visit a large number of websites dedicated to software piracy by modifying the HOSTS file on the infected system.

According to Sophos, the irritating payload has been making its way onto people’s machines via fake downloads for pirated versions of “popular games, productivity tools, and even security products”.

Malware written warning sign

Lead researcher at Sophos, Andrew Brandt, stated that the primary purpose of the malware is “pretty clear”. It is designed to prevent “people from visiting software piracy websites (if only temporarily)”.

Anybody infected with “vigilante” malware can remove it using Sophos antivirus according to the company. Other popular antivirus programs should also be able to successfully detect, block, and remove the exploit because it can be discovered using its “unique runtime packer, which is the same as used by an unrelated malware family, Qbot,” Sophos said.

That said, anybody who has been infected will also need to manually update the HOSTS file on their operating system to regain access to the blocked torrent and piracy sites.

HOSTS File

The HOSTS file is an operating system resource that maps human-friendly hostnames contained within URLs (www.bla.com, for example) to the numerical value used in routing to identify and locate a host in an IP network.

When infected by the anti-piracy malware, popular hostnames for piracy websites like the Pirate Bay are altered within the HOSTS file to purposefully point to the IP address 127.0.0.1. As a result, the computer is blocked from accessing the genuine IP addresses for piracy and torrenting services.

Sophos labs list of blocked websites

Fortunately, undoing the negative effect of this malware is relatively straightforward. Anybody who has become infected can manually access their HOSTS file to either return it to its default state or to manually clean up any entries that have been set up to point to 127.0.0.1. Sophos explains:

Users who have inadvertently run one of these files can clean up their HOSTS file manually, by running a copy of Notepad elevated (as administrator), and modifying the file at c:\Windows\System32\Drivers\etc\hosts to remove all the lines that begin with ‘127.0.0.1’ and reference the various ThePirateBay (and other) sites.

What’s more, the virus has no persistence mechanisms, so once you have updated the HOSTS file (as long as you do not run the executable again) you will no longer have any issues. For more information on cleaning up your HOSTS file or returning it to its default state visit this Windows blog on the subject for more information. 

Non-persistence aside, we do highly recommend that you use an antivirus program to ensure that you do not become infected with this kind of malware in the future and to ensure that you can properly detect and remove it from your system if you have been victimized. 

Who’s behind the malware?

For the time being it is unclear who is behind this malware. However, the exploit (which is described as being “oddball” by its discoverer) certainly raises an eyebrow. 

On the surface, the vigilante malware seems most likely to have been disseminated by a hacker whose primary motivation is to support copyright holders and content publishers whose work is being pirated and shared for free on Torrent websites. This stands in direct contradiction with the will of the majority of cybercriminals – who are generally in favor of piracy.

This implies that the hacker may be working on behalf of copyright holders who feel they have been wronged by torrent and piracy sites. Specifically (because the malware appears mainly in fake downloads for pirated computer games) the hacker could be working within the computer games industry, perhaps for a game studio that has suffered at the hands of pirates. 

It is also worth noting that during its research, Sophos found a .nfo text document within the payload; presumably there to make the archive appear more legitimate.  BitTorrent files often contain bundled files including a .nfo file that provides additional information about the software.

The presence of these kinds of bundled files can help trick victims into downloading the malware. However, on closer inspection of the .nfo file bundled with the malware, Sophos found it to be filled with racist slurs. The company said:

Padding out the archive with purposeless files of random length may simply be done to modify the archive’s hash value. Padding it out with racist slurs told me all I needed to know about its creator.

As noted, the presence of racist content within the malware reveals that it was created by an extremely unsavory individual.

Thus, if this was produced and disseminated by somebody working for a specific game studio (or some other copyright interest); consumers would be highly interested in knowing exactly which company or copyright holder that is – so that they can boycott it on moral grounds.

Use protection

Finally, it is worth noting that while the malware does not appear to steal any passwords or other personal information from infected machines, it does send some information back to the hackers.

The exploit was found to send information back to the domain controlled by the hacker with a message that contains the name of the software that the victim attempted to pirate. This information could be useful to copyright holders seeking to find pirates for the purpose of litigation and remuneration, or even, potentially, prosecution.

As always, we recommend that anybody considering accessing piracy websites or wanting to download torrent files does so while using a VPN to conceal their home IP address. For more information on using a VPN to gain privacy, head over to our Best VPNs for Torrenting guide.

How to watch Group D | How to stream England vs Czech Republic

Euro 2020 is in full swing, and the teams in Group D will be raring to go after months – in fact, a whole extra year – of anticipation.   In Europe, many national broadcasters are showing their respective nations’ games on free-to-air TV channels, and some are showing additional games…

Euro 2020 is in full swing, and the teams in Group D will be raring to go after months – in fact, a whole extra year – of anticipation.  

In Europe, many national broadcasters are showing their respective nations’ games on free-to-air TV channels, and some are showing additional games too, even in the group stages. Others are showing the entire tournament. However, outside of Europe, in places like the USA and Australia, the games will be shown exclusively on subscription and cable TV services. 

First up in Group D is England vs Czech Republic. This guide will show you how to watch the euros on a free, legal stream using just a VPN and avoid paying one of those hefty fees in the process.

Unblock England vs Czech Republic in 5 steps

Just below are the five things you’ll need to do in order to unblock England vs Czech Republic on a channel like BBC iPlayer.

This whole process will only take a few minutes after you’ve signed up for your VPN account, and then you’ll be all ready to go. 

  1. Sign up to ExpressVPN or NordVPN .
  2. Download the VPN software on the device you’d like to stream from.
  3. Pick a server in a region or country that is home to the streaming service you want to watch the game on.
  4. Navigate to the streaming service of your choice through your search engine. 
  5. Sign up for an account with that service, which will likely require a username and/or email address.

Once you’ve finished this process, you’re all set and ready to stream the game. But make sure you read on to find out how to stream the game for free and to get the latest pre-tournament team news for all the Group D teams. 

How to watch England vs Czech Republic outside of Europe

Just down below you’ll be able to find out exactly where the games are being broadcast in several major European countries, as well as the commentary language that will accompany them. This isn’t, of course, a full list of all the places in Europe the game is being broadcast – almost all the countries on the continent are showing it on a free-to-air channel –but these are bound to be some of the most-tuned-into ones on the continent. 

If you’re outside of Europe, you can unblock the online versions of these channels using a VPN. I’ll explain a bit further down how you can take advantage of ExpressVPN’s money-back guarantee to watch the tournament for essentially no cost to yourself! 

Test your knowledge with our Euros quiz

Test your Euros knowledge in the quiz below and win a Linksy WRT3200ACM router courtesy of ExpressVPN. You will be entered into our prize draw with every correct answer you give. We’ll also choose two runners up to win an ExpressVPN subscription. 

Take The Quiz

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What time does England vs Czech Republic start?

The Czech Republic and England will begin battle at 21:00 CET (Central European Time) which is 20:00 GMT on Tuesday 22 June at Wembley Stadium, London. Whoever emerges victorious from the clash will finish top of the group, but will have to face one of the teams from Group F, Euro 2020’s nominal ‘group of death’, in the round of 16, meaning Group D’s winner will likely play Germany, Portugal or France. The second placed team, ironically, will have a much easier game against a team from Spain’s group; Sweden, Slovakia and the former World Cup and European champions themselves are all possible opponents. 

Croatia taken on Scotland at exactly the same time on the same day. That fixture will take place in Glasgow’s Hampden Park, home to the Scottish national football team, effectively deeming it a home game for Scotland. 

What channel is England vs Czech Republic on?

England’s match against the Czech Republic will be broadcast on ITV and ITV Hub, the channel’s online service that was previously called ITV Player. BBC and ITV are sharing the rights to the tournament, and the BBC will be showing the remaining Group D game, Croatia and Scotland. Both games will be kicking off at exactly the same time simply because they’re the last matches to play in the group, largely so no one knows whether their fate is sealed as they’re playing. 

Do I need a VPN to watch England vs Czech Republic?

In places like the UK and Croatia, you can watch every game of the tournament on a free-to-air channel. This is the case in many European countries, for various reasons; some even see it as a public duty to broadcast the games to as many people as possible. This isn’t the case in all European countries (as you’ll see below), some of which only have the right to show a selection of the games. 

Outside of Europe, however, it’s a slightly different story. Without cable TV or a channel subscription in the US, for example, you won’t be able to watch any of the games because they’re on ESPN. Similarly, in the Middle East beIN Sports are the only channel with the rights, and they command an expensive subscription fee. What’s more, channels like the BBC are what is known as ‘geo-restricted’ – they only have the rights to show the content they broadcast in the country they’re based in so, based on the IP addresses of users who visit their site, block certain users if they aren’t from that country. 

European football is a huge export, and millions of people in these places will want to watch the games. With geo-restrictions and the rise of pay-TV channels, They’ll be forced to choose between a subscription or no games at all – unless they download a VPN, that is. VPNs reroute all user traffic through private servers and, in turn, mask their IP addresses. The websites that users visit see the IP addresses of the servers, rather than the users’ devices. Most good VPN networks have servers in more than 50 countries – some even more – so subscribers can easily bypass restrictions in whatever country they want by simply connecting through a server there. 

Let’s say you’re in Australia, and you want to watch the England vs Czech Republic game without buying an Optus subscription. You can simply get a VPN, reroute your connection through a VPN server in the UK, and voilà, you’ll be able to access BBC iPlayer on your computer and stream the game in HD, for free, in English, and not have to worry about fees or lagging. It’s a really simple process with a really big payoff, and you can do this with various channels – bypassing geo-restrictions like this to view desired media is one of the main use cases VPN providers cater towards (some VPNs even have servers specifically designed for streaming). 

Stream England vs Czech Republic online for free

You might be thinking to yourself – surely buying a VPN costs money, so how is this any cheaper than buying a pay-TV channel subscription. Well, firstly, the vast majority of VPN subscriptions are cheaper than a pay-TV subscription (and you can do a lot more than just watch football with them). The other is that almost all good VPN providers – such as ExpressVPN – offer 30-day money-back guarantees, which essentially means you can get a refund if you contact them within that 30-day window. 

Conveniently, Euro 2021 runs for 30 days. So, you can technically download ExpressVPN, use it for a full month to stream the Euros, and then claim your money back. This means you can watch the Euros for free because you won’t incur any permanent cost for your troubles – so it’s well worth the download. 

The ExpressVPN Free Trial Hack!

ExpressVPN logo

You can experience ExpressVPN’s fully featured service without limitation… for free!

If you need A VPN for Euro 2020, why not test ExpressVPN premium service? Simply purchase a subscription using the button below and take advantage of the no-nonsense money-back guarantee. Enjoy the free VPN trial for 30 days, and when you cancel, you will receive a complete refund! Check out our ExpressVPN refund page for more details about how to get your money back after the 30-day period.

Visit ExpressVPN

You might be wondering how VPN providers like ExpressVPN offer this, other than that they’re confident in the product they’re putting out. The truth is, that’s for good reason; users find out quickly there’s so much you can do with a VPN that it’s worth the money. As well as significantly improving your online privacy, you can unblock Netflix libraries, prevent your ISP from bandwidth throttling you and so much more. 

Why you should avoid illegal streams for Euro 2020

Unfortunately, like most major sporting events over the past decade, a huge number of people around the world will attempt to stream Euro 2021 illegally.

However, streaming sports illegally is a dangerous business. Cybersecurity software firm Webroot recently analyzed several illegal sport streaming websites and found that 92% of the sites they looked at contained some sort of malware. All those ad overlays and pop-ups aren’t just irritating – most of them are put there for a reason, and it’s not a very nice one. The long and short of it is, if you’re using a pirate site to watch football, you’re putting yourself in harm’s way. Even if you can’t afford (or don’t want to pay for) a subscription to a channel or service, options like a VPN mean there’s no good reason to head over to these sites. 

The other problem with illegal streaming sites (apart from, of course, the fact you’re viewing content provided by people who don’t have the right to show and are therefore stealing it) is that the picture quality is often poor, streams can cut out in the middle of the game and you might be forced to choose between a commentary language you understand and delay-free game. This isn’t a decision anyone should have to make – especially with the first major international football tournament to take place since the pandemic began, and a VPN means you can avoid the frustrating weigh-up altogether. 

Group D: meet the teams

Croatia

Croatia shocked many football fans in 2018 by reaching the World Cup final for the first time in the club’s history – beating Group D rivals England in the semi-final – but for those who’ve been closely following the development of the Croatian national team over the past decade, it didn’t come as a surprise. Billed as the ‘golden generation’ by pundits and fans alike, the squad that got them to the final included Ballon D’or winner Luka Modric, the only player to break the stranglehold Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo have had over the individual award for the past 12 years.

Chelsea’s (then Real Madrid’s) Mateo Kovacic, Sevilla’s (then Barcelona’s) Ivan Rakitic, Ivan Perisic and Marcelo Brozovic of Inter Milan and Mario Mandzukic, then of Juventus and now plying his trade with rivals AC Milan, are all likely to make Croatia’s squad for the competition, as are a string of other players from elite clubs. Few teams in the tournament will be as well-drilled as the Croatians, who have built a team around the outstanding individual qualities of players like Modric and Perisic, and they’ll be hoping to repeat their World Cup heroics. 

However, due to a mixture of retirements, injuries, and drops in the form of key players, coach Zlatko Dalic has been keen to play down expectations for the tournament. “This is not the level of a year or two ago, this is our reality… this is the process of creating a new national team and I stand behind it,” Dalic said in late 2020. They may have won their qualifying group for Euro 2020 but in a lot less of an emphatic fashion than teams like Italy and Belgium, both of whom emerged from the pre-tournament games without a loss or a draw on their record. 

Czech Republic

The Czech Republic are the second team in this unusually connected group which will see them play Nations League group rivals Scotland, as well as England, whom they shared a qualifying group with for the tournament. The Three Lions, on the other hand, play against fellow Britons Scotland and World Cup Semi-final heartbreakers Croatia. The Czech team will be hoping they can nick a place in the knockout stages after becoming the only team to beat the Three Lions – one of the favorites to win the Euros – during qualification. However, they also lost to Scotland twice in that fateful Nations League group. 

The Czechs have a fantastic record in the tournament, including a win as Czechoslovakia in 1976 and a runners-up medal in 1996. Their ‘golden generation’ of talented attacking players – headed up by midfield talisman Pavel Nedved, who’d won the Ballon D’or the year prior – also made the semis in 2004, losing out to eventual winners Greece. That squad contained a large cohort of cult heroes that will evoke considerable early-2000s nostalgia including Petr Cech, Tomas Rosicky, Milan Baros, Vladimir Smicer, Jan Koller, and Karel Poborsky. A team to be reckoned with. 

17 years later, and all eyes will be on another attacking midfielder looking to stamp his mark on an international tournament for the first time. Tomáš Souček, who’s been nothing short of a revelation this season for Premier League side West Ham, is one of the key reasons why the London club is still in the running for European football for next season, notching 9 goals since the start of the campaign. The 6’4 man will likely occupy one of the defensive midfield births in a 4-2-3-1 formation that has been utilized regularly by manager Slovan Liberec over the past year. 

England

England is certainly amongst the favorites to go far, if not win, Euro 2020, with a wealth of young attacking talent currently unmatched not just in Europe, but all over the world. Manchester City, Chelsea, and Manchester United have all stormed towards European finals this year powered by young English stars such as Phil Foden – who has 14 goals in all competitions this season – Mason Mount and Marcus Rashford. 17-year-old Jude Bellingham also grabbed a goal in Dortmund’s quarter-final defeat to Manchester City, and players like Aston Villa’s Jack Grealish and West Ham’s Declan Rice have effectively secured their places in the squad thanks to excellent Premier League performances. 

However, all attention has been on England’s defense since center-back Harry Maguire – who has completed 90 minutes in every single Premier League game this season – was spotted on crutches at his club’s fixture against Leicester on following a ligament injury sustained in the 3-1 victory over Aston Villa on 9 May. It’s unclear what Southgate will do to mitigate the issues caused by his potential absence; whether a back three or four is still an open question. 

There was quite an uproar after the 26-man squad was announced and it transpired that Gareth Southgate had chosen four right-backs: La Liga winner Kieran Trippier, Liverpool’s Trent Alexander-Arnold, and Champions League finalists Kyle Walker and Reece James. Many pundits questioned whether the team was unnecessarily defensive, despite the evolving role of the full-back in modern football as an increasingly integral part of teams’ attacking play and the fact that experienced players like Kyle Walker can slot into positions like center-half.

However, after Alexander-Arnold’s injury in the recent warm-up game against Austria, many pondered whether Southgate would opt for another defender to replace him. It turns out he has, and in the process has given Brighton’s Ben White the chance to impress at a major tournament. England have nothing short of a glut of right-back options, perhaps best illustrated by the fact that Manchester United star Aaron Wan-Bissaka has barely been mentioned, so adding a center-back by trade will help shore up a position where England are unusually short-staffed. 

Back at the other end of the pitch, Harry Kane – who finished the season leading the way in both the goals (23) and assists (14) charts – will be confident he can translate this onto the international stage after a stellar 12 months for Tottenham. He will be flanked by players like Marcus Rashford and Raheem Sterling cutting in off the wings in what looks to be one of the more formidable attacks at the tournament.

All this being said, England has only ever reached the semi-finals of the Euros, their last venture to the latter stages of the competition coming a quarter of a century ago. Since then there have been several moments to forget, including failing to qualify for the tournament in 2008, getting knocked out without actually losing a game in normal time in 2012, and then losing to minnows Iceland in 2016, a country with a population the size of Coventry. 

Scotland

Scotland have qualified, through the qualifier playoffs, for their first European Championship in 25 years, last appearing at the competition in 1996, when they were also placed in a group with England. It’s also the first major football tournament they’ve qualified for since the 1998 World Cup. They had to win not one, but two penalty shootouts to reach Euro 2020, so if they do get to the knockout stage, they may be one of the teams who won’t mind taking games beyond the final whistle. 

Scotland are somewhat unlucky in the sense that their two most gifted players by a long mile – Kieran Tierney of Arsenal and Andy Robertson of Liverpool – are both left-footed full-backs who play on their favored side for their clubs. Getting them both on the pitch simultaneously will require one to play out of position, as has been the case during qualifying. Boss Steve Clarke opted for a flexible 3-5-2 in one of their most recent fixtures, a 4-0 victory against the Faroe Islands, starting Tierney as the left-sided center-back and Robertson in front of him as a left wingback-cum-winger. 

Other plays to watch include penalty shootout hero David Marshall and Manchester United’s Scott McTominay, who is emerging as one of Scotland’s brightest young talents. Aston Villa’s John Mcginn has also been impressive both on international duty and for his Premier League club Aston Villa. Although on paper Scotland are probably the weakest team in the group, they’ll certainly be fired up for the grudge match with England, and if they can nick a win against the Czech Republic – a game that looks relatively evenly poised – or a draw against Croatia for that matter, they may stand an outside chance of progressing. 

Group D standings

Teams PL W D L GF GA GD P
 Czech Republic 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 4
England 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 4
Croatia 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 1
Scotland 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 1

How to watch Euro 2021 Group C – Stream Ukraine vs Austria

Euro 2020 is well underway and, despite the unusual circumstances surrounding the tournament, the first few Group A and B games did not disappoint.  Most European nations are home to broadcasters who are, at the very least, airing their national team’s games for free along with a string of other…

Euro 2020 is well underway and, despite the unusual circumstances surrounding the tournament, the first few Group A and B games did not disappoint. 

Most European nations are home to broadcasters who are, at the very least, airing their national team’s games for free along with a string of other games. If you live outside of Europe, however, it’s likely you’ll have to pay a subscription fee to watch the games on a pay-TV channel. Well, unless you have a VPN. 

Next up in Group C is Ukraine vs North Macedonia with the late game being Ukraine vs Austria. This guide will show you how to stream Euro 2021 on a free, legal stream using just a VPN. 

Unblock Ukraine vs Austria in 5 steps

Here’s a step-by-step guide that will show you exactly how to unblock Austria vs Macedonia in just a few straightforward actions. It’s not a very complicated process, so you’ll be up and running in no time! 

  1. Sign up to ExpressVPN or NordVPN .
  2. Download the VPN software on the device you’d like to stream from.
  3. Pick a server in a region or country that is home to the streaming service you want to watch the game on.
  4. Navigate to the service through your search engine. 
  5. Sign up for an account with that service, which will likely require a username and/or email address.

How to watch Ukraine vs Austria outside of Europe

In this section, you’ll find a brief rundown of which channels are showing Euro 2020 across Europe and some additional information about their programming for the tournament. 

This is not an extensive list – every country in Europe will, one way or another, have a broadcaster showing the games – but these are all accessible with a VPN online and have commentary in some of the world’s most widely-spoken languages. 

You’ve now done everything you need to do to secure yourself a high-quality, lag-free service to watch Euro 2020 on. All that’s left to do is enjoy the game! 

Competition – Win a router

Take the quiz below to test your Euros knowledge and be in with a chance to win a brand new Linksy WRT3200ACM router and an ExpressVPN subscription and two runners up will also receive an ExpressVPN subscription – courtesy of ExpressVPN !

You will be entered into our prize draw with every correct answer you give.

Take The Quiz

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What time does Ukraine vs Austria start?

Going into the final round of group stage fixtures, Ukraine and Austria are essentially battling it out for second place in Group C and a subsequent place in the round of 16. For all intents and purposes, this is a winner-takes-all fixture, with neither team likely to progress as a best third-placed team with just three points.

Austria were impressive in their opening game against North Macedonia but with forward Marko Arnautovic banned for a game due to an offensive celebration, they failed to create anything of note against the Netherlands and looked uncomfortable throughout, both on and off the ball. Ukraine, on the other hand, were unlucky against the Dutch, wiping out a 2 goal deficit with two great finishes only for Holland to land a knockout blow before full time. 

The Netherlands have beaten both of them already and likely to thrash North Macedonia, who currently sit bottom of Group C. Both games kick off at 21:00 CET (20:00 GMT), with the Dutch team welcoming the Northern Macedonians in Amsterdam and Ukraine and Austria in Bucharest. Wales and Italy booked their place in the final 16 on the weekend, but that seemed like a foregone conclusion before the match; in Group C, things aren’t so certain. 

What channel is Ukraine vs Austria on?

Ukrainian fans living in the country will be able to watch all the Euro 2020 games through Media Group Ukraine, the company that has acquired the rights to show the tournament in the Eastern European nation. Austrian fans, on the other hand, will have to tune into ORF to catch the game in their region. 

The BBC is showing the game with English commentary in the UK, having split the games down the middle with the ITV before the tournament. There are plenty of other free-to-air channels and public broadcasters around Europe who will be showing the game for free too! 

Do I need a VPN to watch Ukraine vs Austria?

Although most European countries are home to broadcasters airing the game for free, if you live outside of Europe, it’s unlikely the games will be shown on a public broadcaster or free-to-air channel. In the Middle East and North Africa, for example, beIN Sports is the only service showing the games. So, for millions of people around the world, the choices are either a hefty subscription fee paid directly to a subscription/pay-TV broadcaster – or a VPN. 

If a streaming service wants to stream or host some content – anything from a football game to a TV show – they have to secure the rights to do so. These deals are often bound by strict copyright regulations – stemming both from the creators of the content and the countries they want to show it in – and typically the streaming platform doesn’t get to decide where this content can be viewed. 

This is why geo-restrictions exist, and why almost everyone has been redirected to a ‘this content is not available in your country’ page whilst on the web. Many of the channels showing Euro 2020 – like BBC iPlayer – enforce these sorts of geo-restrictions. Sites like this can instate geo-restrictions because device IP addresses, determined by your geographical location, are revealed to websites when users visit them. This means websites can block IP addresses from countries where they do not hold the rights to show a given piece of content. 

A VPN provider helps you get around this problem by rerouting all of your internet traffic through one of its many private servers across the world. Instead of seeing your true IP address, all the websites you visit will see the IP address of the private server. This effectively means you can pretend to be in whatever country a given VPN server is based in, from South Korea to Switzerland and beyond. For Euro 2020, this means you can simply find a country with a service showing the games for free, connect through your VPN and watch it from anywhere in the world free from geo-blocks. 

Stream Ukraine vs North Macedonia online for free

I know what you’re thinking – I’ll still have to pay for a VPN subscription in order to watch the games. Technically, you’re not wrong – reputable, widely-subscribed to services like ExpressVPN that do everything they say on the tin do require a fee. But another thing ExpressVPN and co. do is offer 30-day money-back guarantees. This means you can subscribe, pay your fee, and then get a full refund as long as you contact their support team within the required time period.

This is great news because Euro 2020 runs for exactly 30 days. This means you can download it at the start and get a full refund once the competition has finished. So technically, you can stream Austra vs Macedonia online for free, as well as all the other games, because you won’t actually incur any long-term cost. 

The ExpressVPN Free Trial Hack!

ExpressVPN Logo

You can experience ExpressVPN’s fully featured service without limitation… for free! 

If you need A VPN for Euro 2020, why not test ExpressVPN premium service? Simply purchase a subscription using the button below and take advantage of the no-nonsense money-back guarantee. Enjoy the free VPN trial for 30 days, and when you cancel, you will receive a complete refund! Check out our ExpressVPN refund page for more details about how to get your money back after the 30-day period. 

Visit ExpressVPN

Why does ExpressVPN do this? Well, the key thing is that they have an excellent product that has a multitude of uses, which means that a lot of people who do download it – fully aware of the money-back guarantee – actually decide to stick with it. I’m sure you’ve already worked out that a provider like ExpressVPN can unblock a lot more than just a good channel to watch the Euros on – it can really expand your streaming capabilities far beyond what you have with a VPN. It’s also great for privacy too, thanks to its excellent security features. 

Why you should avoid illegal streams for Euro 2020

The rise (and price) of pay-tv subscription channels has, unfortunately, steered many football fans into searching for illegal ways to view football all across the world. There are various methods and platforms people use to do this, but they all have one thing in common – they’re dangerous. ProPrivacy strongly recommends you avoid illegal streams because of the risks associated with them. 

Besides being an illegal way to stream sport, many of these sites are infested with malware, adware, and even spyware, and there are countless stories about users getting their personal information lifted through using these sorts of websites. All the ad overlays and pop-ups aren’t just benign byproducts of a dodgy streaming website – they’re a genuine problem. 

Aside from the illegalities and also the dangers, streaming games illegally is a recipe for a poor viewing experience. They’re much more likely to lag, they’re often extremely poor quality, and people who do stream illegally often have to decide between a half-decent picture and commentary in a language they understand. When VPNs with money-back guarantees exist – and you could easily find a beautiful stream for the beautiful game – it’s pointless to put yourself in harm’s way. 

Group C: meet the teams

Austria 

Austria are somewhat of an enigma; they’re never counted amongst Europe’s elite international teams, have an average domestic league yet are on the cusp of being a top 20 ranked FIFA team, and have a squad pulled almost entirely from the German Bundesliga, one of the most exciting, dynamic and competitive football leagues in the world. 

Their tournament record, however, is not great – they’ve only qualified for the European Championships twice and exited at the group stage on both occasions. They haven’t qualified for a World Cup since 2002 either, so they’ll be looking to make the most of this rare opportunity to get out of the group stage. 

This time around, they may fancy their chances of getting out of this group – whether they can get a positive result against Ukraine will likely dictate whether they progress. Bayern Munich’s David Alaba – who plays in defense for his club, but much further up the pitch for his country – is the team’s most gifted player and will look to drive his country into the knockout rounds for the first time. 

Netherlands

The Netherlands previously won the tournament in 1988, when the likes of Frank Rijkaard, Ruud Gullit, and Marco Van Basten were running the show. Since then, the best they’ve managed is a third-place finish, narrowly missing out on a place in the final three times 1992, 2000 and 2004. It’s great tournament pedigree, granted, but since then the Oranje have failed to progress beyond the quarter-finals and even failed to qualify for the 2016 tournament. 

Despite the relative weakness of their national league – save the youthful, swashbuckling Ajax squad of recent years – the Dutch will always feel like they’ve got a chance against the best in the world. Juventus center-back Matthijs de Ligt will be expected to hold down the fort in defense, whilst Liverpool midfielder and Champions League winner Georginio Wijnaldum Lyon forward Memphis Depay will be relied on to create sparks further upfield. Considering the quality of the squad, Dutch fans will be expecting their team to top the group, but both Austria and Ukraine may have something to say about that. 

There’s been somewhat of a war of words between Liverpool Manager Jurgen Klopp and Holland boss Frank de Boer regarding the fitness of Virgil van Dijk – widely considered the best defender in the world before a serious Achilles injury ruled him out for the entire 2019/20 season – with the former wanting to pour cold water on the De Boer’s suggestion that the center half might be fit for the competition. A fit Van Dijk could transform Dutch fortunes at the tournament – but further injury could leave Liverpool searching for a long-term replacement for the £75 million man come next season. 

North Macedonia

North Macedonia are this Euro’s minnows. This is their debut at a major tournament, they have the smallest population of any of the qualifying teams and the lowest FIFA ranking out of any team in the competition. A lot of their playing squad will likely be pooled from minor leagues around Europe – including the Macedonian, Cypriot, Hungarian and Croatian leagues – but there are also seasoned La Liga, Serie A, and Premier League players available for selection. 

North Macedonia’s comparative lack of squad stardom didn’t stop the Balkan outfit recording an astonishing 2-1 defeat of Germany in the most recent round of World Cup qualifiers, a sign that The Red Lions can cause even the best in the world some serious problems and thus shouldn’t be taken lightly. Besides, they posted four wins and two draws in qualifying for the tournament, emerging from a group that contained Poland, Slovenia, and fellow Group C rivals Austria before battling through two rounds of qualifying play-off fixtures against Kosovo and Georgia. 

Leeds United defender Ezgjan Alioski will likely prove a valuable asset in a team’s first tournament after three years of ‘murderball’ under talismanic and highly revered coach Marco Bielsa. Up at the other end, 37-year-old Goran Pandev will be hoping the goal he scored in qualifying to send North Macedonia through to the competition proper won’t be his last contribution to an underdog tale that doesn’t seem to be slowing up any time soon. 

Ukraine

Like Austria, Ukraine have only made it to two European Championships previously – and bowed out at the group stage both times. In fact, they’ve only ever won one game in the tournament – a 2-1 comeback against Sweden – when they hosted the competition back in 2012. Currently, they sit just one FIFA ranking behind Austria, setting the scene for one of the closest groups to call in the tournament. 

Andriy Yarmolenko – second to only current manager Andrey Shevchenko when it comes to international goals – has had a season blighted with injuries and poor performances for West Ham, so the Eastern European team may have to look elsewhere for inspiration. There’s unlikely to be a shortage of that, though – Ukraine has a number of players from domestic club team Shaktar Donetsk, who did the double over Real Madrid in the Champions League group stages this year and also ground out a draw against recently-crowned Serie A champions Inter Milan. 

It will be interesting to see if Ukraine succumb to their own low expectations – they haven’t scored in their last five European Championship games, and as aforementioned, have only emerged victorious from a solitary fixture. “This is already an achievement – to get into the group with the strongest European teams,” boss Shevchenko said back in March of last year. Posting a couple of good performances may be seen as a triumph then, when in reality the squad, considering its quality, could perhaps reach for more. 

Group C standings

Teams PL W D L GF GA GD P
Netherlands 1 1 0 0 3 1 2 6
Ukraine 1 1 0 0 3 2 1 3
Austria  1 0 0 1 2 3 -1 3
North Macedonia 1 0 0 1 1 3 -2 0

Best VPN for Kanopy in 2021

If you’re a university student – or frequent library-goer for that matter – you may have heard of Kanopy. It’s a great streaming platform with thousands of titles to choose from. However, depending on where you are in the world, you may need to download a VPN to keep you…

If you’re a university student – or frequent library-goer for that matter – you may have heard of Kanopy. It’s a great streaming platform with thousands of titles to choose from.

However, depending on where you are in the world, you may need to download a VPN to keep you safe whilst you scroll through Kanopy – and that’s what we’re going to talk about today. 

Best Kanopy VPN services in 2021

Below we have listed the best VPN services for Kanopy. For more details check out our detailed summaries of each service.


  1. ExpressVPN

    – This is the best VPN for Kanopy. Reliable, consistently speedy and famed for its security and unblocking ability.

  2. NordVPN

    – A good value VPN and great for unblock Kanopy. It’s lightning-quick provider that is, in turn, excellent for streaming securely.

  3. CyberGhost VPN

    – An easy to use VPN for Kanopy. It’s A great VPN to use for Kanopy with a superb approach to preserving user privacy.

  4. Surfshark

    – The cheapest VPN on our list. It’s a cost-effective VPN for Kanopy that lets you use one account on an unlimited devices.

  5. Private Internet Access

    – The most secure VPN for Kanopy. It’s A good choice to use with Kanopy, with a huge number of servers to connect through.

The advantages of using a VPN for Kanopy?

Kanopy is available across the world – it has different landing pages for the UK, US, Middle East, Europe, and even worldwide. It has over 30,000 titles available, from modern classics to some of the most recent releases on the market. 

However, Kanopy – or one of the movies on it – might be banned in your country, especially if you live under an authoritarian and/or oppressive regime that censors a lot of content and punishes people for watching it. If you’re an international student from a country with a government like this and you’ve attended university in the US or Europe, for example, you may find that Kanopy is not available or even dangerous to access when you get back home. 

The site has also, unfortunately, exposed the viewing habits of its users in the past through revealing IP addresses. This means it’s worth getting a VPN if you’d like to ensure your movie choices are kept to yourself – wherever you may be in the world. 

Whether you want to watch a movie your government might not like, or you just want your viewing experience to be as private as possible, a VPN is the solution. VPNs reroute all your traffic through private servers around the world, masking your IP address in the process. All the sites you visit – including Kanopy – will see the IP address of the server rather than your device. They have a tonne of other uses too – and we’ll discuss them further down. 

The best VPNs for Kanopy | In-depth Analysis

Here’s a closer look at the best VPNs for pairing with Kanopy. I’ve tried to tease out their key features for you to help you make your decision.

ExpressVPN is the best VPN for Kanopy. It is a top-class all rounder that will keep your browsing habits private and your data secure when you use Kanopy.

  • Pricing

    From 

    $6.67 –
    $12.95

  • Available on

    • Windows
    • macOS
    • iOS
    • Android
    • Linux
  • Unblocks

    • Netflix
    • iPlayer
    • Amazon Prime
    • Hulu

ExpressVPN is a great choice if you want to stay safe and secure whilst using Kanopy. It utilizes AES-256 bit encryption, the most widely used and robust encryption standard available, and equip their users with a kill-switch, which means your internet connection will automatically drop if your VPN disconnects. All ExpressVPN’s servers use TrustedServer Technology, which means they run on RAM only, which means nothing is ever written to hard drives. They even use a private DNS on every server, so if you’re watching a show on Kanopy that your government might not be a huge fan of, you won’t have to worry. 

ExpressVPN provides consistently good speeds for its users, and in my personal experience, I’ve always found streaming a smooth and trouble-free experience; it’s definitely one of the most all-rounded and comprehensive services available on the market. There’s a reason why it’s held in such high regard – but if you don’t believe me, or even the reviews, you can try it out for yourself thanks to the provider’s 30-day money-back guarantee. 

NordVPN is a lightning-quick provider that will not only provide you with a great streaming experience but also a tonne of innovative security features to match.

  • Pricing

    From 

    $3.30 –
    $11.95

  • Available on

    • Windows
    • macOS
    • iOS
    • Android
    • Linux
  • Unblocks

    • Netflix
    • iPlayer
    • Amazon Prime
    • Hulu

NordVPN is all about speed – when we conduct our daily speed tests, this provider is usually first or second out of a cohort that includes many of the best VPNs on the market. This makes it ideal for pairing not just with Kanopy, but any other streaming service you’d like to access. For example, NordVPN is really good at unblocking different Netflix libraries, which will vastly expand your streaming capabilities. 

Of course, NordVPN wouldn’t be a provider I’d recommend without adequate security features, but this is another area where NordVPN excels. I really like their Double VPN function, which you might find useful if you want to watch a movie through Kanopy and you’re not sure if it’s banned in your country. Double VPN reroutes your connection through two of NordVPN’s servers instead of one for an extra layer of protection. NordVPN also has a great anti-malware tool called CyberSec, as well as the full spread of standard security features you’d expect from a top-class provider. A 30-day money-back guarantee is also afforded to indecisive customers (like myself!) who just want to take the service for a spin before they decide.

CyberGhost VPN have had a foot in the VPN game for 15 years now, and its commendable approach to customer privacy and security has never wavered.

  • Pricing

    From 

    $2.25 –
    $12.99

  • Available on

    • Windows
    • macOS
    • iOS
    • Android
    • Linux
  • Unblocks

    • Netflix
    • iPlayer
    • Amazon Prime
    • Hulu

CyberGhost VPN has a great track record of unblocking other popular streaming services, and with servers in 88 countries, you’ll have a hell of a lot to choose from. You can use the same account on up to 7 devices at the same time, so it’s a good choice if you have family or friends who also want the benefit of a VPN.

CyberGhost now has the modern WireGuard encryption protocol available on all its clients, and they don’t store any connection or browsing logs which is a big plus for the privacy-conscious. It also offers the longest money-back guarantee period out of any of the providers on this list, affording prospective long-time users 45 days to decide whether to make their investment permanent. 

Surfshark is cheap and cheerful, thanks to a wealth of security features and speeds to rival providers like NordVPN.

  • Pricing

    From 

    $2.49 –
    $12.95

  • Available on

    • Windows
    • macOS
    • iOS
    • Android
    • Linux
  • Unblocks

    • Netflix
    • iPlayer
    • Amazon Prime
    • Hulu

Surfshark’s the provider for you if you want to watch Kanopy or access any other streaming service securely, from a number of devices. Surfshark’s USP is that it offers unlimited simultaneous connections, so you can dish your login details out to your family, or even go halves or thirds to a subscription with your friends (making it even cheaper!). Surfshark has over 3,200 servers spread across more than 65 countries, so the streaming possibilities are almost endless. 

In terms of security, Surfshark can rub shoulders with the priciest of providers. ‘Camouflage Mode’ will be particularly useful if you’re worried you might be watching TV shows your government has censored – it means even your internet service provider won’t know you’re using a VPN, ensuring your traffic just looks like standard traffic. They also offer a Multi-Hop tool that functions similarly to NordVPN’s Double VPN and operates exclusively diskless servers, so you can trust its no-logs claims. The provider also offers a 30-day money-back guarantee so take it for a test run and try out the features yourself. 

Private Internet Access is a highly-regarded VPN with a huge server network in the US and beyond, making it a great companion for streaming.

  • Pricing

    From 

    $2.69 –
    $9.95

  • Available on

    • Windows
    • macOS
    • iOS
    • Android
    • Linux
  • Unblocks

    • Netflix
    • iPlayer
    • Amazon Prime
    • Hulu

Private Internet Access (PIA) has had its no-logs claim proven in court, which is great news if you’re concerned about your privacy in relation to your Kanopy viewing. It also deploys AES-256 bit encryption and its own DNS service, as well as widely-provided features like a kill-switch. PIA has apps for all platforms and allows simultaneous connections on up to 10 devices, which is the most out of all the providers listed in this article bar Surfshark. All its servers are bare metal (which means PIA is the only client using it), another impressive security plus. 

PIA has an impressively sized server network. They have over 20,000 in 78 countries, and more servers in the US than most providers have worldwide. This makes it a great choice for accessing sites like Kanopy not just safely and securely, but quickly too – streaming in HD isn’t a problem for PIA. To top it all off, PIA also offers a month-long money-back guarantee for you to take advantage of. 

What do I need to access Kanopy?

Kanopy is a streaming service designed for students who have attended universities in the US, and people who have memberships to public libraries. This means to sign up and log into the site you will need either your:

  • University name and ID/login credentials 
  • Your library name and PIN/password

Kanopy has a register of affiliated organizations and it will ask you to pick yours from a search menu, which includes thousands of institutions. According to the site’s terms and conditions, a very limited amount of titles are available to the general public, but without an affiliated university log-in, you won’t be able to access the vast majority of their quite sizeable library. 

What to look for in a VPN for Kanopy

For Kanopy specifically, it would be advised to look for a VPN provider that has:

However, VPNs have a much wider remit than just keeping you safe and secure whilst scrolling through Kanopy. They’re great for unblocking Netflix libraries from around the world that would usually be geo-restricted, and you can also use them to do things like download games that are released much earlier in different countries. The possibilities are honestly endless! 

Setting up your VPN and getting onto Kanopy

  1. Sign up for one of the VPN services mentioned in this article. 
  2. Download the provider’s software onto your chosen device.
  3. Connect to one of the servers in the US, Europe, or any other location where Kanopy is available. 
  4. Head over to the Kanopy website as usual via your browser. 
  5. Log in to the site using your university/library details.

And that’s all! You’ll now be able to watch Kanopy wherever you are in the world, safe in the knowledge that your data will be kept safe and secure. 

What else does a VPN do?

We touched on this earlier on, but it’s important to remember that an investment in a VPN subscription does a hell of a lot more than simply unblock one website. I’ve already mentioned the increased freedom you get when it comes to sites like Netflix, but good VPNs (like the ones in this article) will also: 

If you do have a specific movie or TV show you’d like to watch and it’s not on Kanopy or your region’s Netflix library, try out our StreamCatcher tool. It’ll let you know exactly what you have to do to unblock and access it! 

How do I know my VPN is working? 

If you’ve got yourself a VPN from the list above, then that’s a great start. Now, it’s a good idea to check if it’s working – VPNs run in the background and are essentially just rerouting your connection, so it’s not always 100% clear if a VPN is on (unless you have your kill-switch turned on). 

If you’d like to check if everything’s in working condition, head over to our leak test page for confirmation that you’ve set everything up correctly! 

Final thoughts

VPNs make for a better online experience. They promote freedom and privacy and, with sites like Kanopy, they can ensure your safety is preserved, particularly if you live in parts of the world where digital liberty is minimal. If you’re still unsure of which VPN provider you’d like to go with, here’s a quick reminder of our top picks: 


  1. ExpressVPN

    – This is the best VPN for Kanopy. Reliable, consistently speedy and famed for its security and unblocking ability.

  2. NordVPN

    – A good value VPN and great for unblock Kanopy. It’s lightning-quick provider that is, in turn, excellent for streaming securely.

  3. CyberGhost VPN

    – An easy to use VPN for Kanopy. It’s A great VPN to use for Kanopy with a superb approach to preserving user privacy.

  4. Surfshark

    – The cheapest VPN on our list. It’s a cost-effective VPN for Kanopy that lets you use one account on an unlimited devices.

  5. Private Internet Access

    – The most secure VPN for Kanopy. It’s A good choice to use with Kanopy, with a huge number of servers to connect through.

What are the least secure email providers? Worst email providers 2021

If you are tired of hearing about the privacy invasions caused by using Gmail, you may wonder how to de-Google without accidentally switching to another insecure email provider. In this blog, we will pinpoint the least secure email services so that you can determine which providers to avoid, and subscribe…

If you are tired of hearing about the privacy invasions caused by using Gmail, you may wonder how to de-Google without accidentally switching to another insecure email provider.

In this blog, we will pinpoint the least secure email services so that you can determine which providers to avoid, and subscribe to a service that puts your email security and privacy first.

What makes email providers insecure?

You often get what you pay for when it comes to online services that provide top-line security and data privacy. Free services, for example, are frequently funded with revenue made from user data.

This means that the service provider has a vested interest in retaining access to your data, which creates privacy issues and security threats.

In the case of email providers, any privacy policy that allows the company to access your inbox could result in your emails being leveraged for marketing purposes using automated algorithms that search for keywords.

In addition, if the email provider does not provide secure client-side encryption for emails by default, it is possible that government snoops could access your emails via a warrant. In addition, there exists a threat of mismanagement and data leaks caused by the company.

A lack of end-to-end encryption for the emails stored on company servers will also mean that cybercriminals can breach your emails – because the keys for server-side encryption could be stolen from the email provider’s servers. 

What are the least secure email providers?

In this section, we will pinpoint commonly used email providers that are known for mishandling user privacy and data security. Many people use these free email services. However, in our opinion, it is much safer to migrate to an email provider that puts your privacy first. Thus, we recommend that you steer away from the email providers below!

Yahoo Mail

Yahoo mail logo

Yahoo Mail is perhaps the most controversial and insecure email provider on this list. Yahoo’s reputation was dealt a severe blow in 2016 when it was revealed that the company had provided government snoops with backdoor access to hundreds of millions of user accounts.

In order to give the NSA access to those accounts, Yahoo provided the government with a purposefully designed tool that could be leveraged to backdoor Yahoo Mail accounts en masse. The purpose-built tool was then used to search all incoming emails for keywords and information provided by US intelligence officials. 

Even with this controversy aside, Yahoo remains a free email provider that retains full control over its user’s email vault. As a result, it can theoretically access anybody’s mail at any time. What’s worse, those emails are at risk of cyberattacks due to the server-side encryption the company implements.

It is also worth noting that in 2017 Yahoo became a Verizon Media service, which means you must agree to Verizon Media’s terms of service to use Yahoo Mail.

Those terms clearly remind users that personalization lies at the core of its services and that in order to provide personalized services and ads it will leverage its users’ data.

Verizon Media states that it will use “device IDs, cookies, and other signals, including information obtained from third parties” to track users. These are highly invasive practices, that make Yahoo Mail a highly insecure and privacy-invading email provider. If you were in any doubt at all about how Verizon Media will treat your private emails, here is the crux of the matter taken from its privacy policy:

Verizon Media analyzes and stores all communications content, including email content from incoming and outgoing mail. This allows us to deliver, personalize and develop relevant features, content, advertising and services.

Verizon Media Privacy Policy

AOL Mail

AOL Mail logo

AOL Mail is another email provider that is considered bad for user privacy and data security. The service became part of Verizon Media back in 2017 after the business was successfully acquired alongside Yahoo.

As a result, anybody who uses AOL Mail must agree to Verizon Media’s terms of service and privacy policy. This gives the company full access to people’s incoming and outgoing emails, which means that when you use the service you are agreeing to give the company full access to all of your emails:

terms of service agreeing to give full access to emails

The privacy policy also specifies that the company collects large quantities of personally identifiable information to track user habits, identifying their interests, and serving them personalized content and adverts.

This includes “device specific identifiers and information such as IP address, cookie information, mobile device and advertising identifiers, browser version, operating system type and version, mobile network information, device settings, and software data.”

In addition, the company reminds users that it “may recognize your devices” to provide you with “personalized experiences” and to advertise to you “across the devices you use.”

Add to this the risks posed by server-side security and the potential for data leaks and data breaches it results in, and you can see why this is an email service that cannot be considered secure. Finally, Verizon Media has now agreed to sell AOL and Yahoo Mail to the private equity firm Apollo in a deal valued at $5 billion. This could mean further changes to both email services’ ToS and policies.

Gmail

gmail logo

Google is a company that already holds vast amounts of data about internet users. The company has a mountain of marketing information about people, which it uses to identify their likes and habits.

This data is collected every time you use Google to make a search, or browse the web using its popular Chrome browser. Add to this the data it can collect from Android phones via Google Services, and you begin to understand why this company controls so much information about consumers. 

Having a Gmail account only increases the level of surveillance that the company can engage in, and Google is known to scan email subjects and contents. That said, the firm did finally stop scanning the contents of emails for marketing purposes in 2017. However, it is still scanning email subject lines, and it allows third parties to access email information.

In fact, even when Google claimed to have stopped automatically scanning emails for marketing purposes, the firm admitted it was still allowing third parties to access user inboxes. This allows those third parties to snoop on the sender and recipient, the time an email was sent, and even the contents of those emails.

In addition, it is vital to remember that Google completely controls access to your inbox, which means it can read your emails if it wants to for R&D and surveillance capitalism purposes, and it almost certainly is doing this via automated means in order to gather information about people.

Despite its claim that it does not use the contents of emails to market to users, data from your Google account is used to serve ads in your Gmail inbox.

Admittedly, Google is a company that works hard to prevent unauthorized access to email accounts. It is now forcing users with a linked device to set up two factor authentication, and it has strong measures in place to detect unusual activity.

However, it is worth remembering that any company that completely controls the keys to your email vault could theoretically be subjected to a cyberattack that allows hackers to steal the keys to your email vault. And the firm might be served a warrant and gag order that forces it to provide access to people’s emails by the government. 

Outlook

Microsoft outlook logo

Outlook is Microsoft’s email service, and while it isn’t as invasive as some of the other services mentioned in this guide, it is still not an email service that can be considered secure.

This shouldn’t come as a surprise because Microsoft is known for engaging in high levels of surveillance capitalism – primarily by collecting sizeable amounts of telemetry via the Windows Operating System.

That said, according to Microsoft, “Outlook.com is a free personal email service from Microsoft that doesn’t scan your email for the purpose of serving you ads.”

This is certainly better than many other free email services. However, it is important to remember that Microsoft still controls the keys to your email vault. It is also an American company based in the US, which means it can be subjected to warrants and gag orders that force it to provide access to the data stored on its servers in complete secrecy.

A lack of client-side encryption means that it can search your emails if it wants to, and while it claims not to use the content of emails for advertising, it is possible that it could leverage them for other purposes, including training up its algorithms and developing new products.

In addition, it is possible that Microsoft could suffer a cyberattack in which the encryption key to your email vault is stolen from its servers. As a result, it is possible that hackers could access your emails. 

 Apple Mail

apple mail logo

Apple Mail is a service that is considered more private than the other email providers mentioned in this guide. Apple doesn’t use user emails for marketing purposes, for example. However, the firm does control access to your emails, and it does automatically scan those emails to improve its software services.

That said, vulnerabilities have been discovered in Apple and iOS Mail in the past, and the company has received criticisms for its failure to properly acknowledge the severity of those vulnerabilities, and for its failure to deal with them swiftly. As a result, security experts harbor concerns over Apple’s ability to secure email accounts, should more exploits be discovered.

Most recently, two severe security flaws were discovered in iOS Mail by ZecOps, a San Francisco-based mobile security company. Those vulnerabilities exposed users to severe security concerns that could have allowed hackers to access the contents of their email accounts. Also, according to ZedOps the Apple Mail App vulnerability was exploited in at least six cyberattacks in the wild.

Apple’s failure to completely shore up its email services in the past doesn’t bode well for the future, which means that it is hard to consider its email services truly secure.

It is also important to note that Apple is a completely closed source platform, so while the firm can make wild claims about privacy, it is impossible to know what it is doing with people’s data. This means that there is an element of trust involved with how Apple manages people’s accounts and data.

This raises concerns, because despite Apple’s claims to be in favor of consumer privacy within its services and products, the firm has contradictory policies, and has consistently failed to shore up its ecosystem to prevent apps on the Apple store from performing invasive levels of tracking (something it could do if it wanted to because it has full control over what appears in the store). This raises serious questions regarding its true motivations. 

Is it time to move to a secure and private email service?

The answer to this question is almost certainly yes! Free email services provided by major corporations open users up to privacy and security risks, because they all have dubious Terms of Service and privacy policies that threaten the privacy of their users.

At the end of the day, these companies provide free email services for a reason; they want to access those emails for research, development, and marketing purposes. The important thing to remember is that, when a service is free, this is because you are paying for it with your data.

Anybody interested in gaining higher levels of email security and access to encrypted emails that cannot be accessed by anybody is encouraged to move to an email provider with strong privacy policies that promise not to scan emails, and that provide email security like PGP natively within their apps to let you send emails that are secured with end-to-end encryption.

Want to know more?

For more information on secure email services and for information on using services like Gmail with added privacy check out the guides below: