From the announcement of a full VPN ban in China, to the official release of our optimized gaming network, Outfox, to the revelation of a worldwide decline in Internet freedoms, 2017 was certainly an eventful year. Many of this year’s top stories are related to censorship and privacy (or lack thereof). As we look back at some of this year’s most talked about events and step into 2018, a notion stated by our co-founder Ron Yokubaitis seems very relevant:
“Regulations and laws cannot stop technology from empowering people. As government regulations on the Internet and privacy fluctuate, the best thing Internet proponents can do is continue to create solutions and promote the peaceful and free use of the Internet.”
Below we’ve recapped some of our top blog posts from 2017, hitting on the year’s key trends:
Midway into 2017, the Chinese government made the alarming announcement that they’ll be implementing a widespread VPN ban, planned to take full effect early this year. The government issued an order to the three largest, state-owned telecoms demanding they completely block access to VPNs, which would impact 1.3 billion subscribers collectively. In our post, Golden Frog president Sunday Yokubaitis explains that amid an already restricted Internet environment, this added form of censorship will heavily impact access to a free and open Internet for Internet users, businesses and academics alike. Despite this news, though, VyprVPN remains accessible to our users in China, offering high VPN speeds. Our proprietary technology, Chameleon, works to defeat VPN blocking, allowing users to bypass restrictions. You can view our infographic to review the details on China’s escalating censorship in 2017.
The battle for the Internet has been going on for quite some time now, and really reignited early in 2017 as the FCC vote to repeal Title II net neutrality guidelines approached. Net neutrality regulations previously prevented Internet service (broadband) providers from slowing down Internet traffic or restricting access to content, allowing for competition and equal Internet access for all. To our great dismay, the protections set in place to ensure an open Internet have since been repealed by the FCC, but in the wake of the vote, efforts by activists and average Internet users alike to save net neutrality remain substantive and inspiring. We joined one of the largest Internet movements to-date, Battle for the Net, and called for netizens to take action. The vote is over but the battle for an open Internet certainly is not – visit our guide to learn more about net neutrality and what you can do to keep yourself protected.
Golden Frog was excited to release Outfox – our latest product, an optimized gaming network to increase overall gaming performance – out of beta at the start of fall. Judging by the product’s positive reception at launch, our excitement and the anticipation were equally matched. Outfox works by routing your traffic through our network to improve connection stability, and decrease lag and lower ping to increase speed. Outfox supports popular gaming titles like League of Legends, Overwatch and PUBG, with more games added on an ongoing basis. Not to mention our team of dedicated DevOps and Network Engineers constantly evaluating our network and making updates to ensure the fastest speeds.
The Internet was abuzz this year (as it often is) with news revolving around the vulnerabilities of public Wi-Fi networks. In addition to ongoing news of public unsecured Wi-Fi networks posing risks, it was discovered and reported that WPA2 (Wi-Fi Protected Access 2) networks, the industry standard, are vulnerable to cryptographic attacks. This vulnerability was dubbed KRACK, and occurs when a hacker is within close proximity to a Wi-Fi network and sets intercept data from a user connected to the same network. You can read our blog post to learn more about the KRACK vulnerability and ways you can protect yourself, and read about the general dangers of public Wi-Fi.
Our most circulated post this year was our summary of the alarming revelations found in the annual watchdog report by our partner, Freedom House. This year’s report, Freedom on the Net 2017, revealed that for the 7th year in a row Internet freedoms are on the decline worldwide. According to the report, out of the 65 countries evaluated, 32 countries show a decline in Internet freedoms, with Ukraine, Egypt and Turkey reporting the steepest declines and China ranking as the worst abuser of Internet freedoms worldwide. The report highlights the most staggering methods governments in various countries are implementing to control citizens, like the disruption or shutdown of mobile internet services, restrictions placed on live-streaming, cyberattacks, physical attacks and an increasing amount of VPN censorship. This year’s report also marked the first time a section was dedicated to VPN censorship, highlighting the alarming escalation in censoring access to the unrestricted Internet. To read further information about the Freedom on the Net report and where to access it, read our overview in our blog.