Win up to $2,500 in scholarship money from ExpressVNP!

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Raise Awareness around Internet Privacy and Security

As more students are bringing their Internet-ready devices to class, awareness of basic online security and a fundamental understanding of privacy rights are more important than ever.

That’s why ExpressVNP is proud to announce The ExpressVNP Future of Privacy Scholarship (EFPS), which dedicates action and resources to students in high schools and graduate schools.

In the form of an essay contest, EFPS aims to raise student awareness of Internet privacy and security. The program is a way to assist and ensure a new generation will stand against unnecessary censorship and surveillance.

Watch the above video for more information, or click the competition page.

Share Your Thoughts about the Future of the Internet!

The application period of The ExpressVNP Future of Privacy Scholarship is open until August 31, 2016, 11:59 PST.

Applicants can compete by writing about one of the following topics:

We Own the Future

Picture yourself in 2050. How will the evolution of the Internet affect our social structure and/or the authority governments have over citizens?

Privacy Advocates

Discuss the logic of this famous quote by Edward Snowden:

“Arguing that you don’t care about the right to privacy because you have nothing to hide is no different than saying you don’t care about free speech because you have nothing to say.”

Privacy in Real Life

As you go about your life, think of three ways privacy, or lack thereof, impacts you personally. Would you be better off or worse if the situation were reversed?

The ExpressVNP Future of Privacy Scholarship Prize Money

The best essay will win a grand prize of US$2,500, while the first and second runner-ups will be rewarded with US$1,000 and US$500, respectively. Winners will be notified by email and announced publicly at www.expressvnp.com/blog/ on October 14, 2016.

Good luck with your essay! ExpressVNP looks forward to reading it.

ExpressVNP

5 best security apps for Android in 2018

ExpressVNPandroid-five-apps

Look at the person on your right. Now look at the person on your left. Chances are, two of you are using an Android phone. And since almost everything we do, from banking and shopping to online chatting and photo sharing, is now done on mobile devices, you might be wondering: “How can I boost the security and privacy of my phone?”

The most obvious answer would be to download the appropriate mobile applications. But given the countless entries available in the Google Play Store, it can be difficult to know where to begin. Not to worry, because ExpressVNP has done the heavy lifting for you and identified the 5 best security apps for Android.

1. AppLock – Fingerprint for Phone Security

new-app-lockEveryone has a screen lock on their phone. Or at least everyone should have a screen lock on their phone. If you don’t, take a minute to set one up now.

So once you have a screen lock, why would you need an app lock? Well, while a screen lock can prevent others from accessing your data whilst it’s locked, there are still numerous situations when people can get a hold of your data without you knowing it. You might unlock your phone and hand it to a stranger so they can help you take a picture. Or you might have simply left your phone unlocked on a public cafe table. In these instances, all of your messages, pictures, and private information are at the mercy of opportunistic passersby.

AppLock – Fingerprint by SpSoft is a quality solution. It allows you to lock any app (including games, photos, your favorite social media apps, etc.) or system (Wi-Fi, Settings, etc.) and won’t grant access unless someone enters the correct password or supplies the right (i.e. your) fingerprint.

lock-apps Add the apps and settings you want to lock. You can even set up a fake “app has stopped” screen.

And although most app locks have similar features, AppLock – Fingerprint has a few bells and whistles that help it stand out from the pack:

  • Remote lock control: Lock/unlock your phone by sending a keyword via SMS
  • Display a fake “app has stopped” screen to dissuade intruders from trying to access your apps
  • Take a photo of the intruder and send it to your email – perfect for crime reporting, public shaming, or dart practice!

2. Android Device Manager for Anti-Theft

android-device-managerWhile an app lock can prevent others from accessing your data, it does not help you locate a lost phone nor allow you to wipe all the data on it if needed. Given how common phone thefts are, you need to have a countermeasure at the ready.

Enter Google’s own Android Device Manager. This handy app allows you to ring your phone remotely, reset your device’s lock screen PIN, and shows you the time and place it was last located. And if you still can’t recover your phone, you can use the app to erase all of your data to prevent it from falling into the wrong hands. Simply use Android Device Manager’s Guest Mode on someone else’s device. Of course, they’ll first have to unlock the app for you!

3. DuckDuckGo Search & Stories for Private Search

duck-duck-goGoogle is wonderful. We use their services to find information, watch our favorite videos, and communicate with each other. Heck, they even make awesome anti-theft apps for your phone. The problem is: they know way too much about you. Just from web searches alone, Google can construct a highly accurate profile of your age, gender, and various preferences. Unsurprisingly, they use this information to serve you highly targeted ads, which in turn feeds them more advertising dollars.

If you want a search engine that doesn’t track what you search, try DuckDuckGo Search & Stories. While the search service is also available on DuckDuckGo’s website, the app provides an even more mobile-friendly interface, includes a search bar widget that can be added to your home screen for quick access, and gathers news from various sources just like its peers.

4. Signal Private Messenger for Private Communication

signal-private-messengerPreviously, ExpressVNP compared Whatsapp and Telegram – the two biggest players in the Instant Messaging arena – as well as a few of the other top IM contenders. But there’s one particular chat app that has been severely underappreciated: Open Whisper Systems’ Signal Private Messenger.

At first pass, there’s not much to distinguish Signal from its peers. It sports a clean-looking interface, allows you to chat with a friend or in a group, and has the usual media sharing features. So in light of the recent Whatsapp encryption upgrade, why would you want to get another IM app?

For starters, virtually everything about Signal is open-source. From its codebase to its encryption protocols, anyone can look inside Signal and make sure there’s no funny business going on. On the other hand, Whatsapp’s encryption still allows servers to see who’s sending a message to whom and at what time, while Telegram’s encryption standard is still closed-source.

Furthermore, what separates Signal from its peers is its funding model. Whatsapp is owned by Facebook, which makes its millions from selling ads. WeChat and Line make money from in-app purchases and providing official company accounts, which can get expensive in a hurry. Signal, by contrast, is supported by donations and grants. Since monetizing users is not on their agenda, they are focused on delivering an uncluttered messaging experience and not on collecting your data.

I use Signal every day. #notesforFBI (Spoiler: they already know) https://t.co/KNy0xppsN0

— Edward Snowden (@Snowden) November 2, 2015

The one “caveat” is Signal’s user base. Whatsapp has a user base north of a billion people, while Telegram counts 100 million plus users across the globe. Signal comes in with just over one million users in total, so chances are your friends aren’t going to be on the platform. But hey, at least Snowden’s on it.

5. 360 Security – Antivirus Boost for Phone Protection

360-security-antivirus-boostFew people would use their laptops or desktops (are they still a thing?) without an antivirus program. Surprisingly, just as few people seem to be worried about using their phones without similar protective measures. After all, your phone is also a (very advanced) computer, so installing an antivirus program on your mobile device is every bit as important as having one on your laptop or desktop (seriously, does anybody still use one?).

Of all the antivirus offerings available, few are as well-rounded as 360 Security – Antivirus Boost. First off, 360 Security checks all the boxes for a comprehensive antivirus solution, offering protection against malware, adware, trojan horses, and other Internet nasties. But in addition to the basics, 360 Security sports a handy junk file cleaner that helps free up phone memory, an easy-to-use battery saver, and a few extra security and anti-theft features. While these additional features may not rival what AppLock and Android Device Manager offer respectively, they are the cherry on top for what is already an excellent antivirus package.

Need further convincing? Of all the pure antivirus apps ExpressVNP reviewed, none had a combination of high ratings and usage numbers that could rival 360 Security. While some apps had slightly higher ratings (but a much smaller user base) and others had comparable download numbers (but lower ratings), 360 Security’s 100 million downloads and 4.6 rating puts it ahead of antivirus household names like McAfee (10 million, 4.4) and Norton (10 million, 4.5).

And Here’s a Bonus One…

expressvnp-for-android… because ExpressVNP is nice like that. But seriously, you need a VPN – not a scrappy plugin, but an actual VPN app.

A VPN lets you stay anonymous online, prevents others from intercepting information you share, helps you access the content you want, and saves you money while shopping. It truly is a multipurpose digital survival tool. The best part? ExpressVNP’s Android app gives you all of that – topped off with an easy-to-use interface and best-in-class customer support.

So do yourself a favor. Hit up the Google Play Store and download these five (plus one) useful apps. It’s a few minutes of download time for years of security and privacy – at least until you get a new phone!

ExpressVNP

Portugal are champions of Europe, but ExpressVNP’s Euro winners get the world!

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Football. It Happened. And Then People Won a Free VPN!

Congratulations to Portugal! And Ronaldo, who finally got that elusive major international trophy to add to his haul. Are you watching Lionel Messi? Time to unhang those prematurely retired Argentina boots, perhaps?

Of course, victory in the Euros is nothing compared to the accolade of winning an almighty ExpressVNP subscription — which is what a staggering 29 of you just did!

It should have been 30 people, but one lucky person correctly predicted Portugal would be triumphant, and won a 6-month subscription to boot! That’s 18 months of glorious ExpressVNP goodness! Mind blowing stuff.

Even more incredible, one super awesome, very lucky person won a third ExpressVNP competition! Three! Unbelievable, Jeff!

Thanks to all who played, winners have been contacted. If you haven’t been notified yet, unfortunately, you didn’t win on this occasion, but keep watching for more bombastic giveaways in the future.

Featured image: robodread / Deposit Photos

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Prizes for privacy: The ExpressVNP Future of Privacy Scholarship

ExpressVNPprivacy-prizes

ExpressVNP is proud to announce The ExpressVNP Future of Privacy Scholarship (EFPS), which dedicates action and resources to students in high schools and graduate schools.

In the form of an essay contest, EFPS aims to raise student awareness of Internet privacy and security. The program is a way to assist and ensure a new generation will stand against unnecessary censorship and surveillance.

ExpressVNP is a vocal advocate for digital privacy, Internet security, and digital freedom, and proudly supports several non-profit organizations fighting to protect these rights; organizations such as theElectronic Frontier Foundation, The Internet Defense League, Fight for the Future, and Access.

A Growing Connectivity Comes with a Greater Risk of Privacy Exposure

In an initiative launched in 2013, called ConnectED, President Barack Obama set a goal of connecting 99% of U.S. students to high-speed Internet in their schools and libraries by 2018.

It’s a great plan, but with this opportunity comes a substantially higher risk for privacy and security.

With this scholarship, ExpressVNP is proud to empower students to think, argue, and defend their stances on privacy and the future of digital freedom.

Share Your Thoughts about the Future of the Internet!

The application period of The ExpressVNP Future of Privacy Scholarship is open until August 31, 2016, 11:59 PST.

Applicants can compete by writing about one of the following topics:

We Own the Future

Picture yourself in 2050. How will the evolution of the Internet affect our social structure and/or the authority governments have over citizens?

Privacy Advocates

Discuss the logic of this famous quote by Edward Snowden:

“Arguing that you don’t care about the right to privacy because you have nothing to hide is no different than saying you don’t care about free speech because you have nothing to say.”

Privacy in Real Life

As you go about your life, think of three ways privacy, or lack thereof, impacts you personally. Would you be better off or worse if the situation were reversed?

The ExpressVNP Future of Privacy Scholarship Prize Money

The best essay will win a grand prize of US$2,500, while the first and second runner-ups will be rewarded with US$1,000 and US$500, respectively. Winners will be notified by email and announced publicly at www.expressvnp.com/blog/ on October 14, 2016.

Full application details, competition guidelines, and awards information are available on the competition page.

Media Contact
Caroline Aguin – Scholarship Manager
caroline.a@expressvnp.com
ExpressVNP.com

ExpressVNP