Category Archives: Windows

Why Brave Browser is Safe and Secure

Brave has been picking up a lot of steam lately.

The crypto community loves this browser. It’s being quickly adopted because Brave has cleverly integrated blockchain tech to create a totally new ad ecosystem. Both publishers and users are awarded with BAT (basic attention token). Also, underneath the hood its secret power is enhanced privacy.

For users of Chrome, this new browser isn’t much of a change in terms of use. Brave could be described as a privacy-hardened version of Chrome. After all, it’s built on top of Chromium, Google’s open source browser project.

So, Brave has killer privacy features (as explored in a previous article here). But is Brave Browser safe? Is it secure? Let’s jump into it!

Brave Browser Safety

Although not a household name like Google, Brave Software’s leadership has a history of achievement and trustworthiness.

Brave’s CEO Brendan Eich invented JavaScript, a programming language that is ubiquitous on the web. Also, he was a co-founder of Mozilla before moving on to Brave. So, Firefox, another popular and reputable browser is also associated with Eich.

It’s said that past behavior is the best predictor of future behavior.

Studies have proven that people trust their private data with Mozilla more than Google. This is expected as user privacy is a part of Mozilla’s core philosophy. Brave Software was born from the same ideals as Mozilla, so in time Brave browser is likely to gain at least the same high-level of trust.

Success and Trust Go Hand-in-Hand

Software won’t remain safe and secure without the dedication and talent of great developers. And clearly, it’s only possible to gain and hold on to talent when adoption of that software is healthy.

Before Brave came to the scene, those seeking an alternative to Chrome flocked to Firefox.

At its peak nearly half of all web users used Firefox. And it is still more popular than Edge, Safari or Opera according to browser use statistics. Due to the good track record of Firefox, Brave has a real shot at challenging Chrome’s dominance.

Rooted in Chromium

Rather than building a totally new browser and reinventing the wheel, Brave Software took an already great browser and made it their own. Brave is essentially Chromium with added features most people want built-in, and intrusions on privacy taken out.

Google built the codebase of Chromium initially, and as an open-source project, developers all over the globe continue to improve it.

There are two main factors that contribute to the safety of Brave.

First, Google is one of the best software companies in the world right now. That means the code was built from the ground up by top-notch developers. Second, due to the open-source nature of the project there are a lot of eyeballs on the code. This means security issues can be quickly spotted and patched by the community.

Brave Security

With a new update around every 42 days, Chrome is the industry leader in browser security. Inevitably every browser is judged against this gold standard.

And Brave isn’t far behind, which is impressive for a new, growing browser. A new version of Brave is released every 8 to 9 weeks.

The frequency of updates is about what you’d expect from Firefox. So, if you’re a Firefox user, you’ll feel right at home.

The Verdict

Although Brave is new and many still haven’t heard of it there’s no reason to shy away from using it.

As you likely came here questioning if Brave is safe, the fact Brave Software’s CEO was also the force behind Firefox should put your mind to rest.

Mozilla and now Brave Software provide an alternative to browser offerings by tech behemoths like as Microsoft, Apple and Google.

Those seeking the best privacy possible have a good reason to look beyond the obvious choices. Protecting your privacy and turning a profit are currently at odds with one another in the industry.

Download Brave browser here. To add to what you’ve learned, read more about Brave’s privacy benefits.

5 Hacks to Speed up Streaming

A lot more people are streaming movies today than a year or even a few months ago.

The mass migration from traditional formats to services like Netflix, Hulu, and Amazon Prime Video has brought us the gift of convenience but also technical hurdles.

As much as streaming is becoming the way to go, one can only enjoy the experience when they stream without pausing, re-buffering, and other interruptions. Thus, there are two major categories of persons that stream movies: those that enjoy the best speeds and those that struggle with getting decent speed when they stream. This article highlights hacks one can implement to move from the latter category to the former category.

Fix plugins: Current browsers are equipped with plugins for a wide array of different purposes. As much as certain plugins can guarantee a higher streaming speed, other plugins can be a drag when one streams. Here’s how to balance the good and bad effects of plugins.

Plugins still have a cost to performance when not in use. When a plugin is inactive but installed, it could affect the user’s streaming speed. Thus, it is important to uninstall all plugins that are not in use as they can negatively affect streaming speed.

Plugins are best when updated. Thus, to achieve high-speed streaming, it is essential to update plugins. Different bugs are typically fixed with the updated versions of plugins, and this ensures smooth streaming as well as less crashes and time-outs.

Clear caches and temporary files: When a person visits a web page, a lot of activities occur behind the scenes to enable the user to view that page. Such activities include the downloading of temporary files. These files are typically deleted by the browser when the web pages are closed before one exits the browser or shuts down the device in the case of a computer.

However, in some cases, one does not close the web pages properly before exiting the browser, and the files which would have been automatically deleted by the browser are stored. The buildup of these files reduces browser performance, which includes streaming tasks. Thus, to ensure the best streaming speed, one must delete temporary files and clear the browser history. That way, the browser activity is not unnecessarily reduced.

Switch from Wi-Fi to Ethernet: As much as Wi-Fi is the go-to Internet connection for streaming movies, slow or spotty Wi-Fi can cause streaming issues. With Wi-Fi, one makes wireless connections to their router, and this wireless connection does not offer as much speed as is available on the router to the user. When the wireless connection is swapped for a wired connection such as with Ethernet cable, a user gets the best speeds possible. Let’s say one uses a 10Mb/s router. With a wireless connection to that router, they may receive about 50% of that speed. A wired connection such as with Ethernet cables gives the user at least 70% of the speed of the router. So, all you may need to do is to switch Wi-Fi for Ethernet cables. Your device will get better speeds when you make that switch.

Turn off auto-update features: The different operating systems on devices, from Android to Windows, offer auto-update options. With this option enabled, newer versions of applications are downloaded as soon as they are available with special consent from the user. Thus, when the auto-update feature is turned on, apps could check for updates or update in the background when one engages in other activities such as streaming. This background activity can impair streaming performance.

To stream high-quality videos, it is thus advisable to turn off the auto-update feature. Alternatively, one can check for updates regularly and download updated versions of the apps at the most convenient time.

Reduce device load: This hack is somewhat applicable to other settings. The more individuals that share a resource, the lesser the quantity and quality of the resource each participant will get. Here’s how this “principle” is related to the quality of movies one streams. When many devices are connected to a router, the streaming speed reduces because of the device load. For faster streaming, it is advisable to reduce the device load on a router. So if you’re experiencing issues with streaming, make sure others in the home aren’t using the internet heavily at the same time.

Finally, everyone deserves to stream high-quality videos, and with these hacks, you’re sure to enjoy a better movie-watching experience.

Photo: PresidenciaRD

How to Hide your IP on Nintendo Switch (with a VPN)

Switch is packed with great online features.

Challenge a buddy at Mario Kart 8 Deluxe with online play. Then use the Smartphone app to send him a playful message after running him off the road.

You can also download classic NES titles, or take advantage of cloud storage to protect your save data.

Not bad for $35 USD a year and light-years ahead of the online features included with Nintendo’s previous consoles: Wii and Wii U.

Top Two Ways to Hide your Identity

Sony’s PS4 and Xbox One allow users to hide their IP by adding a VPN in the console’s OS. Nintendo has no built-in features like this.

Luckily there are other methods to cloak your identity when connecting to Nintendo Switch Online. Simply use the VPN features built into your router or a Windows 10 machine.

First, Choose a VPN Service

A VPN (virtual private network) is needed to connect to the Internet anonymously with Nintendo Switch.

This means you’ll need to sign up to a VPN service to complement your Nintendo Switch Online subscription. Luckily VPNs that are both inexpensive and fast are easy to come by these days.

The top VPNs are reviewed here. Don’t pull the trigger until you compare them all to choose the best one for your needs.

Enabling a Switch VPN with Windows 10

Many will find they’re more comfortable with turning on the VPN for Switch via a PC rather than risking configuration woes by doing it with a router.

Note that your Windows box needs to be able to connect to the Internet wirelessly for this approach to work.

  1. Right click on the Start button. A contextual menu will appear. Select ‘Network Connections’ from this menu.
  2. On the left of the new window you’ll notice list of options below ‘Network & Internet.’ Click on VPN.
  3. Make sure you have signed up with a VPN service and have the login credentials needed to connect to it.
  4. Click on the option to ‘Add a VPN connection’ with a large plus sign next to it.
  5. Complete the form with the info provided to you by your VPN service provider. Click the ‘Save’ button.
  6. If your PC has wireless capability you’ll see a ‘Mobile Hotspot’ option at the left of the window. Change the login info and turn it on. If you’re experiencing any issues, try restarting your machine then opening and closing it until it functions correctly.
  7. Click on ‘Ethernet’ then click ‘Change adapter options’ listed under ‘Related settings.
  8. Right click on the VPN connection you created earlier, then click on ‘Properties.’
  9. Click on the ‘Sharing’ tab. Check the box that states “Allow Other Network Users to Connect…” In the dropdown box for network connections select the desired Wi-Fi hotspot (It might be Local Area Connection* #).

Congrats! You’re ready to use your Nintendo Switch online with your IP address hidden.

Users have also successfully connected their Switch to a VPN via a PC with a wired connection, as well as an Android phone. The instructions are cloudy but you can read more in the replies to this post on Reddit.

Enabling a Switch VPN with your Router

Turning on a VPN service with your router is also a great option, especially if you’re a technically adept user.

The precise steps in configuring the router’s software vary depending on the manufacturer. In essence you need to find the correct place to enter your VPN address, username and password so your hardware can route the Internet connection through the VPN.

Every good VPN provider has a knowledge base on their website that steps you through the process of configuring a wide variety of routers to use their service. It’s recommended that you check this first for the most up-to-date instructions.

Here are links to the support pages associated with some of the best VPN services:

Majora’s Mask

Although Nintendo doesn’t officially provide an interface to utilize a VPN, it’s fairly easy to set up anyhow. It’s basically the same process as hiding the IP on a PC.

This guide should provide everything you need to anonymously dominate at Splatoon 2, ARMS, Mario Kart 8 Deluxe and other multiplayer titles.

How to Hide your IP on Xbox One or 360

xbox-one-settingsThere are plenty of reasons why it’s better to protect your real IP by using a VPN with Xbox Live. First, there are unscrupulous players that use DDOS attacks in games such as Call of Duty to retaliate and get their rivals temporarily disconnected from online play. Second, you’ll be able to take advantage of services available outside your country, such as the U.S. version of Netflix if you live in Canada, for example. Lastly, since games are released in different time zones or on different dates in other countries, you may be able to access new games sooner than your neighbors.

Unlike the PS4 you cannot setup use a VPN server directly in Xbox One system software. Instead you’ll need to share your computer’s VPN with your Xbox One or centralize your VPN tunnel with a router so your home computer, devices, and Xbox all pass through it.

That being said, let’s get to the nuts and bolts of hiding your IP address on Xbox One or 360.

First Method: Connecting To A VPN Through A Router

Step 1

You’ll need to use an Ethernet cable to connect your modem to your router using the WAN port.

Step 2

Next, open the router’s control panel. This is usually accessible via a Web browser. Enter the IP address associated with your router in the address bar of the browser. If you don’t know how to find the right IP, follow this tutorial for Windows.

The next steps will vary depending on the manufacturer/model of your router and the VPN company.

Step 3

Click on the ‘Basic Setup’ / ‘Network’ / ‘Basic’ tab in your router control panel or wherever you can find the options relating to WAN configuration or Internet connection.

Step 4

Enter the information provided by the VPN provider (username, password, gateway, subnet mask, etc.).

Step 5

Choose the protocol recommended by the VPN provider to work with their services (ex. PPTP w/ DD-WRT, OpenVPN w/ DD-WRT).

Step 6

Adjust the DCHP settings depending on the requirements of the VPN service.

Step 7

Click ‘Save’ / ‘Apply Settings’ / ‘Connect’ and you’re finished!

Second Method: Using a PC for VPN Setup

Another option is to use your Windows-based PC to share the VPN connection with your Xbox One or 360. This is divided into two parts: 1) Windows settings and 2) Xbox settings.

Windows Settings: Setting up the VPN

Step 1

In Windows, go to Control Panel > ‘Network and Sharing Center’

Step 2

After you click on ‘Setup a New Connection or Network,’ a wizard will appear in a new window.

Step 3

Select ‘Connect to a Workplace’ then click ‘Next.’

Step 4

When the wizard asks you how you’d like to connect, choose ‘Use my Internet Connection (VPN).’

Step 5

Enter the Internet Address and Destination Name given to you by the VPN provider. After you’ve finished filling in the details, click on ‘Next.’

Step 6

Finally, enter the Username and Password provided by the VPN service and click ‘Connect’.

Now that you’ve completed the settings on the PC side, you’re ready to fire up your Xbox One or 360 and proceed with the next part.

Xbox Settings: Connecting to the VPN

Step 1

Press the ‘LIVE’ button on your Xbox One or 360 controller.

Step 2

Go to the ‘Settings’ tab and choose ‘System Settings.’

Step 3

Now that you’re in the ‘System Settings’ menu, you can select ‘Network Settings.’

Step 4

Xbox One or 360 will now automatically detect the Wi-Fi connections that are available. Choose the appropriate network from the list.

Step 5

Now, enter the WPA key. It can be found printed on sticker on the underside of your router.

Step 6

Finally, the Xbox system software will prompt you to ‘Test Connection.’ Do this to ensure you’re ready to use the VPN with your favorite games!

Recommended services:

How to Hide your IP Address in Vuze

The BitTorrent application once known as Azureus continues to be a popular choice as many are attracted by its slick interface and wealth of features.

Follow the directions below to hide your real IP from other BitTorrent users as well as companies that use advanced tracking software to spy on users who download certain torrents.

Step 1

From the top menu go to Tools > Options

Step 2

Make sure “Mode” is selected at the left pane inside the Options window.

Under “User Proficiency” click on the radio button marked “Advanced.” This will give you access to proxy options not available when the lower levels of user proficiency are enabled.

vuze-proxy1

Step 3

Click on the small arrow next to “Connection” in the left pane. This item will expand to reveal subsections. Click on “Proxy” (listed under “Connection”).

vuze-proxy2

In the main part of the window under the label “Tracker Communications” click on the checkbox next to “Enable proxying of tracker communications (restart required).”

Further below under “Peer Communications” click on the checkbox next to “Enable proxying of peer communications (outgoing connections only) (restart required).”

Don’t restart yet; do that later after you’ve entered the required values in the Proxy window.

Step 4

To continue with this step you’ll need to determine which proxy host you’d like to use.

For testing purposes I used a SOCKS v5 host I found on socks-proxy.net, and while this is adequate for very small files the speeds are much slower than paid services.

If you plan on hiding your IP in Vuze on a regular basis and are interested in larger files like most people (movies, music, software), you’ll need to sign up with a VPN service.

Recommended services:

Enter the information provided by a site that lists proxy host IPs (and ports). As a sample to give you a good idea of what you need to enter, I’ve entered the required fields using a publicly available host from Russia in the screenshot.

vuze-proxy2

Most users will want to want to “use the same proxy settings for tracker and peer communications proxy”, so make sure this is checked under “Peer Communications.”

After you’d entered the required info remember to click on the “Save” button in the lower left of the window.

Step 5

Now you can safely restart the software.

Go to File > Restart Vuze (just above Exit).

All Done

That’s it! You’re now ready to start downloading. Load in a torrent and see what kind of speeds you’re able to get.