[TIPS] Browsing the Internet Safely On a Smartphone

We are now a very connected population. According to a Pew study, “45% of cell phone owners said that their phone is a smartphone.” Nearly half of the cell phone users in this country are on smartphones, which means they are also accessing the Internet from their phones.

Most smartphone users access the Internet through a 3g or 4g connection from their service provider. Data can be costly though and these networks can also be slow if located in a densely populated area.  So, when there is a free WiFi network available, people typically use it. Did you know that when you are on an unsecured wireless network you can easily be hacked? Follow these tips to keep your information safe and secure while browsing on public WiFi.

1. Download a VPN app on your device. When you are on the Internet, go through the VPN. This will encrypt and secure all of your browsings. What exactly is a Virtual Private Network (VPN)?

2. Never access sensitive information over an open network without a VPN in place. Do not enter passwords and other sensitive information.

3. Turn on encryption if your phone has the option. How to turn on encryption: iPhone, Samsung Galaxy A quick search on Google for “How to encrypt data on a (your smart phone)” should return directions if your phone supports encryption.

Any other tips for safe Internet browsing via your smartphone? Leave them in the comments. Do you use a VPN app on your phone? Which one do you use?

The Downside of No-IP Free

Recently, we had a user complain on our Facebook page about not being able to share his free No-IP Hostname with his friends on Facebook. His hostname was something like gameserver.no-ip.org. Facebook thought he was posting spam.  This is one of the downsides of our No-IP Free and Enhanced service. So, why does this happen?

No-IP Free Dynamic DNS and Enhanced DNS users share roughly 50 different domains. With these services, you are relying on millions of other people doing the right thing with their hosts, which unfortunately isn’t always the case. Our service sometimes fall prey to cyberscammers and spammers. They create a hostname, and then send out spam on it. Our abuse team is amazing and they are usually pretty quick to shut them down. But because we have a history of this type of abuse on our domains, Facebook and other websites don’t like when people share our links.

So, because of a few bad  people it punishes everyone? Yup. Isn’t that life though?
There is nothing that we can really do about it either, aside from shutting down our Free and Enhanced service or simply deterring these scammers by moving to a paid model. Don’t worry though, we aren’t going to do that. Just be aware that when you are using our shared domain services, you may have trouble sharing and posting content…

Our shared domains are a great choice for someone that wants to run a small video game server, reach their computer remotely, or view a webcam over the internet, but if you are going to be using your domain for something a little more important than that like say, run a blog, website, etc, you may want to think about registering your own domain name and using the hostnames on it.   With No-IP Plus DNS, you register your very own domain (www.yourname.com or www.yourbusiness.com) and we handle the DNS for you!

If you believe the actions of one of our users violates our Terms of Service, help us out by emailing Abuse@no-ip.com.

Summary of the Email Service Disruption

Now that we have fully restored functionality to our POP3/IMAP email service, we would like to take a few moments to share what exactly caused this outage, our efforts to restore email and the steps we are taking to ensure that this doesn’t happen again. We know that many of our customers were impacted by this outage and we sincerely apologize.

As many of you are already well aware, yesterday we suffered a service disruption on our POP3/IMAP email. This event rides on the coat tails of the service disruption that we had last fall. So, how did this happen again?

Well… The outage occurred because a Raid Controller bit the dust, crippling the entire POP3/IMAP storage system. Our other email services Reflector, SMTP, and Backup MX were not affected.

“I thought you guys weren’t managing email in house anymore? Why haven’t you transferred me to the new service provider?”
The process to transfer accounts over to the new service provider has proven to be a very arduous task. We are now working around the clock to get everyone transferred over. Although users have still been on the old configuration since the outage in the fall, we moved the system to an older, more tested configuration that had proven to be reliable in other situations.

“What was the resolution process like?”
Resolution to the outage was a team effort. Alerts started going off at 4am that the network was down and our engineers were on it immediately. Our senior network engineer was on the first flight out of Reno to the data center to replace the faulty hardware. Our support staff did their best to give whatever information was available to customers that called in and submitted tickets. The problem was that there wasn’t a definitive time frame for the resolution process, because it was all riding on how quickly the installation and data migration to the new Raid Controller would go.

While we waited on the hardware installation, our engineers created a temporary webmail fix. All email functionality was available via the fix.  (Including the emails that had been received since the network disruption occurred.)

Slowly but surely, the Raid Controller rebooted and loaded. Around 7pm last night, email was back up and running with all delayed email delivered.

For our customers that were affected by this outage, we will provided a 5 day pro-rated credit of our email service. Customers will not have to do anything in order to receive this credit, as it will automatically be applied to their account.

Last, but certainly not least, we want to apologize. We know how important email is and we understand our customers frustration with the system. We have amped up our efforts to complete the migration to the new service provider for the remaining customers we support. We are doing everything we can to learn from this situation to drive improvements to not only our mail service, but all of our services.