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mysterium node

Testnet 1.0 ends as Testnet 2.0 unlocks new milestone

Following a successful migration to Testnet 2.0, we’re excited to announce that Mysterium’s Testnet 1.0 is being “switched off” forever.

Our migration began earlier this year, but you can already see the latest network statistics showing the amazing growth of both our node runner and user communities.

We’ve seen healthy organic growth of our node network in particular, reaching 1000 exit nodes and 100+ Tb of monthly traffic coursing throughout.

This continues from our impressive network growth in 2020. In fact, it’s already 2x our 2020 high in just the first quarter of 2021.

 

We’ve also seen 25% increase in our monthly active user base since the end of 2020.

This graph shows the transition of Mysterium dVPN users from Testnet 1.0 across to Testnet 2.0 over the last three months.

This new milestone keeps us right on track for our product roadmap, easing us into Stage 3.

If you’re running a node, you can read more about our latest node bounty updates, including changes to payouts and our plans to extend the opportunity of earning to more regions around the world. 

For the month of March we are excited to announce the addition of Canada and India to our residential IP bounty program. These have been long requested in our community and we hope to see consistent growth of node runners throughout both regions.

Here are some other TL;DR announcements coming to you soon: 

  1. New Mobile App Design – if you haven’t seen it yet, check out the sneak peek of our slick new UI 
  2. Launch of Affiliate Program – introducing your friends to Web 3.0 will give you more than just kudos

Mysterium Network – a resilient anti-censorship layer for web 3.0

Mysterium Network is a decentralized VPN, with a growing global residential IP node network. There are versions for  Android, Mac and Windows, currently free before our full launch.

Stay tuned for more updates. If you are interested in participating, running a node, or generally have any questions, jump into our discord channel and speak directly with our core team.

Mysterium Residential IP bounty evolves as network grows

Mysterium Network is building a decentralised virtual private network (VPN). In the last few months we have transitioned from our Testnet 1.0 to Testnet 2.0. You can dive deeper into what these updates have meant for our network in our latest product update

Following our upgrade to Testnet 2.0, we have seen organic growth of Mysterium node network – with a 1000 stable nodes and counting to date. 

This has meant a need to review our residential IP bounty program, as we hope to extend the opportunity of earning in Mysterium Network to more regions around the world. 

Attention all Mysterium Node Runners

We are updating the Mysterium Residential IP bounty to offer more flexibility as we go grow our node network. This will mean quick and iterative changes to our Residential IP bounty. 

This begins with an introduction of a cap of bounty rewards to 60,000 MYST/ month for the residential IP bounty program. 

We will also be reviewing growth of Mysterium node network monthly and making amendments to the regions included alongside with maximum payouts per node. Firstly we are increasing the amount of nodes who will receive payouts in our residential IP bounty from 250 to 400. This applies to node runners in the US, UK, Germany, Italy, Netherlands, and Australia. 

For the month of March we are excited to announce addition of Canada and India into our residential IP bounty program! This has been a long awaited region in our community and we hope to see consistent growth of node runners offering service from the region. 

The following are the main changes to Mysterium Node bounty programs:

Residential IP bounty

  • Maximum earnings of 150 MYST / Mysterium Node 
  • 400 nodes will earn in total
  • New region introduced: Canada 

Global IP bounty

  • Maximum earnings of 40 MYST / Mysterium Node
  • 4 nodes / region in Global IP bounty 

You can find more details of the changes noted здесь

To learn more about running a node on Mysterium Network you can check out the following resources: 

  1. What is a Mysterium Node
  2. How to earn on Mysterium Network?
  3. What is the Mysterium Node Residential IP bounty? 

What’s coming in the future?

We are inching closer and closer to the much anticipated Mysterium Mainnet. With this we will seek to implement the following: 

Unified Node Pricing


We will seek to remove manual price selection and unify pricing in Mysterium Network based on region, type of node, quality of service and the supply and demand coefficients in that region. More detail on this coming soon. 

Onwards to a more open internet 

Mysterium Node Runners are the foundation of the core technology that Mysterium Network is building out. We are excited to welcome more node runners into our community. 

To those of you who have been a part of the journey so far, we thank you for your continued support. We couldn’t do this without you. Want to learn more about our project or stay up to date? Follow us on twitter or jump into our discord to chat with our core team. 

The Launch of Mysterium Network

Update: 13/08/2020 – See the following blog post to see how our token migration and launch processes are changing.

 

***

We are fast approaching the official launch of Mysterium Network. This will be the realisation of our founding whitepaper and the crowning of our world-first, peer to peer VPN. 

The past few years have been spent building technology from scratch. We had an idea, but no blueprint for it. This means solving riddles in a backwards way; we only know the answers, but not which questions to ask. 

But after three years of building, breaking, and questioning, it’s time to release Mysterium Network into the wild. 

Here we share our official launch timeline and breakdown how we’re taking Mysterium global.  

 

Read our blog about the role our native token MYST will play in keeping the whole network running, and its planned upgrade from an ERC20 to an ERC777 token. 

What is Mainnet?

Mysterium Network is currently running on its own testnet (has no real payments on the “live” blockchain). This BETA process has helped us to test our product in parallel network conditions and configurations. After a couple of years in this development stage, we have been able to refine, iterate and learn invaluable lessons along the way.

Now we’re ready to finally launch on the mainnet Ethereum. First, we will transition onto the Ethereum Goerli testnet to stress test our P2P payments. Once we’ve monitored and are satisfied with the results, our network will then plug into the mainnet (the “actual” blockchain) with the peer to peer payments system built into the protocol. 

How will the launch work?

The release on mainnet will happen in 3 stages, and during this time several network forks will occur. We understand that this will be difficult for node runners as it will create a temporary state where the app and nodes may run on different networks. This is an unfortunate and inevitable pain we must go through as a community. We will work to make this transition as smooth as possible for both node runners and users. 

Stage ONE (Middle of July): 

  • We will first issue some newly upgraded MYST (ERC777) token on Goerli testnet. We will also upgrade the payment system to prepare it for the Ethereum Mainnet launch. This will create the first network fork.
  • Following this, the ERC777 tokens will be deployed on Ethereum mainnet and token migration will begin for MYST ERC20 token holders. We are aiming for the end of July.

Stage TWO (Middle of August):

  • Mysterium payment system smart contracts will be deployed on Ethereum Mainnet. New discovery, transactor and Hermes services will also be deployed. This will cause the launch of a parallel network (beta net). Not all users will be required to switch into it. And our official dvpn and node apps will still be using testnet. 
  • On betanet transactions will be done on Ethereum mainnet but we will still be using MYSTT test token. No MYST token usage at this stage yet.
  • The Mysterium Node Pilot will not apply for betanet users, but it will be possible to convert MYSTT token into MYST tokens using our special “MiniDEX” smart contract. 

Stage THREE (Middle of September): 

  • We’ll release 1.0 version of nodes and mainnet ready dvpn apps which will begin using and accepting MYST token. This will introduce a 3rd network fork. There are no further forks planned or anticipated after this stage.
  • The Mysterium Referral program launches, bringing consumers and paid traffic into the network.

What changes for nodes?

During the second stage, the node registration process will be changed. 

Currently, users can plug in a Raspberry Pi, which is “found” by the host My.Mysterium.Network. Users turn their Pis into nodes and become a part of Mysterium Network. We will introduce a new onboarding flow. This includes setting a beneficiary/payout wallet during first node run; setting your staking amount to determine your settlement thresholds and maximum amount of tokens during one withdrawal; create your own password; set the price that you’d like to offer your VPN service. Only once the above has been set up, nodes can start providing their services.

We’ll be publishing more important details in the weeks ahead. In the meantime, join our Discord channel and download the app for Android, Windows or Mac to get a taste of the free version before we move to the P2P payments model.

Mysterium Node Runner settles claim in Germany

open source web

Permissionless networks come with regulatory grey zones. This is known. We are here to change an existing system. 

Mysterium Network is building an incentivised, permissionless network. When we first came together as a project team, we knew this day, and more of its kind would come. 

TOR project, a front runner in this the distributed internet space has faced its fair share of battles against systems of centralisation. A quick google search shows up specific cases against Tor exit nodes. You can see some examples здесь and здесь

Mysterium Node Runner settles claim in Germany

On 15-04-2020, a legal claim was presented against a Mysterium Node Runner in Germany. The claim was that someone was uploading copyrighted content through this node. While no file size was specified, a checksum of the file that had been uploaded was provided.

The Mysterium support team worked with the node runner to help him retrieve logs and investigate how many nodes were connected at a given timestamp. This information helped the node runner to prove there were other members in his “household”, i.e. network. 

Our understanding is that the case is now closed.

Mysterium Network’s ongoing commitment to Node Runners

As participants in a permissionless network, we as a community are committed to a free-er internet. 

We are happy to work with node runners to provide any information (within our means, we are after all a decentralised system) to help in cases like the one above. 

As technology providers, we will try our best to protect all actors within the network. In saying this, given the research and development phase of Mysterium Network, we cannot guarantee protection for Mysterium Node Runners.

We understand the need for a legal framework to help protect node runners and have prioritised this following our launch to mainnet. For now, we urge you to look at TOR tips for running an exit node as guidance.

We are also currently seeking guidance from industry bodies within the internet freedom landscape to help shape an industry standard for dVPN, so that we can work towards a long term solution to a known problem. 

We thank you for your commitment to the cause. 

Onward. 

What does a VPN do for anonymity in the surveillance era?

Is there such a thing as true anonymity anymore?

It is an interesting time in history to delve into the value of anonymity (and privacy). With a pandemic rampantly spreading through the world, we are seeing thoughtless relinquishing of both our physical and digital freedoms. Some are warning that increased surveillance during the coronavirus outbreak may lead to long-lasting erosion of civil liberties.

But how can we remove ourselves from an ‘Architecture of Oppression’ if it is being built around, by and for us?

In the original 1993 Cypherpunk Manifesto, Eric Hughes wrote that “privacy is necessary for an open society in the electronic age…” – Here he’s starting to address the concepts that will help us frame the answer to the question  “What does a VPN do?”, or rather “What should a VPN do”.

People have been defending their own privacy for centuries with whispers, darkness, envelopes, closed doors, secret handshakes, and couriers. The technologies of the past did not allow for strong privacy, but electronic technologies do.

Eric Hughes

Decades have passed, yet these “electronic technologies” have not brought the salvation that Hughes had hoped for. Technologies of the future seem to have taken away much of our privacy, instead of strengthening it. The internet is becoming less free, with increased online election interference and increased government surveillance “spreading on social media platforms”.

Related: What is happening to the internet? And what does VPN have to do with it?

The more we migrate our lives into the digital realm, the harder it becomes to control our privacy at all. The line between our private and public lives has become so blurred by technology, that the online representation of ourselves is often more intimate and more exposed than our real life personas.

A continuous and permanent catalogue of our lives is inscribed in the history of the internet forever. Your life is quite literally an open book.

We’ve been conditioned to hand over personal information to every platform or service we sign up to, or we are simply locked out of “the system”. We sacrifice more and more details about ourselves unnecessarily, so businesses can manipulate us into buying more things.

This underground trade of our personal data has been commercialised and, as with all valuable commodities, weaponised. The 2019 Freedom of the Net report revealed that of the 40 countries examined, 89 percent of internet users, or nearly 3 billion people, are subject to instituted and advanced social media surveillance programs.

Related: What does anonymity in a surveillance era look like?

“It’s Facebook’s ad policy that allows politicians to spread lies или Amazon’s growing relationships with police departments that use its Ring smart doorbells and associated social media products to surveil communities.

what does a vpn do

East meets West

China’s social credit system is a real life experiment of how our own personal data can be turned against us. Citizens are each given an identity number, all linked to a permanent record – one that expands “to all aspects of life, judging citizens’ behaviour and trustworthiness. Caught jaywalking, don’t pay a court bill, play your music too loud on the train — you could lose certain rights, such as booking a flight or train ticket.”

In the time of Coronavirus, this meticulous social control means that social credit-related regulations now “include spreading rumours that disrupt efforts to control the epidemic, hoarding, upsetting market order, making fake or poor quality masks and other medical supplies.” 

Yet in the West, the pervasive monitoring of our online behaviour – in the name of national security – means our online activity can be legally tracked by our ISPs and governments. While the technology still evolves, there are “no rules” when it comes to facial recognition, with police running pilot programs for real-time surveillance monitoring before the law has time to catch up with the ethics of it all. 

As the world turns digital, it’s more critical that our online identities, privacy and freedoms remain in our control. 

Privacy is a basic human right, and our digital privacy is an extension of that right. We are not detached from our online identities – just ask someone whose life has been destroyed by identity theft. 

No matter how much information we volunteer online, privacy should be the core foundation of a strong and open internet.

Anonymity

what does a vpn do

I don’t know why people are so keen to put their details of their private life in public; they forget that invisibility is a superpower.

Banksy

The fundamental difference between privacy and anonymity

There is an important distinction to be made between privacy and anonymity. Privacy keeps your behaviour and activity hidden, yet you can still be identified. An example is your private banking, where you can send and receive money but your financial transactions are only yours to see. The same applies to your emails, your social media profiles, your text messages – you remain identifiable, yet can choose what is shared and what is not.

what does a dvpn do

Anonymity is almost this concept in reverse. Being anonymous means your identity is hidden but your actions can be seen. Others can see what you do, just not who is doing it. Blockchains are pseudo-anonymous, meaning you can view every transaction that takes place, but should not be able to link an identity to the sender nor receiver. 

Anonymity tends to be stigmatised, as anonymous behaviour is often associated with illegal activity. The dark web has emerged, home to online black marketplaces such as Silk Road, whose creator is serving a life sentence in prison.

Silk Road was supposed to be about giving people the freedom to make their own choices, to pursue their own happiness, however they individually saw fit. [It] turned out to be a naive and costly idea that I deeply regret.

RossIn sentencing letter to his judge

But historically, anonymous figures have contributed much to society – artists, writers, journalists, political and human rights activists. Even superheroes are anonymous to protect themselves from evil villains and persistent ex-girlfriends. Banksy’s visual messages are louder and more profound because he refuses to let his identity hijack the narrative.

anticensorship vpn

Man is least himself when he talks in his own person. Give him a mask, and he will tell you the truth.

Oscar Wilde

Anonymity enables this freedom of expressions and speech. It means you can speak your mind without retribution. It means you can whistleblow and expose corruption in its darkest corners. It means a free press, where newspapers can investigate and publish without fear of being persecuted

It also means hate speech and cyberbullying is harder to control, but this is the double edged sword we must accept in the ongoing battle for free and open discourse.

An idea can be the most powerful thing in the world

For many in heavily censored regions, to be anonymous simply means to be free. Part of the Charter of Human Rights is the fundamental right of freedom of expression, which encompasses the freedom to “to seek, receive and impart information and ideas through any media and regardless of frontiers.”

The UN urges the protection of anonymous expression online. To evade the grasp of “broad and intrusive government surveillance”, we must defend the online privacy and digital autonomy of human rights activists, journalists and silenced citizens. This includes “freedom from surveillance, the right to use encryption, the right to online anonymity, the right to online protest”.

Despite these universal efforts to promote human rights in the online environment, it appears that policy is not a cure. Over a quarter (27%) of the world’s internet users live in places where they can be arrested for posting, sharing or even “liking” something on Facebook. Social-media related arrests relating to political, social, or religious speech have been made in 47 countries. WIth true anonymity, words can be used to liberate people, not used against them. You can’t put ideas in prison. 

Research from ARTICLE 19 Policy Paper shows that anonymity is the vital component in protecting both the right to freedom of expression and the right to privacy. It “allows individuals to express themselves without fear of reprisal, and is especially important in those countries where freedom of expression is heavily censored.”

The right to privacy is being pulled away from Hong Kong citizens in a unique, almost science fiction display. As Hong Kong is “handed over” to China geopolitically, what was once a place which enjoyed the more liberal, political philosophies of privacy, is now faced with harsh surveillance and censorship policies. The ongoing protests are an attempt to slip through “Beijing’s tightening grip on their city”, which includes aggressive measures like the expulsion of a foreign journalist, the jailing of young activists and curbs on electoral freedom.

In this ongoing battle between political protesters and police, identities have already become weapons. In the protests itself, police allegedly tracked protest leaders online, seeking out their phones and using the biometric logins to single out targets for arrest.

The age of surveillance

But censorship and surveillance isn’t just a reality found in dictatorships. Governments everywhere regularly attempt to prevent the use of encryption tools and anonymity in any form. This is to hinder unlawful activities, such as terrorism and drug trafficking. In the past decade, the US Drug Enforcement Administration has seized more than $4 billion from citizens based on their suspicions of criminal activity. Yet over 81 percent of these seizures have never led to formal charges. 

In many cases, the US government can legally request digital data held by companies without a warrant. The EARN IT Act is currently being debated in congress, and if passed, could “handcuff companies to a difficult-to-modify set of procedures. One item on that checklist could be eliminating end-to-end encryption in messaging apps, depriving the world of a secure communications tool.”

A few years back President Donald Trump passed a law which allows internet service providers to gather and share their customers personal data without their consent, like your web history and what apps you use. The UK’s Snoopers Charter grants the government the right to legally monitor the internet usage of its citizens. The general message is that if you’re a law-abiding citizen, there’s nothing to worry about.

Related: What is geoblocking?

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.

Edward Snowden
what is privacy

But it should be the government’s motive for wanting your personal information that is questioned – not your right privacy.

Use your digital freedom to fight back

In a digital utopia, anonymity, privacy, security and anti-censorship would blend together to form a perfect internet. 

But how do we make the internet safe, and your privacy a default setting? The laws which govern our privacy and help us freely voice our opinions have mostly benefited corporate needs, governments and their agencies. We can’t depend on laws to change, or for our internet service providers to serve in our interests. A decentralized VPN (dVPN) is one way to take back control.

Related: dVPN comparison – See how new decentralised technologies stack up against each other.

Over a quarter (25%) of the world’s internet users already use a VPN. The main motives for using one include accessing social networks and news services (34%), to keep anonymity while browsing (31%), to hide web browsing from the government (18%) and to access Tor browser (17%). Yet in countries where citizens need a VPN the most – Venezuela, China, Russia, Turkey, Iran, UAE – naturally they are forbidden. 

A dVPN was designed for these victims of censorship and surveillance. A regular VPN connects you to data centers managed by businesses, which makes them detectable to governments and ISPs. These services are also often slow, limited and most worryingly, they keep logs of all their users’ online activity in centralised servers. A study of 62 commercial providers showed that many VPNs leak user traffic “through a variety of means.

With a dVPN, the service is powered entirely by other web users like you. You can select from a global menu of residential IP addresses, so it’s almost impossible to trace or be shut down by governments. A dVPN is a technological remedy for anti-privacy and anti-anonymity. If you live in a country which enjoys internet freedom, you can choose to rent out your IP address to others in this P2P network and earn crypto in exchange. Due to its distributed infrastructure, none of your data can be physically stored anywhere, and all traffic being routed through these personal nodes is heavily encrypted. 

A dVPN is more than just a service though – it’s a global network, a second layer of the internet that ensures it remains a public domain – a space for new ideas, collaboration and connection. This general decentralization movement empowers people to take control of their digital lives.

Mysterium’s own dVPN was the world’s first. We use layered protection protocols so anyone can browse the web anonymously. Your identity and IP are always hidden so anyone can bypass unethical surveillance. We also whitelist everyone who wants to become a node or access our VPN, protecting the network from bad players. Try out our free VPN for Android

You can also join our node network and help us safeguard anonymous expression online, protecting the identities of journalists, activists and victims of censorship and surveillance around the world.  

Related: The definitive guide to running a Mysterium Node

It’s time we vindicate the cypherpunks – the technology which allows us to build their envisioned, anonymous systems has finally arrived. After all, “we cannot expect governments, corporations, or other large, faceless organizations to grant us privacy … we must defend our own privacy if we expect to have any.” 

Onward.

Bernd Lapp on how to earn crypto by selling unused bandwidth via AVADO

best cybersecurity tips

This is a guest post by our partners over at Avado


Two months ago I started to run a package on my AVADO Blockchain Computer called Mysterium Network. This package installs a VPN endpoint on my computer which allows me to sell unused bandwidth to other users. For sharing the bandwidth, I receive a  monthly payment of up to 50 USD in Ether (you can find the exact payment rules здесь).

But first, let’s take this step by step.

What is AVADO

AVADO is a blockchain computer that provides access to Web3 applications. Web3 is the internet of value, also known as the blockchain economy. It’s powered by many decentralized applications (DApps).

Think of AVADO like your modem which you need to interact with the blockchain. You don’t have to have any knowledge of the blockchain itself, you can choose applications that are built on the blockchain from the integrated DAppStore. Check out the website https://ava.do for more info.

Mysterium is one of these Web3 DApps

Mysterium Network has created a dVPN for private internet access, and it’s all peer to peer. By selecting the Mysterium package from the AVADO DAppstore, you can sell unused bandwidth and earn crypto online.

Why use a VPN? Because information should be available to anyone; firewalls, geo-blocks and censorship erode democracy and freedom of expression.

You can help the internet to be great again, deserving of its name - World Wide Web.

By transforming your AVADO Box into a secure VPN connection, people in censored countries can buy VPN services from Mysterium Network. They gain access to information which their governments want to block from their view, like information on the Coronavirus.

You can help the internet to be great again, deserving of its name – World Wide Web. All you need is a stable connection and Mysterium’s easy to use DApp, so you can be in sleep mode while your AVADO earns crypto for you.

How does the Mysterium Network VPN work?

Mysterium Network has two modes: accept all traffic, or send only whitelisted traffic. Their decentralized architecture distributes traffic across the network using an advanced sharding technique. It scrambles and encrypts all data so that no single node ever has the full picture of what the user is doing. Mysterium Network’s layered protection protocols are designed to preserve your privacy – both as a user and a node.

Your AVADO Blockchain Computer becomes one of the endpoints for people using the Mysterium Network.

If you want to earn crypto with the AVADO Box, what do you need to do?

First of all, you need an AVADO Box. We ensured that the Mysterium Network package runs without friction on this hardware.

You can find the Mysterium Package in your AvadOS DAppstore.

Over time, other DApps that rent out your disk space or processing power will be added to the DAppstore.

What are my crypto earnings like?

As stated above, my Mysterium package has been running for two months now. In February I already earned 40 USD worth of Ether from participating in their Node Pilot, a research and development initiative they have been running to understand network dynamics as they gear up for mainnet. This month is halfway through and I am the second-highest on the leaderboard for my country.

What’s even more interesting is seeing which countries are using my endpoint. In my list, I see people from Russia, China, Iran, Nigeria, Turkey, Uganda, Vietnam, and many more countries. This gives me a good feeling that besides earning money, I am helping people to access information their government wants to restrict. I hope more people from these countries will use Mysterium and overcome censorship.

I hope to see you on the leaderboard soon as well and help free the web.

Written by Bernd Lapp: I am a former Advisory Board Member of the Ethereum Foundation, Founder of AVADO, Country Manager for CasperLabs and Advisor to a few Blockchain based Projects.
I like to simplify things. Nothing written in my blog posts is scientifically researched and only reflects my personal point of view. I use naive logic and have come quite far doing so.
If you like my posts, please feel free to follow me here or on Twitter или LinkedIn.


Узнайте больше partnership with Avado.

Best cybersecurity tips and tricks for a new digital decade

best cybersecurity tips

In a time when cyberattacks have reached an all-time high, it’s best we all clean up our act and give ourselves a good cyberscrub. So here are some cybersecurity tips to take you into 2020.

Good web hygiene leave no trace for advertisers or businesses to target you. But more importantly, they make it troublesome for hackers to find you.

Most hackers are lazy. They want minimal work for maximum return. If you’re an easy target, they’ll find out very quickly. If it will take even just a little effort to target you, they’ll move on to someone else. 

Don’t let yourself become a statistic in 2020. Put aside 5 minutes every day to tick each of these simple things off the list… 

The most important cybersecurity hack - secure passwords

Passwords are the first line of defence in cybersecurity, yet are often the weakest. In fact, approximately 80 percent of all data breaches are due to weak or reused passwords.

Tweets Putin Hates

If you use the same password across multiple accounts, that’s bad. If you use the SAME password for EVERY account – that’s just asking for it. It’s likely your email/password combination has been stored in a database that’s been hacked.

You can check here if you’ve been “pwned” (have an account that has been compromised in a data breach). You bet some hacker out there will try to use the same combination to gain access to your email or online banking. They can steal your money or even your identity – identity theft is on the rise.

Do a password audit. If you have Gmail for example, this can be done by going into your account settings and doing a general security check. Make sure each password is different for every account. 

Find out if your passwords have been compromised and if so, immediately change all of them. 

Google chrome can suggest new strong passwords. You can also set up an account with 1Password, which can generate and store all of your different passwords. A lot of people ask are password managers safe?

If you can’t remember or understand your password, that’s best. Memorable or human-readable passwords are weak. 

Create different emails for different purposes

It’s easy to create new, separate email addresses which can be used for specific reasons. You can have a private email account that is used for things such as banking, tax, government services and medical accounts. 

Use a different email to deal with work, clients and customers – it’s a great way to separate your personal data from your professional life. 

Have an everyday account for things like online shopping, subscription services. That way, if this kind of database is hacked (more likely than your banking or government accounts), your email won’t be traced back to those important accounts. 

Wipe cookies, clear cache, and always go incognito

Cookies are the little crumb trails that websites leave behind in your browser or device. They are user-specific, so it helps the website remember you and keep track of your activity, such as saving your login details for next time. Cookies can be harmless – but some are rotten. 

There are third party tracking cookies which can track your physical movements and see your browsing history. In one extreme case in 2016, Verizon was fined by the FCC over a “supercookie” technology which allowed third-party advertisers and websites to “assemble a deep, permanent profile of visitors’ web browsing habits without their consent.”

Safari, Firefox and Chrome are all taking measures to phase out the use of tracking cookies, with the latter starting a privacy-first initiative to make these third-party cookies “obsolete” by 2022

Due to GDPR, you would have noticed that most websites now ask you to accept their cookie settings.

what are cookies computer

Try always to choose only the necessary or required amount – this will be the least invasive. And most importantly – go “incognito” whenever you can. This will stop those pesky cookies.

If you’re using Chrome, you can easily check the cookies stored by each browser. Click on the lock symbol in your URL bar and select “Cookies”. You can then block or remove cookies you want. 

Note that this may affect your typical browsing experience. 

You can update or delete your cookies by going into your browser settings:

Offline cold storage - store important files on an external hard drive or USB

Try to store all of your important documents offline, such as scans of your passport, bank statements, contracts and other sensitive information you wouldn’t want to fall into the wrong hands. Every so often, sift through your downloads and move your important things into your hard drive, then delete them off your computer. 

best cybersecurity tips

Turn on 2FA!

Turn on Two-Factor authentication to create one extra security layer – and possibly the most annoying barrier to accessing your devices. If an app or website gives you the option to enable 2FA, always do it! Text message, biometrics, or authenticator code – it costs you nothing except a few extra seconds and is probably the one hurdle a hacker won’t be bothered to jump over.

Don’t save card details online

This one is a given. When a website asks if you’d like to save your card details for the sake of convenience – just don’t. 

Some web browsers, like Google Chrome, will auto-fill your details. You can stop that here.

Turn off location services

This one’s easy. Go into your app settings and disable location services for every app that does not require it to function. Some apps, though need your location to work correctly like Uber or Maps, can often have the setting “only track location while using app” – switch to this if possible. 

iPhone users follow this guide. 

Android users, here’s all you need to know.

why use a vpn best free vpn

Don’t use public wifi - unless you’re using a VPN

Last but not least – if you’re working from a cafe, browsing online at the airport or just connecting to some shady public wifi that pops up – try to avoid using it all. 

If you MUST, avoid doing anything particularly private, like logging into your bank account. 

If you connect to public wifi regularly, then use a good VPN (like Mysterium’s free VPN for Android) every time you need to connect to public wifi. 

Узнайте больше free VPN. It was the world’s first decentralized VPN, too.

Time to clean up your act!

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March 2020 updates – How to sell internet bandwidth

Mysterium Network is building a decentralised VPN. If you’re wondering how to sell internet bandwidth and earn crypto, check out our definitive guide to becoming a Mysterium Node.

Before we provide you with our latest update, we’d like to thank our growing community of nodes for their ongoing support, contributions and feedback. We value your time and effort in working with us to launch the next generation of the internet.

What’s changing in our March proposal:

A recurring piece of feedback we had from Mysterium Node Runners was to remove caps on Residential IP nodes which would be paid out monthly.

At this stage real traffic is not paid, and completely subsidised by Mysterium Network.

We are currently on test net. MYSTT is not a scarce resource as we need an abundance for testing purposes. This means that we will have a lot of users testing our mobile application (and desktop apps in the near future) with free MYSTT. This is necessary for our current stage of testing. This also means a lot of unpaid traffic within Mysterium Network, completely subsidised by us.

Before presenting our proposal one of the options we were considering was having a bounty pot that would be split by all node runners. But we came to the conclusion that this would have incited a lot of frustration as there would be no way to guarantee the exact value of earnings until the very end of the month.

We are happy to take any suggestions on board that takes us closest to a free market system. This is why we are making an amendment to our March proposal of bounty rules. 

Instead of having an individual cap of nodes per target region, we will have a total cap of 250 nodes paid out for the following regions: the UK, US, Italy, Germany, Australia, Netherlands.

The rest of “Residential IP bounties with payout caps and rolling payments + New countries  🇦🇺🇳🇱” remains the same.

To reiterate again – we reserve the right to not pay. We will be cross-checking traffic and identifying bad actors and disqualifying them from our bounty program. 

For some consumers of Mysterium Network, different types of IPs are both useful and important. This is why we are looking to grow the number of data center, residential IPs, and mobile IPs we have in our network across the globe. Nothing changes with our second bounty. 

how to sell internet bandwidth

Overarching themes from feedback gathered from you:

Fix discrepancies as to how data is calculated between my.mysterium.network and our leaderboard on test net.

We will ensure that there will be a single source of truth by the beginning of March. This will be my.mysterium.network

Ensure fair distribution of traffic across all nodes within Mysterium Network

  • Filters and randomness
  • Removal of the list of nodes with the ability to favourite nodes within our MysteriumVPN on Android.

Our bounty proposal takes us much closer to real-world environments. We are considering several means of data balancing for nodes but this goes against the ideology of a permissionless network.

A consumer will choose nodes that provide stable service at an acceptable price for them.

This quarter, we will be focused on growing consumers within the network which will directly impact the volume of traffic flowing through Mysterium Network.

Create more whitelisting tools for node runners

Longer-term (not this quarter), we are working on advanced whitelisting solutions that will be an additional tool that allows providers to grow the volume of traffic they allow through their node. This will also make it much easier for consumers to find nodes providing the type of service they are looking for.

This is a huge technical challenge as users do not only browse one service at a given time. This will mean we need multi-hops between data center nodes which provide access to the wider internet. We will also need to ensure that only specific types of traffic are sent to Residential IPs.

Another consideration is to have multiple connections to providers so that they are able to browse freely without having to reconnect to nodes based on the specific service they are looking to unblock. This is a huger technical challenge – opening several VPN tunnels to different providers and balancing between them

Stay tuned for an upcoming blog post on how we aim to achieve this and the challenges we expect to face.

Provide stable and working Linux software and repositories. Or just remove this platform.

Our Linux node installed via Debian packages or compiled binary on your machine has proven to be the most stable platform for the Mysterium Node.

It seems our community is seeking docker support. There are technical limitations of supporting docker due to the complexity of it’s networking set up. It is possible to run Mysterium Nodes within docker containers. This will work if it is a node with a direct external IP – most likely a data center IP. If it’s a local network set up, our docker support is at beta stage and needs advanced configuration.

Some of you are using install scripts and running it on unsupported platforms. We are only supporting LTS of Ubuntu and Debian at this stage.

We are going to work on our documentation to help our community, but cannot guarantee that this will work with each unique configuration.

Changes of the bounty system need to stabilise as no one is currently able to cost-benefit.

We are currently running the Mysterium Node Pilot as a research and development initiative to understand network dynamics before we move to main net. This means expecting rapid changes.

We will be moving to main net in 2020, and once this happens Mysterium Network will become a peer to peer system. This will mean no more bounty rules and limitations of the number of nodes which are eligible for payouts. This is because in a peer to peer system, you will be paid directly by a consumer of your service. You will also be able to set pricing as you see fit.

We understand that the changes to bounty rules of the Mysterium Node Pilot can be frustrating. If this is the case, we urge you to stay tuned and join us when we’re on main net where you will be able to provide VPN service directly to a free market.

The above is not exhaustive, and all feedback has been shared with our internal teams to help us with prioritising feature updates. 

Addressing some repeating questions:

1. What is the MYSTT / gigabyte conversion?One gigabyte will earn you 0.07 MYSTT.
You will earn 0.0005 MYSTT / minute of each session your node accepts.
This is a default setting. In the future, Mysterium node runners will be able to fine-tune and set their own pricing.

2. Will you no longer be paying for any node runner availability?No. Calculation of availability is both difficult and not a real-life scenario. It was temporarily required as our payments system was not ready for testing yet. To reiterate, Mysterium Node Pilot is a Research and Development initiative. This means we are shaping bounty rules based on quickly evolving technology and hope you will stick around for the journey.

Thank you for your contribution to an open internet for all

You can find a detailed break down of both February and March Node Pilot bounty rules on my.mysterium.network. Wondering how to sell internet bandwidth? Start running a node today, and join us as we gear up towards our main net release.

A strategic look into how networks are built

Mysterium Network was started with a purpose. That purpose was and continues to be: create a network that ensures surveillance-free communication and access to the internet for all. How to sell bandwidth on our marketplace? Check out our definitive guide to becoming a Mysterium Node, or simply get started здесь.

The internet is becoming an increasingly fragmented place. This was not intended by the founders of the internet. Those in power know that when you control information flow, you control people. 

This is neither fair nor ethical. And this problem begs a solution. Mysterium Network is building a technological solution to a social problem – with your help. 

Mysterium Network is equally a research and development project. 

  1. Research – because we are building new technologies from scratch, even if separate components have existed for a while
  2. Development – because technology alone will not solve this problem. Instead, a distributed node network in place, and in action can solve a big part of the problem. 

Related: What is the splinternet, and how can decentralisation fix it?

What is Mysterium Network comprised of?

To truly understand what we’re working on at Mysterium Network we must divide our network into different components for clarity.

1. Base Layer

Our base layer is comprised of our core technology. This is our node software, payment hub and discovery service. This is the layer that addresses how to sell bandwidth within a bandwidth marketplace. All these components are currently being built and tested through the Mysterium Network Node Pilot. 

Related: Introduction to micropayments on Mysterium Network

2. Infrastructure Layer

The infrastructure layer makes it easier for other application developers to plug into Mysterium Network and access our pool of residential IPs. As we create tooling that makes it easier for developers to build on Mysterium Network, this will help to drive more traffic through our network

Our infrastructure layer comprises of different components such as a quality oracle, identity pool payments management, automatic exchange tool and much more. Some of these components are being built as we speak, with much more coming up as we continue to work with partners who help us identify needs with feature requests.

We are also working on enterprise client software for VPN businesses which will allow them to become consumers in our network. Our goal is to progress this client software to potentially allow these VPN businesses to also become providers within Mysterium Network.

We will dive deeper into each of these components, and what they will mean for corporate partners and app developers in a later blog post. Sign up to our newsletter to hear it first.

3. Apps Layer

With our application layer, the goal is to drive incoming traffic into Mysterium Network so nodes can earn from real users. Our application layer comprises of our own reference implementation, Mysterium VPN on android. It’s free – so give it a whirl.

It could also stretch to include anything from mobile and television applications through to web scraping tools which utilise our network of nodes. Interested in building on Mysterium Network? Jump into discord, let us know how you’d like to contribute to building an open internet for all and let us know how we can help. 

Stay tuned for some exciting announcements on developer bounties to encourage building on Mysterium Network! Want to hear about it first? Join us on discord and telegram to connect with both core team members and the wider Mysterium community.

Join us in bootstrapping this research project

To build towards a successful permissionless and decentralised virtual private network, we have a three-pronged strategy: 

  1. Build an initial network of nodes and embed them with an open Mysterium protocol (an evolving one). The aim is that each node is able to provide any user of the network with access to the open internet and/or a line of secure communication.
  2. Provide this network with an incentivisation mechanism. This is where payments come into play. Once peer to peer payments are live, network users will be able to pay a node directly for its service. To test our network, we needed to get some real-world data and input. Hence the Mysterium Network Node Pilot was born.
  3. Build and encourage an ecosystem of apps. Without this, Mysterium Network loses its diversity of use and robustness. This is where our infrastructure and apps layer comes into play. We are building all kinds of tools – amongst them our own reference implementation of apps using the network. Check out Mysterium VPN on Android – which both showcases Mysterium Network’s potential while providing real-world value to its users. 

Related: Tor vs VPN vs dVPN

Mysterium Network Node Pilot.

Through the Mysterium Network Node Pilot, you join us in the research phase of our project, which means you should expect rapid changes. 

We have just released our proposed Mysterium Node Pilot bounty updates for the month of March. We are doing so with a 30-day lead up so that we can gather feedback from our community and shape these rules with them. 

You can find our proposal for March’s bounty rules here. As we build a network for the people, by the people – we need your feedback to understand how best to shape incentive mechanisms that create a robust network that is resilient against bad actors.

Mysterium Network - The Network will always come first

Our Node Pilot and evolving bounty rules are designed to bootstrap the evolution of Mysterium Network.

We will continue with bounties to strengthen key areas of Mysterium Network, reshaping areas which are underdeveloped and exploring new geographies or communications protocols which can bypass censorship. Eventually (with the implementation of peer to peer payments) the network will become self-sufficient – meaning that users will pay nodes directly. 

With March’s iteration of bounty rules, we are hoping to move closer to market conditions. We have a limited budget for bounties, and this is one of the reasons we are proposing a cap on the number of nodes we will pay monthly. In real market conditions, all nodes who collect tokens will be paid. This is why we have proposed rolling payouts – which means you can combine your tokens from several months to allow you to rank amongst the top nodes within your region and get a payout. 

In saying all this, we urge you to be prepared for changes within bounty rules, as the focus will shift depending on the data uncovered during our ongoing research phase.

Help us create a sustainable robust network which places privacy and openness at the forefront. Give us feedback on our proposal, join the community and run a Mysterium Node.

Ecoin and the rise of corporate cryptocurrency: Did Mr Robot get it right?

Is Mr Robot a glimpse into our tech-onomic future?

The internet’s favourite fictional Robin Hood (Elliot Alderson) – the guy who showed us why to use a VPN, has finally hung up his hoodie, forcing us to return to our own parallel reality. 

For those who have not yet plugged into Mr Robot (using a dVPN?), the series follows hacktivist group “fsociety” who are on a mission to take down conglomerate E Corp and consequently erase the world’s debt. 

The narrative picks apart some of society’s deepest flaws – including the growing divide between the top 1% and 99% at the hands of modern capitalism – with philosophical intensity.

It tells us the world’s financial and corporate structures as made of glass. The hammer that can shatter them to pieces is made of code, clever social engineering and anarchism. 

And with most systems already migrated to the digital realm, just one man and his keyboard can bring a global powerhouse to its knees. 

Back in the real world, hackers launched a ransomware attack against Travelex, the foreign currency company. The hack has crippled their worldwide systems, forcing their stores, airport counters and exchange services offline and leaving customers stranded.

Life imitating art? 

Mr Robot predicts a haunting future for our tech-dependant society based on these very real events; the modern-day revolution is digital, technology is the weapon, and everyday people are still the casualties. One of the many reasons why to use a VPN.

Related: What is happening to our internet? And can we even stop it?

Cash is dead

The world economy falls apart following fsociety’s 5/9 hack against E Corp’s global banking network. The CEO swiftly launches a new digital currency for its clients and millions of customers, a substitute for fiat cash.

There are blunt negotiations with the US Treasury Secretary, who is asked to endorse Ecoin as a government-sanctioned currency before the population turns to the alternative – Bitcoin. 

“The problem here is hard cash is fading, rapidly. That’s just the way of the world right now and Bitcoin is spreading, and if Bitcoin takes over we are all in a world of hell…

With “Ecoin” we control the ledger, and the mining servers, We are the Authority. I will make sure you have visibility into every single wallet that is open, every loan, every transaction. You want to regulate it, be my guest… I’ll give you backdoors, side doors, tracers, whatever you want.”

Is this propagandist, American corporate dream already filtering into our financial system? 

The battle against Bitcoin

For anyone familiar with the origins of Bitcoin, they’ll understand that Ecoin is a violation of everything it stands for. 

As the original and most popularised cryptocurrency, Bitcoin is a virtual currency that is issued, managed and used by everyday people. 

Emerging out of the wreckage of the global 2008 financial crisis, it promised a new monetary system that could help people stay afloat as our economies are sunk by corporate greed and government corruption. 

Termed as “the internet of money”, cryptocurrencies shift the value we assign to cash to a digital form that is as fast and borderless, yet more secure than encrypted messaging. It moves throughout a trustless, decentralized network and is secured by a technology known as blockchain. Anyone can take part and help maintain a public blockchain. 

Yet cryptocurrency – and its underlying technology – is already being hijacked by governments and businesses the world over. 

Stranger than fiction? Ecoin already exists.

While extreme libertarians designed the blockchain to decentralize government and corporate power, some fear it could consolidate it instead, undermining cryptocurrency’s anti-capitalist aspirations.

“The same hype driving cryptocurrency speculation has also attracted banks, governments, and corporations—exactly the authorities it was designed to circumvent.” – Ian Bogost, The Atlantic 

Years after Mr Robot premiered its “cash is fading” monologue and postulated Ecoin, JP Morgan announced the creation of JPM Coin, its own digital currency.

As a global lender, JP Morgan moves more than $6 trillion around the world every single day, and they want to move their infrastructure to a company-managed blockchain to instantly settle payments between their clients.  Once launched, JPM Coin will be the first blockchain-based currency issued by a major U.S. bank. 

Facebook too has joined the cryptocurrency party with their infamous Libra Coin, “potentially shaping the already vast powers of the Silicon Valley giants into a borderless, unaccountable techno-oligarchy.” 

With over 2.4 billion monthly active users, Facebook could become the largest (pseudo) bank in the world. 

There are countless other crypto-inspired initiatives being researched or launched by governments – RSCoin in the UK, Venezuela’s Petro, Iran’s Central Bank, The Public Bank of China, Senegal

But cryptocurrency that lives on a permissioned ledger – a privately-run or corporately managed blockchain – centralizes control, removing its democratic, privacy-preserving nature, and therefore any hopes of social and financial empowerment for the individual. 

Money is already seized by governments and banks habitually. Pair this with an ability to continuously monitor, track and block your entire life savings, and your control is complete. This would complement China’s political and economic strategies, which are centred around state-control and anti-privacy measures – such as their social credit system

Sovereign and corporate cryptocurrencies cannot really be considered cryptocurrencies at all. They abandon the integrity of blockchain technology’s breakthrough design; its in-built trustlessness, transparency and immutability. 

With banks, governments and businesses, nothing changes – they control the chain and the currency, from its supply and distribution to its inflation rate and pegged value.

For the hacktivist that lives in all of us...

So Mr Robot got it right. 

In a world where we are being sold the illusion of economic progress, how can we claim back cryptocurrency for ourselves? 

We can start by supporting open-source projects who are building on public blockchain architecture. We can educate ourselves about the non-speculative value of cryptocurrency (and how to use and store it safely). And we can start experimenting with a range of decentralized applications that give its users control while honouring their privacy and autonomy. 

Related: Why use a VPN? And how is a dVPN different?

Our dVPN is a blend of all these things – and more. 

For many of us, the internet is a place to freely roam. But many online citizens are trapped behind digital walls, stopping the free flow of ideas, voices and truths. 

We are building a new online era, democratising the web itself so that it’s free and open for all. Our peer to peer network powers its own VPN while laying the foundations for the new Web 3.0. Everyday web users become nodes to protect you against censorship, surveillance and cybercrime and get paid in cryptocurrency for it. Anyone can become a node to help us fight the good fight. 

There are many exciting other projects out there also trying to make this new online world a reality. 

Related: dVPN Comparison 2020. See emerging privacy-centric technologies and how they differ.

But the revolution starts with you. Will you claim back the internet? 

Join the Mysterium Army and download our free dVPN for Android.