Avira (www.avira.com) is expanding its Avira Phantom VPN (Virtual Private Network) o include devices running on Apple’s iOS and macOS. The Phantom VPN now incorporates all major operating systems for computers and mobile devices: Android, Microsoft’s Windows, and iOS and Mac.
The new Phantom VPN is aimed directly at two significant segments of technology users – people with Apple devices, and even more importantly, mixed households where people have a collection of devices running on a variety of operating systems, said Melanie Weber, head of the VPN project at Avira. Researchers at Strategy Analytics found that up to 28% of homes in Europe and the US have Apple and Android OS devices, with up to 20% of people claiming to use both Apple and Android devices weekly. And, this study just looked at Apple and Android-powered devices and did not include Windows computers.
“There is a growing segment of households that are mixed – there can be a Windows laptop together with an Android smartphone and an iPad from Apple,” explained Weber. “These devices don’t just stay under one roof, they go everywhere with their owners and they all access the internet. And as they access the internet, these devices need to protect their owners’ online security.”
Most online communication – regardless of operating system – is with the unencrypted TCP/IP suite of protocols, where the message is divided into a series of unencrypted data packets. Similar to a postcard, the contents can be read surreptitiously anywhere along the transmission chain through ‘Man-in-the-Middle’ attacks or by simple eavesdropping as it goes through an open Wi-Fi router.
In addition to the data payload being read, the information on the packets also enables trackers to pinpoint the device user’s location, get information about their online activity, and limit access to some sites.
This lack of privacy can be stopped with the Avira Phantom VPN. To secure users, Phantom takes the postcard-type data packets and puts them into a secure, encrypted package similar to registered mail. Both sender and the recipient get confirmation that the data packet actually arrived – just like a registered letter. This prevents hackers from easily sniffing out data packets – and from reading the contents if they are captured.
In addition to encryption, Avira Phantom VPN masks users’ true IP addresses so they can browse more anonymously and also lets users choose which country they want their virtual communication to come from, unlocking geo-restricted content.