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I Dared My Best Friend to Ruin My Life - He's Succeeding
My name is Zander, and my best friend is trying to ruin my life. It started out very small, but has quickly grown out of control. I'm currently sitting inside a church, using their WiFi to post this story and taking advantage of their air conditioning. I’m posting this story in case… Well in case he finds me and kills me soon. It's only a matter of time now, and I want someone to know what happened before I die. Two years ago, my friend David and I were sitting on the couch at my house thoroughly bored. It wasn’t a temporary boredom either. It was a resounding boredom with life. We both worked full time at the local movie theater making minimum wage and cleaning up after idiots who couldn’t keep popcorn and soda in their mouths. We had graduated high school two years prior and had no plans to attend college. Life looked bleak for us. College didn’t sound appealing, work was annoying, and the little free time we had was blown on video games and YouTube. We both still lived with our parents too, which made dating somewhat embarrassing. Looking back, I’m sure we were suffering from mild depression on top of everything else. These life circumstances blended together to create the perfect storm for what I now have to call my reality. As we sat on the couch at my parent’s house, channel surfing the TV, David asked me if I was bored with life. I responded in the positive, and he sighed. “High school was so easy because we knew our purpose and our goals were set for us. Outline the english essay. Finish the math homework. Get decent grades. Pass the driving exam. Be home by curfew. Find a girlfriend. Now that we’re out of high school, there’s no structure. Our lives have become meaningless and we are just floating through space with no aim or purpose.” “Would you go back to high school then?” I asked. He shook his head. “In the moment, high school was annoying. It’s only after looking back that I see how much better it was than I realized.” “What’s the solution, then?” I asked. “Either go somewhere that has structure and can deliver what high school gave us, or create our own structure,” David replied. “Well I don’t want to go to college or the military,” I said. “And I can’t think of anywhere else that provides the same structure. Guess I have to make my own, but I have no idea where to start.” “The thing about high school was that it required a minimum effort. If you didn’t give that minimum effort, you would face the consequences. The consequences were bad enough that you and I would put effort into school. When high school ended, that minimum effort level decreased. Now our minimum effort is not enough to improve ourselves. Whatever structure we build has to have those consequences built in and a minimum effort that forces us to improve constantly.” David was, and is, a very intellectual person. He thinks about everything, if you can’t already tell. I was pretty dumb compared to him, but I stuck around because he always had interesting things to say. This conversation definitely counted as interesting. I won’t bore you with the entire conversation that we had, but it lasted an hour where we discussed how to build structure into our lives. I want to emphasize here that boredom is dangerous. Well, it’s not dangerous by itself, but it can quickly lead to dangerous things. Boredom can lead to pain, accidental children, technology that disrupts a monopoly, and even death. Our boredom led to a dare. “I dare you to try and ruin my life,” David said. “What does that mean?” I asked. “It’s a way to build structure into my life. If I know that you are always trying to ruin my life and actively trying to make me fail, then I am driven to fight back and act on initiative.” “But how could I ruin your life?” I asked. “You could ruin anyone’s life if you gave it enough thought, planning, and action,” David said with a smirk. “I’m not going to give you any ideas. I just want you to try and ruin my life.” I remember sitting back and thinking about what he meant. The first thoughts that came to mind were about tripping him occasionally, or hiding his toothbrush every time I went to his house. My young mind didn’t fully understand how serious David was being. His mind was running three tracks above mine, so I didn’t know what I was getting into when I said, “okay, I’ll try to ruin your life. But I dare you to do try and ruin my life as well.” He smiled with a newfound enthusiasm, and I smiled back. I had hoped it would be a great way to relieve my boredom with life. David stood up and punched me in the leg as hard as he could. I shouted at him, mostly out of surprise. He just laughed. “The dare starts now,” he said, grabbing his shoes. “We are no longer friends, we are nemeses.” He opened my front door and looked over his shoulder. “Good luck,” he said. “I hope you’ll work half as hard as I will.” Once he left, I just sat there rubbing my sore thigh. Okay, I thought, if he wants a war, he’ll get a war. That night, I had laid awake trying to think of ways to make his life harder for him. My ideas were all so childish and useless compared to what he would later throw at me. I’m too embarrassed to list my ideas from back then. I wish I could say I remembered the day David turned against me for real. But it was so subtle that I didn’t notice right away. To my face, David acted completely normal. While we were at work, I would sprinkle popcorn over a section he had just cleaned and point it out to him. He would just laugh, and say, “is that supposed to ruin my life?” Then he would clean it up. I expected him to do the same to me, but he didn't. His lack of visible retaliation made me bored again so I stopped. Looking back, I suspect that behind my back he was sabotaging my image with our other co-workers and our boss. Out of the blue, my boss called me into his office and told me that I was fired because I wasn’t doing a good enough job. David acted sorry i was leaving and we promised to hang out again soon. I left, thinking I could make this something good and get a real job. That dream died, and I ended up at McDonald’s instead. After I had been at McDonald’s for a month or so, my parents confronted me. They asked me if I had been stealing cash from their wallets. I had never stolen a cent from them, and told them so. They backed off, but only for a week until my mom’s debit card went missing. They confronted me again, this time very angry. They accused me of withdrawing several hundred dollars using my mom’s debit card. I have no siblings, so it wouldn't have been anyone else in the house. It turned into a screaming match and they demanded that I move out as quickly as possible. With my small cache of savings, I found an apartment near the local community college that housed college students. The rent was affordable enough for me, so I moved out within the month. I moved in and became instant friends with two of my roommates, Clark and Ivan. Our other roommate, Isaac, kept to himself and stayed in his room playing video games 24/7. Life got good again because I hung out with Clark and Ivan frequently. David and I had stopped hanging out after I was fired from the movie theater. I hadn’t forgotten about him, but I had forgotten about the dare. Every once in a while, I would message him on Facebook or shoot him a text to ask if he wanted to hang out, but my messages were always ignored. Eventually I gave up. Within six months, I had a great life going. I was dating a girl named Katie, I had been promoted to crew trainer at McDonald’s, which paid better, and my bank account was slowly growing. I only recognize this as David’s doing when I look back, but an obscene amount of junk mail showed up with my name on it every single day. Magazines, credit card offers, vacation ads, and even physical letters from real people who claimed to be excited to be my new penpal. I sorted through them every day trying to find some pattern. Clark and Ivan thought it was hilarious. When I came home late from work, they would sometimes toss the junk mail in the air like confetti as I walked through the door, cheering that the Mail King was home. One day, I remember feeling sick of getting all this junk mail and deciding to sit down, call every subscription to cancel. I recruited Clark and Ivan to help me, and we sat down with snacks one afternoon and started to crank through phone calls. In a few days, the tide of junk mail subsided and we celebrated our efforts. That only lasted a week. The next week, it started coming back in full force. There was twice as much as before, and even some pornorgraphic magazines in the mix. Not only did my physical junk mail increase, but my email became unnavigable through all the new spam messages. Google moved a lot of it to the spam filter, but there were still hundreds of emails that made it through. My email had been subscribed to websites I’d never even heard of. Clark and Ivan were blown away by the new tide of junk mail. The event was dubbed “Return of the Junk” and became a great ice breaker for Clark and Ivan to introduce me to other people at parties. One day I was browsing Facebook’s “People You May Know” section when I came across someone’s profile that had my picture, but a different name. The account was open for anyone to view and had a lot of porn posts, status updates full of swearing, and praises to Hitler. I frowned when I clicked on their pictures. Most of the pictures were the same ones from my Facebook account, but there were some pictures of me that weren’t on my account or anywhere else online. Keep in mind, I didn’t remember my dare to David, so I was feeling pretty creeped out. I hit the report button and let Facebook know that the account was a fake and went on my way. I think three months or so later is when more stuff started to happen. Katie and I are getting very serious and discuss moving in together. The junk mail still rolls in and I’ve started to just throw it away. Ivan has moved out to go to an actual university, so a new roommate Jackson has moved in. Clark and I attempted to befriend Jackson, but he’s similar to Isaac and locked himself in his room most of the time. A new game became available for pre-order, so I submitted my email to reserve a copy. When I tried to log into my email to make sure the reserve code was there, I couldn’t log in. I hit “Forgot Password” and it asked if I wanted to use my phone number to reset the password. I pressed yes and waited for my phone to light up. It never did. I pressed the button three more times, but no text ever came. I tried old passwords I used to use, but none of them worked. I frowned, but eventually just walked away from my computer. I’d try again a different day. I sat down on the couch and pulled up Facebook on my phone. A popup appeared. “You’ve been signed out,” it said. Then it jumped to the login screen. I thought I’d hit the logout button on accident, so I just typed in my email and password. It didn’t work. I tried again, but it still told me the password was incorrect. My phone buzzed in my hand. Katie was calling me. I answered it and immediately became concerned. She was sobbing. “Katie?” I said. “You coward,” she spat. “You don’t get to just Facebook me that shit, no you have to talk to me and tell me with your voice.” “Katie, what are you talking about?” I asked. “Don’t play stupid, asshole. Say it.” “Say… what?” “You Facebook me and say we are through, but when I call, you deny everything? What the hell are you trying to pull, Zander?” Katie hissed. “Katie, my Facebook got hacked! I was literally just trying to log in when you called. Are you at home? I’m coming over. We are not done, we are far from done, sweetheart.” It took me some time to convince Katie that it hadn’t been me, but she relented when I showed her that I couldn’t log in. I googled how to get my Facebook account back and contacted their helpcenter. Thankfully, they were able to get me back into my account. Lots of links to porn sites had been posted all over my page by whoever jacked my account, so I spent time deleting all of those. I also spent time answering family members who asked about the “strange content” I had been posting. Awkward. Katie also found out through her feeds that my Twitter and Instagram had been hacked. The accounts were posting hundreds of crude messages and pictures. Those two sites took a little more effort, but eventually I regained control over those too. Fixing my email took a couple of days, but I got access again. Not wanting to repeat the experience, I made my passwords into really long strings of numbers, letters and symbols. Each account had a different password. For anyone who has done this, you know how impossible it would be to memorize your passwords. I wrote them down on a sheet of paper and put it in my dresser drawer. I didn’t intend to get hacked again. I'm telling you where I put the paper so you'll know how freaked out I was when Facebook signed me out again the next week. I checked my other accounts. Locked out again. I shot Katie a text to warn her and then called the Facebook help center again. They gave me access to Facebook and gave me the same warning about making a long password. When I told them the type of precautions I had taken last time, they suggested checking my computer for viruses in case there was a keyloggers collecting all the information I typed. I called a computer repair center and asked what I needed to do to get my computer scanned. They asked me to bring it down and they'd check it out. I had a desktop, so ‘bringing it down’ required a lot of unplugging. When I got down behind the computer to unplug everything, I found a tiny USB stick that I'd never seen before. I frowned and tried to locate its contents on the computer. The computer said no USB was attached. The computer repair guy confirmed that the USB drive was a keylogger. He asked if my computer had ever been anywhere that anyone could walk up and use it. I told him no and he said he had no idea how it could have gotten there. He didn't charge me anything, just warned me to keep an eye on my computer. I changed all my passwords again, going through the motions to get my accounts back. A few days later, I received three, yes THREE credit card bills in the mail. I still had the habit of skimming through the junk mail in case there ever was anything super important. I'm glad I did, because I might never have found out about the credit cards that were registered in my name. I called the credit card companies to inform them that they were mistaken. I had never signed up for a credit card. My parents had warned me about them so often that I'd been deterred from ever getting one. Before you comment and tell me I need them to build my credit, yes I know that now. A quick google search told me what to do next. I called Equifax, which is a company that calculates your credit score and tells creditors that it's okay for you to open a credit account. I placed a 90-day fraud alert on my credit. They said they would call me if anyone tried to open a credit account in my name. The dude at Equifax was kind enough to tell me what I needed to do next. He asked me to go online and view my credit report. If I saw any accounts I didn't recognize, I was to write them down and fill out a complaint to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) explaining the situation. Once I had that submitted, I was to file a copy of it with the police and create a police report. Then I had to take those two reports and call each of the credit companies that had issued credit to my identity and start the dispute process. I instantly felt very discouraged at the amount of effort this would require. It felt utterly insane to be required to follow all these steps just because I was the victim of identity theft. God damn. Clark was horrified at what had happened and looked at his credit score. He was relieved when it came back clean. I made Katie check hers too just in case. Also clean. I'll take a minute to tell everyone reading that you are entitled by law to one free credit report per year from each of the three credit score companies. That means you can and should check your credit three times a year. Clark and I set reminders on our phones to check the scores again in 4 months. I asked Katie to do the same. When I first found out about the accounts, I had called my parents to ask if they had opened any accounts in my name. If they had, I'd at least know who the culprit was. They told me they hadn't opened any accounts, and I warned them about my problems. They promised to check their credit score. Two weeks after I had called them, my dad called. They found fifteen fraudulent accounts between the two of them. What the hell? I told him the steps he needed to take, and he was grateful for my help and warning. I know this is boring to read, but I want you to realize how insanely painful it was to fix all of this shit. Seriously, watch your credit reports and nip identity theft in the bud before it happens to you. I had requested detailed bills from the credit card companies that had issued the fraudulent accounts, and they mailed them to me. The bills were full of online purchases. The accounts had been opened almost a year ago, and in that time they thief had spent $62,000 between all the fraudulent accounts. I was pretty upset that in a full year, I had only just found any credit card bills in the mail. I must have been tossing them with the mountains of junk mail. Now I know that the masses of junk mail were deliberate and calculated so the bills would blend in and hopefully get thrown away The first few transactions were from stores like Target, Walmart, etc. But the further down I went, the less I recognized. One word stuck out to me: bitcoin. I had learned a little about it from my Facebook feed as I had some friends from high school who touted it as the next real currency. According to the credit card statements, several thousand dollars had been exchanged into bitcoin. I started really researching bitcoin and trying to figure out what it was and why an identity thief would want it. To make the explanation short, bitcoin allowed my thief to make completely anonymous purchases online. It was as if he'd gone to an ATM and drained all the credit cards into cash. I didn't foresee the credit card companies ever getting their money back. David now had a hell of alot of cash he could use to ruin my life. I didn't know it was him at the time, obviously, but now I do. Guys, identity theft is a serious crime and is very damaging to everyone in the economy. And while the theft had been bad, my life was about to get a whole lot worse. That’s all I have time to write for now. I have to go and get some serious shit taken care of. I'll write again as soon as I can. My name is Zander, and my best friend is trying to ruin my life. Part 2 Part 3 Part 4 Part 5 Part 6 Part 7 Part 8
Private Internet Access Review - An in-depth review
Private Internet Access talks a big game on its website. In among all the technical jargon it boasts that it’s “the most trusted name in anonymous VPN service.” Its name certainly promises as much, but can you trust Private Internet Access to give you the VPN speeds and security you need? We’ve spent days testing Private Internet Access to answer all your questions, such as: Is Private Internet Access trustworthy? What does Private Internet Access do? Does Private Internet Access work with Hulu? Does Private Internet Access keep logs? Who owns Private Internet Access? Before we get stuck in, let’s take a look at the basics of Private Internet Access, along with what we found to be its main pros and cons: Pros Excellent speeds - 87Mbps global average Easy, high-speed access to Netflix Unlimited P2P & torrenting Keeps no usage logs & no IP/DNS leaks 3,300+ servers across 32 countries User-friendly apps for PC, Mac, iOS, & Android Cons Small server network compared to top-tier providers Based in the privacy-unfriendly US Email support can be slow, limited live chat Patchy access in China Works with Netflix, Amazon Prime, Hulu, Now TV, HBO, Sling TV, Torrenting, Kodi Available on Windows Mac Ios Android Linux Price from $2.91/mo Private Internet Access is an incredibly fast VPN, with some excellent features that make it ideal for privacy advocates. It’s not perfect, though – read on to find out more. Speed & Reliability Very fast and impressive speeds Private Internet Access is a very fast VPN. PIA’s best VPN servers are impressive for speed: if you live near London, New York or Toronto and want to connect locally you won’t find a faster provider in the current market. We were also highly impressed with PIA’s global performance, with very fast average download speed of 87Mbps. This is one the highest we’ve seen from any provider, making it a fantastic choice for P2P users and torrenters. Speed results from our physical location in London (100Mbps fibre optic connection) to a London test server. Before using Private Internet Access: DOWNLOAD Mbps 92 UPLOAD Mbps 99 PING ms 2 When connected to Private Internet Access: DOWNLOAD Mbps 47 UPLOAD Mbps 74 PING ms 12 Download speed without Private Internet Acess: 92Mbps Download speed with Private Internet Access: 47Mbps Our download speed loss when Private Internet Access is running: 50% Gamers will love PIA’s practically non-existent latency of less than 1ms in some locations. It also has exceptional upload speeds – you can expect 268Mbps at the best of times. We put all of the VPNs on the site through a rigorous scientific speed testing process, determining the average speeds from multiple locations across the globe. These are the average speeds you can expect to pick up from these locations: USA: 31Mbps (download) & 38Mbps (upload) Germany: 85Mbps (download) & 72Mbps (upload) Singapore: 26Mbps (download) & 9Mbps (upload) Australia: 35Mbps (download) & 10Mbps (upload) Server Locations Important locations are covered, the server list is small Globe with a blue flag 32 Countries Image of a city landscape 52 Cities Image of a pink marker 3,300+ IP Addresses See all Server Locations Private Internet Access’ servers are spread over 33 countries – a smaller selection than many of its big-name rivals, although every PIA location is courtesy of a real physical server. While 3,300-plus VPN servers is a fantastic amount, it’s likely that there’s only one IP address for each. That’s a good number, but VPN services like IPVanish (40,000) and VyprVPN (200,000) have far more. PIA VPN covers all the most popular locations in a good global spread, while 14 separate cities (and 1,500 servers) within the US is outstanding. There’s also city-level selection in the UK, Canada, Australia, and Germany. Private Internet Access Server Locations on the Private Internet Access Website Streaming & Torrenting Good for Netflix, great for torrenting Private Internet Access’ huge array of US servers means that unblocking Netflix is never more than one or two clicks away. We found access through its Washington DC, Atlanta, Chicago and Houston servers to be very reliable, and less so with US East, New York City, Florida and California servers. Access to BBC iPlayer had recently stopped working for us, and Private Internet Access has said that rectifying it is not a priority for the service. Our most recent tests, however, had success accessing the service. Private Internet Access is also a popular choice with viewers of a whole range of other big streaming services. Plenty of subscribers enjoy using Private Internet Access with: Amazon Prime Video Hulu HBO Sling TV Sky Now TV PlayStation Vue Torrenting Private Internet Access is a very, very good VPN for torrenting. P2P traffic is permitted on all servers and the market-leading upload and download speeds ensure rapid file transfers and buffer-free Kodi. It has a VPN kill switch to keep your identity safe while you download or seed, it’s totally protected from IP and DNS leaks, and its logging policy ensures your traffic will be kept private and anonymous. Bypassing Censorship No good in China but works well in other countries Private Internet Access is unusable in large parts of China as the government has successfully managed to block it via the Great Firewall. Reports and anecdotes from users suggest that it still works in Beijing at least, for example. Unless you want to spend a lot of time tampering with long-winded manual configurations, you’ll be better off finding another VPN service, though – our roundup of the best VPNs for China should help. PIA will still work to unlock the internet in slightly less dilligent nations though, such as Turkey, Iran or Saudi Arabia. Platforms & Devices Works across all platforms, and router too Apps Windows Logo Windows Mac Logo Mac iOS Logo iOS Android Logo Android Linux Logo Linux Router Logo Router There are custom apps to get Private Internet Access running on all the popular operating systems, both desktop and mobile, while a router-level installation will cover everything else. Private Internet Access works with Microsoft Windows, Apple MacOS, Android, iPhone and more. You can use Private Internet Access on a number of devices, up to ten in total. Manual setup guides are also available on the Private Internet Access website to help walk you through more obscure platforms or older OS versions. Games Consoles & Streaming Devices AppleTV Logo AppleTV Amazon Fire TV Logo Amazon Fire TV Chromecast Logo Chromecast Nintendo Logo Nintendo PlayStation Logo PlayStation Roku Logo Roku Xbox Logo Xbox Private Internet Access offers a custom app for Amazon Fire TV and Stick. Installing the app requires a little bit of technical knowhow, but once installed you’ll be able to choose servers all around the world and access your favorite video content. It’s also possible to use PIA’s software with other streaming devices and games consoles, like the PlayStation 4, Xbox One or Google Chromecast, by connecting them to a configured router. Browser Extensions Chrome Logo Chrome Firefox Logo Firefox Private Internet Access also has browser extensions for Google Chrome, Mozilla Firefox, and Opera, which protect your browser traffic. They’re just proxies, but still protect your IP address and prevent WebRTC leaks when surfing the web. You can learn more about the differences between VPNs and proxies with our guide. Encryption & Security One of the most secure VPNs around Protocol L2TP/IPSec OpenVPN (TCP/UDP) PPTP Encryption AES-128 AES-256 Security DNS Leak Blocking First-party DNS IPV6 Leak Blocking Supports TCP Port 443 VPN Kill Switch WebRTC Leak Blocking Advanced features Ad Blocker SOCKS Please see our VPN Glossary if these terms confuse you and would like to learn more. After all this, you’re still probably wondering one question: is Private Internet Access trustworthy? We can safely say that the answer is yes. Private Internet Access is one of the most advanced VPNs on the market, sure to satisfy even the most demanding of users. A screenshot of PIA's recommended security configurations PIA’s recommended security configurations You get a broad choice of protocols with Private Internet Access (including our favorite, OpenVPN), encryption (including AES-256), an ad and malware blocker (PIA MACE), TCP Port 443, as well as a kill switch. It also features IPV6 leak protection, although it’s unlikely you’ll need that right now – still, it’s good future-proofing for when IPV6 eventually becomes the new internet standard (you can learn more about IPV6 here). One small thing we’d change is that PIA VPN offers PPTP as a protocol, but not IKEv2. We prefer OpenVPN to IKEv2, but some users like that it often gives you faster VPN connection speeds. PPTP, on the other hand, is old and insecure and shouldn’t really be used by anyone. On top of all that, we also found it didn’t leak our IP or DNS – Private Internet Access operates its own DNS servers, which helps. Logging Policy Absolutely no logging information kept Private Internet Access keeps absolutely no VPN logs whatsoever – you can use the service with total peace of mind that your data and traffic is not being monitored, nor can it be traced back to you. Jurisdiction Private Internet Access first launched in 2010 and is owned by London Trust Media, a firm with a diverse portfolio of products and a particular focus on privacy and tech. It’s based in Colorado, Denver, USA. We would normally criticize a VPN for choosing the US as its base of operations, however, in the case of Private Internet Access we’ll make an exception. The fact that absolutely no browsing logs are stored or monitored by PIA means that any prying authorities would have nothing to uncover. Ease of Use Updated app does wonders for usability How to Install & Set Up Private Internet Access Private Internet Access download options screenshot in our PIA review Go to the downloads section on PIA's website to find the right software for your device. Private Internet Access installation instructions screenshot in our PIA review We love PIA's step-by-step instructions on how to navigate the installation process. Private Internet Access setup options screenshot in our PIA review PIA gives you the option to create a handy desktop shortcut for the app. Private Internet Access setup wizard screenshot in our PIA review Once the installation is complete, you'll be given the option to launch PIA and begin using the software. PIA Main Screen Screenshot for PIA Review PIA have drastically improved its app so that it is much simpler to navigate and pleasing to look at. PIA Server List Screenshot for PIA Review When clicking on 'VPN Server' on the main screen you are taken to this list of available server connections. Its a detailed list with a search bar to find your favorite server quicker than having to scroll. PIA Connected Screenshot for PIA Review When you choose a server, the app automatically takes you back to the home screen where the button animates itself in an attempt to connect. Once connected, it turns green. PIA Main Screen Expanded Screenshot for PIA ReviewPIA Setting Menu Screenshot for PIA Review The advanced settings open in a new and separate tab to the app. In the Privacy Settings you can find the inclusion of a kill switch with the helpful option to have it on 'Always'. You can also block domains used for ads, trackers, and malware through the PIA MACE option. PIA DNS Leak Protection Screenshot for PIA Review In the 'Network' screen you can protect yourself against DNS leaks, with the options to 'Set Custom DNS' alongside tick boxes for 'Request Port Forwarding' or 'Allow LAN Traffic'. PIA Protocol and Encryption Screenshot for PIA Review In the past, PIA’s one glaring failure was its clunky, unintuitive and grossly outdated desktop app. PIA has since released a far more modern app which is much easier to navigate and straight-up better looking, clearly taking note from its competitors. There are plenty of customization options for desktop notifications, launch on start-up, and a kill switch with an ‘always’ option. PIA has come a long way, but it’s not perfect: the advanced settings still open in a new tab and the tray app remains open on top, blocking the view. Annoyingly, you have to close the whole tray app manually in order to see it. The PIA mobile app is terrific – with just as much configurability as the desktop app, plus some extra connection details. Customer Support Lacking 24/7 support but good online knowledge base Live chat Support Email Online Resources 24/7 live chat is the obvious absence from Private Internet Access’ support repertoire. It’s something almost all of its higher-scoring rivals have, such as StrongVPN and VPNArea, and a feature we’d love to see soon. With PIA VPN you can only live chat with support between 4pm-1am UTC. You must be logged in to the member area to do so, meaning it’s also only available to paying customers. The positive flip-side to this, though, is that PIA has one of the best online knowledge bases out there. It’s well organized and should answer almost any query or issue you have. Pricing & Deals Affordable on two-year plan Private Internet Access Coupon Private Internet Access logo Private Internet Access Get 65% off Private Internet Access's 2-year plan TestedEnds 28 Aug Get CodeED Terms Private Internet Access Pricing Plan A month-long subscription with Private Internet Access costs $9.95. This is around the industry standard and isn’t very competitive. The cost goes down the longer you subscribe for, though, with a two-year subscription costing $3.49 per month. Private Internet Access isn’t the cheapest VPN, but it is one of the best. Private Internet Access doesn’t have a free trial and the money-back guarantee is only seven days long. However, cancelling within these seven-days is 100% no-questions-asked, with your refund arriving within seven working days. Monthly US$9.95/mo Billed $9.95 every month 12 Months US$5.99/mo Billed $71.88 every 12 months Save 40% 2 Years US$3.49/mo Billed $83.87 every 2 years Save 65% All plans have 7-day money-back guarantee Payment & Refund Options Credit Card PayPal Bitcoin PIA accepts a broad range of payment methods including most major credit and debit cards, PayPal and a few cryptocurrencies including Bitcoin, Ethereum, and Zcash. Users in certain countries may also have access to additional international payment options like Mint, ecoPayz, and Neosurf, although they can’t be used to set up a rolling subscription.
Cryptomessengers: Effective Mix of Privacy and Add Values
Time is fleeting. It seems like yesterday to make a transaction or receive the money we had to go to the banks, stand in queues, experience technical issues which caused a delay in the whole process. And we can not omit the human factor -the incorrectly filled bank form. Missing data. Problems with requests processing due to the large volumes of data. Or incorrect structuring of huge data arrays. All these things cause the impossibility of conducting immediate operations and irritate people deeply. But fortunately, things have changed. With the explosive growth of mobile devices and payment services, there is no need for all this mess. Mobile devices give infinite possibilities. In fact, you have a most powerful tool to the well of unlimited information. Every year we dive deeper into it. (And we all are familiar with the words of N. Rothschild “Who owns the information, he owns the world.”) With a portable computer in your pocket, you stay on the edge of the technological wave and keep up-to-date with all innovation breakthroughs. Our world is digitized. Everything you’ve struggled to know is within arm’s reach. The development of mobile technologies and improving the quality of the mobile Internet enable businesses to conduct transactions anytime anywhere.
Problem or Opportunity?
In 2019 the number of mobile phone users is forecasted to reach 4.68 billion. By the end of 2019, it is expected to pass the five billion mark. The entire world is currently about mobile phones, not computers. This idea of paying for your goods with your cell phone is becoming much more widespread mainly due to the consumer’s need for greater convenience. This trend has been further encouraged by the launch of popular mobile payment gateways such as Apple Pay, Google Pay, Samsung Pay.
Data Security Issues and Сonsumer Rights Protection
The enormous amounts of data received every day in various infrastructures need to be regulated and protected. The user wants to surf the internet safely, buy products safely. Sensitive information should remain confidential.
Biometric Payments and Payments with Selfie
The first publicly available device with a fingerprint sensor was Motorola Atrix, which launched in 2011. Daily life tasks become more and more automatized. The next step seemed to be the payment with a selfie, fingerprint, or retinal scan. Biometric payments are expected to be the future disruptive technology in the mobile payment industry. According to the overview of Mobile Payments Industry made by PRIME INDEXES, biometric payment system works by analyzing unique biological traits of a person, such as DNA, fingerprints, or facial features. The use of a fingerprint and a facial scan has already become the mainstream for unlocking smartphones. Due to the convenience and security that biometrics provides, it is expected to replace traditional digital identification schemes on a global scale. Acuity Market Intelligence forecasts that, by 2022, there would be over 5.5 billion biometrics-enabled mobile devices processing over 1 trillion transactions annually, driving the market’s annual revenue to $50.6 billion. There are lots of concerns about fingerprint scanners and other biometric unlocking methods. One of them is that if someone steals your biometric identifiers, you won’t be able to change them like a password, making them permanently compromised. The other idea is that if a security method is more comfortable for the user, they’ll be more likely to use it, and biometrics are better for security in general.
Regulations of e-cash and security
Electronic payment systems are not new. Electronic Funds Transfer has been in use since the middle of the last century. Online credit and debit card systems are also electronic. But, these transactions are managed through closed commercial networks, and the main obstacle is wire fraud. Their security intensified using encryption — The Enigma cipher machine was based on this technology. In contrast, the Internet is an open system, which makes security much more of a problem. The challenge is to develop open systems that are secure, convenient and cost-effective over a range of micro- to-macro-transactions. Anonymity would also be a commercial advantage for many types of internet transactions. How do these new systems obtain these criteria? It remains to be seen.
Bitcoin & Blockchain Technology
The blockchain sector focused on finance will grow from 250 to 350 million people by 2025. People usually confuse Bitcoin with Blockchain. Bitcoin was the first-ever application of Blockchain. Since then, Bitcoin has had technological advancements and now satisfies other industries as well. Bitcoin is a cryptocurrency. It is not institutionalized, though people around the world use it for various kinds of payments and transactions. As far as it is not physically present, it is very safe and secure, and blockchain is the best mediator for these transactions. The underlying idea was in its anonymity. And that Bitcoin would reduce the cost of transactions, lower the cost of influencers, would have no restrictions by government and will be limited in quantity. The blockchain is a type of a ledger that can record all the transactions and assist in peer-to-peer transactions. It is open, secure and easily accessible to everyone. Blockchain can transfer anything, from currencies to property rights of stocks. Blockchain acts as bitcoin’s ledger and takes care of all the transactions of bitcoin. The technology of blockchain is more open to changes, and thus, has the backing of many top companies. Since then blockchain is in constant capacity-building, and now it is catering to even small transactions across various industries. Bitcoin, the decentralized network, allows users to transact directly, peer to peer, without a mediator to manage the exchange of funds. Bitcoin is based on a P2P (Peer-To-Peer) network system. Hence, everything relies on good communication between peer nodes. Some of you already know very good a Telegram- a cloud-based instant messaging and voice over IP service developed by Telegram Messenger LLP). The company also announced its intention to make a custom crypto wallet integrated into the app.
The first in the world & Crypto Community
Elvn team in partnership with Dashdevs crew had decided to develop a solution that will be able to combine all the existing useful features with technologies of the future. Elvn, first of all, has a vision of how to develop and grow the crypto community. The crypto community initiated in 2009. According to the study, data show that in the first three quarters of 2018 the number of ID-verified cryptocurrency users nearly doubled, climbing from 18 million to 35 million. Despite its small quantity, by the end of 2018, the crypto community managed to generate 400 billion dollars in capitalization. The Elvn team started wondering what happened with crypto capitalization if there were 150 million active users instead of 35 million? An example to compare, the instant messenger Telegram has globally 200 million active users. 📷
Estimate: 3 weeks Purpose: Add/send/receive money to the wallet/check Elvn in partnership with DashDevs created the first crypto messenger in the world bringing a messenger and crypto community together. The primary purpose of this innovation is to implement the brand new way of communicating with advanced capabilities. This innovative mobile application has an in-built crypto wallet. Thus you can easily manage your digital money in one place.
We have made Elvn a convenient and safe app for communication. The whole project proceeded in an accelerated mode. We were very pressed for time. Thus, we adopted decisions rapidly but wisely. Crypto wallet in the application was based on SPV (Simple Payment Verification). By default, when receiving a new transaction, a node must validate it. In particular, verify that none of the transaction’s inputs has previously spent. To carry out that check the node needs to access the blockchain. Any user who does not trust his neighbor networks should keep a full local copy of the blockchain so that any input can be verified. With the implementation of symmetric encryption AES, there was ensured high-level security for encrypting the private key. We have enabled the creation of a new wallet immediately after registration. In a case when you log into the app, and you already have a wallet, a new one will not be generated. A user can add the public key of the wallet to the user’s profile. In this case, other users can see the public key. While a private key, on the contrary, is securely encrypted. To decrypt this private key, a user has to enter the PIN code. The copy of the wallet (a private key) is stored only in the phone storage. And after installing the PIN code, it is no longer stored in the phone (the private key is encrypted and can be decrypted using the PIN code). In case when you need full access to your wallet (to send money for example), it is always restored from these parts. A private key (of your wallet) is required to send (sign) a transaction. Thus, the recipient needs only the address of the wallet. You can manage the resources of your wallet only if you have a private key. And private key never passes to anyone. But, you can check your balance using the public key. We tested the transfer of coins using a bitcoin test network. The most challenging was to implement the best-fit solution for the messaging part of the application. In our case, it was MTProto (a cryptographic protocol used in the Telegram messaging system to encrypt user communications).
A great solution for any business
We have made Elvn not only a users’ tool but also a great business solution. With the help of Elvn mobile application, it becomes possible to attract more people to the crypto community. Elvn is confidential so that everyone can conduct the business dealing via this mobile tool. Moreover, you can send an unlimited amount of your files of any type, such as doc, zip, pdf, images, voice records, and videos. Additionally, Elvn also has a social network in which you can add up to 100,000 friends, whose posts can also be encouraged by the incentive of earning cryptocurrency. We made it easy to support the favorite content by a simple “like.” You can also send coins to the author of the “liked” post with just one click.
📷 The DashDevs team, together with the Elvn team created a unique crypto messenger, which combined both communication and business purposes. Being limited by time, DashDevs took all the best solutions and put them in one app. And yes. Nobody has done this before. The DashDevs team does not feel afraid to challenge the most difficult and innovative ideas and put them into practice. We stand on the solid foundation of our expertise and are ready to build a new future full of new business opportunities with you. Our Sci-Tech Crew has strong expertise in developing diverse projects, for both ordinary customers and various complex solutions for businesses.
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