Surf with UK IP Address

When you’re online you might think that your digital identity doesn’t change very much, but in some aspects you’d be very wrong.  For example take something as simple as browsing the internet, your experience will vary greatly depending on one specific factor – your location.   Now the internet doesn’t care where you’re from but many of the web sites you visit do care – very much indeed.

Surf with UK IP Address

The method of identifying your location is done by tracing your IP address, this is the unique number which is allocated to any device when it connects to the internet.  This includes everything, every laptop, computer, switch , mobile phone and even your smart TV – all are allocated this network address.   As well as being unique, these addresses are also allocated on a per country basis meaning that when a web site knows the address it can look up your physical location too.

They will use this information in a variety of ways, to customize what you see, switch languages or more often to filter and block what you can see.  It’s the exact method that Netflix uses to determine which version of the site you use, or the way that BBC iPlayer blocks every non-UK connection.  So you can see where you are determines greatly what you can access and your overall web experience.

However there is a method to take control of this, and actually bypass these filters and blocks.

How to Surf with UK IP Address

So how do you take control?  Do we have to just sit back idly by while our web browsing is censored and manipulated by the big websites?  Of course, the key is being able to control this network address,  if we can manipulate this then we can decide what we can see online.

If we take an example mentioned above, the BBC blocks access to anyone who tries to access from outside the UK.  More specifically they block access to anyone without a UK IP address.   So if we can present a UK IP address irrespective of our real location then we can watch the BBC or any other UK only website wherever we happen to be.

It’s actually very easy to do, to supply a fake IP then just watch this video:

So although you can’t actually change your IP address, as it’s allocated automatically when you connect to the internet. You can though hide your IP address, by using an intermediate server to connect to the web. This is what literally millions of people do across the world, they use a VPN service with servers based in the country they need most.  So many people who need to surf with UK IP address will find a service which provides access to a UK IP address range.

In fact, most of the decent VPN services will offer a wide range of servers in different countries.  The one in the example – Identity Cloaker for instance has many servers in Britain including some which have a London IP address or ones from Manchester, but they also have servers all over the world.   You can merely click on a country and you’ll effectively change your IP address to that country.  So although you don’t actually change IP address to UK or another country, the websites will only see the address of the VPN server.

There are now a lot of these services available but you have to be careful depending on your requirements.  Don’t get misled by websites who offer the best UK proxy as these don’t work anymore for most of the big media sites including all the main UK TV sites.  It was at the beginning of 2017 that the BBC finally started to block access to all proxies, and even some VPNs –  irrespective if they came from a UK IP address list.   Furthermore if you just want to access these sites, you don’t need to invest in anything expensive, certainly it’s not necessary to but a UK IP address that it dedicated for your use only.

A simple, fast and well configured VPN service is all the majority of people require to surf with UK IP address or unlock access to lot’s of other different sites across the world.  The benefit also extends to countries where state level internet censorship takes place like China or Turkey, a VPN will bypass these too.

Here’s the link for Identity Cloaker – Test it out with the 10 day . first to see how well it works.

Is Your Car Secure? Perhaps Not.

We’ve all probably heard the stories about people hacking the internet of things.  Breaking into our toasters, washing machines or expresso makers and indeed any other device which is ‘internet enabled’.  Indeed the problems these devices generate by being online seem to far outweigh the advantages.

 

After all what’s the point in having your toaster internet enabled? To order more bread, emergency crumpet supplies or maintain your bagel supplies at a certain level? Hardly important stuff and personally I couldn’t imagine anything worse than having an army of electrical devices having the ability to order stuff to my house!

Having said that, you might argue that lying awake at night worrying if your toaster has been hacked by a Russian cyber criminal gang might be a bit paranoid too.  At least right up to the point when the police come to investigate why thousands of pedophiles are connecting to an IRC server hosted on your internet connection.

The problem is that however trivial the device sounds, anything internet enabled can potentially act as a either a host or a portal to attack anything else online.  The device is sometimes irrelevant it’s merely your internet connection and IP address that is important.  Although they can also be used to sniff personal details and steal more than bandwidth too.   Each and every device that you have in your home which is connected to the internet is potentially a threat to your privacy and anonymity online.

However there’s always one device that’s increasingly becoming internet aware that worries me a lot and that’s our cars.  It concerns me for a variety of reasons, firstly I am a lot more worried about someone stealing my car than I am my refrigerator.  Secondly the idea that anyone has remote access in any form to a metal device which I hurtle down the motor ways at 80 miles an hour somewhat worrying.

It seems that I have even more cause for concern as a recent study group determined at the last Kaspersky Security Analyst Summit last month.  In the workshop the y demonstrated how simple it is to introduce software into modern internet enabled cars to steal data, take control of functions, bypass alarms and key systems even crashing the car.

Frankly I can think of tons more things to worry about having my car hacked than all the other internet enabled crap sitting in our living rooms and kitchens out together.  Someone accessing my car is very scary indeed, after all even having your computer hacked doesn’t put you into actual physical danger.

Automotive security is important and it doesn’t seem to be taken seriously by most manufacturers.  One of the researchers involved bought a car and ran through a serious of attacks to see how difficult it would be to hack into.  They found it surprisingly easy, even turning the car into a war driving machine with a built in facility to spot and log into open Wi-Fi connections.

One of the attacks involved was actually found on a car hacking site, a piece of code which claimed to give root access to all the car’s control systems.  The researcher installed the code easily using the car’s USB port which was configured to auto-run any code it found.  Instantly the researcher had full access to the car’s infotainment system.

This revealed a surprising and slightly disturbing non-documented feature of the car.  It had previously crawled and downloaded his address, book, email list, SMS messages and even the list of last visited locations.  All of these details were stored and recorded in clear text within the car’s data storage.

There were lots more facets to the investigation including extensive control and manipulation of the car’s built in Wi-Fi system.   There were some even more worrying research into the feasibility of controlling the automatic braking software although nothing conclusive was created.

Safety and privacy issues were not the only concern and one of the more practical problems of car security is the potential for theft.  Keys were considered a huge area of weakness, with many electronic keys have extremely small number of combinations.  Although the biggest potential threat in this area is the technology known as signal amplification technology.  Indeed there is a kit available online which only costs about £50 which can pick up the signal from car keys and copy them to the car directly – both unlocking the car and disabling the alarm system.

BBC Block VPN Connection Services

It was a move greeted by shock, disbelief and to some extent even despair suddenly the BBC started to block VPN connections from across the world.     Just to roll back a little, for years the BBC had insisted that all it’s media content was only available to domestic viewers i.e those who were physically located in the United Kingdom.  However although this was official policy, the BBC did very little to actually enforce this other than a basic IP check which blocked anyone accessing from a non-UK IP address.

BBC Block VPN Connection

This IP blocking method although effective was actually extremely simple to bypass, all one needed was a way of hiding your location.

Initially this could be achieved by using a simple proxy server although in 2016 BBC started to block these following the lead of most global media companies.   There was another method left, using something called a VPN which stands for virtual private network which also allowed users to hide their physical location and IP address.

A VPN connection is virtually impossible to detect and so these have continued to work and many have switched from using proxy servers.  Unfortunately VPN services are more expensive to run and therefore these are almost always require a paid subscription.  The free ones are filled with advertising, share your internet connection with strangers and are all frustratingly slow to use which means that everything involves extensive buffering.

Here you can see in this video, a demonstration of a VPN program being used to access the BBC from outside the UK.

Although the move to paid services was upsetting to a lot of people, these subscriptions where relatively inexpensive and as they opened up all the UK TV channels are still extremely popular.   However during the second part of 2016 and into 2017 the BBC started to attack these services too.  In fact during specific times, literally thousands of people found themselves blocked almost overnight – one day they were happily watching the BBC the following day they were blocked. It almost seemed that suddenly they had figured it out, BBC iPlayer detecting VPN services – was it possible? Well no, they can’t detect them but it’s true that for many their BBC iPlayer VPN not working had suddenly occurred.

So if the VPN connection is virtually undetectable, how did the BBC manage to block so many of them?

How Does BBC Block VPN Connection Services

As mentioned, a properly configured and well run VPN service is almost impossible to detect.  Even the Chinese have thrown huge resources at identifying and blocking VPNs in order to control the huge use of them to circumvent their filtering and censorship.  They have not been completely successful and many Chinese routinely use VPN services to bypass the Great Firewall of China and indeed retain their anonymity in one of the most oppressive internet states in the world.  Other media companies have all tried in various ways too, most seem to settle with a partial success of blocking the simple proxies.  Nearly all media companies now block the easy targets so for example you can’t use a simple French proxy for M6 Replay either.

So obviously the BBC do not have anything like the technical expertise or resources to match this, however there are other options which can be fairly effective.  Firstly although the actual type of connection cannot be easily identified, they can identify when thousands of concurrent connections come from specific IP address ranges.  VPN servers will have limited numbers of IP addresses and when the BBC detects thousands of streams all being directed at the same ones then it’s likely they are some sort of proxy or VPN.

Secondly, many of these VPN services are easily identified by a little detective work.  Many of them openly advertise or display their TV watching services on their websites.  Type ‘BBC iPlayer abroad’ or ‘watch UK TV abroad’ into a search engine like Google and you’ll see some paid adverts for various websites.  All the BBC has to do is look up these services and block them manually, anything that looks like a TV watching service and not a proper security based VPN will be fair game. So there are some truth to these rumours, but it would be wrong to say that BBC iPlayer not working through VPN anymore

So in essence a little detective work and monitoring incoming connections can be a pretty effective way of blocking these VPN connections.  There is no real BBC iPlayer vpn workaround, merely selecting the right sort of VPN service.  Fortunately the older legitimate VPN services don’t advertise these facilities and also have large infrastructures with lots of servers to spread their connections. They have made little additional effort in blocking these services since the BBC iPlayer VPN 2017 purge, so the remaining companies should be fine – certainly I’ve been using Identity Cloaker for over a decade now without issues.

Companies like idc still work with all the UK TV stations despite these blocking efforts because they remain primarily security services not ‘TV watching’ proxies.