< BackWednesday, June 22, 2016

Avira Expands Phantom VPN to Apple iOS & Mac

Surf Anonymously and Securely Over Lightening-Fast Encrypted Network;
Single License Works on Mac, iOS, Windows, Android

TETTNANG, Germany – June 22, 2016 – Avira, developers of the award-winning Avira Antivirus, today announced the expansion of its Avira Phantom VPN (Virtual Private Network) to include devices running on Apple’s iOS and OS X. The Phantom VPN now incorporates all major operating systems for computers and mobile devices: Android, Microsoft’s Windows, and AppleiOS 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 collection of devices running on variety of operating systems.

“With Phantom VPN, security is what matters, with operating systems becoming immaterial,” said Melanie Weber, head of the VPN project at Avira. “We believe that people should be able to secure their activities and their privacy, regardless of the device or its operating system.”

Protection for people with a mixed-technology portfolio

When it comes to technology portfolios, households are no longer ‘either or’ places, split between Microsoft vs Mac for computers and Android vs iOS for smartphones. 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.”

Virtual postcards can never be secure

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.

Registered mail goes online

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, to unlocking geo-restricted content.

Phantom’s encryption sets it apart from other “proxy VPNs” which work like a Post Office’s forwarding notice. They add an extra address label to the data packets, forwarding them via a different location to circumvent geo-restrictions. While the new proxy addresses can be useful to unlock some access restrictions, they typically do nothing to secure the message contents.

Secure connections within easy reach

The Avira Phantom VPN is available FREE for iOS, OS X, Windows, and Android. Avira Phantom VPN provides superior benefits in four major ways:

·         Applies across the big 3 operating systems. Phantom VPN can be used on almost all devices, including Apple devices running iOS and OS X, Android devices running 4.0.3 and above, and PCs with Windows 7 or newer operating systems.

·         Protects individual privacy. Without a VPN, online activities are being constantly tracked and analyzed. With Avira Phantom VPN, you can control what personal data can be collected.

·         Secures and anonymizes browsing. Avira Phantom encrypts online activities and the data exchanged with friends and other websites, shutting out the eavesdroppers.

·         Opens up the internet. Some news channels, social media, and video-streaming websites cannot be accessed from certain regions and countries. Avira Phantom unlocks these geo-restrictions.

The Avira Phantom VPN is available free to all users, both for registered and unregistered users. Unregistered users have a data allowance of up to 500MB/month and registered users with a higher limit of 1GB/month. Users subscribing to the Pro version also receive unlimited data traffic.

“Regardless of what device is in your bag, you still need a secure connection – anywhere and with any OS,” stated Weber. “With this launch, we’ve enabled you to easily make the switch from communicating via postcards to the secure and encrypted Avira Phantom VPN.”