FAQ

What is SurfBouncer?

SurfBouncer is a Personal VPN service operating on our worldwide, encrypted network. It provides access to very high-encryption VPN servers in order to secure your connection to the Internet as well as unblock connections to the Internet. We offer several versions of our Personal VPN service to fit every budget and need.

Also available are VPN routers for securing your entire home or small business network, a VPN Flash Drive for ultimate portability, a Static and Dedicated IP VPN service, Secure Email service and more.


How long has this been available?

SurfBouncer Personal VPN service has been available since 2006. We have customers around the world using the service to unblock web sites and as a hotspot VPN to ensure their privacy and protect against identity theft at public hotspots. The service also is also your first line of defense against your ISP logging all your web activity and selling it to others for profit.


Payment Information:

Our payment methods are Credit Cards via secure processor, PayPal, Amazon Payments and BitCoin. By offering these methods, we ensure complete privacy with your credit card information since we never see your actual credit card number. In addition, by offering multiple methods, you can choose how you want to pay.

By using Credit Cards, Amazon Payments or PayPal, you set up a recurring subscription that re-bills automatically. Your account is always current and you needn’t worry about forgetting to send in your payment. Nor will you experience an interruption in service*.

By using BitCoin, you set up non-recurring payments. We bill you when your current term expires and you have total control over when a payment is made. By offering both options, we strive to meet the varied needs of our customers.

The cost of the service varies, based upon the term of service chosen.

The Personal VPN software we provide is open source and based upon OpenVPN — a highly regarded and tested security product. You pay only the weekly, monthly, 6-month or yearly subscription fee for the service. By using open source off the shelf software you are assured that there are no logging routines and other spyware often associated with other providers propriety software.

If you wish to use PayPal or Amazon Payments for a single non-recurring payment instead of BitCoin, simply place the order then cancel the subscription. Your service will terminate when the term is over. You can do it yourself or we can do it for you, upon request.

With any of these payment methods, you are always in control of how you want to pay.


How quickly is my account set up?

To protect your privacy and personal information to the maximum our VPN authentication servers are not tied to the SurfBouncer web site or order pages. This ensures that there is no connection between the order pages and the actual secure VPN servers. Other VPN companies that provide for instant setup of the purchase have been hacked recently and their users information including email addresses and identities stolen. With our system you may have to wait a few hours for your account to be set up. But you can be assured that your personal information, VPN credentials and connection are completely secure and offline.


How can I cancel my service?

If you used a Credit Card directly, PayPal or Amazon Payments to purchase your subscription simply log into your account and cancel the subscription. This will not affect your current term but will prevent it from renewing upon expiration. If you paid with BitCoin there is nothing to do as the subscription must be renewed manually and will expire when it is finished.

 

Do you offer free trials or evaluations?

No. There are a great many spammers and hackers out there who would love to get their hands on free IP addresses from all over the world. This would allow them to send out millions of spam emails and make all sorts of purchases on fraudulent credit cards without anyone knowing who they are. We also found that these folks don’t like to give their credit card information to get this kind of service. So, to secure our network and safeguard others, we do not provide free service. You can try the service for as little as $3.99 a month. If you don’t want to commit to a long term, just try it for a week. We are happy to refund any unused payment portion if you upgrade to a longer term option.

 

How do I set up Personal VPN service?

Once you have subscribed to the service, we set you up in our servers and email you a user name and password plus instructions. You will need this information to log in and create your encrypted connection. We will send this information within a few hours of subscribing to the service.


How do you protect me from my ISP recording everything I do and selling that information?

Recent legislation in the USA has made it easier for your cable, cellular, DSL or other Internet provider to capture and sell  all of your personal information sent over their network. This includes pretty much everything you do or say on line. SurfBouncer prevents this by encrypting the connection, blinding your ISP of all your activities. Since SurfBouncer keeps no logs or any records on your connection with us your personal information is secured.


How do you protect me against search engine profiling?

Major search engines have begun profiling their users and identifying their browsing habits and web sites visited, to target advertisements. Many people prefer not to have their privacy invaded in this way. SurfBouncer uses multiple IP addresses and changes them often. We also never re-use an IP address. What this means is that, even if you go to the same search engine every day, over time you will be appearing to come from multiple locations. Since the IP addresses are short lived and there are many users, using these varying IP’s stops the ability of the search engine to track you by IP address.


Do you have a maintenance window where your servers are shut down?

No. We run hundreds of servers and dynamically assign users to different servers. We can bring up or take down as many servers as we need, at any time. Therefore, unlike our competitors who use traditional, inflexible, fixed-hardware based solutions, our service is available 24/7 with no scheduled down time.


Without SurfBouncer, is any consumer Wi-Fi network totally secure?

No wireless Wi-Fi network or hotspot is totally secure. Everyone who is using the network, with the right tools, can see everyone else on the hotspot or network. The tools to do this are available, for free, on the internet. Even a school kid can download these tools and use them to spy on you. It’s up to you to shield yourself from these unseen threats and achieve VPN privacy.


Are there cheaper VPN services?

Yes, there might be some services that are cheaper. Some things you need to consider about these services: Does the VPN service provider have the ability to turn up an unlimited number of servers to handle traffic flow all day every day? Can the VPN service provider switch the IP addresses of their servers, instantly, to bypass blocks? Do they provide multiple protocols to unblock even the most restricted networks? Do they have servers in different locations to provide complete network fault tolerance? Does that competing service offer a VPN router to secure an entire network? Do they offer high-encryption VPN servers for those who want maximum protection? How about a static IP address, a virtual machine VPN, Secure Email or VPN Flash Drive? SurfBouncer provides all of these features and more!

 

What about free alternatives?

There are a few free applications out there that provide what may seem like viable protection from spying intruders. However, many of these free alternatives provide their own spam in the form of advertisements and links to other web sites. They limit your bandwidth, are often unreliable or don’t work on some networks.

Most if not all of them also scan your data for marketing purposes and build databases based on your private data.

The people funding some of these these free sites include foreign governments and billionaire investors from foreign countries. When a billionaire invests in a free VPN company you can be assured that they are going to make a return on their investment by data profiling your every move on the internet and selling that information. If Government agencies are funding the free VPN, well that’s just obvious.

For as little as $3.99 a month, SurfBouncer provides industrial strength servers and encryption with no advertisements and no spyware. Unlike some services, we never sell, loan or share any of your personal information with anyone.

Be very wary of free or open proxy servers. They are universally slow and easy to block. A significant number of them are traps set up by hackers to compromise your personal information and computer. Don’t risk your identity with one of these solutions when VPN security will give you complete peace of mind that your information is safe.

The bottom line is that free is rarely really free and you may have more to lose by using the free alternative than spending a few dollars a month.


What does a VPN do?

A VPN tunnel ‘wraps’ the data that leaves your computer in a shielded ‘bubble’ and sends it to a remote server outside of the open network that you are on. This allows you to send your data, in total privacy, across the network–even on networks with thousands of users whose data is shared and open. In addition to securing your connection the Personal VPN unblocks YouTube, unblocks Facebook and all other sites often censored in many countries.


How do you accomplish this?

We do this through a VPN tunnel — an ultra secure, highly-encrypted connection between two computers. The secure tunnel is used to send all of your data, encrypted, through the local network connection. This is the same high-grade encryption that governments, banks and credit card companies use to process transactions. You no longer have to worry about anyone reading your email, watching where you go, picking up your passwords or recording your personal information.


What about your Personal VPN Servers?

Our servers are hosted at some of the largest data centers in the world –located in America, Central or South America, Canada, Africa, Europe, Australia and Asia. They are extremely reliable and fault tolerant. We operate hundreds of servers, isolated from each other, to provide this fault tolerant security. If a data center were to go down, other servers in different centers would still be up to handle the traffic.

All of your data travels, encrypted, from your computer directly to our secure servers. From there, it is forwarded to its final destination across the Internet. Nobody, including us, can see your data on the secure connection. Our Personal VPN service uses OpenVPN, a time tested and secure open source VPN client. We also offer PPTP and L2TP VPN service for legacy applications on devices that support it.
UDP and TCP

Our main servers run on the UDP Internet protocol. This protocol is very efficient for creating a VPN tunnel and for handling time-sensitive traffic such as IP phone calls. This is the default configuration for our clients. Some ISPs block UDP, for various reasons. We also offer TCP-based connections on all of our servers as a backup method to make the VPN connection.


What Type of Encryption do you use?

All of our servers operate 256 bit AES encryption, SHA512 hash, TLS AES 256 and 4096 bit RSA. The OpenVPN implementation we use  provides perfect forward secrecy to insure your data remains secure over time.


What is a Stealth SSL VPN?

Some highly restricted networks block nearly all VPN activity. For this type of situation, we offer the Stealth SSL VPN service. The stealth scramble service looks like a regular, secure web page when it connects. Just about every network allows this traffic. Because of this, the Stealth SSL service can get through where others cannot. The IP address of this service changes often, making it even more difficult to block by restricting the IP address of the server.


What about Stunnel OpenVPN over SSL?

All of our OpenVPN servers allow for a connection over SSL using Stunnel to obfuscate the connection and make it appear to be normal https web traffic.

 

Does your service make me anonymous on the internet?

People must understand that any company that tells you they can make you completely anonymous while online, is outright lying to you. Even though we at SurfBouncer have no idea of where you are surfing and keep no records of your surfing activities, you could still be traced. However, being able to do this involves a lot of money and resources. Could some government agency with huge resources track you through any VPN? Sure they could. And nobody could stop them. However, spending the time, resources and money to break the VPN protection is impractical and not likely for the typical web user.

The Personal VPN will:

Help prevent identity theft by masking your IP address and encrypting your data

Help prevent web sites, ISP’s and government agencies from gathering data on you and profiling you.

Prevent your Internet provider from recording all your activity and selling it.

Give an anonymous presence on the Internet for the legitimate purposes that most people are seeking from such a service


Other than a VPN, what do I need to do to keep web sites from profiling me?

SurfBouncer Personal VPN will encrypt your data connection so that your ISP cannot see what web sites you are going to. That, effectively stops your ISP from profiling you and selling that information.

When you go to a web page or a search engine, they will see our IP address, not yours. Therefore, they cannot determine who you are or, if you have been there before, by IP address. Our IP addresses are assigned randomly and changed frequently. This fact, coupled with the large number of people showing the same address, makes it impossible for a web site to know who you are by your IP address alone.

However, you have to take steps to insure this security is not bypassed via other means:

Disable IPv6 on your computer to prevent unencrypted traffic from traveling via IPv6

Change your DNS to international servers to prevent DNS leaks via your ISP’s DNS servers.

Disable Geo-location to prevent your device from sending your GPS coordinates to the web site or service you are connected to.

Install Bleach bit, configure to delete everything and use it often.

Always be sure to log in to the VPN before opening any browser. We suggest using the Firefox browser due to it’s feature set and available plug-ins. We don’t recommend any browser tied to a company that operates a search engine. While these browsers may be completely free of tracking code that links to the search engine, the recent history of several of these companies gives us concern.

There are other ways in which a web site or search engine can identify you. If you want to see a small slice of some of the things your browser is revealing about you, go here and take the browser test.

a) Logging into the web site and giving them your personal information

–All the security in the world can instantly be defeated by logging in to a web site with a user name and password or email address that traces back to you. In effect, they don’t need to figure out who you are because you are telling them. Logging in to a search engine will allow them to follow your every move across the internet. If you are concerned about being profiled while online, then don’t log in to web sites unless you have to. If you do log in for some reason, follow the tips below to clear your tracks. Whatever you do, don’t install a search engine toolbar in your browser. That is the easiest way to have your every move tracked.

–On web sites that ask for personal information that you don’t necessarily care about — consider signing up under a fake name and address.

–Get a free email account from Yahoo, Google or one of the other providers. Don’t use any real information when signing up for this email account and only sign up and use it while on the secure VPN, following all the tips on this page to secure your privacy. When a web site asks you for your email address, give them this clean address that does not trace back to you. If you use Yahoo for your search engine, get an email account from Gmail. If you use Google for searches, get a Yahoo email account. The more variation in services you use, the less trackable you become.

Reserve your real, personal email address for people and companies that you absolutely trust not to sell your information or spam you. If in doubt give them the disposable address.

b) Cookies

Many web sites install what are known as ‘cookies’ on your computer when you visit them. These cookies are used to track you and allow the web site to recognize you, upon returning on a different day. Search engines can use cookies to track you across different web sites and create a complete profile of what you do, for how long and how often.

Most web sites will not give you full access to their page if you block cookies, creating a problem. However, you can allow the page and then erase cookies at the end of each session. In fact, all modern browsers can be configured to delete all cookies, upon closing a session.

–Configure your browser to erase your entire browsing history every time you shut it down. When you go to the options menu, check all items in order to erase everything. Then, when you go to a web site where a login is required, after you finish your business, close your browser along with any additional browser windows that might be open. When the browser closes, all cookies, history and other such tracking information will be deleted. Open your browser again and continue surfing.

–If you are at a site where no login is required, in most cases it’s okay to go from site to site and ignore the cookies they are presenting. While they will know someone went from site ‘a’ to site ‘b’, they won’t know who it was because the secure VPN is keeping your IP address from them. While this is of benefit to them, it is not the information they really want to know about you. Of course, if you want maximum protection against tracking, close your browser and restart each time you change sites.

There are also several programs on the market that will “clean” or “wash” your computer and remove all traces of personal information that can be revealed by your browser while online. Some of the well known programs are listed below. They are highly recommended for making sure your computer is always clean.

CCleaner (Windows Only) or Bleach Bit (Windows, Mac, Linux)

c) Flash Cookies

There are also a couple of software applications that will clear out flash cookies. Flash Cookie Cleaner  and Cleaner for Windows only. Bleach Bit will also clean flash cookies on Windows, Mac and Linux.

Flash cookies are currently a favorite method to track people, since they are not widely known and most of the browsers today will not clear them. Most people have dozens, if not hundreds, of these on their system and don’t even know it.

d) Java and other scripting languages

Most web sites today use some scripting. It could be as trivial as presenting you with drop-down menu tabs, like those at the top of this page, to complex scripts that try to extract everything they can from your computer and even plant objects on your computer to track you with.

One approach is to turn off all scripting languages in your browser. However, the problem with this is that most web pages will fail in one way or another. A better approach is another Firefox plug-in called NoScript. It works on Firefox Windows, Mac and Linux versions.

With NoScript installed, all scripts are blocked when going to a new web site. Then, you are given a list of all the potential scripts that are on the page. You can either temporarily or permanently enable the scripts that you need to use while disallowing ones from advertising sites, click banks and search engines. By not allowing these scripts to run and allowing only the scripts needed to make the site function, you prevent the site from reporting your presence to the advertising and click bank sites. For sites that you frequent, you can set your choices as permanent and have no worries going forward.


3) Time and Place

While using the Personal VPN, your IP address might, for example, appear to be from a server in Texas. However, you might be in California. This is very beneficial as the web site will see you with a Texas IP address. Unfortunately, your system clock will reveal your true time zone. In most cases, this doesn’t matter as there are a lot of people in a time zone. However, for a completely accurate picture to the web site you are visiting, you can make your clock match the location of the server. To determine which server you are logged in to, check your location after logging in to the Personal VPN by using this link. Set your clock to the location indicated.


4) Prizes and free stuff

Many web sites will offer either a prize or a chance to win something big, just for signing up. What needs to be understood is that this is just a ploy to get you to provide them with your user information. If you provide your email, name and address and they are viewing your IP address, they have just profiled you. This information, shared with other companies, will be used to track you all across the internet. It is virtually sure that you will get no prize from these sites. What you will get is your information lifted and used against you.


5) Spam Emails

Everyone gets spam. Many of these spam emails contain a prominent link saying that you can unsubscribe from the mailing list if you wish. More often than not, this is a ploy to get more information. Never reply to a spammer. Doing so does two things:

1) It proves they have a ‘live’ email address, which they will then sell to thousands of other spammers at a premium. This, in turn, will result in even more spam for you.

2) It will associate your IP address to your email address, giving them an additional data point. By accessing marketing lists and comparing the two data points, it is highly possible they can figure out exactly who you are and where you live.

As an example, suppose you signed up for something legitimate using your real name and email address. Then, this web site sells the information about you to a marketing company and it ends up in a database. One day you are checking your work email from home and respond to the spam. The spammer now has your IP address. Comparing this address to the marketing database reveals your true name, personal email address and physical address to the spammer. Now they are 90% of the way towards stealing your identity. Another day, give up your SSN on some other web site or have this dug up and correlated via data mining and…boom! They have your identity.

Another way spammers can tell if you opened and read an email is via small invisible images planted in the html email. When you open the email it forces the image to download and thereby records your IP address and the fact that you read the email. These techniques can also be used for the planting of malware on your computer. Fortunately there is an easy solution to this problem. Set your email software to only work in text mode. Since html will not be allowed, nothing will ever download and you will be secure.


6) A computer that is not yours

This could be a work computer or one at the library or even at a friend’s house. There is a lot of risk in using other people’s machines for anything involving personal information. First, many network owners monitor their network and even record network traffic. Being on an unknown network that is not under your control means you don’t know who is watching. If you can set up the Personal VPN on this computer, that will solve this problem. However, since the computer itself is beyond your control, you have no way of knowing if the computer is set up with some sort of key logger or even a virus that is stealing all your information. In these situations, a Flash Drive VPN using a virtual machine will prevent the local computer and the network owner from spying on you.


7) Your home network

Even at home, there are risks when online. Many cable services use a shared network structure where everyone in the neighborhood is on the same link. This means all of your traffic is combined and anyone with a little bit of computer knowledge can see your traffic. The SurfBouncer Personal VPN takes care of this by encrypting all traffic.

When using wireless at home, always encrypt your wireless.

You are ultimately responsible for what is going over your connection. People drive around in cars looking for unsecured networks so they can log in and use them to commit crimes. The last thing you need is your home IP address being the center of such activity.

There are two main encryption methods for wireless today. The first is called WEP and is past its prime — don’t use it. Anyone with access to a search engine can crack it and the people driving around looking for open networks consider WEP as good as an open network.

Then, there is WPA. This encryption is very secure and the only way to break it is to guess the key. To keep it that way, pick a secure key. Obviously, if your wireless access key is ‘password’, then it certainly won’t take much to break in. On the other hand, if you chose a key such as ‘YHfwjgfr87fdHjfip935UG53gjp132HpofpiwcwfrHUhhow202*&6cwo’, then the odds of anyone guessing it in this century is
nil.

 

Who's watching me?

Everyone has read recent news revelations about governments spying on just about everyone on the internet. Thousands of articles have been published in the news about major internet companies spying on their users to create massive databases. The end goal of these databases, as recently published in several news articles, is to let the companies and governments that are doing this into your brain. They want to be able to know what you are thinking — before you even think of it. And make a lot of money by selling this information.

Public networks have made it easy to get online in virtually every city and town. Unfortunately, it has also made it simple for hackers to grab your data directly from these public networks. SurfBouncer prevents the identity hacker from gaining access to your data by guarding it at the source, acting as a hotspot shield.

SurfBouncer creates what is known as a ‘Personal VPN’ encrypted tunnel leading to a secure, external server that protects your data from unwanted snooping. It shields your identity on the internet.

Without VPN privacy, anyone watching you can see the web sites you are visiting and the things you are writing. They can follow you from site to site learning everything about you and your habits.

Most email (even many private email services) are not encrypted. Or, they are encrypted so poorly that they might as well not be. Therefore, if your password is not encrypted, anyone watching can read your email. As a result, they could even log in as you and send emails in your name. If the privacy and security of your email matters to you then, at a minimum, use a VPN.

Instant messenger software is not, typically, encrypted. If you chat on instant messenger, your entire conversation can easily be recorded. Since SurfBouncer encrypts everything, this can’t happen while using our VPN service.

The owner of every network you are on, including your ISP, knows everything you have done online. And now thanks to recent legislation in the USA, they can soon sell this for profit.  All ISP’s have government monitoring servers installed on their networks. Which means government agencies know everything the ISP knows about you.

The owner of every web site you visit knows your IP address and, therefore, can find out who and where you are. Large companies keep track of this information and can correlate your IP address across multiple web sites to build a complete profile of your surfing habits. This is referred to as ‘data mining’. By picking up small pieces of information from various places and comparing them across databases, they can develop an excellent picture of who you are — your likes, dislikes and whole personality. By providing our IP address to the web sites you visit, SurfBouncer Personal VPN helps prevent the collection of this information by large, corporate, data-mining and advertising sites.

Hackers can use your IP address to do a domain name lookup. A domain name lookup is a trace of your IP address that will reveal very personal information including your internet service provider (ISP) and, in some cases, your street address and/or home phone number. The SurfBouncer VPN server acts as an IP ‘mask’ so that, no matter where you connect from, hackers and other predators cannot trace your IP back to where you live. Instead, they will get the address of our server and not be able to trace any further. Hackers are thereby prevented from obtaining your IP address and stealing your personal information or launching attacks against your home IP address.

SurfBouncer believes that your personal information belongs to you and we will never sell, loan or, in any way, provide your IP address or other information for any marketing purpose. Because we use PayPal, Amazon Payments and BitCoin as payment methods, you are assured that we never see your credit card information and, therefore, cannot data-mine you or cross-reference you across databases to create a profile of you.


 


*Assuming all attempted charges are cleared by the payment processor

 

Need Help? Contact Us:

info@surfbouncer.com

SERVER LOCATIONS:

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