Thursday, January 26, 2023

Can You Trust VPN Companies

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Nordvpn Audited By Pwc To Verify No

Which VPNs Can You Trust 100%? Most Trustworthy VPNs?

NordVPN has now undergone two separate no-logs audits performed by PricewaterhouseCoopers AG in Switzerland. The auditors confirmed that NordVPN was fully compliant with its no logging policies. The first audit was conducted in 2019, with the second audit being done in 2020.

It appears that NordVPN may undergo annual no-logs audits for verification purposes, which is great to see. Here is an overview of the scope of the audits:

  • NordVPN was audited by PricewaterhouseCoopers. PWC had full access to examine NordVPNs servers, interview employees, observe operations, inspect configurations, databases, and any other relevant aspect of the VPN service.
  • The audit officially verified NordVPN to be a no-log service that is compliant with its privacy policy and no-logs claims.
  • NordVPN does not store connection logs, IP addresses, traffic logs, or any internet activity information.

The audit confirmed NordVPNs logging policy, which you can read on their website as follows:

In addition to the no-logs policies, NordVPN has also implemented big security upgrades and new features.

VPNs Have Been Known To Run Into Trouble

No Software is Immune to Vulnerabilities

Ordinarily, when you connect to a website from your computer, you do so from your IP address. However, when you use a VPN, rather than sending the message out directly, your data first gets sent to one of the VPNs servers and is only then routed to its final destination.

That means that instead of seeing your IP address, the website youre visiting sees the IP address of the server, and no one not your internet security provider, the government, or hackers is able to trace your online activity back to you. In other words, the whole concept of achieving web security through a VPN is based on keeping your real IP address hidden.

Thats why it was so disconcerting when a recent investigation revealed a vulnerability in three major VPNs that caused users IP addresses to be leaked. Thats not to say that IP addresses were revealed every time a customer used the VPN, just that under certain conditions it was possible for a hacker to divert the users traffic to the hackers server instead of the VPNs and gain access to the users real IP address.

Although this was obviously not good news, vulnerabilities like this crop up all the time in the cybersecurity world. Whats important is how proactive companies are in identifying and fixing them. Fortunately, two of the providers implicated in the study have since created a patch for the updated versions of their VPNs.

Some VPNs Hold onto Your Data

Using A VPN With Windows 10 Chrome And Linux

You dont want to spend hours chasing down a VPN that works on your Windows 10, Chrome, or Linux devices, which is why we picked out the best VPNs that work with each for you:

  • Windows 10: StrongVPN,, TunnelBear, Ivacy VPN, Hotspot Shield
  • Chrome: ExpressVPN, CyberGhost, IPVanish, BlackVPN, ibVPN, TunnelBear, Ivacy VPN, Hotspot Shield, PureVPN, Windscribe
  • Linux: ExpressVPN, NordVPN, CyberGhost, IPVanish, Perfect Privacy, Windscribe, BlackVPN, FastestVPN, Trust.Zone, ibVPN, IVPN.

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How We Test VPNs: Methodology

Want to learn more about how reviews VPNs? Take a look at our methodology, which will truly make you an expert when it comes to Virtual Private Networks.

First, we start with the VPN itself, making sure it has all the features necessary to a VPN and putting it through speed and security tests.

Can You Trust Mozilla Firefoxs VPN

Can You Trust Google

Mozilla are most well-known for their very popular web browser called Firefox. In recent years, they have tried to establish themselves as the browser for those concerned with privacy. Another step towards this is the introduction of their VPN service, that is currently dubbed Firefox Private Network. In this article, we take a look to see if you can trust this Firefox VPN.

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Cyberghost Ad Blocking Feature

CyberGhost offers an ad-blocking feature, but there are some problems with this VPN ad blocker.

You can find the ad blocker feature under the Privacy Settings in the VPN client. It is an option called Block content to block domains for ads, trackers, and malware, as you can see below:

I took a close look at this feature and even tested it out in comparison to other VPN ad blockers. The results were not good. Heres what I noted about CyberGhost in my guide on different VPN ad blockers:

CyberGhost is an interesting case, but not in a good way. Instead of filtering ads and malicious content via DNS requests, they actually look inside the traffic and modify requests to certain domains so they display content from Cyberghost instead.

This is problematic for a few reasons. First, manipulating traffic is something a trustworthy VPN provider should not do even with good intentions. Secondly, this only works over http since https connections are encrypted and Cyberghost cannot access that content.

With the CyberGhost version tested for this article, there is no root certificate being installed. But because they are still using the same methods to filter traffic, that means their ad blocker does not effectively work on HTTPS websites. Basically, CyberGhosts ad blocker is barely working, especially since it will be ineffective on all HTTPS websites.

These 7 Companies Secretly Own Dozens Of VPNs

I dug deep into the corporate world of VPNs to find out which companies dominate the VPN market. The results of my research were surprising.

I discovered that a handful of businesses secretly own an astonishing number of VPNs. I was able to trace 40 VPN brands back to just seven companies.

Even more concerning is that so many of these companies arent transparent with consumers about which products they own.

As tech companies around the world race to take advantage of the growing VPN market, its more important than ever to be aware of who owns the VPN you use.

Shockingly, many VPNs can be traced to parent companies in China and Pakistan, raising concerns about international data retention laws.

Im going to tell you what I learned about these companies and the VPNs they own. Im also going to explain how you can find a VPN provider that is truly trustworthy and transparent.

I recommend VyprVPN for its speed, top-notch security features, and ease of use.

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How Secure Is A VPN

Using a reliable virtual private network can be a safe way to browse the internet. VPN security can protect from IP and encrypt internet history and is increasingly being used to prevent snooping on by government agencies. However, VPNs won’t be able to keep you safe in all scenarios.

If you are asking what is VPN, it is a virtual network that enables an internet user to protect themselves and their organization by creating a private web browsing session. This is especially important when using public Wi-Fi to prevent other people from eavesdropping on the users online activity and the data and information they share. A VPN creates a secure tunnel between a users computer and the VPN server, which hides their online activity and location.

VPN security enables users to protect their online privacy and prevent their internet service provider from tracking their browsing activity. It works by connecting a users device to the VPN server, then passing their internet traffic through the VPN providers internet connection. This hides browsing information and makes it more difficult for bad actors to gather or monitor the users online activity.

Is Private Browsing And VPN Really Secure

Can You Trust Your VPN? (and could a decentralized network help?)

Whether you run a business or go online for yourself, you probably know that browsing the web can open you and your organization up to all sorts of risks.

So, when it comes to protecting yourself and your business online, you may have looked into private browsing or choosing a VPN. But which of these is right for you?

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Slow And Inconsistent Speeds

One of the biggest drawbacks we noted in this PIA review was with performance. This was somewhat surprising, however, since most VPNs that support WireGuard have excellent performance. With PIA, I ran numerous speed tests on a 500 Mbps internet connection from my testing lab in the United States.

In order to give PIA the best performance test possible, I selected the WireGuard VPN protocol and ran speed tests with the latest version of the PIA Windows client. Now lets examine the results.

Here was a PIA server in Seattle at 41 Mbps:

This is really bad. Getting only 41 Mbps on a 500 Mbps connection is definitely slower than average. So lets examine some other locations.

Here was a PIA server in Los Angeles, California at 85 Mbps:

While this is better than the previous test result, it is still quite slow. We should be getting speeds over 200 Mbps, especially with the WireGuard protocol.

Next, I tested a PIA server in New York, which gave me about 23 Mbps.

With PIA servers in the United States, it is clear that this is a slow VPN.

For the final speed test, I decided to try a location across the pond in the United Kingdom. Here was a PIA server in London, UK, which gave me 10 Mbps.

With slow speeds like this, PIA is certainly not the best VPN for the UK if you value performance.

In previous PIA reviews, speeds were better. It seems that speeds with Private Internet Access are getting worse, even after adding WireGuard.

Turkish Police Seize Expressvpn Server

In addition to audits, ExpressVPN has also passed a real-world test.

In December 2017, Turkish news outlets reported that police in Turkey attempted to force ExpressVPN to provide customer data for a criminal investigation. However, ExpressVPN did not have any logs to provide authorities, as they explained in a statement.

After failing in their attempts to coerce data from ExpressVPN, the Turkish police then decided to physically seize ExpressVPNs server, which they obtained from a data center in Turkey. However, this also did not reveal any information because ExpressVPN does not keep any logs on its servers or otherwise.

ExpressVPN further clarified that all customer data was safe when they issued a statement on the case:

As we stated to Turkish authorities in January 2017, ExpressVPN does not and has never possessed any customer connection logs that would enable us to know which customer was using the specific IPs cited by the investigators. Furthermore, we were unable to see which customers accessed Gmail or Facebook during the time in question, as we do not keep activity logs. We believe that the investigators seizure and inspection of the VPN server in question confirmed these points.

And while ExpressVPN does have an above average price, you can still take advantage of the coupon below.

Main drawbacks:

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Reasons Why Free VPNs Are Not Safe

“Is VPN safe?” is a question everyone should be asking, and the answer is straightforward. Using free software is not an effective solution for ensuring VPN security because it often will not protect data and browsing activity on the internet. Key reasons not to use a free VPN include:

  • Free VPN tools compromise user security: Many free VPN tools contain malware that could be used by cyber criminals to steal users data, gain unauthorized access to their data or machine, or launch a cyberattack. Research report from the ICSI Networking and Security Group found that 38% of the 283 Android VPN apps studied contained some form of malware presence. Therefore, a VPN application may not always be safe when using free tools.
  • Free VPN tools track online activity: A secure VPN should protect a users activity while they browse the internet, but some free VPNs do the opposite by tracking users online activity. The same ICSI research found that 72% of the free VPN services analyzed embedded third-party tracking tools in their software. This enables VPN tools to collect user information and sell it for a profit to the highest bidders, which allows advertisers to target free VPN users with ads. Some free VPN tools hide information about whether they share or sell user data, but others say so in their privacy policies.
  • Why You Need To Trust Your VPN Provider

    Can you trust your VPN service provider?

    Once you install a VPN, all your internet traffic is routed through the VPN providers servers. This traffic is encrypted from your internet service provider who may otherwise sell it to advertisers – but all this means is that youve now shifted your trust from the ISP to the VPN provider.

    Depending on how a VPN provider encrypts and stores its users internet histories and what its terms of service state – it may be able to access your internet data, perhaps to monetize for advertising, or it may be based in a country where it can be legally obliged to turn data over to law enforcement.

    With VPNs, the security risk is that the user information they may have access to includes web searches and browsing history sensitive data that users may not want in the hands of advertisers or surveillance-happy governments.

    If you value your privacy, a free VPN solution is not your best option, says Brian Anderson, security expert at Kaspersky Lab North America. Some providers offer VPN software that is completely free of charge but in that case, you are often paying for the VPN with your data, which is then sold to advertisers.

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    Cyberghost Leak Protection Settings And Kill Switch

    On a positive note, the new CyberGhost version 8 VPN client offers some good leak protection settings and a functioning kill switch to block VPN traffic if the connection drops. If you are in the CyberGhost Windows client, you can click the arrows on the left side to access the client settings and features.

    With the kill switch and DNS leak protection settings enabled, I ran some basic VPN tests. These are to check for any data leaks with the VPN apps.

    Here were the test results with the Windows VPN client :

    Similarly, I also tested the CyberGhost Mac OS VPN client and did not find any leaks. The kill switch and leak protection settings seem to be working well.

    Dont Fall Into VPN Traps

    Your IT infrastructures integrity is a top priority, especially with cybercrime on the rise and expected to cost $10.5 trillion by 2025. Your staff need secure remote connectivity to maintain network and business operations. But with so many options available, it can be difficult to choose the best approach VPN or otherwise.

    To make sure you dont expose your staff or your business to unsafe services, contact one of our experts today. We can show you the most secure way to gain remote access to your IT infrastructure, with or without using a VPN! You can take a free tour of ZPE Cloud, which gives you VPN-less access to your distributed infrastructure, and provides completely secure, end-to-end encryption to and from the cloud. Get in touch for a first-hand look.

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    Can You Trust Your VPN Service Provider

    In many cases when selecting a VPN, you may come across a ton of reviews that suggest to you the best VPN service providers in the business. You might even check these services out for yourself, and note that they all seem promising and offer the best services.

    This bringsup a question though: with all the claims these providers make, how would youknow if you can trust them?

    Are youeven sure they are what they say they are?

    Well withthis article in mind, it will help you answer these questions.

    How do you know whether to trust your VPNprovider?

    Neverunderestimate the power of a good marketing campaign, as is the case with every VPNservice out there.

    They willall tell you they will never track down your online activities. However, thisis all on a word-of mouth basis because there is hardly any information to backup the claim. This raises the question on whether you can entrust privateinformation about yourself to your VPN service provider.

    If you aregoing to use a VPN, there needs to be some extent of trust between the providerand yourself. The provider gives you security, while also protecting youraccount from snoopers and hackers. They will also provide you with servers thatyou can use, and these servers are located in different parts of the world but you will also need to trust that their server is in that specific locale.

    Why would you need to rely on them though?

    Criteria to use

    The logging policies

    An IP test will notgive you everything you need

    Asking questions

    Logging And Data Collection And Retention Practices


    If individuals are concerned internet service providers might monetize their data, that same concern exists with VPNs. VPN providers essentially stand in place of an ISP and, as a result, are in a position to see users internet activities and network traffic. VPNs often address these concerns by making broad no logging claims. Logging practices have become especially contentious and confusing as a result.

    VPN logs can be divided generally into connection and activity logs. Activity logs include online activities including not only web browsing history but also other network traffic information including voice, video, or P2P sharing. Connection logs can include a variety of technical information, including the time a connection is established, timestamps generally, amount of data transferred during a session, and IP addresses. Activity logs can be especially sensitive, and many providers claim to log either a minimal amount of data or no data with respect to the connection logs. But heres the problem: theres often not a standard definition of what constitutes a log. If a VPN logs enough metadata and connection information, they can still know a lot of information about your online activities.

    Question 4: Does the service store any data or metadata generated during a VPN session after the session is terminated? Question 5: Does your company store any user browsing and/or network activity data, including DNS lookups and records of domain names and websites visited?

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