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We present you with the fourth installment of VPN news and updates. The previous iteration covered the last month of spring. Now it’s time to catch up with the June and July events.
Here are the hottest summer headlines from the VPN industry:
- Windscribe servers without encryption
- ProtonVPN offers up to 400% faster speeds
- NordVPN named the fastest VPN in 2021
- Atlas VPN presents servers with multiple IPs
Once again, if you have any suggestions, please let us know what you like or dislike in the comments section below. Stay safe!
Ukrainian authorities seize unencrypted Windscribe servers
At the end of June, news broke out from Ukraine, where Windscribe has some of its servers. It turns out, two of them were seized and found to have no encryption. They were using an outdated OpenVPN certificate together with its private key.
According to Yegor Sak, the founder of Windscribe, there’s no reason to believe any of the servers were compromised. And due to the no-logs policy, no user data was at risk. In theory, it’s possible to capture the traffic coming through those servers but only if four quite specific conditions are met.
What does that mean for Windscribe users? Probably not too much. However, such events remind us that there are fewer VPNs you can trust than we would like to think.
ProtonVPN’s VPN Accelerator promises +400% faster speeds
At the end of July, VPN Accelerator, a new feature from the makers of ProtonVPN, was launched. According to their blog post, it should improve connection stability and increase the speed up to 400%. The feature is enabled by default and works on all devices and tunneling protocols.
This new technology works by overcoming multiple factors that impact performance. For instance, it allows OpenVPN to use multiple CPU cores and distributes all sessions among them to avoid overloading. VPN Accelerator also increases the goodput speed by cutting long-distance paths into shorter ones.
OpenVPN and Smart Protocol for macOS and iOS apps
To fight censorship, ProtonVPN has introduced OpenVPN for its Mac app. Unlike IKEv2 or WireGuard, it can operate in TCP mode, that’s much better against blocks and firewalls.
Furthermore, another anti-censorship feature named Smart Protocol is now available on macOS and iOS. It helps to determine the best protocol for performance or bypassing restrictions.
Tech industry veterans name NordVPN the fastest VPN
It turns out that the VPNpro speed test doesn’t lie – NordVPN truly is the fastest VPN of them all. In early June, ProPrivacy tweeted that NordVPN is the new speed champion. This looks great after checking PassMark’s VPN performance study, where this provider is at the 2nd spot, right after Norton Secure VPN.
TomsGuide checked NordVPN’s no-logs claims
After NordVPN’s third security audit in June, TomsGuide decided to check its no-logs policy and found no reason for the users to worry. It turned out that only a few VPNs have been audited the same number of times. Therefore, it seems that any issues this provider had in the past are no longer relative in 2021.
Atlas VPN news
Atlas VPN finds 63% of Android apps with vulnerabilities
It’s not a big surprise that apps for Android have security vulnerabilities. However, we were surprised to learn that, on average, 63% of them can be exploited. CyRC research focused on Q1 2021 and found that statistically, each app has 39 security issues.
It turns out that over 90% of most popular free games and top-grossing games had vulnerabilities. The biggest concern is probably the banking, payment, and budgeting apps – more than 80% of them come with security issues. In contrast, health, fitness, and lifestyle applications are the safest (less than 40%).
And now, the most saddening part of the research. 73% of all vulnerabilities have been discovered in 2019 or earlier. If that’s not enough, the majority of them can be fixed.
Atlas VPN review compilation
At the beginning of July, Atlas VPN posted a compilation of reviews, including ours. All of them are favorable, with scores ranging from 7/10 to 9.3/10. It seems that this provider is on the right track.
SafeSwap – a new Atlas VPN feature
Designed to enhance user anonymity, SafeSwap allows you to change IPs without connecting to another server. Currently available on Atlas VPN only, this feature allows servers to have a number of IPs and switch them without impacting performance. SafeSwap is really great for avoiding trackers and ISP or government surveillance.
Mozilla VPN news
Mozilla updates: the release of split tunneling
At the very end of July, Mozilla released split tunneling for its VPN. Available on Windows, Android, and Linux, this feature allows you to choose which apps will use the encrypted VPN tunnel and which ones will use regular traffic. Currently, it’s not known when split tunneling will become available on macOS and iOS.
Among other news, there’s a new option to connect to public wifi securely. With a VPN on, you might be unable to reach the wifi login page. In such a scenario, Mozilla will give notification, asking to turn the VPN off to access the captive portal. After a successful connection, another notification will let you turn the service on again.
Finally, Mozilla increased the number of available countries from 13 to 21. Users can now connect to Austria, Belgium, France, Germany, Italy, Spain, and Switzerland. While this VPN is still far away from the competition, it’s great to learn about the increased presence in Europe.
Mullvad announces split tunneling (beta) for Windows
Windows users have been waiting for this news. Finally, there’s a beta version of the split tunneling feature, and Mullvad is waiting for feedback. Based on the comments on Twitter, it works just fine. Hopefully, we’ll see the final release before autumn.
No more ads or tracking for iOS users
In early June, iOS was the first to get a new Mullvad feature against ads and tracking. You can turn on both of them separately. However, there’s a difference between the browser add-on against blocking and Mullvad’s DNS Blocking.
The latter works on your entire system, including games or apps. Also, it doesn’t require adding any extensions to your browser. If you have a Mullvad app, you’ll be able to run DNS blocking.
However, ad-block add-ins are more effective because they can block unwanted content that’s on the same domain. Furthermore, DNS Blocking will block an entire domain. So, in a nutshell, the best idea is to use both tools for browsing and other activities.
PureVPN lists the Top 10 unbiased news sources
In mid-June, PureVPN posted a list of 10 unbiased news sources. Associated Press came at the top for its neutral and uprovocative language plus evidence-based journalism. Reuters took the 2nd spot, with NPR finishing the Top 3.
The first five news sources on the list are at the center, according to the AllSides Media Bias Rating. CBS News, The Guardian, The New York Times, and NBC News lean to the left, while #9 CNN News is on the left. Neither of the Top 10 was towards the right.
PureVPN also collected the most popular news sources in English-speaking countries and warned about the most biased channels. These include Fox News, MSNBC, InfoWars, Sky News, and Breitbart News.
Private Internet Access news
Private Internet Access presents a new website and a new feature
It wasn’t a secret that Private Internet Access (PIA) needed a new website for quite some time. In early June, they finally did that, presenting a new logo, an optimized UX, and more content. They also upgraded server infrastructure and presented a new feature – Dedicated IP.
According to the blog post, PIA says goodbye to legacy servers and starts adding 10 Gbps bare-metal ones. We wonder how long it will take to upgrade their server fleet with 29300 servers around the world.
Surfshark presents updates in one video
Instead of writing one big post, Surfshark has decided to talk about all updates from the past free months in a video. This should become a monthly tradition, and it seems that this provider will have enough news to share.
This time, Surfshark’s presenter discusses redesigned browser extensions and the macOS app. He also talks about a new notification center, iOS updates, and data surveillance report.
Surfshark analyzes the biggest data breaches since last June
The year is far from ending, and we already have quite a few big data breaches to discuss. Surfshark took the matter into their own hands and analyzed Top 8 data breaches since last June.
Facebook’s data leak was the biggest one, affecting 533 million users. Not far behind was LinkedIn, with a total of 500 million. However, Wattpad’s breach had 1.7 billion data points compromised, translating into 6 data points per user.
Interestingly, only three companies from the Top 8 were actually hacked. Others suffered from poor cloud security.
IPVanish invites users to their Beta Program
Users of IPVanish now have the option to test the latest products and give feedback. Joining the program is simple – all you have to do is fill in a short Google Form. Alternatively, you can opt-in from your IPVanish app by clicking Settings and choosing the General tab.
CyberGhost earns trust from Trustpilot
A few days ago, the Romania-based VPN service earned a 5/5 review from a user on Trustpilot. He praised speed, ease of use, and huge server selection. There were more 5-star ratings recently, giving the aggregate 4.8/5 from nearly 13,000 reviews.
In total, CyberGhost now has 86% excellent and 10% great scores. Only 243 (2%) visitors wrote a 1-star review. To compare, NordVPN has an average score of 4/10, and ExpressVPN is rated 4.6/10.
CyberGhost’s Transparency Report for Q2
CyberGhost continues its long-time tradition of publishing transparency reports every quarter. At the very end of July, we got to see what happened during Q2 (April, May, June).
❌ We got 87% more legal requests in the past three months compared to the beginning of the year.
✔️ Our strict no-logs policy guarantees the privacy of each and every single Ghostie. https://t.co/1AS23YqjoL
— CyberGhost VPN (@CyberGhost_EN) July 15, 2021
CyberGhost received nearly 45,000 DMC complaints, malicious red flags, and police requests. Compared to the last quarter, that’s a substantial 87% increase. As always, the provider offers to get their service for protection against online threats.
CyberGhost stops showing individual servers
In early June, CyberGhost became yet another VPN provider to stop showing individual servers. This means that users can no longer choose a particular server and have to rely on the VPNs algorithm to do the job. While such a move is aimed towards novice users, it also gives less transparency and fewer options for everyone else.
Nokia partners with ExpressVPN
ExpressVPN has landed a deal with HMD Global, the maker of Nokia phones. According to it, ExpressVPN becomes a pre-installed must-have app together with Spotify, Amazon, and Netflix. The deal starts with the Nokia XR20 smartphone and will continue with future releases.
Win ExpressVPN Future of Society Scholarship
For the sixth time, ExpressVPN is organizing the Future of Society Scholarship event. All you have to do is write an essay and win $5,000. This year, the topic is about public health vs individual privacy.
As internet-ready devices proliferate in classrooms worldwide, student #privacy is increasingly at risk.
With our #FutureofPrivacy Scholarship, we’re encouraging students to reflect on their experiences and suggest better public policies.
— ExpressVPN (@expressvpn) June 26, 2021
To participate, you have to be a student in high school, undergraduate school, or graduate school. There are no citizenship or age requirements. The deadline for entries is August 31, 2021.
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Jan is the captain at the helm of VPNpro. He ensures that every crew member is practicing perfect digital hygiene and spreading only accurate pro tips about technology. Besides that, he is a frequent contributor on many renowned publications, such as Forbes, ComputerWeekly, PC Mag, TechRadar, and ZDNet.