Last update: 08.26.2019
The best overall VPN isn’t always the safest. And vice versa, not being the best VPN overall doesn’t mean you can’t be the safest. That’s why in this article we’ll try to answer the question – is Surfshark safe to use?
Surfshark started only in 2018, but lately, it has been growing exponentially and is letting itself be heard worldwide. So let’s take a closer look and see whether choosing Surfshark VPN is a good idea for those who have security and anonymity above all else.
Surfshark VPN location
Surfshark is registered in the British Virgin Islands (BVI), sharing the place with our top dog ExpressVPN, which says something about the newcomer’s decision. The BVI is one of the best places for a VPN provider. While the islands are a British Overseas Territory, they do not fall under the UK’s jurisdiction and have no data retention laws. This also means they are not among the Fourteen Eyes countries.
Nevertheless, the location of a company behind the VPN is often over-valued because of the two reasons. Firstly, if you are doing something that catches the attention of the NSA or any other surveillance or security agency, you will probably be using extra layers of security that will negate the effect of the provider’s location. Secondly, if you catch the attention of any (inter)governmental institution, it’ll not be a big problem for them to attain records about you, wherever you are. Therefore your provider’s no-logs policy matters more, and we’ll discuss it in detail below.
Security features of Surfshark VPN
Surfshark VPN uses AES-256-GCM and SHA-512 encryption that offers state-of-the-art security and also works faster than the more popular AES-256-CBC. The latter uses a secure Message Authentication Code, whereas Surfshark’s GCM version has built-in authentication, which significantly speeds things up.
Surfshark currently uses two popular protocols – OpenVPN and IKEv2. It also offers a beta of Shadowsocks proxy which is aimed at bypassing the Great Firewall of China.
Surfshark VPN added this feature in 2018, catapulting itself to the next level of security. The kill switch is an essential feature for every VPN, and if the VPN doesn’t have one, it beats its own purpose of masking the true identity of the user. At the moment only the Linux app of Surfshark lacks this feature.
Our tests have shown that Surshark has no issues with leaking. It came as no surprise because this VPN has built-in protection from the DNS, WebRTC, and IPv6 leaks. The company also uses private DNS on every server that doesn’t store personally identifiable info about you, leaving no ways to track you down.
Unlimited number of simultaneous connections
Firstly, allowing to connect multiple devices on the same account, even sharing one subscription among friends and paying virtually nothing for a secure connection is a nice feature. But it also acts as a way to show that your online activity is not logged because if a provider limits the number of connections on your account, it needs a way to track separate devices and monitor their number in real-time.
Does Surfshark keep logs?
The data they collect for diagnostic purposes or by using Google Analytics also has no personally identifiable information.
Cookies and web beacons are also used in the website and email communication, but again the data collected is anonymized, so there’s no way to trace it back to you.
Each company can boast about zero-logs, military-grade encryption, and other features that all turn to nothing after one scandal. Unfortunately, these happen in the VPN industry too, sometimes involving even the most respected players. That’s why maintaining a good reputation that isn’t spotted with different scandals and legal prosecutions is a sought-after thing, as these negative news can take time to disappear from the search engine results.
Surfshark VPN is not even two years old, and it would be surprising to see it caught in some shady story so soon. But as it quickly rises through the ranks, those left behind might be inclined to find ways to stop this prodigy.
As for now, Surfshark has not shied away from imposing checks on themselves. We’re talking about the independent audit at the end of 2018. The results were positive, ensuring that the web browser extensions are as secure as it gets.
Anonymous payment options
Surfshark does well in the anonymous payment department. The options come in the form of cryptocurrencies. Surfshark uses CoinGate system and allows you to pay with Bitcoin, XRP, Litecoin, Ethereum, and many others.
Is Surfshark VPN safe to use?
We think it’s safe to say that Surfshark is safe to use. Not only is it one of the best overall VPNs, but it’s also proactive in establishing its reputation by submitting to independent audits, something even certain holy institutions are reluctant to do.
We always think security first when giving our rankings, and this provider has it. Therefore expect Surfshark to continue climbing up the lists of most secure VPNs.