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Amnezia VPN review 2024
6:45 pm | May 31, 2024

Author: admin | Category: Computers Gadgets Pro Security | Tags: , | Comments: Off

I’m usually quite suspicious of free VPNs, especially ones with such bold claims about their privacy stance. Usually, all it takes is a visit to their privacy policy to find that the VPN is subsidized by intrusive data-scraping or, even worse, ads inserted directly into your browsing traffic. When I saw that Amnezia VPN advertised itself as a free service, I immediately started looking for the catch.

I was pleasantly surprised by the fact that Amnezia VPN seems to be taking a totally different approach.  It’s an open-source solution built by a Russian team in collaboration with Privacy Accelerator, an organization dedicated to funding and developing privacy tools for use inside Russia. Without diving too deeply into the politics, Russia’s increasingly hostile stance towards free speech necessitates the use of the best VPNs around to communicate without worrying about prying eyes reading over your shoulder - or worse.

About the company

The Amnezia team released a completely open-source and decentralized VPN solution to combat Russia's harsh censorship. It isn’t decentralized in the Web 3.0 sense of the word, where everyone contributes their bandwidth to a single VPN network, but decentralized in the true sense of the word: there is no “Amnezia network”.

Let’s get this out of the way: Amnezia is not a one-click VPN solution. In fact, the Amnezia team doesn’t host their own servers at all. They’ve instead released a VPN product that allows you to deploy your own customized VPN server on the hosting site of your choice. While they recommend several known hosting providers, including Amazon AWS and Digital Ocean, you’re entirely free to pick whichever host you want. In theory, you should even be able to host a VPN off of your domestic internet connection.

So, if Amnezia doesn’t host a VPN service for you, what does it do? Well, Amnezia takes a lot of the difficulty of running a secure VPN server out of your hands. If you’re worried about a third party reading the data you route through a VPN, Amnezia lets you take back control by running your own VPN server. As long as you trust your host, you’re in complete control of how your server works. 

Amnezia VPN pricing

Amnezia is completely free—that’s free as in free speech, and the client and server source codes are available on the GitHub repository for anyone to download. You don’t need to pay a penny to download the product and you’re able to modify and redistribute it as you wish. 

Amnezia is also licensed under GPLv3, which means that it’s a breach of the license to use the Amnezia code as the basis for your own paid white-label VPN service. Other than that, you’re free to do anything you like with the code as long as you continue to distribute it with a GPLv3 license and don’t charge users.

The Amnezia project is funded by a combination of donations from various sources and contributions from non-profits through the Privacy Accelerator project. If you’re interested in chipping into the project, you can subscribe to the Amnezia Patreon or donate through Bitcoin, Monero, or Payeer.

Does Amnezia VPN offer privacy?

The real appeal of Amnezia is unparalleled control over your data. Even the most bullet-proof VPN solutions require you to trust your provider to protect your data from external hackers and their own employees. With Amnezia, you can pick the server host you have the most confidence in, and keep the administration of your own VPN server entirely in-house.

I particularly like how Amnezia handles DNS leaks. If you’re using a VPN while browsing the web, and if your DNS requests are still going through your ISP’s DNS servers, you’re actively disclosing the domain of every website you visit to your ISP (and thus, the government). Amnezia solves this issue by providing an interface allowing you to install your own DNS server on your hosting of choice, minimizing the amount of data you leaking while browsing.

Plus, Amnezia isn't interested in keeping, collecting, or storing logs, claiming:

"You have full control over your data. The app does not collect or transmit any statistics, logs, or other information about users or their data."

Amnezia VPN logging and privacy statements

(Image credit: Amnezia VPN)

Amnezia VPN protocols

When you’re installing Amnezia, you’re presented with a choice of server settings based on the severity of censorship in your country. It's pretty much just a novel way to pick the protocols installed on your VPS by default, but, it's nice to see that it’s couched in language a non-specialist will understand.

Disclosing that you’re under extreme censorship will install OpenVPN over Cloak, medium censorship uses a hardened version of WireGuard, and low censorship will install default WireGuard.

Choosing to install your own VPN protocol instead lets you choose between default OpenVPN, OpenVPN over ShadowSocks, and IKEv2. All of these protocols are highly secure but differ in terms of connection speed and how obviously they appear as VPN traffic when analyzed. 

IKEv2, OpenVPN, and WireGuard are all easily detected by basic deep package inspection (DPI) techniques and, as such, are only offered for the sake of encrypting your data. Any ISP looking to block your VPN traffic will shut down the connection to your VPN server, even if you’re also running an obfuscated VPN service. Instead, I’ll look at Amnezia’s obfuscated protocols and how well they hold up. 

Without access to Russia or China’s internet routers, it’s difficult to truly tell how well a VPN protocol holds up under scrutiny. With that said, there are multiple techniques you can use to identify VPN traffic and it’s possible to make educated guesses about how governments track VPN usage.

The most obvious one is comparing against a list of known VPN servers. This could involve using the VPN service and enumerating endpoint IP addresses assigned to you, or accessing a third-party IP database of known VPN addresses. It’s not a comprehensive solution but it’s a good start for any authoritarian government. It works against commercial VPNs, but Amnezia skirts this problem by letting you host your own VPN—any hosting site could be a VPN, and it would simply be unfeasible to block every hosting site without making the internet completely unusable. 

Want to learn more?

Curious about VPN protocols? Or want to figure out which one is your match made in heaven? Check out our guide to VPN protocols.

An ISP could also block the default port numbers for VPN protocols. OpenVPN and WireGuard both connect to a fairly unique default port, but this isn’t a particularly effective solution. By changing the port to something another ubiquitous web service uses (such as 443 for HTTPS), you can ensure your VPN traffic can’t be blocked at the port level without forcing an ISP to block the other services associated with that port, again, making the internet completely unusable.

Both of these techniques are somewhat rudimentary and don’t address the actual problem: DPI. OpenVPN and WireGuard traffic can be identified by looking at the structure of the packet headers, which have a distinct set of bytes. You can try this out for yourself by opening up WireShark and capturing some traffic with WireGuard open. You’ll see that the first byte in the WireGuard header is either “01”, “02”, “03”, or “04”, each corresponding to a type of WireGuard packet, followed by three bytes of “00”. A DPI program can match these bytes to instantly determine whether this is a WireGuard packet without reading the inner contents. From there, it’s as simple as null-routing the destination of the packet, and now your WireGuard connection no longer works. A similar concept applies to OpenVPN. 

This means there’s a flashing arrow over every VPN packet you send that says “Hey, I’m a VPN packet!”. It’s not hard for your ISP to capture this information. Amnezia employs some interesting ways to avoid classification, but let’s finish discussing the ways an ISP can identify VPN traffic with the most nebulous, and least understood method: behavioral analysis.

The frequency, size, and destination of individual packets can be aggregated to create a statistical profile of a user’s internet traffic. Then, this reveals information about the stream of traffic, even if it's encrypted and obfuscated. Neural networks can be trained to accurately identify OpenVPN traffic with over 90% success rates. The entropy of an encrypted message can be analyzed to decipher which file type it might be, too. These are just the techniques we’re aware of, but many DPI vendors use black-box software to analyze traffic and this is especially true of ISPs in repressive regimes. 

It’s not all doom and gloom, however. Security is always an arms race, even when it seems dismal for one side. Amnezia offers several different obfuscation methods with different levels of success against DPI. OpenVPN over ShadowSocks is the most well-known... and least effective. It creates an encrypted connection to a SOCKS5 proxy server, allowing you to run a VPN over the connection which doesn’t show any tell-tale signs of VPN use. 

Unfortunately, the behavioral analysis I talked about earlier exposes ShadowSocks. It’s hard to find concrete details on how China blocks this system, but chatter amongst VPN circles suggests it’s fallen out of use and authorities are starting to use it to identify connections. This is backed up by the existence of SSAPPIDENTIFY, an academic project published by Xidian University, China, which seeks to classify types of ShadowSocks application traffic by using neural network classification. There are also suggestions that ShadowSocks is now vulnerable to active probing, whereby an ISP will send crafted traffic to a suspected ShadowSocks server and analyze the response to determine whether it’s really a ShadowSocks server.

Thankfully, ShadowSocks now supports plugins that enhance the usability of the project as an obfuscation tool. Cloak is the most important one offered by Amnezia, as it drastically reduces the protocol's vulnerability to active probing methods while continuing to masquerade as HTTPS traffic not easily identified by traditional DPI methods. Cloak does significantly downgrade the speed of your internet connection, but it’s worth it if you’re extremely concerned about the security of your internet traffic.

Finally, we get to Amnezia’s custom implementation of WireGuard: AmneziaWG. It’s important to note that AmneziaWG is not Amnezia’s recommended solution for extreme censorship, which is OpenVPN over Cloak. Instead, AmneziaWG is a hardened version of WireGuard that removes several key aspects used to identify WireGuard using traditional DPI methods. It changes the header values from the static ones I outlined earlier to random values, which makes it harder for DPI to identify the WireGuard packet. WireGuard packets also have a static size of 148 bytes, but AmneziaWG appends junk data to the start of a packet to randomize the packet size, making packet matching harder. Finally, the initial session connection is disguised by sending junk packets at the start of the connection. Honestly, it’s unclear if this would make a massive amount of difference to traditional DPI methods but potentially confuse statistically-based behavior analysis.

You should note that all of these obfuscation techniques add additional overhead when using WireGuard proportional to how much junk data you’re adding on a per-packet basis. All of these metrics are customizable from inside the Amnezia app, so you can balance obfuscation against speed until you find a sweet spot that confuses DPI while keeping your connection usable. While I don’t have a Russian or Chinese ISP to test against, it wasn’t possible to create a set of rules in WireShark that could accurately characterize AmneziaWG traffic without prior knowledge of user settings. Amnezia’s own testing in these regions suggests that any regime that outright drops unfamiliar UDP traffic will filter out AmneziaWG traffic, so where possible you should probably stick to the slower OpenVPN over Cloak protocol. However, for regimes with less advanced DPI, such as Iran, Egypt, and Turkey, it may be a viable solution. Your mileage may vary.

Amnezia VPN setup and configuration

Amnezia makes server administration surprisingly simple, too. You set up a VPS server on your account and provide details to the Amnezia app, which you’ll have set up on your phone or desktop. Once the app logs into your VPS provider for the first time, it sets up the relevant public key infrastructure and OpenVPN key-pair necessary to authenticate you securely in the future. The client then connects by SSH and automatically installs and configures the Docker software required to run your VPN connections.

Do it yourself

We used Amnezia VPN to set up a VPN server from scratch—and the result was pretty awesome.

Each time you start a new VPN protocol connection, your Amnezia client boots up a new Docker instance with randomly generated SSH keys. This approach has two major benefits: any data left behind by your VPN instance is removed from the server after your connection is terminated, and any new instances have completely fresh credentials. If you’re worried your key has somehow been compromised, you can tear down your Amnezia instance and start a new one in just a few moments.

After you’ve started up an Amnezia instance, all admin is taken care of inside the app. Installing new protocols on your server, sharing your access credentials with others, and adding new servers to your client only takes a few taps. It makes tweaking your VPN service shockingly easy and I’m impressed with how seamless this process is. It’s clear that Amnezia’s team put thought into creating a user-friendly product that’s still powerful enough to provide effective security while browsing.

Amnezia anti-censorship tools

Amnezia also recently announced the launch of its anti-censorship tool, available in Russia, Myanmar, Iraq, and Kyrgyzstan, at no extra cost.

These four countries have been hit particularly hard by censorship, making it increasingly difficult for citizens to access sites and services like Facebook, X, WhatsApp, and TikTok. It's easy to take these platforms for granted, but they're vital sources of information, allow folks to keep up with current events, and a means to stay in touch with friends and family.

Amnezia's tool allows access to sites that'd otherwise be inaccessible, thanks to censorship.

  • In March 2022, Russia blocked independent media outlets covering the Ukraine war, including the BBC and Deutsche Welle, as well as popular social media platforms. Amnezia worked alongside Russian human rights activists, Roskomsvoboda, to release the first version of the service.
  • In 2021, following a military coup, Meta services were blocked in Myanmar. Fortunately, the Amnezia service arrived in the country in April 2024.
  • Kyrgyzstan blocked TikTok back in April 2024, though citizens can now regain access to the app via Amenzia.
  • Amnezia introduced its tool into Iran in May 2024, too, using the AmneziaWG protocol—a necessity, given that all standard VPN protocols are blocked in the country.

Performance testing: How fast is Amnezia VPN?

Ultimately, your speed and streaming capability will vary massively depending on which host you use and how far away you are from it. For this reason, it’s hard to come up with meaningful numbers, because your experience is absolutely going to be different from mine.

What you should keep in mind is that Amnezia is not an ideal solution for unblocking content streams such as Amazon Prime or Netflix, as these providers are constantly on the lookout for non-residential access to their streams and block those IPs accordingly.

Amnezia VPN review - final verdict

It could be said that there’s nothing fundamentally innovative about Amnezia VPN—after all, what’s stopping you, a tech-savvy internet user with unfiltered website access from registering a VPS subscription and installing some open-source VPN software yourself?

If that’s your takeaway from Amnezia VPN, you’re missing the point. Not everyone has the knowledge or resources to set up a micro-VPN service securely, but everyone should have access to a free and unfiltered internet. It shouldn’t be an exercise in gatekeeping, where only the most well-read and capable internet users can duck past censors. Privacy tools need to be easy to use to keep the barrier to entry as low as possible. This philosophy is baked into Amnezia’s design all the way through. You can even share your VPN client information with other users through the app so it’s possible to run a single VPN server for several of your friends and family with relative ease.

Amnezia embraces this philosophy wholeheartedly with a simple interface and clear, concise support material that walks you through the installation process in plain English. I can’t speak for how the site reads in Russian, but I can only assume it’s similarly well-written. The source code for both client and server has been independently audited by 7ASecurity, which published several exploits of varying severity that the Amnezia team has patched. This approach to transparency is really refreshing from a VPN provider.

The only significant issue I can see with Amnezia is that you’re handing over your server credentials to a third party, which automatically administers a server for you. Normally, this is a setup I’d balk at. However, the Amnezia app and server are both fully open-source. You can browse the source code line by line for yourself if you need convincing that Amnezia isn’t malicious.

I can only think of one other solution that’s attempting to do something similar to Amnezia, and that’s Outline VPN from Jigsaw, a Google technology incubator dedicated to technology projects that intersect with online anonymity and freedom of speech. It uses ShadowSocks to tunnel a ChaCha20 encryption stream, but it’s not as pointedly designed to evade DPI as Amnezia is, nor is it nearly as user-friendly. Although Outline is also open source, Jigsaw’s proximity to US defense projects makes me somewhat uncomfortable so when it comes down to it, I’d bet on the rag-tag group of Russian privacy advocates in the long run.

OysterVPN review – expert opinions in 2024
6:47 pm | January 17, 2024

Author: admin | Category: Computers Gadgets Pro Security | Tags: | Comments: Off

The market for virtual private networks (VPNs) is huge, and it can be difficult to figure out which services are reliable and which are better off avoided. Some VPNs are mediocre, most do the job without having any stand-out features, and a handful really knock it out of the park.

With this in mind, I'll be digging into OysterVPN (and whether it's worth your money.) I've been researching and reviewing VPNs for years, now, so you can rest assured you'll be getting first-hand info from a hands-on testing process (and not just the usual marketing blurb you can find on OysterVPN's website yourself.)

For a VPN that's only been on the block for a few months, OysterVPN is massively impressive—and definitely one to keep an eye on. With some adjustments to its toolset, the inclusion of WireGuard, and better performance, OysterVPN could be well on its way to giving the best VPNs a run for their money. For now, however, there are still plenty of snags to iron out.

OysterVPN features

OysterVPN is situated in Ireland and owned by Oyster Digital Solutions Ltd. It's a new-ish provider that kicked off its VPN services in early 2023 and, hopefully, this means that it's on the cutting edge of cybersecurity technology.

Ireland isn't part of any Western intelligence pacts, like the notorious 14 Eyes Alliance, so I'm also pretty confident in the provider's privacy policy. However, Ireland does impose mandatory data retention laws—so OysterVPN's no-logs policy has to do a lot of heavy lifting.

OysterVPN currently hosts 150+ servers in 17 countries, most notably:

  • Australia
  • Canada
  • France
  • Germany
  • Hong Kong
  • India
  • Singapore
  • Netherlands
  • USA
  • UK

This is a decent spread of locations, especially across Europe and Asia, but it’s nowhere near the extensive list of locations you would get from a top-tier VPN. Functional, but not amazing.

It's great to see OysterVPN offering split tunneling, which gives you full control over which apps are covered by the VPN connection. The downside is that it's only available on the Windows and Android apps, which is disappointing, considering that top-tier providers now offering split tunneling for MacOS.

Keep in mind

Split tunneling is handy if you want to stream content from one location and browse in another, but it's better to switch it off if you put your privacy first.

Fortunately, OysterVPN's split tunneling works well. It's easy to specify which apps and sites use the VPN connection and whether you'd rather have the VPN cover your entire connection.

Torrenting with OysterVPN is seamless, too. I didn't encounter any issues while hopping from server to server, which suggests there’s a full P2P service enabled across all of them. The same goes for P2P gaming across Hamachi—it was a breeze.

OysterVPN pricing plans

OysterVPN has a single payment tier that allows you to choose how long you want to subscribe for. The monthly plan costs $9.99 and includes 3 free months upfront, which is pretty awesome.

The monthly plan is on the pricey side, given the lack of server locations, but OysterVPN's yearly plan is more modest at $2.50 per month. Alternatively, if you feel like making a bigger commitment, OysterVPN lets users make a one-off payment of $49.99 for lifetime access to the service. This works out at $0.42 a month—that's not bad at all, but it is a limited time offer.

No matter which subscription you pick, you'll be covered by a 30-day money-back guarantee, so you can put the provider to the test without risking a penny.

Unfortunately, there’s no free trial or free VPN tier, so you’ll have to purchase OysterVPN if you want to give it a shot. The provider only accepts major credit cards and PayPal, too, meaning there's no option to pay via Bitcoin. This is going to disappoint folks who want to really shore up their privacy.

All OysterVPN plans offer five simultaneous connections—which isn't massively generous. However, it will allow you to protect all of your favorite devices. A family household can easily have upwards of ten gadgets (including mobiles, PCs, consoles, and more), so if you're looking for unlimited connections, you're better off with Surfshark.

OysterVPN accepts most major credit cards and PayPal payments

(Image credit: OysterVPN)

Privacy and security

OysterVPN comes with most of the features you need to maintain your digital privacy. There are four VPN protocols to choose from: IKEv2/IPSec, L2TP/IPSec, PPTP, and OpenVPN. I recommend steering clear of L2TP and PPTP, seeing as they're not secure, and sticking with IKEv2 or OpenVPN. Both of these picks offer industry-standard security and reliable speeds.

I was disappointed to see that OysterVPN doesn't offer WireGuard, though. It's a relatively new VPN that combines the tight security of OpenVPN with the speed of IKEv2, all while maintaining a much smaller resource footprint. Given that OysterVPN touts itself as a modern VPN, there's no excuse not to offer WireGuard. Ideally, I'd like to see the service ditch its outdated protocols and welcome WireGuard to the fold.

OysterVPN passed all of the IPv4, DNS, and WebRTC leak tests I put it through. It’s reassuring to see that OysterVPN really will preserve your privacy while you’re browsing online, given that there are so many leaky VPNs out there. The only real issue I found was that IPv6 wasn’t supported, but as long as you disable this service, you'll be alright.

Furthermore, thanks to AES-265 encryption, you can be sure your traffic is encrypted in a way that won’t expose your data. It’s the same technology baked into SSL, which is trusted by every major institution on the internet.

Similarly, OysterVPN’s kill switch worked well. A kill switch makes sure that if your connection to the VPN drops, you won’t immediately default back to your ISP’s internet connection and accidentally leak your original IP. While it might be a little inconvenient, it’s an essential part of preserving your privacy with any VPN. I put OysterVPN's kill switch through a series of disconnection scenarios and it didn't disappoint.

I was pleasantly surprised to see that OysterVPN also offers DNS-level ad-blocking. Most of us use an ad-blocker these days, to banish those annoying pop-ups and invasive ads, but OysterVPN augments this functionality by putting a stop to malware and preventing it from being downloaded to your computer by blocking the connection on the network. In practice, this worked pretty well, but I still noticed a few ads here and there. This isn’t a dealbreaker by any means, as the feature is still extremely useful.

Logging policy

OysterVPN claims that it's a no-logs service—most VPNs do. It's difficult to verify this without a third-party audit, however.

In theory, OysterVPN could have a server architecture set up using disk-less servers that operate entirely in RAM. Actual details about its implementation, and how it achieves zero-logging, are scant at best, and Ireland has mandatory logging requirements.

So, if you can't take any chances with your privacy, I'd recommend sticking to audited services like ExpressVPN and NordVPN.

Netflix and global stream unblocking

Streaming with OysterVPN was painless. It takes a whole lot of dedicated manpower (and server capacity) to keep up with Netflix’s policy of banning VPNs, but I was able to check out US and UK content without a hitch.

Accessing Hulu,  Disney+, BBC iPlayer, Amazon Prime Video, HBO Max, and DAZN was just as straightforward—and that's an impressive spread of services. I was even able to access the WWE network, and OysterVPN claims it’s also able to unblock a wide range of additional sports platforms including UEFA, the Premier League, and the NBA. I haven’t tested this for myself, but given how well OysterVPN unblocked everything I did try out, I have no reason to doubt this is the case.

I didn't experience any major issues with lag or buffering, which is awesome news if you're in need of a tip-top streaming VPN, but streaming in 4K during busy periods did push OysterVPN to its limit. I'll dig into the details when we delve into the provider's performance, but overall, streaming with OysterVPN was adequate.

OysterVPN unblocks an impressive array of streaming platforms

(Image credit: OysterVPN)

OysterVPN performance

OysterVPN has held its own so far but, unfortunately, it slips up where speed is concerned. Don't get me wrong, it's more than capable of handling day-to-day browsing—it's HD streaming that causes strain.

Using a 100 Mbps connection at 10 am, I connected to a UK server and captured 43.98 Mbps download speeds and 12.11 Mbps upload. That's respectable, but these numbers dropped dramatically when I ran my tests again at 6 pm.

The biggest dip in performance came when I switched to a US server. Download speeds clocked in at 11.59 Mbps and upload speeds at 3.79 Mbps. This wasn't enough to stream 4K content from Netflix US without significant buffering. I found similar speeds connecting to Hong Kong, at 8.91 Mbps down and 3.65 Mbps up.

So, while OysterVPN offers decent speeds if you’re connecting to a nearby server, long-distance connections tank its performance. That means that OysterVPN might not be your perfect pick if you're in the market for a reliable Netflix VPN that'll unblock geo-restricted content.

OysterVPN apps

Things improved when I switched my attention to OysterVPN's apps, however. There’s an install app for Windows, MacOS, iOS, and Android, and the Windows and MacOS versions also have their very own installation wizards that make set up a breeze. If you're a mobile user, just head on over to your app store to find OysterVPN.

The service can also be set up on a range of routers, and there's browser support for Chrome and Firefox via add-ons.

Sadly, you won't find any native Linux support. Relying on OpenVPN configuration files and a third-party client makes OysterVPN look a little outdated, but there are, at least, a handful of articles that'll guide you through the process.

OysterVPN running on a Windows laptop

(Image credit: OysterVPN)

OysterVPN customer support

OysterVPN's customer support is pretty solid. I got in touch to clarify some of their marketing information and got a response almost instantly, which is surprising. I couldn’t find a phone number for their support staff and couldn’t get their live chat to work, but if they respond to emails this quickly, it's not going to be a huge issue.

The FAQ follows suit. It's not particularly expansive, but the available guidance is straightforward, easy to follow, and covers a range of topics. Its installation guides are clear, too, but there's not a lot of information about what to do if something goes wrong.

Alternatives

With so many VPNs to choose from, you're not tethered to OysterVPN—especially if you don't want to compromise on speed and security. Below, I've outlined some of my top picks.

ExpressVPN

ExpressVPN is my #1 VPN overall, and boasts a stacked roster of features. Plus, you'll be able to take your pick of more than 3,000 servers in 94 countries. ExpressVPN unblocks just about every streaming service you can imagine and can keep up with other resource-intensive tasks, like gaming, torrenting, and video calls. Its reputation for ironclad security is well-deserved, too, thanks to robust encryption protocols, a strict no-logs policy, and advanced features like a kill switch and DNS leak protection. 

NordVPN

NordVPN is another favorite of mine, and a powerhouse in the VPN sphere, that's committed to safeguarding your security. It packs military-grade encryption and a strict no-logs policy, as well as a handy Double VPN feature for folks who really want to fly under the radar. NordVPN is also the fastest VPN I've ever tested, ensuring smooth browsing, streaming, and downloading experiences that won't be interrupted by any buffering hiccups.

Surfshark

Surfshark is an awesome pick for folks on a budget—it's the best cheap VPN available. That doesn't mean it's lacking in features, however. With Surfshark, you'll get awesome speeds ideal for HD streaming, a CleanWeb tool that'll banish ads, malware, and trackers, and an audited no-logs policy. Surfshark is also one of a handful of providers to offer unlimited simultaneous connections, so you can secure a whole household of gadgets with one subscription.

Proton VPN

Wrapping up my recommendations is Proton VPN. Developed by the team behind Proton Mail, a renowned encrypted email service, ProtonVPN follows a similar philosophy of protecting user data. The service utilizes robust encryption protocols and offers a range of advanced security features, like Secure Core, which routes user traffic through multiple secure servers to prevent interception. ProtonVPN has a standout free VPN, too, although it's more limited than its paid alternative. Still, it's a great way to try the service before committing to a long-term plan.

OysterVPN review: Final verdict

OysterVPN isn't a bad VPN by any stretch of the imagination. It does what it needs to do, and fairly cheaply at that. Its biggest problem is that there's nothing that makes it stand out in a highly competitive market, and it’s somewhat lacking in server location and speeds.

These are totally fixable issues, however, and I have a feeling that OysterVPN is going to get better and better over time. In fact, for a VPN that's only been operating for a few months, it's already impressive.

Still, there are better-established VPNs with more servers, better speeds, and a wider feature set than OysterVPN. ExpressVPN and NordVPN are the cream of the crop (that tick all of the right boxes), and I'd recommend checking them out if you want a premium and polished service.

TechRadar rating: ⭐⭐⭐

Subscribe if:

✔️ You want to unblock a ton of content: OysterVPN had no trouble bypassing geo-blocks to access the likes of Netflix, BBC iPlayer, and Hulu.
✔️ You're a mobile user: whether you're an Android or iPhone loyalist, OysterVPN has easy-to-use apps for your device.
✔️ You want a broad spread of servers: OysterVPN might not have a ton of servers, but the ones it does have are scattered across key locations.

Don't subscribe if:

❌ Speed is your priority: unfortunately, OysterVPN can't compete with the industry's top names when it comes to performance, especially when connecting to distant servers.
❌ You're on Linux: with no native Linux support, you'll need to jump through some complex hoops to get OysterVPN up and running.
❌ You need live chat support: I couldn't find OysterVPN's live chat, which might be a problem if you need quick answers to pressing problems.

How we test VPNs

Beside using the top recommended VPNs for our daily activities, we also conduct a thorough analysis of the top 30 VPN services every 6 months to keep track on how the software compares with other providers as new developments come in.

We start by reviewing each provider's website to double check if its claims and offering changed. We also look for any tracking cookies on the site and if/when they activate to see if the service tracks people using the site.

We then install and use each VPN service across a wide range of location servers and devices to see how they perform across the board. We go through all the settings to make sure all the features work as promised, while playing around with encryption protocols. 

Our reviewers actively challenge the software, too, in the lookout for any flaws. For example, we purposely make the VPN connection drop so that we can test if the kill switch does its job of preventing data leaks correctly.

From speed connections and streaming unlocking results, to customer support and app usability, we regularly make sure to test every aspect of the software that could affect the experience of our readers.

As issues arise during our testing, we make sure to investigate these even by digging into the source code or the contents of its RAM if necessary. Head to our dedicated VPN testing methodology page if you want to know more.

Meta confirms blocking Europeans from using Threads via VPN
11:45 am | July 15, 2023

Author: admin | Category: Mobile phones news | Tags: | Comments: Off

Instagram launched Threads in October 2019 as a standalone app to chat with Instagram Close Friends, but that app is unavailable now since Meta launched a new Threads app last week as its Twitter competitor. It's available in over 100 countries, including the US and UK, but not in Europe. And you can't even use it in Europe via VPN since Meta has confirmed that it's blocking users in European countries from using Threads via VPN, resulting in profiles and content not loading and notifications not working. “Threads is currently unavailable in most European countries and we have taken...

Mullvad browser review
8:41 am | July 12, 2023

Author: admin | Category: Computers Gadgets | Tags: | Comments: Off

The Mullvad browser is the newest addition to the web browsers industry, founded in April 2023. This browser is a joint collaboration of the Tor Browser and the Mullvad VPN

Simply put, it's a Tor browser that works with the Mullvad VPN instead of the Tor Network. Naturally, a browser partnering with a VPN directly makes it much more secure and safe than most other browsers in the industry.

In this review, we’re going to help you decide if you get the Mullvad Browser or not by delving deep into its features, privacy protocols, usability, pros and cons, and much more. 

Mullvad browser: Features

Mullvad comes with a private browsing mode that doesn’t save your history, cookies, or any information that you might have shared during the session. 

If you don't want anyone to track your online activities, this feature will be your friend and wipe off every last detail.

It offers up to 3 security levels, and you can choose which settings work best for you:

Standard — the default and the most basic mode, where all website functions are allowed.

Safer — all website functions that are considered dangerous are banned. 

Safest — the last and final security level where only the most basic website features are allowed to run while the rest are blocked. 

As you can see, turning on the “Safest” mode can heavily restrict your online activities, which is why we don't recommend it.

Another benefit of using Mullvad is that it doesn't work with too many extensions or plugins. After all, the more third-party software you add, the higher will be the risk of data leaks. 

That said, Mullvad does provide you with the plugins you’ll need the most. For example, you can use the uBlock Origin plugin to block ads and unnecessary pop-ups.

Mullvad’s anti-fingerprinting technology makes it almost impossible to track any individual user on Mullvad. It achieves this by making the fingerprints and digital identities of all its users across an operating system look alike.

Just like the Tor browser, the Mullvad browser, too, is based on Firefox. This means that when a new feature is added to Firefox, it's considered for addition to Mullvad as well. 

However, the addition is only done after the feature is thoroughly examined and it's confirmed that it doesn’t pose a security risk to the system.

Mullvad’s best security feature is the identity reset button that lets you reset your profile and delete all your cookies, histories, and favorites so that no activity can be linked back to your account. It's important to note that this feature won't change your IP address — it’ll simply factory reset your profile.

Mullvad browser: Privacy

A browser created in collaboration with a VPN provider is undoubtedly privacy-friendly. In fact, that was the bottom line purpose of this collaboration project — to provide users with a safe browsing platform equipped to combat new-age digital threats. 

One of our favorite security features of the Mullvad browser is “Reset Identity.” As the name suggests, this option will remove all your cookies, browsing history, bookmarks, and tabs. It'll come in extremely handy if you’re worried that someone might be prying on your online activities.

The Mullvad browser also comes with the uBlock Origin plugin that you can use to block ads and pop-ups. And for trackers that might steal your information, Mullvad has an in-built combat system to restrict such activities.

Mullvad browser: Ease of use

Since the Mullvad browser works on Tor’s interface, those familiar with the latter will have an easier time getting to know how Mullvad works.

It follows the standard format of placing the stack of tabs at the top of the screen, followed by the address bar. To the left of the address bar, you’ll find page navigation options such as reloading or going back to the previous page, and to the right of the address bar, you’ll find your security features, browser cleaner, profile, and menu.

Under the Security tab is where you decide if you want to use the standard website protocols that allow a certain set of functionalities to customize and adjust the level of protection.

From the menu on the extreme right of the page (under the 3 dashes), you’ll be able to change the browser theme or add more extensions. All in all, the Mullvad browser is quite easy to navigate, and it'll not take you more than a few minutes to acquaint yourself with it.

Mullvad browser: Competitors

Mullvad was launched quite recently, so it's hard to tell who its immediate competitors might be. But one thing’s for sure is that it's trying to cater to a very specific target audience — those very particular about the level of security and privacy a browser offers. 

This eliminates the majority of the people who use browsers like Chrome, Edge, and Bing. However, browsers like Avast, Firefox, and Opera that also prioritize data security can be considered Mullvad’s immediate competitors. 

In fact, just like Mullvad, Avast, too, is developed by a company that is an expert in antivirus and VPN. Opera, on the other hand, is known to offer a free integrated VPN to all users. In short, all three of them are serving almost the same purpose. 

Speaking of their performance, it's hard to compare the three, owing to Mullvad’s short experience in the market. We still don't have enough data to draw out a detailed comparison. 

However, we do know that in terms of features, Mullvad has a few extra things to offer. It's the only one out of the three to offer pre-configured multi-level security modes. It's also the only one to offer a profile reset button that can immediately wipe off your entire browsing history from the account.

Also, you won't have to deal with the overwhelming number of options on the main page that both Opera and Avast are guilty of.

Mullvad browser: Final verdict

Mullvad browser is perfect for those who want VPN-like security in their browser without actually paying for a VPN. Features like private browsing mode, one-click profile reset, and anti-fingerprinting technology put Mullvad far ahead of the competition in terms of security and protection. 

Another benefit of using this browser is its usability. The interface is quite simple. You have all the options you’ll need to run it smoothly, yet the main page isn't crowded with too many options — it's all perfectly balanced.

The menu and its options are easy to find because, unlike some browsers, Mullvad doesn't believe in hiding them from plain sight. There’s no reason why you shouldn’t give Mullvad a try.

Looking for a VPN and need more options? Check out our best VPN buying guide.

GoodAccess business VPN review
9:25 pm | April 18, 2023

Author: admin | Category: Computers Gadgets | Tags: | Comments: Off

GoodAccess VPN is an essential static IP provider, designed specifically for businesses. Based in the Czech Republic, it empowers small business owners to securely access essential resources from any location while allowing administrators to customize the settings via a web-based dashboard, as well as monitor for suspicious visitors and potential risks. GoodAccess aims to offer the benefits of a zero-trust model for remote access purposes wherever you and your workers find yourselves. 

GoodAccess is the perfect solution for small and medium-sized businesses, boasting the speed of implementation as its standout feature. With the promise to create a robust virtual VPN moat around your business applications and assets and attractive pricing plans plus a free trial, why wouldn't you choose GoodAccess?

Let’s check if it delivers on its bold promises.

GoodAccess

GoodAccess pricing plans (Image credit: GoodAccess)

Plans and pricing

There is something for everyone with the plethora of pricing plans GoodAccess offers to its customers. The Starter plan is now free forever, covering the basics with their “basic secure shield” functionalities. This is a great starting point for a small group of freelancers who are looking to secure their startup network. 

Moving on, we have the Essential plan that costs $9 per user per month, but requires a minimum of five users. In addition, for each dedicated gateway you will have to pay an additional $39 per month. 

The Premium plan costs $14 per month per user and also has a minimum required amount of users set at five. It offers much more than the previous two plans and is ideal for cloud businesses. 

Finally, the Enterprise plan is for larger organizations, with all details to be discussed with the sales department of the company. 

If you opt for annual billing, you will be able to save 20%, which is a welcome sight for firms looking to lock in a long term partner.

All things considered, it’s a reasonable value for money if we compare GoodAccess with its more famous competitors.

Business VPN

GoodAccess provides a static IP address to protect your business systems (Image credit: Good Access)

Security features

GoodAccess is your one-stop shop for unbeatable business security features - at a fantastic price. Its SASE (Service Access Service Edge) solution gives your online team the peace of mind that comes with knowing they can access all your cloud-based systems securely. It features 2FA/MFA (two-factor and multi-factor authentication) for an added layer of protection for logins, as well as SSO compatibility with Google, Azure AD, Okta, SAML, Active Directory, or LDAP. On top of that, its encryption protocols (IKEv2 and OpenVPN) offer robust 256-bit security. Plus, it's IPv4-only and has no DNS leaks, while port-forwarding is enabled too.

GoodAccess keeps your team members in check with its employee monitoring and access logging. You'll be able to get a clear view of how well you comply with GDPR, SOC2, or HIP to ensure granularity of access to only necessary materials and areas of the network. 

Whitelisting your dedicated IP ensures that all of your online business systems can be trusted, eliminating the risk of employees being barred from shared online resources. Furthermore, personal VPNs provide additional safety measures such as a kill switch, which suspends internet activity should the VPN connection drop; adding this feature to GoodAccess would significantly bolster its security.

All in all, GoodAccess delivers the goods when it comes to security features, bringing it closer to more premium packages at a lower price.

Management features

GoodAccess packs several management tools built around the idea of user-friendliness and accessibility. For starters, you can manage gateways by instantly deploying a private gateway with a static IP for your employees. You can choose these among more than 33 locations across the globe. Using multiple gateways should help you in situations when you need backup or faster connection speeds.

Managing access is done by creating special access cards that can authorize it for specific resources and systems for individual employees or groups. You can easily assign these by the departments, granting different access authorization to, for instance, your marketing team as opposed to your IT personnel.

GoodAccess has really thought of everything, with 16 different application integrations available for businesses using SaaS apps such as WordPress, Google Cloud, Magento and more. Not only do these integrations set up a secure, private and encrypted tunnel from your app to your endpoint, but there is also copious documentation on how to implement each one. On top of that, you can even setup a single-sign-on provider such as Okta, Google or Azure, making GoodAccess a great choice for those wanting the extra protection or those that have already made the decision to use SSO as their main authentication method.

Business VPN

The GoodAccess control panel is designed for clear, easy use (Image credit: Sambohyb)

Interface

GoodAccess is designed with convenience in mind. Users can quickly view the active gateway and its associated IP address at the top, followed by a large button to enable the VPN connection. The systems configured by the team admin are listed below. Meanwhile, the options menu in the top left corner offers the chance to alter settings, read the terms of service or contact customer support.

The admin dashboard is a bit more intricate, as it allows for a tailored experience throughout the whole organization. Here, a complete overview of all members, gateways, systems and further options is available, each menu item is dedicated to a specific feature and featuring its own unique look.

Its control panel is dominated by an accessible and clean interface and a responsive dashboard that will help you get the most out of it in a short time. Navigating its buttons and sections goes quite smoothly and, even more importantly, intuitively. This is no small feat if you consider that you do not want to have your staff run in fear when presented with all the options hosted by this system.

All team members can be easily invited to be made a member of individual groups, with a tag-based system helping you filter them out subsequently based on the changing circumstances in the field.

The same level of user-friendliness is provided for the interface used to manage integrations and downloads.

Business VPN

You can send a message to Samohyb via the GoodAccess website (Image credit: Sambohyb)

Support and customer experience

The GoodAccess website's contact section features the company's address, and if you need to get in touch with the staff, you can fill out the short form provided. Alternatively, you can schedule a free online session with the GoodAccess Guru and address any initial installation problems, such as whitelisting or plugin issues. Furthermore, customers (especially Enterprise customers) can access 24/7 help through live chat or IT ticketing system. On their website, GoodAccess also provides customer reviews under the References tab.

On the GoodAccess website, Samohyb states that its VPN solutions are used by over 10,000 individuals, and over 1,000 teams. Despite this, it’s difficult to source many  customer reviews.

GoodAccess provides some customer feedback on its website, under References. There’s overall praise for GoodAccess’ user-friendly control panel, its low latency (ability to process lots of data quickly), strong encryption, and easy-to-use access control settings.

We sourced two customer reviews from Capterra and both were positive about the overall user-friendliness, affordability, and reliability of GoodAccess. Although a problem with initial whitelisting is mentioned, it’s stated that this issue was quickly resolved with the help of GoodAccess Guru.

The competition

Compared with the starting price per user per month of NordLayer, GoodAccess’ equivalent is cheaper. However, NordVPN's offering provides security features GoodAccess lacks, such as a VPN kill switch and two-factor authentication.

Like GoodAccess, Encrypt.me is a VPN service that’s good for small businesses. It’s easy to use and offers similar features, such as a free trial and accessibility across all devices. That said, Encrypt.me notably offers more server locations—over 70 across 40 countries.

Final verdict

Small businesses looking to invest in a VPN service for their employees should definitely consider GoodAccess as a great starting point. With a fixed monthly fee that covers multiple users, it represents  a cost-effective option for any organization. On the other hand, larger companies may benefit more from NordVPN Teams, a competing solution with additional features. Nevertheless, GoodAccess provides a free trial, so your business can assess the service before signing up for a monthly or yearly plan.

Larger enterprises should do well to check out more expensive VPN packages with more robust sets of advanced features.

For businesses on a shoestring budget or those that prefer to save on security, it’s an affordable option that does not feel like one at any time.

We've also highlighted the best business VPN

Ping Identity (PingOne) review
9:00 pm | April 14, 2023

Author: admin | Category: Computers Gadgets | Tags: | Comments: Off

PingOne is an ideal solution to secure access rights management across multiple devices. It offers a unified console, single sign-on, and connection security with a companion application. Moreover, it can integrate seamlessly with other Identity Access and Management (IAM) systems such as Active Directory, Azure AD, CA Technologies, Oracle, and IBM. Enjoy effortless authentication for all your mobile, tablet, laptop, and desktop devices with PingOne.

Want to try Ping Identity? Visit the website.

Perimeter 81 is a Forrester New Wave™ ZTNA Leader 

Ditch your legacy VPN hardware and automate your network security with ZTNA.  Secure remote access from anywhere with just a few clicks. Onboard your entire organization in minutes, not days. Learn why Perimeter 81 is one of TechRadar's choices for the best ZTNA security providers. Download the report.

Plans and pricing

Similar to Okta, Ping Identity has made it very complicated to choose the right pricing plan for your business if you are a small business owner. We start off with the firm’s Workforce plans, where we have three plans, the Essential, which costs $3 per user per month, Plus at $6 per user per month, and the Premium plan, for which you will have to go through the sales department to get a custom offer. The main differences between the plans relate to the functionalities the users have at their disposal, with SSO coming in as standard even with the lowest plan offering.

Ping Identity

Ping Identity workforce pricing models (Image credit: Ping Identity)

Next, Ping Identity offers their Customer pricing plans, which also have three levels. The Essential plan costs $20,000 annually, the Plus $40,000 annually and for the Premium you will have to contact sales.

Ping Identity

Ping Identity Customers pricing models (Image credit: Ping Identity)

Both Workforce and Customer plans have the option of 30-day trial, which could help you choose the right plan for you and your company.

Features

PingOne offers powerful Multi-Factor Authentication capabilities, which include passwordless authentication, eliminating the risk of attack and removing the frustration of memorizing multiple passwords. Adaptive to the situation, it can utilize frictionless, behavioral, and contextual factors such as IP address, geolocation, and timestamps to determine any potential risks. Plus, their Single Sign-On feature allows users to access multiple applications with one single set of credentials, saving admins time by lessening password reset requests and discouraging the use of weak or recycled passwords. 

Risk management also plays a key role, as it integrates with authentication flows and policies to track and notify any events during user sessions. It rates, and groups risk signals, displaying any risk associated with the user's device and delivering a risk score. Thus, administrators are better equipped to make the best decision for granting access with the help of Ping's intelligent authentication providing risk signals and evaluates user behavior according to context.

Interface and in use

For the user, PingOne couldn't be simpler. With one click of the URL provided, usually in the form of an icon on their desktop, they'll be in the PingOne cloud. For the first-time user, the connection procedure is quick and easy, and afterward, their desktop is populated with the apps to which their organization has given them access to. System administrators can also set up groups and link with Active Directory and a range of other settings to cater to their organization's needs.

Ping Identity

Ping Identity dashboard (Image credit: Ping Identity)

Accessing cloud-based applications is a simple process: the user clicks on the icon of the desired application on their desktop and is taken directly to PingOne, where they are securely authenticated. For extra security, strong authentication can be used. After this, a token exchange happens to confirm the user's identity, and they'll be connected to the application. It's all seamless and invisible to the user.

Support

The support the company offers is comprehensive, starting off with business phone numbers that will link you directly to customer support. If you are not a “phone person,” you can create a case for the firm’s support team to follow up on. A step up from some of the competitors is an offer for various certificates when it comes to using PingOne that users can pursue. 

A detailed documentation section is available, but the documents tend to be heavy on technical jargon, which makes them harder to use for non-tech people. But fear not; there is a community forum with a few moderators where you can get answers to your questions. And finally, there is a Q&A section on the site, rounding out the comprehensive support users get.

Security

At Ping, Information Security Management System (ISMS) is based on top industry standards, including ISO 27001 and NIST 800-53. The commitment to security is evidenced through the ISO 27001 certification, which the company has held since 2018. Every year since 2013, Ping Identity has been getting Identity as a Service (IDaaS) evaluation via SSAE 16 SOC2 Type II certification. There are also third-party assessors who audit products and control the environment to make sure security measures are working as intended.

The competition

Okta is a formidable rival, offering an abundance of features often hidden within its various pricing plans. Requiring more technical expertise, Okta provides an analogous service and in some areas, even superior choices when compared to PingOne.

In contrast to both PingOne and Okta, Twingate offers much less yet stands out with its granular security configuration and lower prices.

Final verdict

PingOne Cloud Platform is an advanced, cloud-based product with exceptional security and management protocols delivered on a single, highly-scalable platform. Seamlessly integrated with other software, it fits into existing workflows with ease.

No passwords are necessary thanks to its frictionless sign-on capabilities, meaning added risk-mitigation. For enterprises with broad customer usage, like retail, and businesses needing the highest level of identity security for compliance or confidentiality - like government, financial services, and healthcare - PingOne Cloud Platform is the ideal solution.

Perimeter 81 ZTNA review
4:30 pm | April 13, 2023

Author: admin | Category: Computers Gadgets | Tags: | Comments: Off

The Perimeter 81 security platform is a complete package of powerful tools designed to protect applications, local networks, and cloud configurations. Embedded in the suite is the business-class Perimeter 81 VPN – far beyond what you'd find with a consumer VPN provider. On top of the basics, the VPN provides a suite of features for managing user groups and securely connecting remote personnel to the company's intranet from any location.

Want to try Perimeter 81? Visit the website.

Plans and pricing

All of the pricing plans, the three main ones, have a surcharge of $50 per month per gateway, which makes Perimeter 81 one of the pricier solutions in the market. The starting plan is called Essential and costs $10 per month per user and covers features such as split tunneling, private DNS, Wireguard protocol, etc. 

Next is the Premium plan that costs $15 per month per user and on top of the Essential features ads, 10 cloud firewall policies, SSO, and 2FA capabilities. The last option is the Premium Plus plan which costs $20 per month per user and adds more advanced security features and wider coverage. 

For all of the plans, if you go for annual billing, you can save an additional 20% on your purchase. Moreover, if you need more features, you can opt for the Enterprise plan, but you will have to go through the sales team to discuss details and prices.

Perimeter 81

Perimeter 81 pricing models (Image credit: Perimeter 81)

Perimeter 81 is Techradar's best business VPN
Save 250+ yearly hours on manual configuration. Deploy your entire organization within a single day. Learn why Perimeter 81 is TechRadar's choice for the best Business VPN. Ditch legacy hardware and make the move to the cloud. See how simple it is for yourself.

Features

Perimeter 81 brings all the benefits of a traditional corporate VPN - safe remote access to corporate intranet resources and protection on unsecured public WiFi networks - without the cost and effort of expensive physical servers and specialized personnel. In addition, it provides flexible access to a variety of non-traditional network resources like cloud networks and IoT devices and can be quickly scaled with on-the-fly creation of private VPN server gateways with static IP addresses. 

Administrators can monitor network activity, assign granular access permissions, and manage multiple user groups with team permissions via a unified management portal. With easy-to-use apps for major platforms like Windows, macOS, Linux, iOS, and Android, Perimeter 81 also provides access to a large public VPN network, automatic WiFi protection, two-factor authentication, and integration with identity providers such as Google Suite, Okta, OneLogin, and Microsoft Azure Active Directory. 

Further features include HIPAA compliance for healthcare, data protection for finance, and a multi-tenant cloud with IP configuration capabilities. All in all, it offers a plethora of features, but what you get will depend on the plan you go for.

Interface and in use

Perimeter 81 makes it easy to equip your team with the cloud-based service they need. Simply invite team members to join, and they’ll receive an email containing the instructions to download the Perimeter 81 client software, which works on a wide range of platforms. 

Then, use the Cloud Management Portal to manage your team members, servers, and permissions. With the Team tab, you can view each team member’s activity and assign them different roles with different levels of access. To access the desktop app, just follow the easy sign-in wizard, which helps set things up with a few clicks.

Overall, the UI is clean and intuitive, making Perimeter 81, one of the easier options to use when you’re in need of protection for your network.

Support

Perimeter 81 offers a plethora of assistance, particularly when setting up your management area. You can even request a complete demo of the system for a first-hand glimpse before making a commitment to purchase. A variety of help pages and instructional videos are available to help you master each feature and its setup. Plus, the website boasts an instant chatbot for answering any general queries about what the service provides and how to get started. In addition, you can submit a ticket for more specific inquiries and expect an emailed response. 

If your query leads to an appointment, the rep will contact you rather than provide a direct and instant answer. This system is designed to ensure a smooth transition to sales, demonstrating the commitment to a business-first attitude across all areas. The level of help differs based on the plan you choose; Premium and Premium Plus subscribers are guaranteed prioritized aid, while Enterprise plan members receive 24/7 assistance. Those with Basic plans and prospective customers can expect a response during unspecified work hours.

Security

Although Perimeter 81 has distanced itself from the SaferVPN brand, its VPN is located in Israel, where data protection laws are incredibly stringent and strictly limit the government’s ability to intrude on personal data. 

Logging-wise, Perimeter 81 keeps track of administrative and team member activities, such as inviting new members, changing team permissions, creating access gateways and more. Connection logs like timestamps, device locations and hostnames are also recorded. Furthermore, original IP addresses are logged on private access gateways but not on public servers.

The competition

Okta is a strong competitor as it too offers a plethora of features, mostly hidden behind its numerous pricing plans. Though Okta requires more technical know-how, it offers a comparable service and, in some segments, even better options compared to Perimeter 81. 

Twingate is another competitor, but with much less to offer compared to both Perimeter 81 and Okta. Better granularity when it comes to configuring all of the security details sets Twingate apart from its competition, along with its lower pricing.

Final verdict

Perimeter 81 is the perfect pick for businesses with multiple employees accessing a shared network. With its unbeatable security, user access control, and lightning-fast VPN servers, you'll be more than satisfied. Although it's pricier than some, its comprehensive packages make it worth the cost - ideal for burgeoning enterprises looking for a dependable network solution.

  • You might also want to check out our list of the best business VPN providers available right now
All Google One plans now include free VPN
4:19 am | March 9, 2023

Author: admin | Category: Mobile phones news | Tags: | Comments: Off

Google's VPN service has only been available to those who have one of the higher Google One tiers up until this point, but that's changing. All Google One plans include the VPN going forward, although the rollout is ongoing and may take a few weeks to conclude. The service works for Google One members in Austria, Australia, Belgium, Canada, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Iceland, Italy, Japan, Mexico, the Netherlands, Norway, South Korea, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Taiwan, the UK, and the US. Why only these countries? We can't tell you, unfortunately. Anyway, the good news is...

PureKeep Review
2:34 pm | January 19, 2023

Author: admin | Category: Computers Gadgets | Tags: | Comments: Off

PureKeep is the product of GZ Systems Ltd, a software company founded in 2007. GZ is best known for its PureVPN virtual private network service, which allows users to encrypt their traffic and disguise their identity while surfing the web. PureVPN is powered by over 6,500 servers spread across 78 countries, and users can connect to a nearby country to get the fastest speeds.  

GZ is keen on expanding beyond a VPN service into a full-fledged cybersecurity platform, so it launched PureKeep and PurePrivacy in 2022. The former is the software we’re reviewing, while the latter is another tool that lets users block targeted ads and scan their credentials for data breaches. 

PureKeep is a relatively new password manager app that hasn’t gotten many reviews. We decided to review it to help you decide if it’s a suitable password management tool for you. 

PureKeep: Plans and pricing

A caveat about using PureKeep is that you can’t buy the software alone. You must first pay for the PureVPN service and choose PureKeep as an add-on. PureVPN costs $10.95 per month, but you’ll get a 70% discount on the final price if you pay for 12 months in one go. The platform is also currently running a holiday promo deal offering a 5-year subscription for $80. 

The PureKeep add-on is pretty affordable. It costs $2.49 per month, and you'll get a significant discount if you pay for 12 months in one go. The platform accepts payments through credit and debit cards, PayPal, or cryptocurrency. There's a 31-day money-back guarantee during which you can request a refund if you're not satisfied with the app. However, note that cryptocurrency payments are non-refundable.

There’s no free trial period for PureKeep, which we consider a disadvantage. 

PureKeep dashboard

(Image credit: PureKeep)

PureKeep: Features

Password Storage

One of the major challenges for active internet users is storing the passwords for their accounts on dozens of websites and applications. It’s easy to forget your passwords when you have too many accounts, which creates the need for a tool like PureKeep.

PureKeep lets you create digital vaults to store your passwords. These digital vaults work similarly to a real-world vault; it’s protected by a master password that you’ll need to access anything stored in it. You can store passwords for different websites in this vault and retrieve them anytime you want. All you need to remember is the master password, and your internet surfing will likely become easier than ever.

Passwords aren’t the only thing you can store in PureKeep’s vaults. You can also store sensitive files and documents, e.g., certificates, passports, confidential memos, etc. Users get up to 1 GB of storage space for every vault they create. 

Vault Sharing

Almost everyone has a person or group of people that they can trust with sensitive details, e.g., a close friend or a family member. PureKeep lets you share your vault with such people, and they’ll be able to access your passwords and other sensitive files you store in the vault. This feature is beneficial in the case of emergencies where a trusted person may need to access your account.

You can also use this feature within a workplace, as in, share passwords to corporate accounts within your team. 

PureKeep add vault item

(Image credit: PureKeep)

Password Generator

Weak passwords represent one of the biggest vulnerabilities on the internet. They’re easy to guess, which makes any account with such a password vulnerable to hacking. To avert this, PureKeep includes a tool that generates strong passwords for users. Strong passwords are usually a mix of figures, letters, and symbols that are very difficult to track. This feature offers ample protection for your accounts on different websites and applications. 

Import Passwords

You can import passwords from another app into PureKeep with ease. Just download the password list as a CSV file and re-upload it to PureKeep; it’ll automatically extract the passwords and add them to your vault. Most password managers let you download your credentials as a CSV file, so this shouldn’t be a problem. 

Multi-Factor Authentication

Multi-Factor Authentication implies requiring at least two modes of identification before granting access to your account. You can set PureKeep to require another form of identification alongside your username and password to grant access to your account. It can be a one-time password sent to your email address or fingerprint recognition if your PC has the required sensor.

Theme Selection

You can switch between dark and light themes for the PureKeep app depending on which one suits you best.

PureKeep password generator

(Image credit: PureKeep )

VPN

Given that you can’t get PureKeep without PureVPN, it’s ideal to include a VPN service as one of the platform’s features. A VPN works simply; you can browse using the IP address of another location and your browsing data is sent through a secure tunnel to the VPN provider's servers. The browsing data is then encrypted and rerouted to the website that you're trying to reach.

PureVPN has over 6,500 servers across dozens of countries, and you can connect to anyone you want. It's advisable to connect to the one nearest to your location if you want better speed. The VPN service hides your real IP address and protects your data from corporations, government agencies, and hackers. You can also use it to circumvent content bans. For example, if a video streaming service isn’t available in your country, just switch to an IP address hosted in a country where it’s available, and you can access the content on the service. 

It's advisable to always use a VPN if you're browsing with a public Wi-Fi network, e.g., at an airport, cafe, or hotel. Public networks are often vulnerable to hacking and encrypting your browsing data protects you from potential harm. 

You can download the PureVPN app on your desktop (Windows, macOS, and Linux) or mobile phone (iOS and Android). It's also available as an extension on web browsers including Google Chrome, Firefox, Microsoft Edge, and Brave. Likewise, PureVPN is available on gaming consoles (Xbox and PlayStation) and video streaming devices (Apple TV, Samsung TV, Android TV, Fire TV, etc.).

According to PureVPN's website, it doesn't keep logs of browsing activity that occurs through its VPN. Going by its word, you can be sure of your browsing privacy if you use the platform. 

Your PureVPN subscription covers up to 10 devices. Once you set up the app on your device, it takes just one click to activate it and start browsing securely. Upon activation, the platform uses an algorithm to select the fastest server for you. 

When researching for this review, we observed a pattern of users praising PureVPN for its speed and ease of use. There are no caps on bandwidth usage, so you can use it to browse as much as you want.  

PureKeep: Interface and use

It's pretty easy to set up and use PureKeep. After paying, you can download the app on your PC and create an account. You can sync PureKeep with up to 10 devices at a time and access your passwords on each of them seamlessly. One major drawback is that PureKeep doesn’t have a mobile app, unlike many rival password management tools.

Once you launch PureKeep, you can create a digital vault and store credentials in it. The platform has an interface that’s interactive and easy to navigate.   

PureKeep: Support

You can contact PureKeep’s support team via email and live chat. The company’s support team is available 24/7, which is good. But, there’s no phone support, which we consider a disadvantage.

Before contacting the support team, you can check the official Support Center page, which contains articles and user guides concerning all aspects of PureKeep. You may find a solution on the page, which removes the need to seek direct support.   

PureKeep: The competition

Popular alternatives to PureKeep include LastPass and Dashlane. These are two of the most popular password management apps and have a much larger user base than PureKeep. Both of them have a free tier and mobile apps, unlike PureKeep. They also offer bulk plans designed for enterprise users, while PureKeep is built primarily for individual use,  

PureKeep: Final verdict

PureKeep is a new password management app, so it lacks several features that one would expect from a password management tool. For one, you can’t access it via a mobile app or a browser extension but only from a PC. It also lacks single sign-on, an advanced security feature geared toward enterprise users. 

However, PureKeep has some advantages over the competition, such as being much more affordable and easy to use. 

We've listed the best business password managers.

Google One VPN review
1:24 pm | October 24, 2022

Author: admin | Category: Computers Gadgets Pro Security | Tags: | Comments: Off

Google One VPN is a simple VPN that comes bundled with the tech giant's premium subscription service, Google One. When we say simple, we really, really mean it. There are barely any options, settings, or features. You can't even choose a location. Hit the Enable button and the app automatically connects to a server in your country, then goes to work encrypting your internet traffic.

Google has expanded its app range since launch and the VPN now works on Windows and Mac, as well as Android and iOS. There's no way to manually set it up on anything else but with no real features, there's not much reason to do that.

If you're hoping to unblock US Netflix or anything else, get connected in VPN-unfriendly countries, set up the VPN on a router, or anything even faintly advanced, then we can say absolutely, definitively, and without question, Google One VPN isn't the service for you.

If you're going to buy Google One anyway and you could use a lightweight service to protect your internet activities on public Wi-Fi, then it might be a different story. In this review, we'll look more closely at what Google One VPN offers, what it doesn't have, and find out whether this could be a smart choice for you. We're only reviewing the VPN element here. If you want details on the full package, you can check out our Google One review

Google One VPN Split Tunneling

The Bypass VPN feature allows you to choose apps that won't use the VPN tunnel (Image credit: Google)

What is Google One VPN?

Although it's more basic than just about anything from the big VPN names, Google One VPN is a real virtual private network (VPN) that delivers the same fundamental security benefits. 

Turn it on, and the app directs all your device traffic through a secure encrypted tunnel. Snoopers aren't able to access your data on even the most insecure of public Wi-Fi hotspots, and with your real IP address replaced by Google One VPN's server, it's more difficult for companies to track you online.

The big omission is Google One VPN doesn't allow you to choose a new virtual location (pretend to be in the US when you're actually in Australia, for instance). As a result, it can't help you access US-exclusive Netflix shows, say, or any other content that isn't normally available in your country.

Although that's a major downside, it also looks like web companies won't spend as much time and effort trying to detect and block Google One VPN connections. We'll get more into this later.

Google One VPN Snooze Feature

A Snooze button temporarily turns off the VPN (Image credit: Google)

What are the apps like?

Google One VPN's Windows and Mac apps are just about as simple as you'll see. An opening dashboard lists two or three reasons you might use a VPN  such as reducing tracking, staying safe on public Wi-Fi, and browsing securely. There's an On/ Off button, an option to launch when your devices start, and that's it.

Google's Android and iOS offerings look a little more complex, at least initially, because they include panels relating to Google One's various cloud storage features. Tap one to explore how your storage space is being used. A Sync option can back up your photos, videos, contacts or calendars, and a Clean up feature wipes junk files to free up more space. If you're not interested in any of that, though, just tap the iOS VPN panel and you've essentially got the same stripped-back interface as the desktop app. 

Android users get a touch more functionality. A split tunneling feature allows you to choose apps that won't use the VPN, handy for anything that isn't compatible. A Snooze feature pauses the VPN protection for five minutes, then automatically resumes it, and integration with Android's system-wide kill switch protects you by blocking your internet if the connection drops. That's all good news, but the app is still seriously underpowered by usual Android standards.

There is a positive side to having next to no features; you've next to nothing to learn so anyone can use it. There's no need to understand technical concepts like protocols or even encryption. Just flip the switch when you need protection.

Unfortunately, the lack of features might compromise your privacy in some situations. Our tests showed the Windows app didn't have a kill switch, for instance, and when we forcibly dropped the connection, our real IP was exposed. The app didn't even warn us or try to reconnect, so Windows users could browse for hours, thinking they're protected, when they're entirely exposed.

Does Google One VPN store any logs?

Connect to most VPNs, and your login and user traffic is sent through the same server. That single computer knows your identity and where you’re going online, allowing a malicious VPN (or anyone who can compromise the server) to log your activities and link them to your account.

Google One VPN is designed so that you log in using one server, but your browsing is routed through another. This way, the first computer knows who you are, but not what you’re doing; the second knows what you’re doing, but not who you are. Even Google can’t see which sites you’re visiting (which means it can’t log them, either).

The service does log some very general data about VPN use: how many connections you’ve made in the last 28 days, for instance, and how many connections your account has active right now. But that’s not unusual – most VPNs monitor the number of active connections to enforce ‘maximum device’ limits – and there’s nothing here that can link you to any action online.

Google One VPN Source Code

Google allows anyone to examine some reference libraries for its VPN (Image credit: Google)

Google doesn’t have the best of reputations for looking after user privacy, but fortunately you don’t have to take its VPN claims entirely on trust. The company has open-sourced some reference libraries for its apps, allowing anyone with technical expertise to take a look at how it works, and in 2021 the VPN was audited by NCC Group.

The conclusions were generally positive, with NCC Group finding that the VPN worked as promised, and explaining how Google had taken measures to prevent the system being compromised (malicious employees can’t simply install a backdoor on their own, for instance).

The report warned that the technical protections ‘did not categorically eliminate the opportunity for Google to violate its privacy claims’, but any audit of any VPN could make a similar point: things look great now, but it’s possible a provider could cheat the system later.

Overall, although the system design, open sourcing and audit report will never win over the biggest Google skeptics, the reality is Google One VPN has more support for its no-logging claim than most of the competition.

Google One VPN Plans

Google One Premium gives you a bunch of other stuff as well as the VPN (Image credit: Google)

How much does Google One VPN cost?

The Google One VPN is available in the following countries for eligible Google One members: Austria, Australia, Belgium, Canada, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Mexico, Netherlands, Norway, South Korea, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Taiwan, United Kingdom, and United States

After signing up, you can travel to other countries and Google One VPN should still work, but it may not connect to a server in that country, which could lead to problems. If you use Google One VPN in Hungary, say, and it connects to a server in Germany, then websites may not serve you with the local content you expect.

The baseline Google One plan offers the VPN, 100GB of online storage, Google Photos editing features, and alerts if Google finds your personal details on the dark web. It's yours for a very low $1.99 billed monthly (regular VPNs ask $10-$13), dropping to $1.67 on the annual plan.

Higher plans add more storage and extra benefits, including premium Google Workspace features and up to 10% rewards on Google Play purchases. See our full Google One review for more details.

This could be good value in some situations. If you'll only use a VPN to protect yourself on public Wi-Fi when on holiday, for instance, giving an annual $4 to Google will cover you for a couple of trips. Bargain!

If you'd like to unblock content, get online in VPN-unfriendly countries, or do anything more complex, you can get a full-strength VPN for not much more. For example, Private Internet Access is just $3.33 a month on its annual plan. That's $2.03 over three years for a far more powerful VPN service.

Google One VPN Main Interface

Google One VPN's interface really couldn't be any more basic (Image credit: Google)

How easy is Google One VPN to use?

The Google One app doesn’t even try to match regular VPNs for visual style. It’s really just a web page, with different sections on the VPN and Google One’s other features, and you browse it for whatever you need.

This still isn’t difficult to use: all you have to do is hit the Enable VPN button, then an Enable VPN switch, and typically you’re connected in around a second. Standard VPN apps usually require one tap rather than two, but that’s the only significant difference.

Android users can make life even easier by adding Google One VPN to their Quick Settings menu. After that, there’s no need to even launch the app. Connecting or disconnecting is then as easy as swiping down a couple of times and tapping the Google One VPN button.

Netflix menu showing popular shows

Google One VPN can't be used to unblock Netflix, or anything else, due to the way it's designed (Image credit: Netflix)

What does Google One VPN unblock?

Most VPNs let you connect to servers in different countries. This allows you to appear as though you're in Manhattan when actually you're in Melbourne. This may allow you to access content that isn't normally available in your country.

Google One VPN's apps automatically choose your server, though, usually one based in your own country. So, as you can't change your region, you won't be able to unblock anything at all.

One issue with streaming sites in particular is they often look out for VPN connections and block access if they detect you're using one. We connected to the VPN and then tried to watch Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, Disney Plus, and BBC iPlayer. None of the sites complained about Google One and we streamed content as usual.

Using a VPN can cause hassles on non-streaming sites, too. You might see annoying 'click all the tiles containing a bicycle' type CAPTCHAs, for instance, and some sites may block you entirely.

To test how the VPN handles this, we connected and accessed twelve websites (including Google) that can detect VPN use. The results were a real surprise. Commonly used free VPNs might be spotted on up to ten of our twelve websites, most commercial VPNs are detected by six to eight, but Google One VPN was flagged by only one website.

Looks like Google One VPN's ‘we don't unblock anything' stance has at least one advantage: content providers don't have much incentive to spend time and money trying to detect its users, and that could mean you're far less likely to be blocked while legitimately accessing sites in your own country.

Google One VPN Interface Portrait

Google One VPN offers a decent turn of speed, performance-wise (Image credit: Google)

How fast is Google One VPN?

We tested Google One VPN's performance using several benchmarking sites and apps including SpeedTest, Measurement Lab, Cloudflare, and more. We did this from a US home with a 1Gbps fiber connection.

The results were a little below par, with Google managing average download speeds of 345Mbps. That's a very long way behind the market leaders - IPVanish, NordVPN, and Surfshark all beat 950Mbps in recent tests. Still, it's perfectly adequate for browsing, streaming, and most other internet tasks.

Final verdict: How good is Google One VPN?

Google One VPN is a very limited VPN which just won't work for most users. The inability to change location means it can't unblock anything. No desktop kill switch makes it poor for Windows or Mac privacy. It won't even try to get you connected in China or other countries that block VPNs. If you only need the VPN for occasional mobile use while accessing public Wi-Fi, and you'll make use of the 2TB online storage space and other Google One extras, then it might, just about, get the job done. Even there though, the likes of Private Internet Access offer a far more capable service for only a little extra cash.

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