ProtonMail Makes Its Free VPN Service Available to Everyone

ProtonMail, the Swiss encrypted email service created by CERN and MIT scientists (and previously described in this blog at http://bit.ly/2snJfUJ and at http://bit.ly/2snGOlm), has released a new product in response to the administration’s roll back of Obama-era internet privacy rules. Starting today, you can try out the company’s VPN service, which was in beta testing by 10,000 initial users for a year, by getting it from the official ProtonVPN website.

The great thing about the ProtonMail VPN is that it has a free tier that’s free forever. It might not be as robust as the paid ones, but it still routes your connection through multiple encrypted tunnels in your choice of three different countries.

Now you have no excuse for not using a VPN!

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Build Your Own High-Security VPN in the Cloud for FREE in 10 Minutes!

VPNs (Virtual Private Networks) are one of the best security tools available today. See my earlier articles about VPNs by starting at https://privacyblog.com/category/vpn-virtual-private-networking/.

VPNs are available in all sorts of configurations. Some VPNs are pieces of software you install in your Windows, Macintosh, Chromebook, Android, iPad, or smartphone that protects that one device. Other VPNs may be hardware boxes you install in your company’s data center to protect all the computers in the company’s location. There are various other combinations as well.

In this article, I will ignore hardware VPN devices as they are generally installed in corporate offices by network administrators. Instead, this article will focus on one particular software VPN that YOU can install yourself.

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Buy a Wi-Fi Router with a Built-in VPN

Virtual Private Networks (VPNs) are essential tools for maintaining your privacy online. For background information, see my previous articles about VPNs by starting at https://privacyblog.com/category/vpn-virtual-private-networking/ and especially the articles at https://privacyblog.com/2016/01/11/top-5-reasons-to-use-a-vpn/ and at https://privacyblog.com/2015/01/24/how-to-set-up-a-vpn-and-why-its-a-good-idea-to-use-one/. Also, see What Is VPN For? VPN Benefits Explained at https://anonymster.com/what-is-vpn/.

Most consumer-grade VPNs are bits of software you install in your computer, tablet, or smartphone. These are relatively low-cost and provide excellent security for that one device in which it is installed. However, what do you do if your family has several computers and smartphones to protect? What if your company has dozens of computers to protect? Using a software VPN suddenly becomes very expensive if you have to purchase multiple copies.

Even worse, how do you add VPN connections to Roku boxes or VoIP telephones or Xboxes or Amazon Echo or Google Home or to PlayStations or any other devices that will not allow for installation of additional software? You don’t want anyone tapping into those devices and yet many of them are not capable of adding new software, especially not VPN software.

Luckily, there is an easy way to solve that, even easier than installing VPN software. However, the price will be higher unless you have a lot of devices to protect.

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Mysterium to Create a Secure, Anonymous, Blockchain-based VPN

Blockchain startup Mysterium Foundation is building a decentralized Virtual Private Network (VPN) that anyone can use to connect securely and anonymously to the internet. There are numerous other VPNs already available today but most of them are not all that anonymous. While a VPN will indeed hide your online activity from your Internet Service Provider (ISP), you have to replace that privacy by giving similar information to your VPN provider.

Can you trust your VPN provider? Probably, but there have already been a few exceptions where VPN providers have taken your private information and web surfing habits and sold it to other companies. See http://bit.ly/2ptcHFY for information about one flagrant sale of personal information by a rogue VPN provider. We can assume there have been other, similar cases that were never publicized.

Most users are unaware that using a VPN simply moves their private data from centralized ISP’s into the hands of centralized VPN providers. One new proposal promises to close that security hole.

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VPN Downloads Spiked After Congress Rolled Back Privacy Rules

Last month, after Congress rolled back Obama-era FCC protections meant to stop Internet Service Providers (ISPs) from harvesting your private data without permission, consumers quickly hustled to find other ways to protect their privacy. New data reveals that many of those consumers turned to virtual private network (VPN) software, which effectively extends a protected network over a public network like the internet.

For consumers, the best line of defense is to install VPN software on their web-connected devices. And that’s exactly what’s happening: According to data from Google Trends and App Annie, interest in VPN apps spiked significantly in late March as the privacy protections were repealed.

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Why Your Free VPN Won’t Cut It

vpnVPNs protect you from all manners of evil. However, if you are using or simply thinking of using a free VPN, please read the article by Joel Lee in the MakeUseOf.com web site at: http://www.makeuseof.com/tag/free-vpn-cut. Lee points out the benefits of a VPN and then lists 5 Reasons to Never Use a Free VPN.

Perhaps the biggest issue is near the end of the article:

“At this point, you have to ask yourself: why are they offering this free of charge?

“If you can’t come up with a good answer, then you’re probably the one being exploited.”

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