If you value privacy online, you have looked into getting a VPN service to help guard against third parties watching what you are doing with your browser. A VPN stands for Virtual Private Network and they are gaining in popularity. One of the most well known is NordVPN. It has compatibility with Windows, macOS, and also Linux. Even Apple phones and Android based systems can also take advantage of NordVPN which is great if you are on the go.
When you are in your home or working in the office, NordVPN will work well with NAS devices and also your wireless router. This makes it simple to use so that you can forget it is on while you are browsing freely.
Controversy Surrounding NordVPN
With a service this good, one might wonder why everyone is not using NordVPN. They have had controversy surrounding them in the past. In 2019, a penetration tester discovered a leaked private key had been obtained during a server breach. Attackers in this case were able to even gain root access and total control over the NordVPN service.
Once hackers had control of the VPN providers computers, they went on to attack the users that paid for the service. They forged an HTTPS certificate so they could plan out and execute man-in-the-middle attacks. Users of NordVPN thought they were still connected safely to the servers provided to them by the company.
For any user that happened to be using NordVPN during this time, many things are at risk. High level companies that are worth billions go through VPN services to make sure that they don’t have trade secrets leak. Any employees that were using the service during this time could be blamed for a leak and also face getting fired.
NordVPN Has Been Hacked
It turns out that NordVPN was not the one that was hacked in reality. A data center that they had a contract with had somebody take control of the remote administration system. NordVPN was told about the breach that occurred with the data center and dissolved the relationship.
Critics of the VPN service asked why the breach was not revealed earlier. NordVPN brushed off the accusations saying that they were going to reveal the breach after they conducted an audit to see what the damage was. In the meantime, any user that was unlucky enough to use NordVPN at this time was at risk.
Alternatives to NordVPN
After seeing how NordVPN handled the breach in their system, many might be wondering what the alternatives are. After all, do you want to entrust all your valuable information with just one VPN service? Here are the best alternatives to NordVPN.
1. ZenMate VPN
ZenMate is a great alternative. With servers in over 74 countries, you know the service is going to be fast and active. Stream shows from other countries and torrent files without worry. ZenMate starts at a very low price of just $2.22 a month. It is difficult to find a price that low when it comes to VPN services.
Windscribe can do it all. It will unlock more content for you including popular sites such as ESPN, BBC, and even HBO. It will also help you block ads while you are browsing the net so you don’t have to endure annoying pop ups and potential viruses. Windscribe is one of the few services that is free. Why not check out an excellent VPN at no cost and see if they are right for you.
3. Atlas VPN
Ready for a free service that offers more features than many paid programs? Check out Atlas VPN. They can give you access without an account, 4K streaming for awesome shows, and also 24/7 help with your account. They will protect you from malicious links and also guard your identity on the web. Give them a try and see if the free service is right for you.
4. TunnelBear VPN
The name might be funny, but the service is serious. If you are browsing online with public WiFi, you need to get TunnelBear. They sponsor many professional gamers and they can also protect your privacy. If you sign up for the two year plan, the price is under five dollars for each month. That is a great deal that is going to keep you safe.
5. TorGuard VPN
TOR became popular as it uses onion routing to make sure your identity is safe and your online habits are kept secret. For anybody online that is aware of how many people are watching your activities, it only makes sense to use the VPN provided by TOR as extra protection.
They have over 3000 servers located in more than 50 countries. If you want to stream shows with a high speed connection, they have a package especially designed for this! TorGuard can also promise you anonymous email along with their no log policy that will keep you protected. TOR was known for just their anonymous browser, but now they are also doing an amazing job with the VPN service as well.
The Benefits of NordVPN
Based in Panama, NordVPN made sure they went with a country that has no mandatory laws in regards to holding on to data. This means when you use their service for browsing, they should not keep a long list of places you visited or what you used the service for.
Features of NordVPN
NordVPN hides traffic for users by displaying an IP address that is not their own. Without the correct IP address, it is not possible for people to know your physical location and track you. When you use the service, it is like you are controlling one of their computers remotely so that everything you do just reflects the location of the computer NordVPN has.
Everything that comes both in and out will also be encrypted. OpenVPN and Internet Key Exchange v2/IPsec are used. If you are looking to participate in Peer to Peer sharing, they have specific servers for this since you will be going through a lot of data. Also, special servers are set up to work with TOR which is based on onion routing technology. NordVPN has many different layers of protection that you can use which will thwart any attempt for people to follow what you are doing online.
NordVPN does a great job of changing out obsolete or out-dated technology. By staying on top of how the technology is changing at all times, they are able to make sure their users are always safe from prying eyes. What is their log policy like though?
Many VPN services tell you that they have no logs when it comes to activity from their users. There is an issue with this though. The fine print you sign when you sign up many times will void this feature.
For instance, VPN services have been used in hacking exploits. One of the most famous was when the giant corporation Sony was hacked. The cyber criminal was using a VPN thinking that would cover his tracks and keep him safe. This was not correct at all!
When authorities approached the VPN service about the hack, they were ready to turn over all of the information they had. The customer then went to prison based on the data that was given to the investigators. We would never condone criminal activity, but it is also obvious from so many of these cases, when it is said that no logs are kept, this is false.
When NordVPN was audited in 2018, PricewaterhouseCoopers was able to confirm that NordVPN does indeed keep zero logs. This is great because it shows the company will stay by their word.
In 2019, NordVPN continued to push their technology to the limit. Based on the WireGuard protocol, they released NordLynx. This was designed to give better performance to users that use the operating system Linux. Did the experiment work using WireGuard? When tested by professional reviewers, they found speed boosts were significant. If you are a Linux user, you might want to look into what NordVPN can do for your download speed.
Roll-out of NordLynx
After the success of NordLynx, NordVPN wanted to continue the trend and pushed for a roll-out so that all platforms would be using WireGuard protocol. This was a massive project that required a lot of testing and nine different providers. Close to twenty cities were involved in the testing to make sure that users all over the country would be getting better speeds with using this new protocol.
What did the results say after testing the implementation? Users had higher than average download and upload speeds while using OpenVPN as well as IKEv2. The experiment was a success. Done across eight countries, NordVPN was excited to show what they were able to accomplish on a world wide level.
NordVPN is a good service but it has some flaws. We looked at many services that offer different tiers and could be considered more secure. With several of the providers on our list, the service starts off as free so you can try it until you feel comfortable going for the paid model. Continue to check back with us for more in the world of security and privacy.