“Privacy is dead, deal with it.”
Sun MicroSystems CEO Scott McNealy
“It's disappointing just how dishonest some VPN providers can be, and netizens should dose up on more than a bit of skepticism, and not fall for the marketing hype when selecting an organization through which they'll tunnel their internet traffic but honestly it’s not terribly surprising to see yet another breach from a popular commercial VPN service”
Kenneth White, a security researcher, security principal at MongoDB
“We have carefully engineered our apps and VPN servers to categorically eliminate <recording and divulging> sensitive information.”
As you use a VPN to create an uber-protected tunnel to channel your data God knows where, making it hard to access, all you’rу really doing with your data is handing it over from your ISP whom you can more or less trust to a company who’s going to store all that data and may or may not use it to sell for what turns out to be fabulous profits. How do you know you can trust your VPN? There’s no real way to know.
What is their reputation like? Do they say they won’t keep logs but they do? Will they have to give up your data if the government forces them to with a gag order (and keep quiet about it as part of it?). Here’s how you find out.
|NordVPN||$3.67 a month plus 3 months free as part of the summer deal||Yup|
$ 8.32 per month
|Yup (plus tons of others, just like with Nord, but Mint and Yandex Money? Wowchies!)|
|CyberGhost||$2.34 per month||Yes!|
Best VPNs That Don't Log
Here are the ones you can be safe with.
ExpressVPN is everyone’s favorite VPN. There are quite a few reasons for this, but more than anything we have to congratulate its R+В team for putting emphasis on the features that will please the most influential group around, which is the young people and/or yuppies. Which features does it introduce to fit the market demand so well?
Unique features and selling points
An explicit no-log policy
Take that with a pinch of salt though, as some data will inevitably be recorded to improve user experience and keep the network running, but this will be a bare minimum in this case.
Exceptional speed and minimum ping delays
Everyone wants a fast VPN but if it’s good for gaming, it’s nothing less than ideal.
Torrenting and TOR over VPN compatibility
That’s a lot of opportunities and a lot of added protection if you ask us. If you think TOR is slow and VPNs are not secure enough, why not get the best of both worlds? And don’t forget now there’s no limit on all those “educational materials” you’ll be downloading now. There’s nothing sweeter than having access to the best-advanced geometry videos out there, right? We know you wouldn’t dream of pirating movies. Proud of you.
What’s more important for a VPN’s rep than proof of its integrity? Independent cybersecurity audits by Cure53 and PwC, here we go.
Compatibility across the board
Hook it up with macOS, Windows, Linux, iOS, Android, Chrome, Firefox, Safari, routers.
There are servers out there that write your data to hard drives, but in this case, the data gets wiped every reboot.
Relatively expensive at just under $7 a month, this product features British (Virgin Island) quality, as all things British, and is also, like all things British, isn’t cheap (and tried hard as we could, we couldn't find any virgins in those islands, which is misleading).
Is ExpressVPN worth the price? With all manner of sophisticated technology (like split tunneling, VPN router app for unlimited connections, leak protection, the Lightway protocol, and so on) and pretty impressive support, it’s hard to say no. Besides, investing in your security will highly likely be the best thing you’ll ever do.
Hmm, here’s quite a lot of fancy new tech like NoSPy servers, 256-AES encryption, and OpenVPN, IKEv2, WireGuard® protocols. And yet the rumor is, Cyberghost is a VPN for those on a budget. Could it be?
Unique features and advantages
We know this is what matters most, so it’s good news you can rely on Cyberghost to keep you safe:
“Our strict No Logs policy guarantees you’ll be the only one knowing what you do online.”
You can find more detailed information here.
More than 7 000 servers all over the world
It matters that VPNs have many servers all over the world because it ensures server coverage and location, as well as provides a better connection for internet users in any country. Besides obvious advantages like pretending you’re omnipresent and uncatchable.
Good VPN server networks are usually spread out to protect against localized issues such as regional internet outages, network blackouts, and ISP throttling. You may need to remember that smaller VPNs with fewer services are not necessarily slower: there may be fewer users and more resources left for you.
Best possible speeds ever out of all the VPNs ever at all (all of them)
Probably every VPN out there will claim they’re the fastest, but Cyberghost may actually be on the right track here. What do independent tests say?
“With the notable exception of Australia, my CyberGhost speeds tests show their servers can more than hold their own. In fact, they’re currently one of the fastest VPN services around.”
But what about downsides? After all, as the saying goes, for every con, there’s a pro.
At less than $2 a month and this much functionality, this is an offer that’s hard to resist.
Over 10 years in the business, which means they have one of the most important cards in the business: reputation.
Very, very minimalistic no-logging
As we mentioned, all systems record some data so that the network can run and user problems can be solved etc. Well, CyberGhost really squeezes all of those logs out of its servers that it physically can:
“Unlike many other providers who claim zero logging, CyberGhost doesn’t even log any anonymous data. We’re talking about things like connection timestamps and duration or bandwidth usage, typically stored and used for network maintenance.”
Keeps away from prying eyes
Romania is not only part of the EU, which is hopeful, but also not part of the Five Eyes, Nine Eyes or Fourteen Eyes alliances. We’ll explain in better detail why it’s important to stay away from those in the FAQ section, but for now just take out word for it – it’s as unhealthy as it sounds (and if you’re thinking behind those spidery eyes is a monster not unlike Shelob from Lord Of The Rings, you’re not wrong).
Very enthusiastic about security
One of the few VPNs around that employs aggressive ciphering as well as the latest security like
- OpenVPN with an AES-256-CBC cipher
- SHA256 hash authentication for the data channel
- AES-256 cipher
- RSA-4096 key encryption
- SHA384 hash authentication for the control channel,
- ECDH-4096 key exchange for forward secrecy
Needs a third-party audit
As we know, what matters most in this sphere is finding someone you can actually trust.
A parent company that’s unsettling according to PCmag
Will this company expose your VPN usage and track you like it did before? Find out here.
Besides minor indiscretions like its parent company and lack of independent audits, Cyberghost offers an impressive variety of latest tech and user-centered feature-packed interface for remarkably low money and trial and money-back functions that are actually hard to resist. Still, the fact that your data may not quite be secure is disconcerting, and hence it’s our second best choice. Other than these vague shadows cast by sceptics (it’s easy to stand on the sidelines and criticize!) we were impressed by its formidable infrastructure.
NordVPN is the most popular VPN. Your data is strictly “not monitored, recorded, logged, stored or passed to any third party” but will it be passed on to a third party when it’s hacked again?
Unmissable features and must-haves
One of the longest-running services around and for that reason one of the best candidates to become the best no-log vpn. In the business since 2012, it almost predates crypto. This is definitely a good sign. As we mentioned, it’s imperative to do business with those you can trust. As a general rule, the longer a company has been in the business, the less sense it makes for them to take their users for a ride after having invested this much into licensing, equipment, PR, and so on.
NordVPN offers pretty impressive discounts that look better and better the more time goes on (probably thanks to increasingly fierce competition in this niche).
5200 NordVPN servers in 59 countries
This may not be the biggest server network around but it seems to be the fastest VPN. Watch out though, as plenty of user numbers may actually hurt your cause and slow you down. It wouldn’t hurt to run your own speed test. Nevertheless, this fleet of servers is impressive.
One of the most important aspects of staying safe in the cybersecurity world is being able to stay up to date with the latest news, as any security expert will tell you. Use the blog to get more clued in, but don’t forget about other sources too.
Where else will you find a DarkWeb Monitor, WireGuard, Linux Support, DNS leak protection, and “a warrant canary that indicates it has not received any National Security letters, gag orders, or government-issued warrants” to name just a few?
While military-grade encryption is more or less a standard these days, and the same goes for money-back guarantees and internet connections that doesn’t slow your streaming services to a screeching halt, what about Double-VPNing your VPN traffic? What about not just AES 256-bit encryption but aggressive 4096-bit RSA and anonymous payment methods? Well, if you’re going to find fancy tech anywhere, it’s going to be here (and also possibly the Perfect Privacy VPN, but that deserves an article of its own).
You never saw this coming but NordVPN is also the fastest VPN there is. So which is the fastest VPN of the fastest VPNs around? Your guess is as good as ours until test results are out, but NordVPN’s tactic focuses around wide server coverage, fast security protocol, automatic connection to the fastest servers, and so on. Which sounds convincing. Also, there’s another secret to staying on top:
“The fastest VPN is the one that constantly upgrades its server network, invests in software architecture, and keeps up a robust infrastructure. In these respects, NordVPN is second to none.”
Could that be true? According to independent reviewers, thanks to NordLynx, Nord is actually the fastest there is. Beat that!
No-logging policy was verified by a third party
Let your curiosity flourish!
We know it’s not as bad as everyone says but cloud storage still raises suspicion with us, and provided NordVPN’s hack that’s not unreasonable. Sorry!
You can find more about NordVPN’s hacking incident here, but even though it was “deeply concerning” that “they spent millions on ads, but apparently nothing on effective defensive security,” according to an expert, there weren’t enough consequences to stop this VPN from being recommended by PCMag and TechRadar. What’s the level of encryption necessary for your user activity logs, traffic logs and payment details not to end up in the hards of intelligence agencies and hardened criminals? Ask someone other than NordVpn’s Technical Infrastructure Specialists who are outnumbered by Marketing and PR professionals about 5 to 1 (which is sadly the fate of many companies today).
Not a bad idea, BTW, to LinkedIn the team, just in case, for a glimpse of how everything is held together. Are there 14 CEOs for every engineer? Are their evangelists better twerkers than tweeters? Are they working hard or hardly working? Find out.
OpenVPN is difficult to configure
As we already said, one of the biggest target audiences out there are millennials, and they don’t have much patience when it comes to formalities. Anyway, you probably don’t really want to set up something kloogey when there are other alternatives out there. Have you ever assembled an IKEA bookshelf? Exactly.
Very, very handsome technologies indeed. We recommend thoroughly studying the advantages Nord offers, of which there are many, and they’re all quite techy. You still want to know what you’re getting )for example, what’s so hot about NordLynx?), so give it a thorough inspection. Impressive functionality that goes hand in hand with intriguing deals and discounts, but how is the security side of things doing?
Why No-Logging Matters
The more data your VPN provider keeps on you, the more exposed you become to millions of hackers around the world. The Verge provides a painful and depressing account of how very few of your personal details can be used to drain your account of tons of money you did everything you could to protect:
“Davis was careful when it came to digital security. He chose strong passwords and didn’t click on bogus links. He used two-factor authentication with Gmail, so when he logged in from a new computer, he had to type in six digits that were texted to his phone, just to make sure it was him. He had made some money with the rise of bitcoin and held onto the bitcoin in three protected wallets, managed by Coinbase, Bitstamp, and BTC-E. He also used two-factor with the Coinbase and BTC-E accounts. Any time he wanted to access them, he had to verify the login with Authy, a two-factor authenticator app on his phone… While he slept, an attacker undid every online security protection he set up. By the time he woke up, most of his online life had been compromised: two email accounts, his phone, his Twitter, his two-factor authenticator, and most importantly, his bitcoin wallets.”
So the less information someone out there has on you, the better.
Actually, why not go a little further, too? Come to think of it, with all the security features modern VPNs have (and they’re impossibly thought through) why wouldn’t you go for the one that allows you to hide your IP address, conceal your Internet usage, uses military standard AES-256 encryption, supports virtual server networks all over the world, and even supports anonymous payment methods with crypto? If you’re going to go stealthy, you might as well go really stealthy, too! So no logging is important, but contemplate additional protection, too. Study the infrastructure these systems offer, like strong security, levels of encryption, dedicated servers, and so on. For the prices VPNs charge these days, it would bу criminal negligence not to get a VPN equivalent of a Batmobile, especially considering the level of illegal activity out there.
As it turns out, it doesn’t take much to hack into an account run by an apex predator of security in this space, Bitcoin, so what about basic credit card details? What information of yours will be used for social engineering? If you think hackers won’t find the most creative ways of pumping the most out of your life with minimal data, here are a few statistics:
- Approximately $6 trillion is expected to be spent globally on cybersecurity by 2021
- There is a hacker attack every 39 seconds
- Unfilled cybersecurity jobs worldwide are at over 4 million in numbers, and postings are up 74% over the past five years
- Most companies (let alone users) take nearly 6 months to detect a data breach, even major ones.
I’ve heard about this Perfect Privacy, what is it? A tech? An urban legend?
The idea of perfect privacy is to ensure that no one can track your online activity. In the age of the internet, it's more important than ever to have digital privacy and be able to use technology without worrying about someone watching or monitoring you. Perfect Privacy VPN offers all the necessary features for maintaining privacy while browsing the web.
Privacy is a big deal in today's world. Every time you use the internet, it's like leaving your home with all of your doors and windows wide open. The internet can be accessed by anyone – including hackers and people who want to steal or abuse your personal information. Perfect Privacy VPN offers perfect privacy protection for online activities because they keep absolutely no logs at all! You're able to browse the web anonymously without being tracked, collect malware-free search results from Google, and financially support dissidents without getting in trouble for it.
Perfect Privacy is actually a well-known VPN from Switzerland. It protects your online privacy and prevents cybercriminals from stealing your personal information. It's called “perfect” Privacy because it has all of the features you would want in a perfect VPN, like top-notch encryption, unlimited bandwidth, no logs policy, and multiple locations to choose from.
It’s actually quite impressive in the sense that it not only actually predates crypto, having been created in 2008, but also features a few pretty dazzling technologies like NeuroRouting™, IPv6 Support, OpenVPN, IPSec, SSH2 tunnel, proxy Squid, SOCKS5 protocols, something quite heavenly called TrackStop, and a whole lot of other design functions. It’s a little bit more expensive at around $10 depending on the plan, but seriously, it’s $3 we’re talking about here compared to ExpressVPN. For that, you’re getting super-powerful feature-rich infrastructure, a very cool site, and even an opportunity to pay in crypto. What’s not to love? But then again, you could have known all that when you read it was from Switzerland.
Why you don't want to be logged
It is common knowledge that the internet was not originally designed to be secure. This means that any information you send over the internet is at risk of being intercepted by a third party who can then use it for their own purposes. VPNs are one way people have tried to improve this problem. Virtual Private Networks work by encrypting your data and routing it through an intermediary server before sending it on its way. But as they take care of your data they inevitably handle it as they protect it.
As you conceal your data from your ISP provider and hand it over to some stranger company are you winning anything? VPNs know who you're connecting to, how long you've been connected, what site or service you're using at the time, etc. Not only does this violate your privacy but it also gives these companies an insight into your personal life which can be monetized, and tons of money is to be made quite easily, as practice shows.
Also consider this: why should anyone ever have a right to see any of your data? We’re so used to sending off a plethora of documents to get verified after a successful job interview or to divulge our credit card details to websites that conveniently store our passwords and credit card details (or intermediaries banks send our credit details to) that we never stop for a second to think that no-one should have any right to this information about us. Not only because it can be used maliciously. But purely because this data belongs to us and we’re not giving it away. You probably wouldn’t give away your money (unless for a good cause). So it makes absolutely no sense to allow someone to log your data!
Now I’m worried, what else can I do to protect myself?
As one of the best unnamed geniuses of this era stated, here are two of the most important principles of surviving in this harsh new world:
✔ Keep your stuff to yourself
✔ Leave no trace.
And a large part of this means not letting VPNs log you. But we also advocate taking other security precautions, too, like using encryption whenever you can, keeping up to date with the news from the world of security, or even going as far as deleting your web presence altogether. This may sound extreme, but you’ll be surprised to learn how much can be found out from your Facebook profile, including where you live and which school your kids go to. So maybe it’s time to start taking that advice seriously.
What’s with the 5-eyes, 9-eyes 14-eyes Intelligence alliances?
Since Edward Snowden revealed that the NSA was collecting data on American citizens, VPN providers and privacy when it comes to online activity have become a hot topic. This is why many people are turning to VPNs (Virtual Private Networks) for internet security and online privacy. The best of them feature strict no-logs policies, which means no user logs at all thanks to diskless storage, or RAM drives that wipe data on each reboot. Diskless! Have you read that right? Disk-less. That way you don’t end up with your email address and connection logs surfacing somewhere in Dark Webs. Some of the best of them not only fail to keep usage logs so the government won’t force them to give them up but also employ special tools that monitor dark webs for your stolen info. Nice touch! This was as littlу user activity of yours is noticed as possible, meaning cybercriminals or hostile government will be stuck (hopefully) when they decide to read the exchanges between you and your nan, or find out where exactly you were when you criticized the President’s policy on foreign affairs (in some countries that goes hand in hand with more than a few years in prison).
It's been said that if you aren't paying for a product, then you are the product. In other words, when you use free products or services online, it is not unlikely that your data will be collected and sold to third parties. The truth of this sentiment has become all too clear in recent years as we have seen more privacy breaches than ever before. As we live more of our lives online, and governments around the world have passed laws that require companies to store data on their customers, people are starting to wonder how safe they really are.
What is the government doing to combat the growing hacking? Forming agencies and alliances that keep track of the data. For example, The Five Eyes Alliance is an intelligence alliance comprising Australia, Canada, New Zealand, the United Kingdom, and the United States who share signals intelligence among themselves through four regional bureaus. If your data is for some reason compromised and handed to a government in one of those countries, it will basically become an all-you-can-eat buffet for everyone who cares to join.
Generally speaking, when a VPN is outside of 5-eyes, 9-eyes 14-eyes countries the chances are governments aren’t combing through your data and you’re not getting messages like the Russians:
“Your email could not be sent because the Secret Service Officer responsible for reading your mail is away from the desk”.
Is there such a thing as “no-logging”?
Do you think VPNs record your data? The answer is complicated. It depends on the company, and what features they offer. Some companies do not log any information whatsoever while others may only keep a minimal amount of data to monitor server usage and such. Regardless, many VPNs claim that they have no-logging policies at all which can be quite difficult to prove in practice.
The short answer is, in some cases, periodically data is wiped completely. It’s quite difficult, as the experts say, to always remove all log data from all parts of the system, so some data still remains. Yet other VPNs are very elusive about what they record and what they don’t. Others lie. Will your website history be stored somewhere but not your physical address? Will someone know the volume of your downloads but not your habits? Well, only by inspecting third-party audits (check out Nord’s) will you find out for sure. Preliminarily it’s best to expect the worst and count on the best, so be aware that privacy is dead and only put out information onto the Internet that you can afford to lose. Your fate is in your hands. Don’t delegate responsibility to VPNs.
VPNs That Do Log (VPNs that are known for logging)
Just so you know what the bugaboo looks like when the worst comes to worst, here’s how it happens when VPNs say they don’t log but they actually do. The best of all of them is no doubt UFO VPN which made it into the annals of history with a double foul.
Surprise! UFO VPN claims it has a zero-log policy but exposes millions of user’s data including API access records, plain text passwords, VPN session secrets and tokens, IP addresses of both user devices and the VPN servers they connected to, connection timestamps, Geo-tags, device and OS characteristics, and more, all 894GB of it.
If you thought 894GB wasn’t around enough number, here’s The Register reporting as many as 7 VPNs out there (UFO VPN, FAST VPN, Free VPN, Super VPN, Flash VPN, Secure VPN, and Rabbit VPN) turned out to share some intimate connections with UFO that ultimately resulted in leakage of 1.2TB of data with 1,083,997,361 logs in total, which among other things included “people's names, subscribers' email and home addresses, plain-text passwords, Bitcoin and Paypal payment information”. Which, you have to admit, is as bad as it could get.
To sum up
Of the VPNs out there, these three are undoubtedly the most formidable. We also considered TorGuard, but it was hacked, and it doesn’t offer enough impressive features like NordVPN to make up for it.
These Three Whales on Whom the World Rests are definitely worth a try thanks to their technological advancements, impossible dedication to user experience, and feature-rich infrastructure. We recommend starting with ExpressVPN as people’s choice and taking it from there (it was our favorite, and it is a little pricey, but better safe than sorry).