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Protecting user data and privacy with ProtonVPN

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Privacy is a major issue that has gained a lot of attention in the past few years. Data leaks and breaches have brought to the forefront the issue of data ownership and control online. A Virtual Private Network or VPN helps to address concerns of cybersecurity and privacy faced by users.

VPNs help to create a safe network that encrypts a user’s web traffic and masks their virtual profiles.

ProtonVPN is a VPN provider that aims to allow users to benefit from the world’s strongest privacy laws. The platform prioritizes the security of users and is supported by the community.

What is ProtonVPN?

ProtonVPN is a VPN provider based in Geneva, Switzerland, and was founded in 2016 by a team of scientists that met at CERN (European Center for Nuclear Research). They created ProtonMail, one of the world’s largest encrypted email services. ProtonVPN was then created with the need for better protection of activists, journalists, and users.

It is also supported by FONGIT, which is a non-profit foundation working for the public good and is funded by the Swiss Federal Commission for Technology and Innovation. ProtonVPN provides complete transparency while running the VPN service in an honest and secure manner.

Key features

ProtonVPN encrypts the user’s connection while browsing the web by routing the connection through encrypted tunnels. Some of the key features of ProtonVPN are:

  • VPN accelerator: With the VPN Accelerator, ProtonVPN provides users with upto 400% increase in VPN speeds. This is done by overcoming CPU limitations that affect the processing of VPN protocols by using advanced networking techniques to reduce latency and redesigning the VPN protocols themselves thereby reducing inefficiencies in their code.
  • Adblocker: NetShield is a DNS filtering feature that protects users from malware, prevents website trackers, and blocks ads while surfing the internet. NetShield checks the domain requests of websites and apps against the database of domains known to host malware, ads, and trackers.
  • Encryption: All the user traffic is encrypted with AES-256 while the key exchange is done using 4096-bit RSA, HMAC, and SHA384 is used for message authentication.
  • Safe protocols: ProtonVPN only uses secure VPN protocols such as OpenVPN, IKEv2, and WireGuard. It does not have any servers that support PPTP and L2TP/IPSec, giving users the assurance that their VPN tunnel is protected by the most reliable protocol.
  • Perfect Forward Secrecy: In order to make sure that a user’s encrypted data cannot be captured and decrypted later if an encryption key is compromised, ProtonVPN uses a curated selection of encryption cipher suites that have Perfect Forward Secrecy.

WireGuard’s open-source protocol 

WireGuard is a new VPN protocol that is fast and secure allowing users to access faster speeds with better performance and security. The ProtonVPN platform launched this open-source lightweight protocol reduces the CPU load that is required to process it thereby providing a longer battery life for a user’s devices such as phones, laptops or tablets. 

All apps offered by ProtonVPN are fully open-source and audited as the platform focuses on transparency and accountability. 

Secure core architecture

ProtonVPN has a secure core architecture which gives it the ability to defend itself against network-based attacks. The traffic is routed through multiple servers before leaving the ProtonVPN network helping in the protection of the data and user information.

This also ensures that an advanced adversary that monitors the network traffic at the exit server will not be able to discover the true IP address of ProtonVPN users or match their browsing activity to that IP. These secure core servers are located in Iceland, Sweden, and Switzerland and are protected by strict privacy laws.

In case a user’s connection to any of the VPN servers is interrupted, the kill switch feature automatically blocks all connections to their device so as to protect the user’s IP address and not expose it to outside of the secure VPN tunnel.

Prices and plans

ProtonVPN has several plans that the user can choose from as per their need.

  • The free plan allows users to access 23 servers in 3 different countries with a medium speed and no-logs policy. Users can also access blocked content through a VPN connection.
  • With the basic plan priced at $4 per month, users get access to 350+ servers in 40+ countries. They get to use 2 VPN connections with a high-speed, no-logs policy. Users can also access blocked content and get the NetShield adblocker with this plan. P2P and BitTorrent support is also provided to these users.
  • The Plus plan offers 1400+ servers in 61 countries for a $5.99/month plan. Users get 10 VPN connections and upto 10 Gbps speed. They can also access blocked content and streaming service support along with the Secure Core and Tor over VPNs. P2P and BitTorrent support is also provided with this plan.
  • With the Visionary plan, users get to access all plus plan features and a ProtonMail visionary account with just a $24 per month plan.

Conclusion

ProtonVPN works in over 61 countries with 1,432 servers and a 1,675 Gbps capacity. It is based in Switzerland giving it strong privacy and legal protection structure. The platform has built a trustworthy and transparent system, informing users exactly who is running the service. It is also open-source and anyone can examine the apps and their code.

ProtonVPN has also commissioned professional audits for their full-release software from SEC Consult and publishes the full results online. The platform places special focus on privacy and ease of use for its users around the world. Currently, ProtonVPN has a limited time 50% off on its ProtonVPN Plus plan. This year-end offer is open to new users, Free plan users, and ProtonVPN Basic plan users. 

For more information on ProtonVPN, please check out their official website.

Disclaimer: This is a paid post and should not be treated as news/advice.

With Masters in Mass communication and journalism, Anjali's interests lie in blockchain technology adoption across emerging economies.