By Aaron Kesel
I recently spoke with a representative from Cypherpunk Privacy about their Virtual Private Network (VPN) service and what separates them from other VPN companies; their answer was a passion for privacy, security and fighting against surveillance.
“Pretty much everything. From day 1, the plan has always been ‘no compromises.’ Every decision, every step of the way, we say, ‘What’s the best possible way to do this to protect our users’ privacy?,'” Cypherpunk Privacy told me.
They even have a daily updated warrant canary in place to protect their users, in which the company noted that their “warrant canary actually means something, where many don’t. In most countries, when something happens, they are put under a gag order, and therefore not legally allowed to notify their users – so the warrant canary is useless. In Iceland, gag orders have no legal bearing.”
Cypherpunk as a company began around 1.5 years ago, but they just started letting people use the service a few weeks ago. “We are currently in a free preview, and it will still be a few more weeks before we will officially launch and begin selling the service,” Cypherpunk said.
The representative explained why the company is based in Iceland and how its CEO has traveled all over the world to form the company.
“We are based in Iceland for one reason – it’s the best place in the world to run a VPN from. Iceland has some of best data protection laws in the world, we don’t have to log anything, we don’t have to comply with foreign intelligence, it’s outside of EU and US jurisdiction, and it’s not a member of the 14 eyes surveillance network. We also do not have to respond or comply with DMCA or other copyright infringement.”
Interestingly, the company has taken its time to build a framework of integrity that is apparently missing from other VPNs, which is something that most people might feel is automatic in the Internet security business.
We could have launched 6 or 7 months ago, but we wanted our first version to be better than the competition. We are heavily funded, privately, from personal friends and family, who wanted to help us make the world a better place.
If you dig deep enough into the funding behind some of the ‘top VPN services,’ their connections are pretty scary and make you question just how safe you are with them.
Most of the VPNs use outsourced customer service – paying other companies to handle their support. That means giving other companies access to customer information. We do our own support, and always will.
Most VPNs use Google Analytics on their website, the industry standard and honestly the best stats collection setup out there. We use a hardened, self-hosted Piwik Analytics setup, set up to anonymize IP addresses and not connected to GeoIP databases and regularly purge the stats, to protect our users even more. This is not at all an ideal setup from a marketing standpoint and actually, makes it much harder for us to acquire users and make money – but it’s the best setup from a privacy standpoint, and that is and always will be, or top priority. Most VPNs use conversion tracking cookies from Facebook, Twitter and other 3rd parties – we don’t. That makes my job much harder, as I can’t create ‘conversion campaigns’ that are optimized for signups – but it protects our users’ privacy.
Additionally, there is a robust suite of privacy features. “We have a privacy filter, which blocks ads, trackers, and malware, a privacy firewall (internet killswitch if the VPN connection drops), DNS leak protection using our own DNS servers, IPv6 leak protection.”
When asked about where their VPN service would be offered the group said they currently have apps for Windows, MacOS, Linux, and Android and are working on releasing an IOS app, plus browser extensions for Chrome, Firefox, Opera and more. “The browser extensions also include a user-agent switcher, WebRTC protection, force HTTPS mode and can block flash as well as microphone and camera use.”
When asked about the technical details of the service, Cypherpunk Privacy claimed to “support all major VPN and proxy protocols with up to RSA-4096 + AES-256 encryption.” Adding that they have four different “encryption modes” – “Balanced – 128-bt AES Max Speed – no encryption Max Privacy – 256-bit AES Max Stealth – 128-bit AES + XOR on HTTPS port.” Max Stealth will bypass restrictive firewalls put in place by governments, corporations, and ISPs to achieve an open Internet experience – even China’s great censorship firewall.
Another major plus of the Cypherpunk Privacy VPN network is the ability to use five devices simultaneously, which means that competing VPN services will have a run for their money traditionally only allowing 1-2 devices per customer.
You can try out Cypherpunk Privacy now for free while it’s in a free preview just use this link.
After the free preview period, the group told me that they will offer packages of – one month, six months and one year, while additionally offering an early adopter deep discount that will remain active for as long as you are subscribed to their service. Pricing has not yet been announced at the time of this writing.
The VPN can be purchased using credit/debit, PayPal, Amazon, Bitcoin and in-app billing through Google Play and Apple App Store, with the most secure (depending on the wallet you use) and “anonymous” method being Bitcoin of course.