(Tech Xplore)—A Switzerland-based company earlier this week released a free virtual private network together with a tier-based system that provides even more VPN level of support. The new product is from ProtonVPN AG headquartered in Geneva.
"A VPN (Virtual Private Network) allows users to browse the web without being tracked, bypass online censorship blocks, and also increases security by passing all internet traffic through a strongly encrypted tunnel," ProtonVPN Admin noted.
The free VPN service is also called ProtonVPN. When you use it, your Internet connection is encrypted. The group said that, routing your connection through encrypted tunnels, ProtonVPN's advanced security features ensures an attacker cannot eavesdrop on your connection.
The company said they use strong encryption algorithms (AES-256) and protocols (OpenVPN). Also, ProtonVPN uses ciphers with Perfect Forward Secrecy. Your encrypted traffic cannot be captured and decrypted later, even if the key is compromised.
They announced the ProtonVPN service is available now for download.
Tech news sites said the move was in response to a rollback of rules ensuring Internet privacy.
"After more than 1 year of development, and four months of beta testing by over 10,000," said a blog announcement, "we're finally making ProtonVPN available to everyone. And we really mean everyone, because consistent with our mission to make privacy and security accessible to every single person in the world, we're also releasing ProtonVPN as a free VPN service."
Switzerland has some of the world's strongest privacy laws, said the group behind the network service. In addition to the free version, the company is also offering paid tiers of service.
The ProtonVPN site carries its background story: "Our story began at CERN, where the web was born and where our founding team met. In 2014, on the 25th anniversary of the web, we built ProtonMail to make online privacy a reality again for millions of people around the world. The ProtonVPN project was born out of a need to better protect the activists and journalists that use ProtonMail."
The ProtonVPN admin in a blog posting made their case for a tiered model.
"Unlike companies like Google and Facebook who abuse user privacy to sell advertisements, ProtonMail and ProtonVPN are entirely dependent on users upgrading to paid accounts to cover operating expenses. Without your support, these projects would not be able to thrive and grow. If you appreciate the security and privacy that ProtonVPN provides, and have the means to do so, please consider upgrading to a paid account. This allows us to support the millions around the world without these means."
Adnan Farrooqui in Ubergizmo remarked that "the free tier is pretty secure for the average user as it's still routing their connection through several encrypted tunnels in three different countries." International Business Times said, "higher tiers lets users connect more devices, provides higher speeds of use and access to enhanced servers."