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Thread: Vpn Providers Bought One After The Other By The Same Dubious Company

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    Advanced User Renk's Avatar
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    Vpn Providers Bought One After The Other By The Same Dubious Company

    Kape Technologies has just bought ExpressVPN for USD 936 millions.

    In the last few years, the Vpns providers CyberGhost, Zenmate and PIA were also purchased, by a company named Crossrider. This company was at that time known for developing malwares, and for being involved in israeli military and intelligence agencies.

    And guess what: Crossrider is nothing but the previous name of Kape.

    Last but not least, Kape now also owns Webselenese, presented as an "online platform specialising in consumer-focused privacy and security content", which itself runs VpnMentor.

    When moreover I see that Webselenese is citing among its "partners" companies such that NordVpn, IpVanish, Norton, Bullguard and McAfee, I find the situation really worrying.
    Last edited by Renk; 18.09.21 at 18:26.
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  2. Who Said Thanks:

    austinpowers (22.11.21) , Lucas Kane (04.10.21) , Instab (19.09.21) , anon (19.09.21) , JohnWick (18.09.21)

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    Moderator anon's Avatar
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    This screams "cornering the market" to me, and their reputation doesn't make things any better. When PIA was bought, they made an announcement of sorts on Reddit stating how it wouldn't change their principles or mission; I have no doubt their employees genuinely believe that, but the sad reality is that one way or another, whoever supplies the funding and receives the profits decides which direction things go.

    Thankfully ProtonVPN remains reputable, although I wish they weren't so slow to implement feature suggestions. Wireguard support was finally added last month, port forwarding is still a dream.

    Last link in your post is broken, by the way.
    "I just remembered something that happened a long time ago."
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    Advanced User Renk's Avatar
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    And it goes from bad to worse:
    https://restoreprivacy.com/expressvp...-surveillance/


    Quote Originally Posted by anon View Post
    Last link in your post is broken, by the way.
    My bad. The correct link is the WebSelenese url site itself:
    https://www.webselenese.com/

    And WebSelenese is running the review site SafetyDetective?com, too....
    https://www.ifi.today/news/1363-Kape...eddy-Sagi.html

    This screams "cornering the market" to me
    Yes, the market is being cornered: Just in 2019 and 2020, IPVanish, StrongVPN, ibVPN, SaferVPN, Encrypt?me and BufferedVPN were aquired by J2Global, which itself owns Mashable, PCMag and IGN.

    And the Pakistan-based company Gaditek owns PureVpn and Ivacy (for those wondering why some of the servers they are using are the same, this is why).

    And PureVPN and Ivacy have the same Singapore registration address than the review site VpnRanks.

    More infos here



    one way or another, whoever supplies the funding and receives the profits decides which direction things go.
    How true.
    At least from now it will become quite easy to determine which vpn comparison site is a scam: it will suffice to show whether ExpressVpn, PIA and CyberGhost are/remain all 3 in the top 3.


    Thankfully ProtonVPN remains reputable
    The free version they offer is probably the sole free vpn I know that can be trusted. Although recently a case tarnished ProtonMAIL's reputation.

    And for sure, the speed are not great, but it's because many people use them, and as the IPs ProtonVPN provides are shared ones, the anonymity offered by using the free servers is quite good.

    Wireguard support was finally added last month, port forwarding is still a dream.
    I still have concerns regarding WireGuard. This protocol is fast and very good on the security side, but on the privacy/anonymity side, it's a different story: genuinely WireGuard forces to keep long term IP logs, provides only static dedicated IP which is a privacy nightmare. Some Vpn Providers (Mullwad, Ivpn, NordVpn....) have put some workarounds in place, but these workarounds are just tricks imagined by sole technical teams, none of these tricks have been audited, and all that remains experimental for me.

    Has ProtonVpn described how they will manage the intrinsic WireGuard provacy issues??
    Last edited by Renk; 10.10.21 at 21:59.
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    anon (11.10.21)

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    Moderator anon's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Renk View Post
    My bad. The correct link is the WebSelenese url site itself:
    https://www.webselenese.com/

    And WebSelenese is running the review site SafetyDetective?com, too....
    https://www.ifi.today/news/1363-Kape...eddy-Sagi.html


    Yes, the market is being cornered: Just in 2019 and 2020, IPVanish, StrongVPN, ibVPN, SaferVPN, Encrypt?me and BufferedVPN were aquired by J2Global, which itself owns Mashable, PCMag and IGN.
    At least PC Magazine is nice enough to disclose this on their VPN reviews.

    How true.
    At least from now it will become quite easy to determine which vpn comparison site is a scam: it will suffice to show whether ExpressVpn, PIA and CyberGhost are/remain all 3 in the top 3.
    Who's to say it won't become a Top 5 or Top 10 some months from now?

    The free version they offer is probably the sole free vpn I know that can be trusted. Although recently a case tarnished ProtonMAIL's reputation.
    I saw that, but they aren't really at fault here, and their handling of the situation was reasonable. After all, it was a valid order from a national court with no legal recourse for an appeal. Just because Swiss law is much better than other countries' on this regard, it doesn't mean it's perfect or anything hosted there is completely untouchable, which it seems is what people implicitly thought. I think the fact this incident was so exceptional and controversial ironically proves to some extent they're still reliable, at least for now: no one would be surprised by Google handing out IPs.

    Anyway, Cryptofree is my runner-up. There are some concerns about their Canadian origin, but everything else seems top notch. Only one speed-capped server in France, though...

    And for sure, the speed are not great, but it's because many people use them, and as the IPs ProtonVPN provides are shared ones, the anonymity offered by using the free servers is quite good.
    No complaints about their speed here, but then again I only use it for sites that block Tor. Cloudflare is a fairly big offender, as it appears to be targeting both Tor and the Tor Browser's fingerprint for its "high" security setting: the browser check redirects in an endless loop.

    I still have concerns regarding WireGuard. This protocol is fast and very good on the security side, but on the privacy/anonymity side, it's a different story: genuinely WireGuard forces to keep long term IP logs, provides only static dedicated IP which is a privacy nightmare. Some Vpn Providers (Mullwad, Ivpn, NordVpn....) have put some workarounds in place, but these workarounds are just tricks imagined by sole technical teams, none of these tricks have been audited, and all that remains experimental for me.

    Has ProtonVpn described how they will manage the intrinsic WireGuard provacy issues??
    Hotspot Shield also has their own fork, although I can't recommend them due to their jurisdiction of choice and old habit of injecting ads on insecure pages. Haven't yet checked what ProtonVPN's approach to Wireguard looks like, but the workarounds in use by other providers seem acceptable.
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    Quote Originally Posted by anon View Post
    Haven't yet checked what ProtonVPN's approach to Wireguard looks like
    https://protonvpn.com/support/wireguard-privacy/

    Seems reasonable. Doing double NAT is usually a nightmare in terms of reliability (double connection tracking) and speed (rewriting millions of packets per second on both points), but in here the first NAT only needs to handle the Wireguard protocol effectively, and hardware acceleration is a thing.
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    Advanced User Renk's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by anon View Post
    https://protonvpn.com/support/wireguard-privacy/

    Seems reasonable. Doing double NAT is usually a nightmare in terms of reliability (double connection tracking) and speed (rewriting millions of packets per second on both points), but in here the first NAT only needs to handle the Wireguard protocol effectively, and hardware acceleration is a thing.
    Double NAT is the way NordVPN chose, too. With double NAT it's possible (for what I unterstand) to preserve "anonymity" in the sense that many different users may use the same (external) Vpn IP at the same moment. Other providers handle that differently, eg IVPN. Mullvad (an other reputable Vpn provider) uses a similar method. But it does not seem to me that this kind of method preserves anonymity.


    Anyway, Cryptofree is my runner-up. There are some concerns about their Canadian origin, but everything else seems top notch. Only one speed-capped server in France, though...
    I had forgot to reply to this part of your previous post.

    Be aware that Cryptostom's founder, D. Spink aka Fausty, who runned the vpn CryotoCloud several years ago, has been put in jail 2 times (for bestiality and possibly detention of CP material, and for large quantitiy of drugs possession/transportation ). On one of these occasions, he got out of jail relatively quickly, suggesting a possible collaboration of his part with the authorities. He is quite easy to recognize on the forums thanks to his very distinctive, highly hyped writing style. I don't know if he is really no longer part of CryptoStorm, or if he just chose not to appear related to this provider, while continuing to run it, setting up in my view at least an orange flag concerning CryptoStorm.
    Last edited by Renk; 16.11.21 at 01:21.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Renk View Post
    Double NAT is the way NordVPN chose, too. With double NAT it's possible (for what I unterstand) to preserve "anonymity" in the sense that many different users may use the same (external) Vpn IP at the same moment. Other providers handle that differently, eg IVPN. Mullvad (an other reputable Vpn provider) uses a similar method. But it does not seem to me that this kind of method preserves anonymity.
    It's a bit different than that. They made it so that everyone has the same source address for the Wireguard tunnel. Therefore, the first step in the chain can't identify individual users, but is still able to do NAT (technically NAPT) and connection tracking to reach the "real" server on your behalf. The "multiple people behind a single external address" component is still there, but it's not granted or altered by this scheme. And on a sidenote, may partly be why very few providers offer IPv6 support...

    However, that only solves this particular identification vector. Achieving complete anonymity from your provider by design is impossible because they must identify you at some point (through a certificate, private key or username and password depending on protocol) to know if your account is valid, you're a free or paid user, and how many devices you have connected already. So the trust factor always remains.

    Be aware that Cryptostom's founder, D. Spink aka Fausty, who runned the vpn CryotoCloud several years ago, has been put in jail 2 times (for bestiality and possibly detention of CP material, and for large quantitiy of drugs possession/transportation ).
    I dug into this at the time, and my conclusion was that it didn't affect the service's reputation significantly. The evidence for those charges was vague or inexistent, and on top of that, he's apparently not involved with operations anymore anyway. Not to mention their features page and blog show a refreshingly high level of competence in technical aspects.

    But once again, the trust factor always remains
    "I just remembered something that happened a long time ago."
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