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Encrypted email provider ProtonMail today launched its own VPN service called ProtonVPN, which includes a free user tier in its pricing plan.

The Swiss-based company said it had been testing its VPN service for four months with the help of over 10,000 members of the ProtonMail community, and the group was ready to make ProtonVPN available to everyone starting Tuesday.

free-vpn-800x400.jpg

The Proton group said they were motivated to create ProtonVPN to combat increased threats to online freedom, such as the recent repeal of Obama-era rules designed to protect consumer internet browsing history, calls by British Prime Minister Theresa May for increased online surveillance, and the attempts by the U.S. FCC to dismantle net neutrality.
"In the past year, we have seen more and more challenges against Internet freedom," said ProtonMail Co-Founder Dr. Andy Yen, "now more than ever, we need robust tools for defending privacy, security, and freedom online.

"The best way to ensure that encryption and privacy rights are not encroached upon is to get the tools into the hands of the public as soon as possible and widely distributing them," said Yen. "This is why, as with ProtonMail, we're committed to making a free version of ProtonVPN available to the world."
The group says it has worked to make the best possible VPN service by addressing many of the common pitfalls with existing VPNs. Features therefore include a Secure Core architecture that routes traffic through multiple encrypted tunnels in multiple countries to better defend against network based attacks, a no logs policy backed by Swiss law, as well as seamless integration with the Tor anonymity network. Headquartered in Switzerland, the VPN is also outside of E.U. and U.S. jurisdiction and is not a member of the fourteen eyes surveillance network.

The free tier includes servers in three countries and usage on one device, but bandwidth speeds cannot be guaranteed. The Basic tier costs $4 a month (billed as $48 a year) and includes access to all 112 ProtonVPN servers across 14 countries, high speed bandwidth, and usage on up to two devices, while the Plus tier ($8 per month/$96 per year) offers the highest bandwidth, connection on up to 5 devices, Tor servers, and access to Secure Core data networks hosted in Switzerland, Iceland, and Sweden. The Highest tier ($24 a month/$288 a year) includes a ProtonMail Visionary account.

ProtonMail began crowdfunding in May 2014 and launched in March 2016, led by a group of scientists from CERN and MIT who aimed to deliver an easy-to-use end-to-end encrypted email service with freely available open source code. Earlier this year, the team launched a Tor-based site to make ProtonMail available to users in regions under the oppression of strict state online censorship.

Note: Due to the political nature of the discussion regarding this topic, the discussion thread is located in our Politics, Religion, Social Issues forum. All forum members and site visitors are welcome to read and follow the thread, but posting is limited to forum members with at least 100 posts.

Article Link: Swiss Encrypted Email Provider Launches ProtonVPN With Free Subscription Tier
 
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JM

macrumors 68000
Nov 23, 2014
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I think ill finally give a vpn a try: wonder what the free level speeds are like.
 
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SoN1NjA

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Feb 3, 2016
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$4.50 a month for a tier that doesn’t have the highest speeds? No thanks :)
 

cmdrmac

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Jun 24, 2012
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$4.50 a month for a tier that doesn’t have the highest speeds? No thanks :)

I wonder what the difference is between the two speeds. For instance, if the high speed is capped at 50 mbps vs the 'highest speed' which is gigabit, then it may not necessarily be that bad. What I do find more limiting on the Basic plan is the limit of 2 devices.
 

SoN1NjA

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Feb 3, 2016
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I wonder what the difference is between the two speeds. For instance, if the high speed is capped at 50 mbps vs the 'highest speed' which is gigabit, then it may not necessarily be that bad. What I do find more limiting on the Basic plan is the limit of 2 devices.
2 devices is also BS

But 50Mbps? I pay for a 300Mbps down Wi-Fi connection, 50Mbps is nothing
 

KALLT

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Sep 23, 2008
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They're end to end encrypted in Sweden, one of the last bastions of privacy and security in the Western Hemisphere.

Switzerland. I wouldn’t call it a “bastion of privacy and security”, privacy-unfriendly laws have been enacted there too.

What about ProtonMail? Starting to want to get off gmail. Are the encrypted email providers secure?

They haven’t been hacked, at least not that we know of. Regardless of the security considerations, ProtonMail stores all emails encrypted with your private key. Gmail does not.

However, the user experience leaves a lot to be desired. You don’t get IMAP/Exchange access, their web client isn’t as powerful as Gmail's and the mobile apps are a bit disappointing. I personally get the feeling that they are constantly getting distracted with side projects and neglect the development of their core email service, case in point this VPN service. For an email service that prides itself for email encryption, it is pathetic that you still cannot send encrypted emails to non-ProtonMail users. They also have no import/export capabilities, meaning that you cannot extract your emails (other than manually forwarding each email) in case something happens to them or you decide to leave.
 
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cmdrmac

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Jun 24, 2012
134
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Do you guys really trust all these VPN services that are starting to pop up? I'm sure it's far more secure and private vs my ISP, but how can one really know for sure their privacy is kept hidden.

Good question. Reading all the articles on the interweb, seems like you need to have some trust. I am looking for a solution that makes me a bit more 'private' for my own sanity, and I definitely don't trust my ISP. This new service looks appealing, but also a bit pricey compared to other vendors and the features offered.
 

Rigby

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Aug 5, 2008
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However, the user experience leaves a lot to be desired. You don’t get IMAP/Exchange access
A solution to that is actually in beta right now. It's called Bridge (basically a local IMAP/SMTP server on your computer that can be used with any email client and on the other side connects to Protonmail and en-/decrypts the mails); it preserves end-to-end encryption, which is not possible using direct IMAP/Exchange access.
For an email service that prides itself for email encryption, it is pathetic that you still cannot send encrypted emails to non-ProtonMail users.
You can (by sending a link to such users that they can use to access the encrypted mail), although it would be nice if it could send PGP encrypted mails.
They also have no import/export capabilities, meaning that you cannot extract your emails (other than manually forwarding each email) in case something happens to them or you decide to leave.
Once the Bridge is generally available, you'll be able to do this with any IMAP client.
 
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decafjava

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Feb 7, 2011
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Do you guys really trust all these VPN services that are starting to pop up? I'm sure it's far more secure and private vs my ISP, but how can one really know for sure their privacy is kept hidden.
IIR
Good question. Reading all the articles on the interweb, seems like you need to have some trust. I am looking for a solution that makes me a bit more 'private' for my own sanity, and I definitely don't trust my ISP. This new service looks appealing, but also a bit pricey compared to other vendors and the features offered.
A lot of these guys worked at CERN before and know their computer stuff. Plus they are not motivated by commercial concerns primarily.
 

BenTrovato

macrumors 68030
Jun 29, 2012
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IIR

A lot of these guys worked at CERN before and know their computer stuff. Plus they are not motivated by commercial concerns primarily.

Working at CERN isn't a vote of confidence for me. Unless their reasons for leaving were because they have higher ethical standards. Then much respect.
 

aajeevlin

macrumors 65816
Mar 25, 2010
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A solution to that is actually in beta right now. It's called Bridge (basically a local IMAP/SMTP server on your computer that can be used with any email client and on the other side connects to Protonmail and en-/decrypts the mails); it preserves end-to-end encryption, which is not possible using direct IMAP/Exchange access.
You can (by sending a link to such users that they can use to access the encrypted mail), although it would be nice if it could send PGP encrypted mails.
Once the Bridge is generally available, you'll be able to do this with any IMAP client.

The "solution" has been in beta for a long time now. Every time I search for the IMAP with proton I get the same beta talk. When will this come out of beta?
 

firewood

macrumors G3
Jul 29, 2003
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Silicon Valley
Do you guys really trust all these VPN services that are starting to pop up? I'm sure it's far more secure and private vs my ISP, but how can one really know for sure their privacy is kept hidden.

What's your alternative? You could build and run your own VPN on a private server and host it somewhere, but then you'd have to trust all the hardware you acquired, all the software you downloaded or purchased to run on it, and your own skills at securing the server, as well as the security of any end points.
 

KALLT

macrumors 603
Sep 23, 2008
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How would a non-Proton user decrypt an email?

They use PGP encryption. All you need is a client that can decrypt such emails. There is an open-source plug-in for macOS Mail: https://gpgtools.org. You can actually send encrypted emails to your ProtonMail account using your public key. ProtonMail lacks the capability to send emails from the web client and upload other peoples’ public keys.

A solution to that is actually in beta right now. It's called Bridge (basically a local IMAP/SMTP server on your computer that can be used with any email client and on the other side connects to Protonmail and en-/decrypts the mails); it preserves end-to-end encryption, which is not possible using direct IMAP/Exchange access.

It has been in beta for quite a while and they were said to have been working on this for years. All the more reason to wait until you switch to ProtonMail.

You can (by sending a link to such users that they can use to access the encrypted mail), although it would be nice if it could send PGP encrypted mails.

I should have specified that I meant PGP.
 

manu chao

macrumors 604
Jul 30, 2003
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They use PGP encryption. All you need is a client that can decrypt such emails. There is an open-source plug-in for macOS Mail: https://gpgtools.org. You can actually send encrypted emails to your ProtonMail account using your public key. ProtonMail lacks the capability to send emails from the web client and upload other peoples’ public keys.
Thanks, the "inability to upload other people's public keys" makes this much clearer to me. One reason why I still haven't updated to Sierra is that the plugin is still in beta for Sierra. Though the March update seems to have fixed the most common issues.
 

Thunderhawks

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Feb 17, 2009
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Interesting. Wonder how this will stack up against PIA.
PIA has a lot of issues right now and is not responding to their customers, nor do they even tell you , unless you ask what is going on.
They have cut out some countries and are "working" on things with no given end date.

Will let my subscription lapse and switched to TORGUARD today. Get a lifetime coupon to pay half.

Some VPNs are being blocked by Netflix, however there are ways around it.

Just google VPNs and you'll get a collection and reviews.

In any case PIA cannot be recommended at all right now.

As far as a US VPN is concerned, just google Who is my isp and there are other verification sites.

In any case make sure your VPN doesn't keep logs.
 
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