|Developer(s)||Tefincom & Co., S.A.|
|Stable release||Android 4.3.1 (November 18, 2019) [±]|
|Type||Virtual private network service|
NordVPN is a personal virtual private network (VPN) service provider. It has desktop applications for Windows, macOS, and Linux, mobile apps for Android and iOS, as well as an application for Android TV. Manual setup is available for wireless routers, NAS devices and other platforms.
NordVPN was established in 2012 by “four childhood friends”, as stated by its website. Late in May 2016, it presented an Android app, followed by an iOS app in June the same year. In October 2017, it launched a browser extension for Google Chrome. In June 2018, the service launched an application for Android TV. As of June 2018, NordVPN was operating more than 4,000 servers in 62 countries.
In 2017, NordVPN launched obfuscated servers for VPN access under heavy Internet restrictions. These servers allow accessing the service in countries such as Iran, Saudi Arabia, and China. Although the Chinese government has been attempting to restrict encrypted communications for years, millions of people still rely on various VPN services to bypass China's censorship system, known as the Great Firewall. In October 2019, after the Government of Hong Kong enacted an anti-mask law in response to the mass demonstrations against China's increasing influence over city affairs, LIHKG, the online platform for the protesters, urged people to download VPNs for bypassing potential internet shutdowns. On October 7, NordVPN reportedly became the fifth most downloaded mobile app in Hong Kong.
In March 2019, it was reported that NordVPN received a directive from Russian authorities to join a state sponsored registry of banned websites, which would prevent Russian NordVPN users from circumventing Russian state censorship. NordVPN was reportedly given one month to comply, or face blocking by Russian authorities. The provider declined to comply with the request and shut down its Russian servers on April 1. As a result, NordVPN still operates in Russia, but its Russian users have no access to local servers.
In September 2019, NordVPN announced a VPN solution for business, called NordVPN Teams. It is aimed at small and medium businesses, remote teams and freelancers, who need to access work resources securely.
On October 21, 2019, a security researcher disclosed on Twitter a server breach of NordVPN involving a leaked private key. The cyberattack granted the attackers root access, which was used to generate an HTTPS certificate that enabled the attackers to perform man-in-the-middle attacks to intercept the communications of NordVPN users. In response, NordVPN confirmed that one of its servers based in Finland was breached in March 2018. The exploit was the result of a vulnerability in a contracted data center's remote administration system that affected the Finland server between January 31 and March 20, 2018. According to NordVPN, the data center disclosed the breach to NordVPN on April 13, 2019, and NordVPN ended its relationship with the data center. Security researchers and media outlets criticized NordVPN for failing to promptly disclose the breach after the company became aware of it. NordVPN stated that the company initially planned to disclose the breach after it completed its internal audits. On October 29, 2019, NordVPN announced additional audits and a bug bounty program.
NordVPN routes all users' internet traffic through a remote server run by the service, thereby hiding their IP address and encrypting all incoming and outgoing data. For encryption, NordVPN uses the OpenVPN and Internet Key Exchange v2/IPsec technologies in its applications. Besides general-use VPN servers, the provider offers servers for specific purposes, including P2P sharing, double encryption, and connection to the Tor anonymity network.
NordVPN has desktop applications for Windows, macOS, and Linux, as well as mobile apps for Android and iOS and Android TV app. Subscribers also get access to encrypted proxy extensions for Chrome and Firefox browsers.
In July 2019, NordVPN released NordLynx, a new VPN tool based on the experimental WireGuard protocol, which aims for better performance than the IPsec and OpenVPN tunneling protocols. NordLynx is available to Linux users and, according to tests performed by Wired UK, produces "speed boosts of hundreds of MB/s under some conditions."
In a February 2019 review by PC Magazine, NordVPN was praised for its strong security features and an “enormous network of servers,” although its price tag was noted as expensive. CNET's March 2019 review favorably noted NordVPN's six simultaneous connections and dedicated IP option. In a mixed review published by Tom's Guide in June 2017, the reviewer criticized the service for being slower and more expensive than the competition, concluding that “NordVPN is neither good or bad”. The reviewer also noted that its terms of service mention no country of jurisdiction, writing that the company could be more transparent about its ownership. The company has since updated the Terms, explicitly mentioning Panama as its country of jurisdiction.
- Comparison of virtual private network services
- Internet privacy
- Secure communication
- Internet freedom in Panama
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