|Developer(s)||Tefincom & Co., S.A.|
|Initial release||February 13, 2012|
|Stable release||Android 5.0.5 (January 28, 2021) |
|Type||Virtual private network|
|License||Commercial proprietary software|
NordVPN is a 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 on 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 October 2019, NordVPN was operating more than 5,200 servers in 62 countries.
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.
In December 2019, NordVPN became one of the five founding members of the newly formed 'VPN Trust Initiative', promising to promote online security as well as more self-regulation and transparency in the industry.
In August 2020, Troy Hunt, an Australian web security expert and founder of Have I Been Pwned?, announced a partnership with NordVPN as a strategic advisor. On his blog, Hunt described this role as "work with NordVPN on their tools and messaging with a view to helping them make a great product even better."
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 offers three subscription plans: monthly, yearly and bi-yearly. It is not possible to cancel a subscription through the web interface.
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. Subscribers can connect up to 6 devices simultaneously.
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 April 2020, NordVPN announced a gradual roll-out of the WireGuard-based NordLynx protocol on all its platforms. The wider implementation was preceded by a total of 256,886 tests, which included 47 virtual machines on nine different providers, in 19 cities, and eight countries. The tests showed higher average download and upload speeds than both OpenVPN and IKEv2. 
In November 2020, NordVPN launched a feature that scans the dark web to determine if a user's personal credentials have been exposed. When the Dark Web Monitor feature finds any leaked credentials, it sends a real-time alert, prompting the user to change the affected passwords. 
In December 2020, NordVPN started a network-wide rollout of 10Gbps servers, upgrading from the earlier 1Gbps standard. The company's servers in Amsterdam and Tokyo were the first to support 10Gbps, and by December 21, 2020, over 20% of the company's network had been upgraded.
Security issues and controversies
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.
In October 2020, NordVPN started rolling out its first colocated servers in Finland to secure the hardware perimeter. The RAM-based servers are fully owned and operated by NordVPN in an attempt to keep full control. 
On October 29, 2019, NordVPN announced additional audits and a bug bounty program. The bug bounty was launched in December 2019, offering researchers monetary rewards for reporting critical flaws in the service.
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 positive review published by Tom's Guide in October 2019, the reviewer concluded that "NordVPN is affordable and offers all the features that even the hardcore VPN elitists will find suitable". 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. TechRadar recommended NordVPN for bypassing state-level Internet censorship, including the Great Firewall in China.
- Comparison of virtual private network services
- Internet freedom in Panama
- Internet privacy
- Secure communication
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