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Developer(s)TunnelBear Inc. (2011–2018)
McAfee (2018–present)
Operating systemAndroid, Windows, macOS, iOS, Linux
Available inEnglish
TypeVirtual Private Network
LicenseSubscription business model, with a freeware client app

TunnelBear is a public VPN service based in Toronto, Canada. It was created by Daniel Kaldor and Ryan Dochuk in 2011. In March 2018, TunnelBear was acquired by McAfee.[1][2]


Early history[edit]

TunnelBear was founded in 2011 by Ryan Dochuk and Daniel Kaldor, and is headquartered in Toronto, Canada.[2][3]

2018 McAfee acquisition[edit]

In 2018, TunnelBear was acquired by cybersecurity company McAfee and subsequently fell under U.S. jurisdiction. McAfee intended to combine its own VPN service with TunnelBear's technologies. At the time of the acquisition, TunnelBear was set to continue using its own brand for products.[1][4][5]

Anti-censorship efforts[edit]

During the 2014 Venezuelan Protests, TunnelBear offered free service to users connecting from Venezuela.[6] In response to government censorship in countries like Venezuela—including Iran, Türkiye and Uganda—TunnelBear has offered free or unlimited data to users within such countries.[7][8]


A freeware TunnelBear client is available on Android, Windows, macOS and iOS. It also has browser extensions for Google Chrome and Opera.[9] Alternatively, Linux distros can be configured to use TunnelBear.[10]

Like other public VPN services, TunnelBear has the ability to bypass content blocking in most countries.[11]

All TunnelBear clients use AES-256 encryption with the exception of the client for iOS 8 and earlier, which uses AES-128.[12] When connected, the user's actual IP address will not be visible to the websites visited.[13] Instead, the websites and/or computers would be able to see the spoofed IP address provided by the service.

TunnelBear was among the first consumer VPNs to conduct and publicly release the results of an independent security audit.[14] They record when their users connect to the service and publish annual reports on the number of times law enforcement has requested user information.[15]


Scott Gilbertson of Wired praised TunnelBear's “cute bear animations”, saying that they make the service more approachable, and described the provider as having security features comparable to the competition and an easy-to-understand privacy policy.[16] The provider has faced criticism from WireCutter for comparatively slower speeds and dropped video calls in their tests of the service, but WireCutter stated that TunnelBear excels in “usability, trust, and transparency”.[14] Rae Hodge at CNET criticised the service for its limited server locations and the inability for users to pick an individual server within a location. Hodge also raised concerns that Tunnelbear's records could be subpoenaed because they are a Canadian business owned by an American company.[15]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b Sawers, Paul (8 March 2018). "McAfee acquires VPN provider TunnelBear". VentureBeat. Retrieved 8 March 2018.
  2. ^ a b "How to Unblock Websites in India with VPN? - Working on IOS, Android, and Windows 10". All India Roundup. 18 May 2020. Retrieved 31 August 2021.
  3. ^ "Privacy Matters - TunnelBear VPN Attacks Social Data Leaks". Forbes. Retrieved 5 March 2021.
  4. ^ Dillet, Romain (8 March 2018). "McAfee acquires VPN company TunnelBear". Tech Crunch. Retrieved 10 December 2020.[permanent dead link]
  5. ^ "McAfee to Acquire TunnelBear VPN Provider". TechNadu. 10 March 2018. Retrieved 8 March 2021.
  6. ^ Lozada, Maria (1 December 2015). "Guía de emergencia: ¿Qué hacer en caso de bloqueos en internet?". Efecto Cocuyo. Retrieved 31 August 2021.
  7. ^ Toneguzzi, Mario (14 January 2018). "Protests in Iran lead to a surge in downloads of Canadian VPN tools". The Globe and Mail. Retrieved 31 August 2021.
  8. ^ Conger, Kate; Devin, Coldewey (15 July 2016). "How to circumvent Turkey's social media block". Tech Crunch. Retrieved 31 August 2021.
  9. ^ Paul, Ian (19 May 2015). "How to easily secure your web browsing with TunnelBear's free Chrome extension". PC World. IDG. Retrieved 20 June 2015.
  10. ^ Robinson, John (20 March 2014). "TunnelBear Befriends Penguins with Limited Linux Support". TunnelBear. Archived from the original on 1 February 2016. Retrieved 6 August 2016.
  11. ^ Klosowski, Thorin (1 June 2015). "Streaming Content From Overseas: The Complete Lifehacker Guide". Lifehacker. Gizmodo. Retrieved 20 June 2015.
  12. ^ "Rawwwr! Even Stronger Encryption". TunnelBear's Online Privacy Blog. 17 March 2015. Retrieved 25 June 2017.
  13. ^ Boxall, Andy (13 May 2015). "Watch U.S. Netflix anywhere with TunnelBear, now available as a Chrome extension". Digital Trends. Designtechnica. Retrieved 20 June 2015.
  14. ^ a b Grauer, Yael (22 October 2020). "The Best VPN Service". Wirecutter. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 10 December 2020.
  15. ^ a b Hodge, Rae (8 October 2020). "TunnelBear VPN review: The overpriced ursine has trouble living up to the hype". CNET. Retrieved 10 December 2020.
  16. ^ Gilbertson, Scott (4 March 2020). "The Best VPNs to Protect Yourself Online". Wired. ISSN 1059-1028. Retrieved 10 December 2020.

External links[edit]