AV-Comparatives Reports on Most-Realistic Performance and Privacy Test of 35 VPN Products

Security-testing lab AV-Comparatives has released its report of 35 consumer VPN (virtual private network) products. The test – the most realistic – concentrated on two main aspects of the programs, namely speed, and privacy, TASS reported.

VPN software is used to establish secure, encrypted connections across the Internet. Anyone who is concerned about privacy on the Internet should consider using a VPN program. But it should not slow down the Internet experience.

In public Wi-Fi networks, e.g. in cafés, everybody is sharing the same internet connection. This makes it easy for cybercriminals to steal data, in so-called man-in-the-middle (MITM) attacks and to intercept communications, thereby stealing data. By encrypting private data, a VPN makes it impossible for anyone to read network traffic, thus ensuring security.

Virtual private network services can also ensure privacy, as they protect genuine IP addresses and other details. Finally, VPNs have become popular in recent times as a means of hiding geographical locations. This might allow users to access e.g. video streaming services that are geo-restricted, that is, only available to users in specific countries.

Some VPN programs are specifically designed for gamers, as they allow faster access to popular gaming services.

AV-Comparatives scrutinised 35 popular consumer VPN products. As usual, testers employed a carefully worked-out methodology that would provide the most realistic and unbiased results. The test simulated both a UK-based user who connects to a VPN server in the USA, and a user in the USA connecting to a UK-based VPN server.

Using a VPN should not slow Internet connection. AV-C tested download speed, upload speed, and latency (reaction time). The privacy-related tests were divided into two parts.

Firstly, a so-called kill-switch test was performed. This checks whether the VPN program will stop all Internet traffic if the encrypted connection drops out and ensures the real IP address cannot be exposed.

Secondly, a multi-component leak test ensures that no data relating to genuine network location, such as the IP address, can be seen when the VPN is in operation. AV-C also checked each vendor’s privacy policy, and whether the products can be purchased anonymously.

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