There are many tools that a normal internet user must rely on to browse safely. In recent years VPNs gained ground for their awesome functionalities, but it’s important to know the real impact a VPN has on your online privacy and safe browsing. Yegor Sak, CEO of Windscribe, one of the best Virtual Private Networks in the market can help us with that.
With the pandemic and the necessity of home office and remote work, did your company observe an uptick in sales in 2020?
We’ve seen about a 30% increase in new customers since the start of the pandemic.
What is the main customer of Windscribe: companies or individuals?
Windscribe is primarily a consumer product which is used by tens of millions of people world wide. We also offer business oriented team accounts but this is not our focus. We aim to deliver a deadly simple VPN solution for the “average Joe” that just works as advertised, yet still offer a wide range of features for the power users.
Online privacy is a hot topic and it impacts billions of people around the world. What is your advice for safer and more private navigation?
There has been a growing interest in online privacy ever since the Snowden revelations back in 2013. Contrary to popular belief, and the marketing efforts (snake oil sales) of most VPN companies, simply using a VPN will do very little for your online privacy. All a VPN will do is change your IP address as perceived by various online services which is just a small piece of the “privacy puzzle”.
When you browse, different websites and tracking services found on those websites leave cookies in your browser, which uniquely identify you. Most websites online use multiple tracking services in order to optimize their sales funnels, and generate revenue from their visitors. Counter-intuitively, this is also true for various VPN vendors, where some of them have as many as 14 tracking services right on their own website, all while promising to protect users from tracking.
With these cookies, it’s trivial to link your browsing activity while using a VPN to your previous VPN-free activity. Tracking companies also engage in browser/device fingerprinting, which can reliably identify you even without the use of traditional cookies.
There is no one magic solution for this, as it requires a mindset change on behalf of the user. Windscribe is not just a VPN app, but a suite of privacy tools that includes a VPN and a browser extension which are meant to work together in order to minimize the level of online tracking and improve your online privacy.
This will get the user closer to their desired goal of “total online privacy”, but it’s by no means a bulletproof solution since there is no 1 single tool that can achieve “total privacy”.
VPNs are not as widespread as antivirus, for example. What is your elevator pitch for someone that doesn’t know what a Virtual Private Network is?
Anti-virus attempts to protect your computer from threats that already reached it (you downloaded a malicious file). A VPN like Windscribe which has cloud-based malware protection built in will prevent those threats from reaching your computer in the first place. It also prevents anyone snooping on your network to know what you’re up to online.
What do you see as the future for the VPN market?
In the last 10-15 years most websites you visit went from being insecure (using HTTP) to being secure (switched to HTTPS). This a step in the right direction, but does not go far enough as network operators and ISPs can still see what websites you visit, what games you play, and when, they just can’t see the exact content of what you’re looking at. A VPN solves this issue, and makes all your Internet activity completely indistinguishable from random noise.
I expect VPN usage to keep increasing every single year, since there are no good reasons NOT to use a VPN these days when every click and every action you do online ends up in some database, and is then sold to the highest bidder. People will need all the tools they can get to fight back, and a VPN is the first thing you should start with.