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Consumer Reports’ VPN Testing

Consumer Reports conducted an in-depth test of 16 well-known VPNs, carefully evaluating their security measures (how resistant they are to leaks and hacks) and their privacy practices (how much data the services themselves collect, what it’s used for, and who it’s shared with). We based our results on inspection of VPN features, analysis of network traffic, evaluation of user interfaces, and publicly available documentation. We also looked at various VPNs’ marketing copy and whether it accurately presented the products and their underlying technology. We found problems with a number of these VPNs, along with dozens more that we screened before beginning our in-depth analysis of the test group, with input from researchers at the University of Michigan. On the whole, the VPN industry can do better on a number of fronts. (You can see full technical details of our VPN testing, which was conducted on laptops running Windows 10, on CR’s Digital Lab site.)  However, three VPNs came out ahead: Mullvad, IVPN, and Mozilla VPN. All three had characteristics that many security experts look for in nearly any technology platform, such as open-source code, public third-party security audits, and ways for outside researchers to report vulnerabilities. That’s all described below. And these VPNs all accurately described their products and services to consumers—something you can’t count on with many VPNs. Here’s a summary of what we found with all 16 of the VPNs we tested, and below that, more details on what the best VPNs did right…”

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