Today we’re interviewing Surfshark, which as you may know, is one of the most popular VPNs out there. They provided us with answers to the usual questions we have for VPN service providers. Read on for details…
Can you shortly introduce your company? When it was founded, and why? Who are the founders?
Surfshark is a privacy protection company that provides its users with the ability to control their online presence seamlessly. The core premise of Surfshark is to humanize online privacy protection and develop tools that protect users’ privacy beyond the realm of a Virtual Private Network. Surfshark was founded in 2018 and has a globally distributed team working in Germany, Cyprus, the UK, the US, the Netherlands, the Philippines, Ukraine, and Lithuania.
Surfshark Ltd. is owned by private shareholders who chose not to disclose their private information to the public as it has not been legally required. The rationale behind this is that Surfshark provides its services to people all over the world, including heavily restrictive countries and regimes where access to the internet is controlled, opposing media is persecuted, and NGOs are constrained.
We are one of the few VPN providers who have managed to overcome the Great Firewall of China. As long as we are determined to invest the time as well as the effort in developing smart solutions that can overcome the restrictions, the private shareholders of Surfshark Ltd. seek to exercise their right of privacy and remain undisclosed. This is a measure of risk management to secure the sustainability of Surfshark as a service, protect our customers and employees.
What makes you different from competing VPN services?
Surfshark is the only VPN service that allows unlimited simultaneous connections and is one of the few VPNs that is audited by independent security experts. We seek to protect user’s privacy beyond the realm of a Virtual Private Network (VPN). Our privacy protection tools, HackLock and BlindSearch, offer extra security and privacy on top of a VPN service.
HackLock operates as a breach detection mechanism to alert you about personal information leaks. It will eventually evolve into a fully-fledged ID theft protection service during 2020. Meanwhile, BlindSearch is an ad-free private search tool that only displays purely organic results with no historical memory.
We aim to humanize online privacy protection by educating users about possible cybersecurity threats, online censorship, and data protection. By providing necessary information about privacy and security, we enable everyone, including non-tech savvy people, to better understand VPN functionalities.
What do you see as the main trends for the VPN industry?
- New tools and extra features (VPNs turning into full security suites)
- More third-party security audits
- Rapid expansion of service networks
- Clear focus on how to best protect users’ privacy from both malicious agents and governmental institutions
What about challenges? Which do you see coming down the road?
It will remain challenging to work and develop smart solutions that can overcome the restrictions in the countries that control access to the internet. The main challenge lies in identifying and learning what exactly has happened or why a specific censorship machine is designed the way it is.
Where do you see the VPN industry in the next five years?
People are now more aware of their cybersecurity and the importance of their data than ever before. As a result, we can see that the VPN market is expanding rapidly, and the field has become far more crowded with new and established entrants.
In the next five years, measurements of quality and transparent standards for technology and implementation will be defined better. Overall, we might assume that the industry dialogue around principles and norms will improve significantly. Clear guidelines will be set for how to best protect users’ privacy from both malicious agents and governmental institutions. Last year some VPN providers joined together to form the alliance VPN Trust Initiative (VTI) that will work to further establish clear standards in the industry.
What are your company’s plans for the future? (those you can reveal)
At the moment, we are working to evolve the breach detection mechanism HackLock into a fully-fledged ID theft protection service.
Our users will be able to:
- Protect themselves from identity theft;
- Get alerts in case of a data breach;
- Protect their email accounts;
- See if their SSN and credit card details are private;
- Monitor family’s accounts;
- Get regular security reports.
Other than that, we will continue working on protecting users’ privacy from both malicious agents and governmental institutions. Our users’ security remains one of the key things that we will keep working on in 2020.