The use of VPNs has been growing rapidly among Internet users due to increasing consumer awareness of the security and privacy risks born of high-profile incidents, massive data breaches, adversarial networks, geographic restrictions for streaming media, and widespread reports of ISPs selling data about their users. This rapid growth of the VPN ecosystem has attracted an influx of new VPN providers with varying levels of popularity.
However, not all VPNs actually provide better privacy and security. Furthermore, the popularity of many VPN services may stem from mistaken consumer assumptions or even deliberate false advertising by the providers. These problems are compounded by a lack of convenient technical tools for evaluating and investigating key facets of the VPN ecosystem.
We built VPNalyzer to conduct a systematic, crowdsourced investigation into the VPN ecosystem. We want to advance the public interest in the VPN ecosystem, inform practical regulations and standards, and enforce accountability and transparency. To that end, VPNalyzer consists of three parallel efforts:
Large-scale quantitative and qualitative user studies
Qualitative studies surveying VPN providers
A cross-platform desktop tool for users to test the security and privacy features of their VPN connection