TunnelBear is one of the world’s most popular VPN providers. This isn’t new, as its delightful interface and easy-to-use app make it a great entry-point VPN to many people around the world. However, that doesn’t mean that TunnelBear doesn’t have its faults. So, is TunnelBear safe? Read on to find out.
Is TunnelBear Safe to Use?
TunnelBears advertises that it operates on a strict no-logs policy. In fact, it even says:
“At no point, and under no circumstances will TunnelBear log or sell your personal/usage data.”
To their credit, they do not log the following details:
- Your personal IP address.
- Which website you go to.
- Data about the services or apps used.
However, they do collect enough information to warrant a revision of their claim. Some of the information TunnelBear does collect includes:
- Email addresses.
- Twitter IDs (if available).
- Information on whether the user is a paid user or not.
- The OS version of a user.
- Whether a user was active within a month or not.
- Credit card details.
“In the event TunnelBear is served with a valid subpoena, warrant or other legal document and applicable law requires TunnelBear to comply, the extent of disclosure is limited to the Personal Data listed within this Privacy Notice.”
Let’s take another look at that data, shall we? An email address coupled with credit card details and a Twitter ID is more than enough to identify a user.
“We may send data to third-party service providers who operate services that help us with: customer support; email; hosting, protecting, and securing the TunnelBear infrastructure; DDoS prevention; payment processing; as well as understanding website analytics, account and payment related service usage.”
Now, this does seem reasonable. After all, TunnelBear can’t be expected to build and run all of these services on its own. However, the phrase “understanding website analytics” is general enough to raise real concern.
TunnelBear and McAfee
This year, McAfee actually bought TunnelBear, becoming its parent company. For a lot of savvy users, this is very iffy. See, TunnelBear operates out of Canada, which isn’t the most privacy-centered country out there. However, McAfee operates out of the US, which has almost zero data regulations laws. To top it off, both countries belong to the 5 Eyes organization, which an international elite spying organization.
This doesn’t necessarily mean that TunnelBear is now secretly working for the American government. It does, however, mean that data sharing between both countries can be a potential problem.
In other words, TunnelBear is not an independent VPN and may be forced to abide by whatever its parent company dictates.
Is TunnelBear safe – Security Features
- 256-bit AES encryption.
- A Kill switch aptly called “VigilantBear”.
- DNS leak protection.
- OpenVPN protocol.
- Anonymous payment options.
- No ads (even in the free version).
One of the added security measures that TunnelBear takes is having its code independently audited. This isn’t something many VPNs do, but it really should be.
This year, Cure53 released its second annual TunnelBear audit. Here’s what they had to say:
“An optimistic verdict should be that the TunnelBear is quite secure. Still, the maintainers must proceed with caution as risks are always emergent and some aspects of the scope are not yet at the same level of robustness and impenetrability as desired”
Is TunnelBear Safe – Final Verdict
Is TunnelBear Safe? Yes, to an extent. TunnelBear is a great VPN for someone who is just now entering the VPN world. It’s also perfect for non-heavy VPN users. In other words, TunnelBear is the Average Joe’s VPN, which isn’t a bad thing at all. However, it’s definitely not the most secure or safe VPN out there. If you’re worried about TunnelBear’s safety, feel free to check out our list of TunnelBear alternatives to put your mind at ease.