Avast Rolling Out VPN Services

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The well known antivirus/computer security company Avast is preparing to roll out personal VPN services.  According to Avast Chief Technical Officer Ondrej Vlcek, who spoke to CNET during a tour of the Avast antivirus lab, they will be introducing a personal VPN service for desktops and mobile devices.

This can only add to the general conclusion that VPN is good for everybody, not just for businesses.  Especially when you consider some of the soundbytes the CTO gave CNET: “…because of the insecurity of open, public Wi-Fi, where somebody can copy your session cookie and log on, we had to make people safer.”   Vlcek is probably referring to the exploit tool Firesheep, which easily installs on Firefox as an addon and performs session-hijacking with the click of a mouse.

Session-hijacking, or copying a session cookie, can allow an intruder to assume your identity on a private website such as facebook, email, or other websites, without actually entering a username and password.  Utilizing a VPN on an open network, such as a public wifi hotspot can defeat this type of attack very easily.  Avast is clearly identifying this as a major risk to customers, and rolling out a personal VPN in response to the threat.

Also interesting is that Vlcek mentions The Digital Millenium Act.  He says, “The Digital Millennium Act mandates ISPs to keep logs of everything for some time, and some people are not comfortable with that.  We encrypt everything that goes through the ISP and then it’s unencrypted after it passes through.”  So not only is Avast rolling out the VPN in the name of security, but they are also doing in the name of privacy.  Another indication that personal VPN is good for the home user.

As for the types of VPN protocols their service will support, Vleck said, “The VPN will support multiple secure protocols, including PPTP, OpenVPN, SSL, and L2TP.”  He also mentions a software client too: “A new companion VPN client for desktops and smartphones will help users configure the VPN.”  More good news according to Vlcek, “…and there won’t be any bandwidth limitations.”

On the subject of which countries would be available, it seems like Avast is going to go big. “…it will also allow country IP address spoofing to one of 17 countries in North America, Europe, or Asia.”  So how about the cost? “…with yearly and monthly plans, in the ballpark of $50 year.”

When it can be expected?  Well, unfortunately he was pretty vague on the timeline, so I wouldn’t expect it anytime soon.  However, considering Avast has over 130 million windows users currently on their computer security products, you can bet their entrance into the personal VPN space will be a signal to other big players (cough, Symantec, cough, McAfee).  That might put pressure on them to release the service sooner, rather than later.

So there you have it, even the big computer security companies like Avast recognize the importance of VPN services for individual users.  Thinking of VPN in terms of only companies and corporations is a thing of the past!  Head on over to our VPN Comparison Guide and see for yourself which VPN service is right for you!

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One Response to “Avast Rolling Out VPN Services”

  1. Mike says:
    July 23rd, 2013 at 8:02 am

    When questioned about keeping logs and other records on their subscribers and concerns about turning over user information to law enforcement, government, etc., here is their response. You be the judge whether or not your surfing will be kept private. I vote “not”.

    – – – – – – – – – – –

    Hello,

    We are located in Czech republic.

    Avast, like any other provider of VPN services, must ensure that our customers do not use our services to violate the law, for instance, by downloading copyrighted materials without permission of the copyright owner. We cannot and do not actively monitor for this. However, if we receive a complaint about misuse (for instance, from a copyright owner),we will investigate and take action if the complaint is correct. This is standard procedure for reputable providers of VPN services.

    Best regards,

    Jakub Vaňous
    Technical support

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