The movement towards securing your online identity, privacy, and activities has been growing exponentially in recent years. With the exposure of just how much we’re being spied on, people are naturally gravitating towards services that protect their rights to privacy online. Various government regimes and third parties have a vested interest in your personal information, online activities, and even exerting control of what content is available to you. In response to these trends, the popularity of online safeguards like VPNs have skyrocketed. Virtual Private Networks provide comprehensive online security, access to restricted content, and most importantly, anonymity. TunnelBear is an elegant, user-friendly solution to staying safe and secure on the internet, in a time when true privacy is rarer than ever.
There are many reasons to consider using a VPN to secure your online presence. VPNs hide your IP address and location from prying eyes such as hackers, government agencies, internet providers, and the like. Any good VPN service will also feature full data encryption, making it much more difficult for those with malicious intent to make use of your information. Online trackers, invasive websites, over-ambitious cookies, and internet service providers are all out of luck when it comes to VPNs; they cannot track your internet usage or profile you based on your online habits (which can then be sold to interested third parties). VPNs also allow users to bypass internet censorship or restrictive networks. This is a critical feature for those living in countries with oppressive regimes, allowing access to blocked websites like social media. Certain websites and streaming services block content based on your location, using a VPN service is a great solution to this. VPNs also make connecting to public or shared Wi-Fi hotspots safer, protecting your personal identifying information from hackers.
TunnelBear is an incredibly user-friendly VPN with a very cute bear-themed interface. It’s outward charming appearance is by no means an indicator that their service is anything but top-notch. Their service supports Windows, Mac, iOS, Android, Chrome, and Opera. Unfortunately, they only offer limited support for Linux users, and only paid users at that. TunnelBear offers “bear-grade” AES-256 (Advanced Encryption Standard with 256-bit keys) data stream encryption, widely regarded as the most reliable and safe method. The United States government even vouches for it, as they use AES-256 encryption to secure their most important information. TunnelBear also uses SHA256 or SHA1 for authentication, based on what device you are connecting with, as well as RSA-4096 for handshake encryption. TunnelBear is a relatively new company and as such there are some limitations to their service. TunnelBear only supports two connection protocols, OpenVPN and IPSec/IKEv2, and a relatively limited number of servers and supported countries. Their network is continually expanding, but currently they only feature 20 servers in 20 countries across the world.
User Privacy, Data Collection, and Policies
TunnelBear features a robust website with lots of useful information for users, but there is no 24/7 support or live chat. Their primary method of communication is email, which may not be optimal for current or potential VPN customers. They support a wide variety of payment options, including anonymous currencies like Bitcoin, as well as a 7-day money back guarantee. TunnelBear also supports multiple devices and offers a free service that is limited to 500MB every month, something not offered by most VPN providers. While they do not own their DNS servers, they include a feature titled “GhostBear” that helps protect your encrypted data and prevent third parties from detecting your VPN usage. Ultimately, TunnelBear is a relatively average VPN service, but their commitment to user friendly software and anonymity is a big draw. Also, their bear themed service is simply adorable and you can even pay for your VPN in jars of honey. Seriously.