McAfee acquires VPN company TunnelBear

Security giant McAfee is acquiring Canadian VPN provider TunnelBear. Terms of the deal haven’t been disclosed. McAfee said that it plans to integrate TunnelBear’s technologies into the company’s own VPN product, Safe Connect.

The TunnelBear team will also keep working on TunnelBear products under its own brand. According to the announcement, TunnelBear was a profitable company.

You might remember that Intel acquired McAfee back in 2011. Intel even rebranded the company to Intel Security. But the company was spun out a couple of years ago. McAfee is now an independent company again, and this represents McAfee’s second acquisition after breaking up with Intel.

TunnelBear has been providing a paid VPN service with desktop and mobile apps. For $4.99 to $9.99 per month, you can connect to one of TunnelBear’s servers so that people sharing the same Wi-Fi network can’t look at your data packets, or so that you can access restricted websites if you’re in China for instance.

There are some good things to say about TunnelBear. When it comes to TunnelBear’s privacy policy, the company seems to respect your privacy. But TunnelBear is based in Canada, which could be an issue if you’re trying to avoid intelligence services.

Now that McAfee owns TunnelBear, the VPN service will have to comply with U.S. laws. You should also keep an eye on terms of service and changes in the privacy policy after the acquisition.

TunnelBear is also one of the only companies that have completed a security audit with a third-party company. The full report says that there isn’t any critical security issue with TunnelBear’s service. But the report hides medium and low vulnerabilities.

Many VPN companies pretend to care about your privacy but you can’t know for sure. I’m glad companies like TunnelBear are setting a good example and I hope more companies will follow that path.

More generally, you shouldn’t trust any VPN company because the risks are too high. A VPN provider can basically see everything you do on the internet. Some of them analyze your browsing habits, sell data to advertisers, inject their own ads on non-secure pages and collaborate with local authorities.

You could install HTTPS Everywhere and build your own VPN for instance. This way, you know for sure that nobody is spying on you.