NordVPN is among only a list of 10 worthy providers that have continued to offer the best services in most major aspects. But, is NordVPN safe? Are the rumors true? Will the security breaches be a major setback in the long run?
If you read ahead, you’ll have all your questions answered.
But first, let’s talk about all the NordVPN still offers; which by the way, rendered great results throughout its testing. This includes:
- Great privacy policies and no data-retention laws
- Fast speeds for HD streaming
- Unblocks multiple and international streaming services websites etc. using SmartPlay technologies
- NordVPN has robust security features like AES 256-bit encryption on OpenVPN protocol, making it very secure.
- Works with Netflix, Hulu, BBC iPlayer, Disney Plus, Amazon Prime, and more.
- 24/7 customer support
- Unlimited bandwidth
- DNS and IP leak protected
- NordVPN free trial and refund available
- 5500+ servers in 59 countries
Besides these salient points, NordVPN is renowned for making the most impossible security measures seem possible. It is the best for online banking, handling sensitive data, keeps your device, location, and username away from prying eyes. The best part is it allows you to connect up to 6 devices simultaneously.
If you look at the last point, NordVPN used to have servers in 60+ countries. But, as of the last year 2019, they decided to shred all its Russian servers, narrowing it down to 59 countries. I’ll get to this point later, showing you why it is also a significant part of the NordVPN safety guarantee.
Now, let’s jump to the main point that riled up the whole situation, which caused multiple VPN users to second-guess whether NordVPN is safe or not.
The NordVPN data/security breach
Back in March 2018, NordVPN was involved in a data breach scandal. The attack was directed to one of its servers from a data center in Finland. Connected with the same data center were two other providers apart from NordVPN; Avast and TorGuard.
According to the NordVPN report, the attack took place due to an unauthorized remote management account that was added against NordVPN’s acknowledgment.
NordVPN had kept the issue quiet, claiming that the damage wasn’t immense. The situation only came into light when a user had posted about the breach:
The attacker made its way, hacking into the TLS key, which according to a NordVPN report, has already expired. However, regardless of the TLS key acquirement, the attack could only go so far as to target a specific device (which never happened).
Using this key, the attacker would need all sorts of other requirements to overcome multiple user data and intrude devices. This means a bigger stunt of decrypting NordVPN traffic could and cannot be pulled off.
All the user rumors regarding the hacker gaining access to user identities, logs, passwords, etc. was all a big stunt caused by mass hysteria. The only thing the hacker managed to get into and see, was what any other ISP is allowed to; insignificant traffic.
No data was actually compromised during the breach, especially because NordVPN doesn’t log any user data.
Upon getting wind of the situation, NordVPN immediately closed all ties with the data center, disintegrating the server. This was the mark of assurance for its users; meaning no accounts, VPN encryption nor apps were affected during the breach.
It is completely understandable for anyone to feel a little off about a provider, especially after hearing such big news! I mean, yes, you cannot just blindly accept any terms and conditions or statements made by random VPN providers, but that’s why you need to dig a little deeper into the situation.
As for NordVPN, they’re not just any random provider, and in fact, have been very reliable so far. Neither I nor Topvpnservice would ever enlist VPNs and recommend them without extensively researching all areas thoroughly.
So, despite the data breach, NordVPN still continues to be high on the VPN food chain, mainly because the provider constantly revamps the VPN security infrastructure, making sure nothing is compromised in the future.
But hold on! We’re not done just yet.
Since we’re on the roll for making sure whether NordVPN is still safe or not, let’s clear out some other rumors. I’ll be covering:
- The Tesonet files
- The HolaVPN allegations
The Tesonet Files
What is Tesonet? What are the rumors regarding Tesonet and NordVPN?
Tesonet is by far one of the largest and most successful EU corporations; situated in Lithuania. It houses almost 500 businesses, which are under various different operations. The company deals with hosting services, HR payment processes, B2B application solutions, and much more.
Among these businesses that Tesonet assisted, included NordVPN. That’s past tense, not present. NordVPN was assisted by Tesonet when they were just starting up, as any business needs help to thrive.
According to the rumors, since NordVPN was affiliated with Tesonet, within the EU, there were a few inquiries about whether NordVPN was a Panamian provider like they stated or still had ties within the EU.
However, as the NordVPN user privacy-policies go, the provider registered its company within Panama. A country that promotes strict privacy laws; meaning no governmental body or third party organization can demand NordVPN for the exploitation of its users’ data.
Should this in any way be a red flag for the NordVPN users?
No, it shouldn’t. The ties that NordVPN had with Tesonet does not in any way affect the policies it stands by today.
NordVPN is located in Panama, far away from the surveillanced countries in the 5/9/14-eyes alliance. They operate with a small team of employees. Where privacy and trust are concerned, a small team is always the best way to go. In this way, NordVPN can stick to its strict no-logs policies.
The HolaVPN allegations
There’s a constant fight in the VPN business, promoting just about anything that’ll get them to the top. However, these providers will need to have the goods to support such claims. In this case, NordVPN has the good to support it.
The competition is so fierce, that various providers will post false allegations against other competing VPNs just to stay ahead in the game. Among these providers included HolaVPN.
They’d been in cahoots against Tesonet for a while and shifted their target towards NordVPN. The target was aimed directly at whether or not NordVPN was really trustworthy, handling large amounts of user data.
However, it’s kind of ironic because there was a time when HolaVPN didn’t work with Google services and still doesn’t work. This turned away multiple HolaVPN users when they found out. That was when HolaVPN then started recommending alternative VPNs to make a small buck. NordVPN was top of their recommendation list.
So, is NordVPN still safe in 2020?
Yes, it is.
Despite the many hurdles that NordVPN faced over the past years, it still stands very tall. To prove that NordVPN is still safe, there are two points to note:
The independent audits
NordVPN had voluntarily surpassed itself through not one but two independent audits. These were conducted by two of the most powerful and renowned companies in the world; the “PricewaterhouseCoopers AG” and “VerSprite”.
The results came back clear and free from any issues. This only goes to show that yes, you can and still trust NordVPN privacy and no-data logging policies.
The Russian server
I mentioned above that NordVPN used to have 60 servers, and is now brought down to 59. The one server that it wiped out was from Russia. Russia holds some of the heaviest censorship laws in the world and only allows the use of VPNs that hand over access to their Russian servers.
The Russian Federation had sent out a letter asking multiple providers to comply with the terms. NordVPN declined it. In turn, they removed all the Russian servers, providing you alternative locations neighboring Russia, like Poland and Ukraine, to access local content. Their response to declining the offer proves how much they value their user’s privacy.
NordVPN may have been among a huge scandal or accused of being located in an unsafe region, but the conclusion all comes down to what’s written in clear ink. After digging deep to the root of it all, NordVPN is still topped as safe, secure, and most reliable.
You cannot judge a conclusion too quickly without going through detailed reports. That’s to only way to know if NordVPN is secure.
For a full report on its performance, speed, and privacy test results, you can have a look at my detailed NordVPN review.