In the world of malicious privacy breaches, stolen credit card information, and corporate data tracking, every single ounce of security measure we can get our hands on is welcomed – even more so if it’s free. Opera is widely regarded as a transparent and secure browser, thanks to its versatile array of handy features and the fact they collect very little information about their users. Although the company had its fair share of hacker attacks, they still maintain their reputation as a well-defended browser, which was further strengthened after they rolled out Opera 40 in September of 2016.
The company officially announced an integrated VPN function that is not only conveniently available from the browser menu, but it’s also free of a charge. But is it truly the security measure people expected it to be?
Unlimited Content With Opera
The ‘browser VPN’ service is meant to boost privacy and freedom by creating a secure connection to one of Opera’s worldwide servers. The function can be enabled in the settings menu, which creates a corresponding icon on the main screen so you can toggle the protection on and off at your will. Activating this option not only grants unlimited access to geoblocked content (since your masked IP gives the impression that you are from another country), but also filters out unwanted ads and malware.
The browser VPN is completely free of subscription fees and freemium limitations, too, with a service that comes from a trustworthy source. Opera’s VPN was developed by the company behind SurfEasy, a VPN service that is already compatible with Opera and known for its convenient features and low price. It should be mentioned that desktop computers aren’t the only platforms for the browser VPN, since it’s also available on the iOS and Android versions.
Browser VPN Doesn’t Equal True VPN
Maybe you’ve noticed how we have kept referring to Opera’s new service as a ‘browser VPN’, and we did so for good reason. As the tech-savvy community quickly pointed out, this function falls way behind a full-fledged VPN in terms of protection strength. Opera’s integrated VPN only redirects browser traffic through one of its servers, without adding an extra layer of encryption – meaning it is therefore closer to a proxy service.
However, Krystian Kolondra, head engineer of the company’s computer division refutes this label, claiming that they believe their service is in-between a ‘system wide VPN’ and a ‘proxy’, since they aim to route all network activity of the browser through their own servers, hence the name ‘browser VPN’. Still, this won’t change the fact that the data stream won’t be encrypted. So if you seek actual protection alongside the ability to unblock legal content in your country, then opt for a true VPN that offers security features too – such as SurfEasy, PureVPN or VyprVPN.