CY­BERGHOST: A SPEEDY VPN PROVIDER THAT’S EASY TO USE

Macworld (USA) - - Workingmac Review: Vyprvpn - BY SÉAMUS BEL­LAMY

First, let’s ad­dress the spooky stuff that per­tains to para­noid types, jour­nal­ists, and po­lit­i­cal ac­tivists. Cy­berghost’s ( go.mac­world. com/cbgh) of­fices are lo­cated in Bucharest, Ro­ma­nia, a coun­try not known for shar­ing on­line in­for­ma­tion with west­ern in­tel­li­gence con­cerns or law en­force­ment agen­cies. Don’t feel too cozy about it, though: The com­pany was re­cently sold to Cross­rider ( go.mac­world. com/xrdr), which is based on The Isle of Man—a Bri­tish Crown Depen­dency.

Eng­land is a mem­ber of the Five Eyes (FVEY) data in­tel­li­gence shar­ing pro­gram ( go.mac­world.com/5eye). If you con­sider us­ing Cy­berghost, be aware any sen­si­tive

in­for­ma­tion you send or re­ceive could fall un­der di­rect gov­ern­ment scru­tiny. On top of that, Cross­rider is a dig­i­tal prod­uct com­pany, and one of the prod­ucts that it of­fers is ad server soft­ware for tar­get­ing mo­bile hard­ware.

Cy­berghost’s founder swears that user pri­vacy will be main­tained, de­spite the com­pany’s sale to Cross­rider. This pledge is backed up by the VPN’S strict no-log­ging pol­icy ( go.mac­world.com/nolg). While other VPN providers re­tain data about where and when you con­nected to their servers, and how much data you trans­ferred be­fore dis­con­nect­ing (pur­port­edly for server di­ag­nos­tic pur­poses), Cy­berghost holds on to no user in­for­ma­tion to speak of—or so they say. Al­le­ga­tions made in a num­ber of se­cu­rity fo­rums say that the com­pany’s no-log­ging pol­icy isn’t worth the dis­play it scrolls across. Whether this pol­icy is up­held by the com­pany’s new own­ers, who pur­chased the VPN ser­vice in 2017, re­mains to be seen.

How­ever, if you’re just look­ing for a VPN to pro­tect your per­sonal in­for­ma­tion while you use an un­pro­tected pub­lic wi-fi net­work, you don’t re­ally need to worry about any of this.

SE­CU­RITY, SOFT­WARE, SERVERS, AND SPEED

Cy­berghost uses Aes-256-bit en­cryp­tion to keep their cus­tomers’ data and brows­ing habits se­cure from pry­ing eyes. This same level of en­cryp­tion of­fered by most other VPN ser­vice providers and is cur­rently used by mil­i­tary and gov­ern­ment agen­cies around the world to re­lay sen­si­tive data.

Cy­berghost’s macos app is pretty to look at, but slow to load. On a 2015 13-inch Retina Mac­book Pro that I used for test­ing, it took be­tween five and ten sec­onds be­fore the app’s UI fi­nally pre­sented it­self. Once loaded, though, us­ing Cy­berghost is mostly a breeze.

If you’re sim­ply look­ing to con­nect to a VPN with­out chang­ing any coun­try or se­cu­rity set­tings, just click the app’s cen­tral but­ton and let the tun­nel­ing be­gin. How­ever, the app could make lo­cat­ing a server to con­nect to a lit­tle bit eas­ier. It’s pos­si­ble to sort Cy­berghost’s servers based on speed, lo­ca­tion, load and a num­ber of other fac­tors. But the con­trols for do­ing so aren’t high­lighted within the app in­ter­face.

At the time of this re­view, Cy­berghost main­tained 1,324 servers spread across 52 coun­tries. While some VPN ser­vice providers might of­fer more servers in more lo­ca­tions, these num­bers are en­tirely re­spectable and should sup­port most tun­nel­ing needs. If you’re in­vest­ing in a VPN so that you can en­gage in a bit of tor­rent­ing, Cy­berghost will wel­come you with open arms. The same goes for users who want to be able to use stream­ing ser­vices like Net­flix or Hulu while they’re

out of the coun­try or to ac­cess re­gion locked con­tent from else­where. This abil­ity can, how­ever, change at any time. Stream­ing con­tent providers are very good at keep­ing one step ahead of any­one look­ing to use their ser­vices in un­li­censed lo­ca­tions.

Cy­berghost al­lows sub­scribers to con­nect up to five de­vices at a time to their net­work and, in ad­di­tion to macos, of­fers apps for IOS, An­droid and Win­dows users.

Dur­ing test­ing, con­nect­ing to Cy­berghost’s servers re­sulted in the up­load/ down­load speed re­duc­tions ver­sus con­nect­ing to the

In­ter­net with­out a VPN shown in the ta­ble above.

PRIC­ING

Us­ing Cy­berghost on a month-to month ba­sis will set you back $12 ev­ery 30 days. This might be fine for users with short-term needs, but it’s pretty ex­pen­sive com­pared to the com­pany’s one and two year plans.

A one year sub­scrip­tion to Cy­berghost can be had for $72, which breaks down to roughly six bucks per month. Sign­ing on for two years is even cheaper, paid up front at $84.

No mat­ter which pack­age you se­lect, you can can­cel your ser­vice within 30 days of pur­chase. Subscripti­ons can be pur­chased us­ing a credit card, Pay­pal, or, if anonymity is im­por­tant to you, Bit­coin.

BOT­TOM LINE

With fast VPN con­nec­tions to US and Oceanic servers, and rea­son­able speeds to the rest of the world, Cy­berghost could be a great VPN op­tion—for most peo­ple. Users who deal in sen­si­tive in­for­ma­tion may wish to look else­where for a VPN that of­fers a greater amount of pri­vacy from gov­ern­ment ac­tors. ■

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