TL; DR: hide.me offers a comprehensive VPN product with no logging, strong encryption, and robust protection against DNS, IP, and WebRTC leaks. The company’s app offers seamless mobile device protection in the background, so even inexperienced mobile users benefit from privacy without any barriers. hide.me is also developing an optimized multi-hop VPN solution for gamers that boosts privacy and it reduces game lag by optimising routes and reducing ping times.
Before the 2013 NSA whistleblower saga starring Edward Snowden captured the public’s interest in online privacy, the virtual private network market was relatively easy for new players to enter. After Snowden detailed the NSA’s ability to track and record data, interest in VPNs and related encryption technologies skyrocketed.
News of the Snowden leak broke about a year after hide.me released its comprehensive VPN platform, and the market became significantly more crowded.
“We launched in 2012,” said Sebastian Schaub, hide.me CEO. “Pre-Snowden, VPNs weren’t really a big deal. In those days, we had a few competitors. Then we saw there was room in the space to grow and build a better product — and we did it in a self-funded way.”
As technology related to privacy and encryption increased in sophistication, many new players entered the market. The ecosystem fragmented into vendors with proprietary solutions and vendors that relied on open-source methods with transparent security audits.
Of the first group, Facebook garnered attention for its Onavo VPN product — which tracked users even more deeply than it could on the open web.
Even the open-source group proved problematic because early protocols weren’t as robust and were not optimized for an increasingly mobile environment.
“We launched with IKEv2, IKEv1, OpenVPN, L2TP/IPsec, and PPTP VPN protocols. Some of these protocols have been discontinued due to security reasons,” Sebastian said. “In addition, we now offer SSTP, SoftETherVPN, and WireGuard.”
hide.me evolved with the times. The service now offers VPN clients for Windows, macOS, Linux, Android, and iOS. The company also provides VPN apps for Amazon Fire TV, Chrome, Firefox, and common routers.
Its platform also includes tools for DNS leak testing, password generation, IP discovery, WebRTC leaks, and even a free proxy server. hide.me provides all types of internet users with a comprehensive VPN service that keeps their data safe, no matter what device or network they use.
Virtual Private Networks Isolate Data into Encrypted Online Tunnels
VPNs promote privacy and bypass censorship systems by encrypting traffic between devices on a network. With that encryption, it’s virtually impossible for companies or governments to decrypt that traffic in real time.
Because VPN connections create a direct link from one device to another, they’re also called tunnels. Those tunnels often allow remote workers to access company computing resources from home or on the road. Data within the tunnel remains isolated from data outside the tunnel, even in transit across the internet.
“Maybe you’re visiting a hotel, and many websites are blocked,” Sebastian said. “In some countries, you must use a VPN if you want to have at least some access to a lot of websites.”
The problem of government censorship is particularly prevalent in Asia. Also, actors ranging from amateur hackers to government agents can engage in “packet sniffing,” or reading bits of traffic on networks, to steal credentials or scan for sensitive content. VPNs make that process significantly harder. That’s why they are common for corporations. However, they also have an attractive personal value proposition.
“When the COVID-19 pandemic is done, and Brexit settles down, and people from the United Kingdom start traveling again, they might not be able to access, for example, BBC in Spain,” he said.
A VPN can eliminate that problem by selecting the country that serves as the tunnel’s endpoint. By using a VPN to make it appear they are in another country, viewers can access content they may have been blocked from.
Although the business case for VPNs is well-established, getting individual users to onboard with VPNs has been more of a challenge. Part of the difficulty lies in the complexity required to make all the technologies work well together. Another barrier is often the friction of applying these tools on a routine basis. Best-practice privacy involves VPNs and a host of other tools, including proxy servers and special browser plugins, that can overwhelm someone who lacks in-depth knowledge of how the internet works.
“As a consumer, you don’t need to worry about any of these features,” Sebastian said. “Download the app, sign up, and then connect. We do everything in the background — taking the best protocol and selecting the best server location, and all of those challenges, including securing the VPN connection.”
A Comprehensive Security Suite Reduces the Friction for Information
Modern VPN packages address the consumer friction problem by combining and automating various technologies within a single application suite. For example, hide.me automatically selects from more than 1,900 servers in 72 different locations. It routes tunneled traffic using vetted open-source protocols, including OpenVPN, WireGuard, and IKEv2 with AES-256 encryption and 8192-bit keys. End users don’t need to configure anything, and hide.me works seamlessly out of the box.
The hide.me platform supports several advanced privacy practices, including unmetered data transfer — to reduce the risk that users shut off the VPN — and protection against DNS, IPv4, IPv6, and WebRTC leaks. Internet Protocol versions are especially relevant given how poorly many VPN providers handle IPv6.
“I think this has become a really big thing,” Sebastian said. “We had the underlying tech, the products, upgrading systems, routers, and everything added support for IPv6. The rollout didn’t start until maybe two or three years ago. But the problem was that many VPN providers hadn’t covered it at all.”
For VPN providers like hide.me that offer easy-to-use, set-it-and-forget-it privacy tools, the next friction hurdle relates to information access. Some VPN providers have developed relationships with marketing agencies to pass some information along and create consumer profiles. Other companies have offered VPN logs to law-enforcement officials or had logs seized in police raids. For true privacy, a VPN provider should never log user activities. That’s why hide.me doesn’t record any user information.
hide.me: Obscuring Online Footprints to Protect Privacy
The earliest VPNs were simple services, offering an encrypted tunnel using a point-to-point protocol. As they evolved, particularly after the Snowden leak, the market for VPN services exploded — but all VPNs aren’t created equal. Technical requirements change, and the migration to mobile devices and ad-supported apps has created a whole new set of privacy problems.
That’s why hide.me developed an all-in-one solution that manages security protocols under the hood, freeing end users from the complexity and friction of a disconnected privacy infrastructure. The hide.me app prevents servers between a device and its destination from knowing what the user is doing, thus obscuring many of the signals that marketing agencies collect to profile people.
“Back then, the market was easier to enter,” Sebastian said. “But nowadays, it’s become more and more of a challenge. You need to have a fairly competitive product, and the whole market has matured quite a lot. We constantly have to be on top of our game, develop new features, and improve our product.”
Despite all the advances in online security, changes continue to reshape the industry. For hide.me, the next big adventure relates to VPN-enabled gaming.
“Our next features relate to the gaming market to optimize connections with our multi-hop VPN offer,” Sebastian said. “That is probably one of the most interesting features we are going to offer in the next year. And it is also unmatched because you’re going to connect to the closest server, and then it’ll automatically route your connection toward the best exit.”
That approach will optimize games, reduce latency and lag, and make VPNs a real option for hardcore gamers.
The early hopes for a safe and welcoming open web have succumbed to a mix of profit-seeking data profilers, black-hat hackers, and authoritarian regimes. But hope isn’t lost; a reliable VPN solution can go a long way to protecting data and privacy. Among VPN providers, hide.me maximizes privacy with zero logging and strong encryption.