Written Nov 21, 2016
Free (as in freedom) and open source software projects are one of the modern keystones of our privacy. The reason being lies in such projects’ transparent and verifiable nature. Software projects that open themselves up allow users and security firms to perform audits and reviews of the source code and algorithms used. In this way, vital transparency is provided which helps these projects stay as accountable (and untampered with by outside forces) as possible.
Commercial VPN companies today use a variety of different standards and protocols to deliver their service to their customers. One such standard is OpenVPN – a FOSS project that almost all commercial VPN companies build their products on to some extent. The reason OpenVPN is so popular in the privacy world is that it is almost always more secure and private than other standards (PPTP, L2TP, etc). One reason this is the case is because of the aforementioned audits that are possible on it and the OpenSSL package it uses.
The Open Source Technology Improvement Fund is a non-profit organization that connects open-source security projects with much needed funding and logistical support. They recently organized an audit of the popular Veracrypt encryption software which returned some important results for the dev team to be able to improve its security. The OSTIF is currently undergoing fundraising for an audit of the upcoming OpenVPN 2.4 and recently reached out to see if I would be willing to help spread the word.
I personally believe this is an important cause, so I’d like to mention it to you here.
Right off the bat, let me say that I would never ask you or anyone else to do something that I wasn’t willing to do myself, so I will be contributing $100 to this cause. If you want to help the VPN-using community enjoy the ongoing integrity of OpenVPN, please consider donating! Lastly – I will match dollar for dollar (or bitcoin for bitcoin), my reader’s donations – up to a further $100.
I would especially like to get the attention of any VPN companies who may be reading this post. I have added a new field to the VPN Comparison Chart – “Gives back to Privacy Causes” – this may indicate past and present causes supported by you and your company, whether it be donating to the EFF, other privacy groups, and yes, even contributing to this and similar audits. In this way, you are able to give back to the developer community that provides you with the software you build your product on. This makes the VPN landscape better for everyone – and in return, you may also receive some recognition on the Comparison Chart and below on this page!
Thank you for helping to keep OpenVPN secure for us all!
- That One Privacy Guy – $100 (+$100 in matching contributions!)
- VikingVPN – $3,000
- IVPN – $2,000
- NordVPN – $1,250
- ExpressVPN – $2,500
- Windscribe – $500
- IPredator – $7,381 (10 BTC)
- nVPN – $2,650
- SecureVPN.to – $1,510 (2 BTC)
- SmartDNSProxy – $2,500
- GetFlix – $1,350
- Trickbyte – $1,150
- Perfect Privacy – $3,750 (~5 BTC)
- VPN.ac – $1,500
- TunnelBear – $2,750
- Celo – $400
- OpenVPN Technologies – $5,000
- ZorroVPN – $1,600
- BlackVPN – $1,000
- StrongVPN – $500
- BolehVPN – $300
- Cryptostorm – $1337
- ZoogVPN – $200
- Private Internet Access – $30,000
- AirVPN – $8,000