Mullvad VPN Removes Port Forwarding After User Abuse

Tyler Cross
Tyler Cross Senior Writer
Tyler Cross Tyler Cross Senior Writer

Mullvad VPN has pulled support for its port forwarding feature after a history of users abusing the feature.

“We (have) announced that we no longer support port forwarding,” Mullvad VPN said on its website. “New port forwards will no longer be supported.”

Port forwarding allows someone to reroute their network traffic through specific ports to help increase their internet speeds. It’s a very useful tool for users who like share files.

Since a VPN slows down your network speed, cybersecurity companies use port forwarding features to minimize the impact, potentially even improving your network speed under certain circumstances.

Port forwarding also allows you to be a private LAN host and let other users run services and programs (like video games, movies, apps, and more) through the VPN without them having purchased it. However, this is a minor way the feature is abused.

Also, cybercriminals take advantage of port-forwarding features to host and launch malicious content, websites, and malware under the guise of a VPN. This, in turn, led to inquiries from law enforcement agencies, negatively impacting the company’s reputation. IP addresses became blacklisted by internet providers, and hosting providers canceled their arrangements with Mullvad, leading to an overall worse experience for every user.

“The result is that it affects the majority of our users negatively, because they cannot use our service without having services being blocked,” Mullvad said in a press release.

After consequences began to pile up, Mullvad decided to pull the plug for port forwarding completely, admitting that its history caught up with it. As of now, new ports cannot be created, and old ports will be removed on July 1.

That said, the majority of users aren’t going to see any change in their VPN use. If anything, they may see improvements as Mullvad recovers from the abuse of their feature and rebuilds relationships with internet providers around the world.

About the Author
Tyler Cross
Tyler Cross
Senior Writer

About the Author

Tyler is a writer at SafetyDetectives with a passion for researching all things tech and cybersecurity. Prior to joining the SafetyDetectives team, he worked with cybersecurity products hands-on for more than five years, including password managers, antiviruses, and VPNs and learned everything about their use cases and function. When he isn't working as a "SafetyDetective", he enjoys studying history, researching investment opportunities, writing novels, and playing Dungeons and Dragons with friends."