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Which company can you trust? That is the essential question when it comes to VPN services. Some critics would say you can’t trust any of them, but that’s an easy answer that is almost certainly false. One approach is to trust a larger, well known company in the security space. That way if there any issues it’s easier to hold the company accountable (since you know where they are).
One such company that fits that bill is Malwarebytes, which offers a standalone VPN service called Malwarebytes Privacy. This service doesn’t offer a lot of complexity, but it uses a modern VPN protocol, the app is easy to use, and the privacy promises are right.
Software, servers, and speed
Malwarebytes Privacy uses the new WireGuard protocol, which is slowly becoming the standard VPN protocol replacing OpenVPN on numerous services. WireGuard uses the ChaCha20 cipher for data encryption, data authentication is Poly1305-AES, and the handshake encryption is Noise Protocol (IK pattern).
On the privacy side Malwarebytes doesn’t use an email and password to login to the application on your device. Instead, you use a license key; however, you still need an email address and password to create a Malwarebytes account via the website.
The Malwarebytes Privacy application for Mac has a single panel interface. At the top is a big on/off slider, below that is your selected location, as well as a Change server location button. There’s also a non-interactive world map with a marker showing your selected location. The bottom of the app, meanwhile, shows your real IP address and the IP address of your selected location when the app is active.
There’s also a settings cog towards the top with almost nothing to tweak save for an option to Trust local devices on your home network such as printers.
Overall, the Malwarebytes Privacy app for Mac is easy to use and understand. There aren’t a lot of extra features but it should satisfy most users looking for a straightforward VPN.
Malwarebytes Privacy offers 32 country locations with more than 245 servers. It’s not a huge network, but it offers enough country locations and servers to keep most people happy.
In our tests, Malwarebytes maintained about 26 percent of the base speed putting it in the mid-tier of performers. That result was brought down by a poor showing on the first day of testing. The last two days showed it maintaining more than 30 percent of the base speed putting it in the upper end of the mid-tier speed range. This VPN should be good enough for most casual uses such as web surfing and video streaming. Other more bandwidth intensive uses will likely get good performance sticking to western country connections. As always, your experience may vary depending on location, ISP, and networking equipment.
Malwarebytes Privacy costs $60 for a single year covering 5 simultaneous connections and payment is accepted via PayPal or credit card. For those who also want a security suite in addition to a VPN, Malwarebytes Premium costs $100 per year for the VPN and device security for five devices.
Malwarebytes does a good job, the price is right, and it comes from a respected name in security based in the U.S. This goes a long way for trust and accountability, although anyone looking to maximize their anonymity and pay with a less traceable means won’t find it here.
Ian is an independent writer based in Israel who has never met a tech subject he didn't like. He primarily covers Windows, PC and gaming hardware, video and music streaming services, social networks, and browsers. When he's not covering the news he's working on how-to tips for PC users, or tuning his eGPU setup.