This TunnelBear guide will focus your attention on two levels of security you’ll need to keep in mind. The first is “safe browsing,” meaning your Internet provider, the government, and advertisers won’t be able to track your online footprint.
With that item crossed off the list, the second security ring is your VPN provider itself. It’s not just that it should keep you safe from “prying eyes” online, it also must respect your privacy and have a strict no logs policy.
So, to satisfy our security criteria, TunnelBear needs to encrypt your communication to the max, without digging into it itself.
Let’s Get Technical
First of all, TunnelBear’s no logs policy is pretty strict. It means the app doesn’t monitor and store the user’s activity.
TunnelBear operates with two different protocols. IPSec/IKEv2 is the optimal option for iOS devices while MAC OS X, Android, and Windows use OpenVPN.
Except for iOS 8 and versions preceding it, a sturdy 256-bit AES encryption is used across all the platforms. SHA256 is used for authentication. IOS is encrypted with 128-bit AES and utilizes SHA-1 for authenticating data.
You can see all of this on TunnelBear’s site, so transparency isn’t a problem in that regard.
What About Security Features?
For all the simplicity and minimalist approach, TunnelBear has a pretty impressive list of features to its name.
- Vigilant – This feature addresses the seconds-long moments while TunnelBear connects or reconnects in case of a WI-FI hiccup. This is great news since we all know we’ll lose our connection at some point, due to moving between networks or getting out of range. This feature is currently available on Windows and Mac OS.
- Always on – TunnelBear will start when you turn on your computer and stay connected until your session is done. You don’t have to ever worry about “flipping the switch” after the initial setup during installation.
- No logging – We’ve already addressed this feature, but it’s just so important we’ll rehash it here.
Besides these security-oriented options, TunnelBear also auto-tunnels to the “nearest” server available. By nearest, we mean the one with the lowest ping. This ensures the shortest possible distance for data travel. You can also choose the server on your own.
Is TunnelBear Good For Torrenting?
Even though TunnelBear is one of the safest VPN services out there, it doesn’t allow torrenting on its servers, following Canada’s strict anti-P2P policy. The company admits that BitTorrent-based apps can be used for 100% legal purposes, but TunnelBear simply doesn’t have the proper differentiating mechanism at this point. Basically, TunnelBear can’t allow P2P filesharing because of its strict no-logging policy.
The truth is, if TunnelBear representatives wanted to allow torrenting, they could since there’s enough “wiggle room” in Canada’s Copyright Act. They just choose not to walk the fine line between legal definitions and jail time. It would be a tremendous task trying to prevent every single user from breaking the law, so we can understand the reasoning behind cutting P2P entirely.
If torrenting is your primary reason for purchasing a VPN, however, check out our list of the best torrenting services currently out there. The ranking is regularly updated in order to reflect the real market situation at all times.
After the long answer comes the short one. Yes, TunnelBear is a highly reliable and secure VPN.
It utilizes heavy encryption, stays on while your computer is running, and is pretty easy to use. It doesn’t keep logs of your online activity and has a “kill switch” in case it ever loses connection for one reason or the other.
The Five Eyes danger can generally be pinned to any VPN provider based in one of the associated countries, so you’ll just have to weigh the pros against the cons on that one.