Experience Private and Free Browsing with CactusVPN

CactusVPN was created in 2011 by three friends with a solid background in ecommerce and security and the same strong beliefs: that everybody deserves privacy and freedom while they are online; that nobody should be afraid to access the Internet; and that information and any other online content should be available for all of us, regardless of the country we live in, the company we work for or the ruling political regime. Get to know CEO Sergiu Candja in an exclusive interview for vpnMentor.


Please provide some background about CactusVPN.

We started from the desire that all the people will have the right to private and free browsing. Initially, I remember we were all very excited that we could do something to bring our beliefs into action and make the world a better place. Now, when I look back I’m happy to say that our efforts were well spent. After only two years of hard work, in 2013, our business grew beyond all of our expectations. We had to hire more people in order to properly address our clients’ needs, but we also managed to keep alive the spirit of friends working together. And here we are now.

What measures are being taken at CactusVPN to prevent outsiders as well as employees from looking at your user’s data?

My answer to this question is simple and pretty straightforward. We keep our interaction with our clients’ data to a minimum, and only to ensure support for the services we provide them with. We don’t keep their logs and we don’t associate IPs with the people who use them. Even when the payments for our services are made, we don’t look further for more detailed information about our clients. We just validate the transactions and go back to our business, which is very much about privacy, and we don’t forget that for a second.

What are some of the challenges you encountered when attempting to protect your users’ privacy without logging their data?

Well, most of the challenges were on technical support department as we are constantly trying to provide our clients with the best VPN experience. Often this means we could use the right logs to prevent potential connecting problems. So as no logs are kept we have to address additional questions to our clients so we could detect the problem.

What are your personal views on google VPN?

Sergiu Candja: I definitely applaud all the efforts that aim to make the online environment safer. But, in this particular case, I also find it to be a little ironic that Google offers protection from snooping attempts when everybody knows that the same Google profiles is used for better targeting them with advertising messages. Furthermore it’s a little restrictive as it works as an encryption tool for Nexus and Pixel smartphones alone and only when they’re accessing public Wi-Fi networks.

While certain European countries are enacting mass surveillance policies, EU privacy regulations are becoming stricter by the day. How do you explain this duality?

I think there are a lot of political and economic interests at stake and, as in many cases before, they don’t represent the people’s best interests. It’s upsetting to observe how some European states tried, over the years, to impose a more strict control of their online environment in order to consolidate their power over their citizens. And maybe they would have succeeded if it weren’t for some brave voices that took the matter to the public opinion. The following scandals stopped or slowed down these abusive attempts, so I’m very glad that those voices existed. I also appreciate all the efforts EU is doing to put a stop to this madness of trying to control the Internet.

What changes can we expect to see in the Online Security market over the next 5 years?

As a tendency I have noticed a growing interest in the VPN domain and generally in online security, from large companies and consortiums. Consequently, most of the VPN providers were absorbed and became a part of these companies, even though this is not always visible to people from the outside. The fact is that, in this moment, there are only a few independent VPN providers left and CactusVPN is one of them.

In the next five years we foresee that this process will continue. Also, the states around the world will continue to try and take control over the Internet, so, in most of the cases, online freedom will be negotiated between large economic entities and governments.
Another thing that might happen is that many companies with related service will add online security as a bonus to their main products. Google VPN is a great example for backing up this scenario. And in terms of technological evolution I think security protocols will become more and more performant. We, from CactusVPN, put our money on SoftEther, because we see it as a great potential. At the moment we use the latest version of this protocol and we are very happy with the results in terms of speed and security.

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