In the past few days, allegations were leveled against ProtonVPN. These allegations were sourced from different internet sources but still we are awaiting an official reply from the provider on what is their take on this story. All other reports besides this one have been removed from the internet.
More proof showing connection between CEO Darius Bereika and ProtonVPN, Protonmail, NordVPN
In light of increasing copyright restrictions and tougher internet laws, privacy-conscious users from around the world are investing in VPN solutions. However, since selecting a provider is not an easy task, and requires you to perform thorough research, many users rely on review websites to guide them properly. Here we always make sure to provide our users as much details as possible regarding every provider, leaving aside the biasness. So, if you happen to sign up with ProtonVPN, we’d advise you to be a little careful and rethink your decision. Read this research piece first!!!
ProtonVPN May Be FREE but it Definitely isn’t SAFE!
Created by supposed MIT and CERN scientists, ProtonVPN has been gaining momentum in the marketplace, as a reliable FREE VPN service for customers worldwide, based in Switzerland. Now, before we go debunking everything said about the VPN, let us delve into a little a history. The “About Us” page of the websites states, the service came into being, because of a crowdfunding project back in 2014.
Operated by the same people from ProtonMail, which boasts quite a reputation as a secure email service, the company says it has a long record of accomplishments in online security/privacy – challenging training journalists and governments, while educating the public. It states they created the VPN service, due to a rising need of shielding journalists and activists using ProtonMail. Fair enough, and quite thoughtful too!
Prepare to Get Your Mind Literally Fudged!
Here is where things get a little interesting, and perhaps disappointing for ProtonVPN customers. The company that “officially” operates from Switzerland is in reality run by “PROTONVPN LT, UAB”, which is based in Lithuania, according to a thread by Hacker News! Though this may not sound alarming to many, you’d be surprised to learn the provider has traces linking it to a Data Mining service called “Tesonet”.
Don’t believe us? That is alright, we’ll be adding screenshots and links throughout the entire blog to back ourselves up. To begin with, both “PROTONVPN LT, UAB” and “Tesonet” have company offices, based in the VERY SAME LOCATION: at J. Jasinskio g. 16C, Vilnius 03163, Lithuania. We verified this information by checking two business directory portals in Lithuania called “Visa Lietuva” and “Rekvizitai.lt”.
In the former, you can see the “ProtonVPN LT, UAB” name (screenshot above), but in the latter, if you check the other link out https://rekvizitai.vz.lt/imone/protonvpn_lt/ you’ll be redirected to a company called “Cyber Alliance, UAB” (screenshot below). However, notice how the name in the URL above uses the word “ProtonVPN”, and then look at the details of the company. It mentions the company code as “304294933” and VAT code as “LT100010284617”, both of which have no records. The most alarming though is the SAME ADDRESS:
Coincidence? WE DON’T THINK SO! However, this looks worse the more you dig. Tesonet has its hands in “Machine Learning Solution, cybersecurity, and collection of business intelligence data” in efforts to create algorithms, that best suit their client business needs. If you read their about page, the company openly states it employs many different technologies to structure data, which is run on various services like MySQL, Anisble, collectd, StatsD, ElasticSearch, Grafana, Influx DB, Python, and Couchbase.
ALL of these names rely on HEAVY USER INFORMATION, which makes sense, considering that Tesonet is a DATA MINING company. Now, let us not forget that Lithuania itself is a NATO member that regularly holds NAZI marches. The very BASICS of selecting any VPN service revolves around one notion: NEVER SIGN UP with ANYONE based in 5/9/14Eyes, NATO or any of their offshore tax havens, as they do and WILL always monitor all user activity, regardless of which platform you use the VPN on!
As you can see above, ProtonVPN hits back to the news by saying they just rented office space from Tesonet (admittance of joining hands with them), and do not share employees, infrastructure, or any other asset/liability, further stating that they’ve had similar arrangement with other companies, since they didn’t have their own official presence then. However, the owner of PIA, who initially came up with these findings, instantly caught their lie.
Let’s say that MAYBE, just MAYBE, sharing the same ADDRESS was a mistake by the business directory website, but ProtonVPN already admitted to working with Tesonet. However, how can they defend having a certificate signed by Tesonet on their OFFICIAL ANDROID APK file! Oh yes, we are definitely not bullshitting you. Here is a link from “APK For Android” to get you updated, which clearly states that the app was signed by Tesonet!
Here is where ProtonMail comes into the picture and starts replying to “bartbutler” stating that this was a “unfortunate mistake” made by Algridas, their team member from Tesonet, who they handed over the responsibility for managing the HR and other tasks. Bear in mind that NO COMPANY can ever make such a mistake, and how can something so VITAL i.e. managing code signing key be handed over just like that!
It is clear that ProtonVPN is trying its best to hide crucial details about their company and there is a lot of confusion within the team. Let’s take this opportunity to also restate that being a PRIVACY-focused service, did it not feel tricky for the owners at ProtonVPN to outsource their IT infrastructure to a variety of local companies in different countries? VERY SAFE, eh?
ProtonVPN, you can try hiding all this nonsense by saying “oh, we just outsourced our HR cause we were a growing company”, but that is BULLSHIT and you contradict yourself again and again in this thread. First, you say there are no links to ProtonVPN and Tesonet, then you say it was just a small partnership like you had with many others around the world. After that, when PIA’s owner caught an IP address block belonging to Tesonet, you said it is the IP block used for your Zurich Servers!
This is where we completely lost it though! When you were questioned about why your company address is the same as Tesonet’s HQ, and that the data mining company, runs the entire technical infrastructure needed for a VPN service, YOU GO ON STATING that Proton and Tesonet still have ties to this day. Previously, you were denying it all along, saying that you moved on to different companies to outsource your business needs, and then you CONTRADICT YOURSELF AGAIN…
Let’s be brutally honest and CLEAR here, there can be no misunderstandings, oversights, or mistakes in partnering with a company like Tesonet. Also, one cannot just straight off deny that ProtonVPN was/is in bed with the current CEO “Darius Bereika” of the data mining company. Oh yes, as we mentioned earlier, ProtonVPN was clever enough to change its name to a “Cyber Alliance, UAB” in the Rekvizitai.lt business directory, but the internet will ALWAYS bring out the truth!
As mentioned earlier, they did change the name, but of course did not have the power to change the original slug: https://rekvizitai.vz.lt/imone/protonvpn_lt/. We did a lot of digging on Google and tried finding a link of the Tesonet CEO with Cyber Alliance. Almost all search results would show a certain “Darius Bereika” associated to ProtonVPN, but the PAGES were removed or inaccessible! Then, we came across another Lithuanian Business Directory called “spec.IT”, and as we suspected, “Darius Bereika” the CEO of Tesonet was listed as the head of the company!
So, the real question is not whether ProtonVPN is working with Tesonet, but if the provider is owned by the data mining company! Because trust us, no privacy company offering a VPN service would partner with a company like this, as it looks really bad. However, as shown above, it is not just a partnership, but both Tesonet and ProtonVPN have the same CEO too. They can try hiding it, but the truth is out now. Under the name of a FREE VPN service, they’ve been collecting USER DATA all along.
If you have an account with anything associated to “Proton”, we would recommend that you terminate it as soon as possible, because you would not want your data to be sold to third-party services for their own selfish purposes. All these findings from the owner of PIA on Hacker News have revealed that ProtonVPN has failed to protect its users privacy, even from abysmal standards of the commercial VPN industry. This is a huge betrayal of trust, and you should avoid any service that lies to its customers!
Suspicions about NordVPN being Linked to Tesonet!
The Hacker News post, where all this discussion about ProtonVPN went down, after the PIA owner conducted a thorough research – also revealed something really shocking about the hit Panamanian-based provider “NordVPN”. Yes, there seems to be an odd link between the VPN and Tesonet. Though, we are yet to dig more on the matter, the owner of PIA is adamant on the claim that “TesoNet also operates NordVPN”. From what we can find, it does seem like CloudVPN INC is owned by Tesonet, and CloudVPN INC processes payments and infrastructure like apps/services for NordVPN.
Upon digging on the matter further, we came across a very old review of the provider on DeepDotWeb, which is a news site dedicated to events in and surrounding the dark web and other information about bitcoin, hidden services, legal actions, and of course PRIVACY. The review was posted back in June 4, 2017 by “SOMEONE WHO KNOWS” (kind of spooky but yet very intriguing), stating that NordVPN is a liar and is based in Lithuania with all development done in Vilnius.
Wrapping Things Up
This news about ProtonVPN being associated with Tesonet has come off as quite a shock for many in the VPN industry, which just goes to show how even some of the most reputable brands can fool and scam you, treat you like shit – JUST TO GET HANDS ON YOUR DATA! Most people don’t take this seriously saying “oh, it’s not like we’re famous or anything”, but you don’t know how important this data is! Share this guide to spread awareness about this scam service, and comment below to share your opinions!