Is TunnelBear Safe in 2022?
In today’s world, cybersecurity is a major issue, especially online privacy. Your internet service providers (ISP), hackers, advertisers, and government agencies can see what you do online. This is where a VPN comes in. A VPN can help you mask your real IP address, thus offering anonymity and online privacy.
However, not all VPNs are secure and safe to use. One great VPN is TunnelBear. Since online privacy and security are important, we decided to check “is TunnelBear safe in 2022?”. To answer this question, we decided to put this VPN to the test.
TunnelBear’s Jurisdiction – Is it safe from the Five Eyes?
No, it is not safe from Five Eyes. TunnelBear is based in Canada – a member of the Five Eyes Alliance. Five Eyes is an alliance between the US, UK, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand – where these nations monitor and share information.
Unfortunately, these countries have mandatory data retention laws that require VPNs and other telecom companies to log user data and provide access to authorities if need be.
Therefore, TunnelBear lags in this area as it was acquired by McAfee, a US-based company, in 2018. This could put your online privacy at risk if the government authorities decide to against you.
TunnelBear does follow a strict no-logs policy. Therefore, it does not log identifiable information like IP addresses, names, DNS queries, payment information, and more.
So even if law enforcement agencies do reach out to the company, they will have very little information to give away.
TunnelBear does not store any user data (like the websites you visit, your IP address, files you download). Instead, TunnelBear has a transparent logging policy, and you can see all the details on their website.
Moreover, it does not log your personal information, like payment information, name, etc.
It only stores information that is essential for the service, like your email address. You can learn more in our TunnelBear review.
Check out some other premium VPNs that don’t keep a single record of your VPN activity in our best log-less VPNs guide.
TunnelBear Security Audits
TunnelBear goes through annual security audits done by none other than “Cure53”, an independent and respectable cybersecurity company.
Since 2017, these audits are regularly handled the Cure53, and any suspicious threat found is immediately fixed by CyberGhost, followed by a Cure53 verification. The audit did reveal a few issues in TunnelBear, but TunnelBear later resolved these.
TunnelBear is also very open about these threats as it continuously posts about them online. This is quite refreshing to see as many VPN providers tend to hide their faults from their users. You can get the full Cure53 2019 audit report here.
TunnelBear – Encryption
When it comes to encryption, TunnelBear uses military-grade 256-bit AES encryption. This is the highest standard in the VPN industry, used by some of the best VPNs in the industry, such as ExpressVPN.
This encryption standard is used by military and intelligence agencies worldwide for data protection.
TunnelBear’s 256-AES encryption is called Grizzly-grade encryption, and it is one of the most secure VPNs. In terms of protocols, TunnelBear offers 2 internet protocols, OpenVPN and IKEv2. TunnelBear automatically chooses the protocol that is best for you.
However, we did notice that TunnelBear does not tell you which protocol you are using currently.
Similarly, OpenVPN and IKEv2 are available on Windows, Android, and iOS. However, Mac users can only access IKEv2.
In addition, TunnelBear does not offer WireGuard protocol, which is the fastest protocol available right now.
TunnelBear Security Features
TunnelBear offers tons of security features that make it safe to use. All these features are available on both free and paid versions. Some of the distinguished security features of TunnelBear include:
GhostBear – Obfuscation
GhostBear is the name of the obfuscation technology deployed by TunnelBear. This technology hides the fact that you are even using a VPN.
Using a standard VPN connection, your ISP can identify that you are connected with a VPN network, but it can’t even see that you are connected with a VPN network with an obfuscation connection.
With deep packet inspection, an ISP, firewall, or government can detect an obfuscated network and traffic.
GhostBear is ideal for heavily restricted environments such as China, Iran, Russia, and Syria. Unfortunately, although it does allow you to bypass different firewalls, ISPs, and government tracking tools, it also slows down your internet connection.
RememBear – Password Manager
TunnelBear also provides a password manager called “RememBear.” It is effortless and holds the capacity to store unlimited passwords, provide auto-save and auto-fill capabilities, and a decent password generator.
It secures your passwords with military-grade 256-Bit-encryption, and the premium subscription allows you to sync all the devices together and includes cloud storage. Unfortunately, it doesn’t have any additional features such as password sharing, dark-web monitoring, and password auditing.
Overall it is a good feature for internet users looking for a simple and secure password manager with basic functionality.
TunnelBear Leak Test
TunnelBear offers leak protection called VigilantBear. This feature acts as a kill switch and kills all internet traffic when there is no VPN connection. I tested TunnelBear for both IP and DNS leaks on Windows and macOS. Surprisingly, everything worked amazing.
While connected to the Romania server, TunnelBear hid my real IP address and showed the server’s IP address that I connected to.
I connected to a US server to test DNS leaks, and my original IP address was hidden and nowhere to be seen.
Streaming with TunnelBear
You will read a lot about TunnelBear online that it doesn’t work with Netflix and other streaming sites. So I decided to test this myself and was surprised to find out that TunnelBear did work well with Netflix, as I could unblock Netflix US on its American servers.
Therefore, it is one of the best free VPNs for Netflix around that are still working.
Let’s take a look at some of the frequently asked questions.
Is TunnelBear illegal?
No, TunnelBear isn’t illegal. While the VPN technology is legal itself, the purpose you use it for can be determined as illegal and legal. For example, using a VPN to download copyrighted material is considered illegal in many countries.
Who owns TunnelBear?
TunnelBear was created by Daniel Kaldor and Ryan Dochuk in 2011. In March 2018, TunnelBear was acquired by McAfee.
Can TunnelBear be traced?
No, it can not be traced as it does not store any information regarding your online activities after establishing the VPN connection.
Is TunnelBear Safe? – Final Verdict
After thorough testing, we found the answer to “Is TunnelBear Safe?” to be “yes.” Some cons cannot be overlooked, like its unsafe jurisdiction. However, TunnelBear makes up for it with its strict no-logs policy. TunnelBear has a transparent logging policy, so even if any government agency did demand user data, TunnelBear would have nothing much to offer.
Fortunately, this VPN also offers a freemium version that you can use to test its features. It is also one of the best secure free VPNs around with a clear no-logs policy.