Why Opera's 'Built In VPN' Service Won't Keep Your Information Safe




Web browser Opera is offering the latest version of it’s browser with the added feature of “built in” VPN protection.


This should be great news as one of the most popular “underground” browsers is hopping aboard the VPN train.


Except it’s not that simple…


In this article I’ll explain why what they are offering is not actually a VPN service and how it won’t keep your information safe from cyber-criminals, hackers and thieves.


What is Opera?


Before we get into the specifics of what Opera is offering with this alleged VPN service, let’s explain what Opera is.


Opera is a web browser developed by Opera Software, which runs across all Microsoft Windows, OS X, and Linux Operating systems.


According to data from Opera, the browser had more than 350 million users worldwide in the 4th quarter of 2014. The company claims to have reached 291 users for Total Opera their mobile browser as of June 2015.


Opera is well known in the developer community for being the first browser to feature things like Pop-up Blocking, Tabbed Browsing, Private Browsing settings, and much more.


What are the benefits of Opera?


While Opera may have a lot of users it doesn’t get the publicity of a Mozilla Firefox or an Apple Safari despite being a superior browser.


A few of the benefits of Opera are:


  • 1. Speed Dial. Speed Dial is perhaps the most well known feature of Opera (before the “built in” VPN) and functions as a set of visual bookmarks on a single page. These bookmarks allow you to quickly and easily visit the pages you want by clicking on the image. It has been alleged that Apple has taken some of their icon interface for the IPhone from the original speed dial.


  • 2. Speed. Opera is the fastest browser out there and has beaten Firefox and Internet Explorer in both cold and warm start tests. If speed is important to you, Opera is far and away the fastest browser and has data to support that.


  • 3. Widgets. If you enjoy using widgets and web tools, Opera is the browser for you as it has a ton of useful widgets for almost any task, work or play. These widgets are simple to install and can be incredibly helpful.


What about these built in VPN claims?


So Opera sounds pretty good right?


It’s fast.


It has the capability to add on a lot of helpful widgets.


It’s even easy to use.


What’s the problem?


The problem is that Opera is currently claiming that the latest version includes “built in” VPN services.


Except it’s not actually providing those services.


Opera itself has said that unlike traditional VPN services it’s version will merely redirect browser traffic through the company’s servers.


This leaves programs such as messengers, and even email services working with zero additional encryption or protection of their data.


In other words, the VPN service provided by Opera is merely a proxy.


According to Billy Guthrie of Artelisys: “Opera sends very few API requests to obtain credential and proxy IPs.”


He continues: “When loading a page with Opera VPN enabled, the browser sends a lot of requests to http://deo.opera-proxy.net with Proxy-authorization request header.”


This basically confirms that the VPN service is nothing more than a proxy.


Not that there’s anything wrong with that.


You’re probably already vaguely aware of what a proxy does through context or previous experience but let me briefly explain what exactly a proxy does to those who don’t know.


A proxy server is a server that acts as a go-between for requests from clients who are trying to access resources on other servers.


Proxies exist to simplify and control the complexities of requests between servers.


As you can imagine with thousands of visitors to a website, the requests can pile up quickly.


Proxies provide structure to the Internet and encapsulation to distributed systems.


It’s helpful to think of servers as the traffic cops of the Internet. They wave one request through, and then the next, making sure that everyone stays anonymous in the process by routing everything through the little stop sign.


Why isn’t a proxy as secure as VPN service?


You may now find yourself wondering why you need a VPN service such as the one provided by Securevpn.com if you can use Opera and have your data protected by a proxy.


Well there are actually quite a few reasons you may not want to cancel your VPN service just yet…


  • 1. VPNs are more secure. While proxies do encrypt your web browsing activity, all other activity is exposed. That means you’re vulnerable downloading homework from your college’s website and talking with your friend on Skype. Proxies only protect you while you are browsing on them, that’s it. VPNs protect everything you do online after you turn on the VPN.


  • 2. VPNs have better infrastructure. The unique IT infrastructure of VPN services allows you to enjoy uninterrupted streaming and gaming online. Proxies generally have poor connections, which lead to disconnections, buffering or interruptions of online content.


  • 3. Protection from Cyberattacks. Because proxies do not allow you to know whom you are connecting to and they offer no encryption of data or protection from phishing or malware attacks, your data is at risk with just a proxy protecting it. On the other hand VPN services make sure that you are protected from everything from Phishing to data mining and RFD devices.


    The choice is pretty clear, if you’re SERIOUS about protecting your data and avoiding fraud and cyber attacks for yourself or your business, Opera’s “built in” VPN service also known as a proxy is simply not enough.


    While Opera is a fast and useful browser and the proxy system does add a layer of security, it’s simply not enough and it’s misleading to label their proxy system as a VPN especially when it is even called a proxy within their own user dashboards.


    There’s nothing wrong with proxies, they just aren’t VPN service and they shouldn’t be marketed as such.