PureVPN is a popular VPN provider with a huge user base. However, we haven’t rated them highly on our website despite their boasts of speed, security, and usability. In this top 5 list, I’ll go over 5 horrible PureVPN screwups to educate you on the past, so you can decide what’s best for you in the future.
#1 2013 Hacked Purevpn Billing System
In 2013, PureVPN was hacked. In this hack, customers were receiving emails from the founder of the company. One email to a customer read “I’m sorry to inform you that due to an incident we had to close your account permanently. We are no longer able to run an anonymization service due to legal issues we are facing.”
The message went even further, explaining that PureVPN was closing down due to law enforcement involvement, and due to the company’s bank account being frozen, no refunds could be given.
Later on in a blog post, PureVPN published a blog post explaining that nothing had been compromised and that the entire thing was a hoax. However, PureVPN did come clean explaining that they were breached with a zero day exploit. PureVPN claimed the entire thing wasn’t a big deal, since only a subset of customers lost their email IDs and real names. But in the world of privacy, a name and email can mean everything–right?
#2 Blog Spreads Malware
Speaking of hacks, in April of 2016, PureVPN got hacked AGAIN.
This time the PureVPN blog was hosting a malicious file which was obfuscated as a Microsoft office document. The document included a windows password stealing trojan, and users even took screenshots of the contents.
AirVPN, user Zhang888, contacted PureVPN the day of the hack to chat with support about the issue. However, support denied any allegations of the hack. Zhang asked PureVPN if they “were aware that [they] were hacked.”
Pure VPN chat rep Daniel responded that he “is sorry for the inconvenience” and that Zhang should contact the email support. Upon further examination from Zhang, rep Daniel repeatedly denied any hack attempts or that PureVPN hosted malware. There is no question, however, that PureVPN was indeed hosting the file, as seen in our video mentioned above.
Later on, PureVPN came clean and revealed that there was hosted malicious content, but it was hosted on an experimental turkish blog which most users aren’t aware of on the domain Blog.purevpn.com/tr.
In this incident, it didn’t look like there was much harm done, but third times the charm right?
#3 Giving Up Cyberstalker Logs
This incident is a bit controversial, because it depends which side you are on. Do you value privacy above all else? Should a company ALWAYS uphold its rules even in the face of the law? Depending on your perspective, PureVPN could either be the hero, or the villain in this screwup.
Recently, PureVPN released logs to the FBI so that a notorious cybercriminal could be caught. The story goes that a girl–Jennifer Smith, posted a craigslist ad for a roommate. When the guy–Ryan Lin, moved in, he turned out to be a major creep, stalking and harassing the girl online from within their own house! The guy was kicked out, but that didn’t stop his machinations online.
Lin was caught posting passwords of Smith’s online accounts, posting intimate photos of her, posting fake profiles of her, inciting bomb threats, death and rape threats, and pretty much every possible crime that can be committed online. Suffice to say, this bastard deserved to be caught and jailed. But the methodology used, could be considered questionable.
However, there is a fine law with law, and while Lin was clearly guilty in this case, in some other countries some laws simply don’t need to exist. Like in China, where you can get in trouble for selling VPNs.
What do you think? Was PureVPN right to give away data on Lin?
#4 TO MUCH MARKETING!!!
Often times when a company has good marketing, it means that they don’t have a good product. Company’s have limited budgets and limited things to spend money on. You can see this with customer service. Most VPN company’s don’t have live chat since it costs money, but they aren’t afraid to spend money on Google ads.
Back in my heyday, PureVPN use to email me all the time asking me to do more promotion for their VPN. They also aren’t afraid to post on my (inactive) forums with paid trolls, and when you sign up for their VPN, they never stop emailing you as well.
The funny thing is that recently Forbes actually interviewed PureVPN about their marketing tactics with no mention of being paid off. Obviously, Forbes was, since it represents the perfect opportunity to advertise PureVPN. It’s a response to PureVPN trying to capitalize on how they released logs, by twisting the privacy concerns to a message of attacking “cyber stalkers”.
The article is mostly garbage, but it is interesting to see PureVPN bragging about their marketing when they could be bragging about their product, customer service, or something that actually matters to VPN customers.
#5 Their Own Service
So lastly, PureVPN screws up daily for having a bad product. With PureVPN, you can expect IP leaks, DNS leaks, slow speeds, connection problems, a poor mobile App, mediocre pricing and customer service and numerous virtual locations that save them money but don’t connect you to actual servers in actual locations. I actually caught ExpressVPN doing this as well in my lastest ExpressVPN review on the channel.