Steganos Software is a Berlin-based developer which has been producing high quality software program since 1996. Current merchandise embrace a password supervisor and encryption package deal, and just lately the corporate prolonged its vary with Steganos Online Shield, a VPN.
The service has purchasers for Windows, Android and iOS, however not Mac, sadly. There’s help for as much as 5 simultaneous connections, although, so you will in all probability be capable to use all of your different units as you want.
Steganos Online Shield is aimed extra on the unusual person than VPN consultants. Apart from a short point out of IPv6 compatibility, the web site mentions nothing about protocols, encryption, DNS or something low-level. Instead, the discuss is of bonus privacy-related add-ons: ad-blocking, safety from social media monitoring, computerized cookie deletion when a session closes.
There’s no one-month plan on supply, so you’ve to enroll in a full 12 months, however that’s fairly priced at £46.70 ($59.99, AU$77.90), equal to £three.90 ($four.90, AU$6.50) a month. You can pattern the service with a 500MB/month free plan – that’s not a lot of an allowance, however at the least there aren’t any server or velocity limits – and there is a no-risk 7-day trial for the complete Premium plan.
Steganos Online Shield’s privateness coverage is longer than some, however does embrace some essential particulars, and it is fairly straightforward to seek out the knowledge you want.
An intensive no-logging assertion explains that there isn’t any recording of the addresses you entry, the content material you obtain or the IP handle related to an motion. Or, because the doc places it: “It just isn’t doable for Steganos to find out what contents Steganos Online Shield calls up. Neither the IP addresses of the customers nor the IP addresses of the known as server is saved.”
The service would not require private particulars comparable to an e-mail handle. Instead it generates a ‘pseudonymous User ID’ primarily based on the general public key of your laptop MAC handle.
If you do present an e-mail handle, the corporate has an opt-in system for sending mails, however you may unsubscribe at any time and the handle is rarely bought or traded with anybody else.
There are some acquainted clauses concerning the firm web site, and the way it makes use of Google Analytics and cookies – not ideally suited, however similar to different suppliers, and never one thing which impacts on the core service.
Elsewhere, the one oddities we observed had been within the ‘stuff you are not allowed to do’ checklist. Steganos explicitly bans “sending knowledge not desired by the recipient” (watch out what you e-mail), utilizing packages “that routinely learn knowledge”, like “crawlers”, or participating within the “promotion of unlawful actions”, together with – bizarrely – playing.
The Windows shopper was easy and easy to arrange on our take a look at system, with no issues or hassles in any respect.
Basic operations are additionally very, very straightforward to hold out. At a minimal, you could possibly launch this system, click on Protect Connection, and Online Shield routinely connects you to the quickest server. A tiny flag reveals you the place that’s, or you may click on the icon, select one other nation and swap instantly (there isn’t any must manually disconnect from one location earlier than shifting to a different).
If you want extra management, robust: there are barely any superior choices in any respect. No alternative of protocol, no change of ports, no DNS management, no kill swap or firewall. Just a checkbox to dam WebRTC leaks and the power so as to add e-mail exceptions, enabling sending emails when you’re linked.
The bonus add-ons – advert and tracker blocking, computerized cookie erasing, anonymising browser kind – did little to win us over. The advert blocker does take away some banners, as an example, however we discovered free opponents like Adblock Plus had been simpler.
Our efficiency exams* gave blended outcomes. Short UK-UK connections achieved a succesful 30-35Mbps, however with a comparatively excessive 45ms latency. Switching to the US gave us a usable 20-25Mbps, however a UK-Japan connection noticed downloads drop to 10Mbps or much less, and different server speeds had been a little bit unpredictable. Russia managed 35Mbps, France barely 10-15Mbps.
It was a equally unsure story with our privateness exams. Steganos Online Shield handed our WebRTC leak take a look at, though we hadn’t checked the ‘Prevent WebRTC IP leak’ choice, however the service did not handle to cover our ISP’s DNS handle.
This one is perhaps helpful for VPN newbies who simply want fundamental safety for searching, emails, and lightweight downloads. But in the event you’re after plenty of areas, most speeds, configurability or something faintly superior, look elsewhere.
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*Our testing included evaluating common efficiency (searching, streaming video). We additionally used speed test.web to measure latency, add and obtain speeds, after which examined instantly once more with the VPN turned off, to verify for any distinction (over a number of rounds of testing). We then in contrast these outcomes to different VPN companies we have reviewed. Of course, do observe that VPN efficiency is troublesome to measure as there are such a lot of variables.