Using a VPN gives you back the encryption that you ordinarily get from password-protected Wi-Fi, and it's why everyone should use a VPN if you’re going to use the free Wi-Fi in a cafe, airport, hotel or any other public place.
Setting up a VPN service isn’t trivial and looking at the server numbers, Malwarebytes Privacy doesn’t offer nearly as many servers or locations as some of its more well-established rivals.
There are 180 servers in 30 countries at launch, but Malwarebytes hasn’t given any details of whether it owns and operates them (or rents them), how they’re configured or which protocol it’s using for the super-fast speeds that it’s promising. It doesn't mention whether it unblocks popular streaming services, either, and this is why many people want a VPN.
It has only said that by using a “highly efficient VPN protocol, Malwarebytes Privacy doesn’t compromise on speed while delivering best-in-class encryption.” And that the service ”helps users take back control over their data by protecting their privacy online, securing their WiFi connection with speeds faster than legacy VPNs”.
It's also unclear what makes it a next-generation VPN service: we've asked Malwarebytes for more details on the protocol.
The service is only available for Windows at the moment, which means you can’t protect your iPhone or Android phone when connected to public Wi-Fi, just your laptop or Windows tablet.
A one-year subscription, which covers five Windows devices, costs £59.99 / $89.99. That’s £4.99 / $7.49 per month, making it more expensive than many rivals including NordVPN which has just announced its own faster protocol called NordLynx.
However this bundle also includes the company’s antivirus protection - Malwarebytes Premium - as well, and if you do use it on five devices, it’s only £1 / $1.49 per month per device, which is certainly decent value. And we’re told that you’ll be able to subscribe to the VPN service as a standalone product for less: prices for that haven’t been shared yet.
But even if you’re tempted, note that there’s no way to pay for the service anonymously (the options are PayPal or credit / debit card) and Malwarebytes is based in the US, one of the so-called ‘five eyes’: countries that share intelligence with each other.
Malwarebytes says that it logs no data, so your online activity should be safe, but given the wealth of choice when it comes to VPN services, it’s going to have a very tough time to persuade users to sign up to Privacy.