In a recent interview with Precisesecurity.com, Cactus VPN chief executive Sergiu Candja has stated that the current quarantine period offers VPN providers an opportunity to show people how VPNs can be useful in such a situation. During the interview, Candja advised companies on how to protect their data with employees working from during the Coronavirus pandemic.
Candja also talked about the importance of streaming platforms like Netflix having universal content for all users globally. The chief executive further gave an outlook of the online security sector in the coming years.
In the wake of the Coronavirus pandemic, the number of VPN usage has skyrocketed in various countries. What does this mean for the VPN sector post-coronavirus?
We have to be realistic first. Not all the people who bought a VPN subscription during the pandemic will continue to use these services once the quarantine is over.
However, I do believe the quarantine has offered us (the VPN providers) an opportunity to show people how useful VPNs can be in today’s world, and how important it is to use one.
Our main goal as a company right now is to win these new users’ trust, and show them that they don’t need years of programming experience and technical knowledge to use a VPN that has high-end security.
With employees working from home, a section has resorted to using a VPN as a means of protecting company data. Is the use of VPN enough in preventing the risk of data breaches while working remotely?
No, a VPN alone isn’t enough. It’s a very good way to secure remote connections to company networks, but that’s just one aspect of protecting business data and assets.
Besides a VPN, a company should also use antivirus protection, and train their employees to avoid phishing/vishing attacks. Some large companies even go the extra mile and integrate SDPs into their networks (which can use VPNs to establish connections).
That aside, a VPN still is the cornerstone of remote work. I mean, VPNs essentially got their start as tools corporations used to access data remotely and securely. And they successfully adapted over the years (and continue to do that to this day), meeting all the new demands companies had in terms of usability and security.
Cactus VPN is available on platforms like Windows and Android. Which of these devices has the highest number of users? Can you also give a specific number of users for each platform?
Here’s an overview of usage rates for our apps:
- Our most popular app is the Windows client. It’s likely because so many people use the OS. I also believe the myth that “VPNs are only needed on the desktop” contributes to that.
- Hot on our Windows app’s heels is our Android client. Again, this is a very popular OS so we believe that contributes a lot to the usage rates we see.
- Our iOS, macOS, and Fire TV apps are less popular, but continue to see steady growth in user numbers.
- The least popular app is the Android TV one, which is likely due to the limited number of supported devices.
Unfortunately, we can’t disclose the total number of users for each platform. We don’t want to use what some customers might consider private information about how they use our service to advertise our brand.
What informed your decision to incorporate cryptocurrency payments? Roughly how many customers are paying for your VPN services using crypto?
People often believe that VPNs accept crypto payments because they’re “profitable.” But they’re not a stable source of income at all. Instead, they’re a necessity for VPNs because users demand it.
In our case, many users asked us to start accepting crypto payments a long time ago. And we actually wanted to do this from the start. Unfortunately, it took a while until we could successfully offer support for these types of payments on our website.
For example, it was really hard to tell how these payments would fit into accounting. Boring stuff, I know, but you can’t ignore or circumvent it as a business.
Luckily, as crypto payments became more popular, new tools popped up that really helped us integrate crypto into our business model alongside standard payment options like credit cards and PayPal.
As for numbers, again, we don’t want to give any exact info because it kind of defeats the idea of privacy. But we can tell you that only a very small segment of our users pay with BTC and altcoins. Still, I have noticed a growing trend in these payments, and I really hope to see it become a normal payment method in the future.
You are among the companies that fought back when Netflix declared war on VPN platforms that help users to unlock the content. Do you think it’s time Netflix and other streaming platforms offered universal content for all users to avoid the back and forth with VPN providers?
We have always believed that access to information should never be restricted, no matter who the audience is. So universal content would be an amazing step forward for internet freedom.
Now, we are aware that content providers have to deal with copyright agreements, distribution rights, and licensing regulations at a global level. And there’s no way we’re going to say handling all of that is simple.
But, at the same time, innovative companies like Netflix that invest billions of dollars into producing their own content could really revolutionize the entertainment and content distribution industries if they were to adopt this idea.
What should we expect from the online security sector in the next few years?
My personal view is that we’ll see two trends. They might seem like they don’t work together, but they will actually go hand in hand.
So the first trend – I believe that more and more people will take online security and privacy way more seriously. I strongly believe this because both national governments and transnational systems (like the EU) have adopted laws and regulations that try to protect personal data and make end-users more secure.
In my opinion, that shows people are pretty interested in improving their security and privacy. They put enough pressure on the authorities to adopt those regulations, after all.
And the second trend – the boost in security will mostly take place in the background. By that, I mean people won’t need to fine-tune dozens of settings to get an acceptable level of Internet security. Instead, they’ll dynamically change according to the user’s behavior and requirements. Think of it as a personal AI that handles online security.
Some countries, especially those with communist governments, are banning access to VPN. What are your views on this censorship and can Cactus and other VPN providers enable citizens from these countries to bypass such restrictions?
We’re against censorship of any kind – be it in autocratic or democratic regimes. It’s a horrible practice, and nobody should stand for it. For us, it’s very upsetting to see that people can’t use a VPN to access more information (like seeing a documentary on Netflix or reading a news article from a US newspaper) due to the whims of dictators and political parties.
This might sound very weird, but our final aim is for people to no longer need a VPN to access basic information that should normally be available to the public.
Cactus VPN is actively expanding and making regular updates to its products. In this line what are your future plans?
Right now, we’re focusing on fully integrating our features across all platforms, as well as implementing new features (many of them requested by our users).
We’re especially spending a lot of time and energy on adding a new VPN protocol to our service, which will be the seventh one we offer to our users.
Lastly, we’re also continuously working on optimizing and expanding our server network.
Thank you, Sergiu, for the conversation!