NordVPN launches CyberSec feature

Martin Brinkmann
Jul 3, 2017

NordVPN, a popular virtual private network provider, has launched CyberSec, a new security feature as part of the NordVPN client update.

CyberSec is a new security component of the official NordVPN client designed to block malware, intrusive advertisement, and other threats.

Customers of NordVPN who upgrade the client to the latest version will receive a popup when they run the client after update installation that informs them about the new CyberSec feature.

Introducing CyberSec!

From now on, NordVPN gives comprehensive protection from intrusive ads, malware, phishing attempts, DDoS attacks and other threats.

NordVPN CyberSec

introducing cybersec

CyberSec can best be described as a mechanism to control traffic. It resembles a content blocker but with the difference that it runs on the system level, and not as a browser extension.

It is not the first feature of its kind; Private Internet Access' client for instance ships with a similar feature called MACE for some time now.

So what does it do?

  • Blocks advertisement -- This part of CyberSec blocks known advertisement sources from being loaded.
  • Defends against malware -- It blocks known malware domains by using a blacklist approach.
  • Blocks botnet abuse -- Promises to prevent that devices are used for DDoS attacks, even if they are already infected.

NordVPN users can toggle the status of the feature in the client interface under Settings > General. It is listed as the first option on the general settings page and highlighted with a new tag right now on top of that.

All you need to do to enable or disable it is to click on the slider next to it.  The feature works automatically when you enable it, and all applications that you run on your system benefit from its functionality.

Closing Words

CyberSec looks on first glance like a great feature; it blocks advertisement and malicious content after all automatically on a system wide level.

The feature suffers from the same usability issue however that Private Internet Access' MACE feature suffers from: lack of control.

While you can enable and disable the feature, you have no say in what gets blocked and what does not get blocked. If there is a false positive, there is nothing you can do about it other than turn off CyberSec to access the resource.

There is no whitelisting for sites that you value and trust, so that advertisement is displayed, and no option to check the blocklists to verify what gets blocked and what does not get blocked.

Additionally, there is also no option to put resources on the blocklist to block them permanently when you are connected to NordVPN.

So, should you enable CyberSec then if you are a NordVPN customer? It depends. The hands-free approach has its advantages, as anyone may use it without knowing anything about blocking content on the Internet.

The downside is the lack of control, especially no option to verify what gets blocked, or add or remove resources from the blocklists.

A better approach would be in my opinion to separate the protective options, e.g. let users decide if they want to block malware, ads or DDoS abuse separately, and provide control and whitelisting / blacklisting functionality on top of that.

Now Read: Get the most out of the NordVPN client

NordVPN launches CyberSec feature
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NordVPN launches CyberSec feature
NordVPN, a popular virtual private network provider, has launched CyberSec, a new security feature as part of the NordVPN client update.
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  1. Anonymous said on October 18, 2017 at 6:29 pm

    NordVPN Cybersec results in blocking Skype, even when in countries where Skype would normally work. So you cannot have the CyberSec working if you want to use Skype (which I do, 100% of the time). It means I cannot use CyberSec any of the time… that is a total nonsense.

    1. Anonymous said on December 17, 2017 at 7:47 pm

      Thanks for the info mate. I couldn’t figure out why Skype suddenly stopped working. I disabled CyberSec and Skype is now working again.

  2. Curtis K said on July 11, 2017 at 4:09 am

    I am NOT an NordVPN user/customer.

    CyberGhost is better which is for all operating systems platforms.

    1. nero said on July 11, 2017 at 8:27 am

      Well there’s a well qualified comment. I’m sure CyberGhost has a better bikini body but as far as VPNs go I think you’d be hard pressed to find a single metric where it outclasses Nord.

      And instead of posting twice, I contact Nord yesterday regarding Cybersec, they’re aware of the issues with certain apps and are going to release a Cybersec update shortly.

  3. nero said on July 9, 2017 at 6:21 pm

    Issues here with the Skype Win10 app as well as Meistertask desktop app…had to disable as well.

  4. TelV said on July 4, 2017 at 7:39 pm

    Mullvad located in Sweden looks to be a better deal especially since it isn’t necessary to supply any personal information in order to open an account:

  5. ausca said on July 4, 2017 at 1:56 pm

    Linux version?

    1. Martin Brinkmann said on July 4, 2017 at 2:05 pm

      No client version as far as I know, see:

  6. ilev said on July 3, 2017 at 7:50 pm
  7. manic monday said on July 3, 2017 at 4:10 pm

    Do you know if they’re enabling it by default and I’ll have to check and turn it off?

    It sounds like a good idea in principle but I’d sooner rely on a properly updated user hosts file (best I’ve seen is from StevenBlack on github which amasses a lot of reputable lists together) and fine tune any additional ad-blocking and visual tweaking with an addon in the browser. (Noscript + ublock origin)

  8. KnightKrawler said on July 3, 2017 at 3:10 pm

    It blocked everything on Something I didn’t care for. It was turned off.

    1. Martin Brinkmann said on July 3, 2017 at 3:13 pm

      That’s the major problem that I see with these kind of systems: if something is blocked but you want to access it, regardless of why, then your only option is to turn the whole thing off. Lack of control is bad.

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