Tested in beta in 2019, Mozilla VPN was finally officially launched in the course of 2020. But the offer remained limited to the United States, Canada, United Kingdom, Singapore, Malaysia and New Zealand in a first time. Mozilla announces today the opening of the offer to French and German Internet users. Mozilla VPN takes the form of a standalone service, disconnected from the Firefox browser, intended for the general public.
First steps in Europe
If the arrival of the offer in Europe took time, it is because Mozilla wanted to refine its launch. “We wanted to give ourselves time to integrate the different payment options, and to adapt our offers to the European market”, explains Dave Camp, product director. The opportunity for Mozilla to offer new VPN subscription plans, with offers of one month for 9.99 euros, six months for 6.99 euros, and 12 months for 4.99 euros. Another advantage of this later launch: the various clients of the Mozilla VPN application are available on a greater number of platforms, with versions Windows Linux, MacOS, Android and iOS. When the US version was launched, only the Windows and Android versions were available.
Mozilla’s VPN is based on the Wireguard protocol, chosen by Mozilla “because it offers the best performance while offering serious guarantees of security”, explains Dave Camp. But Mozilla is not going into this market alone: the offer is actually a partnership with the Swedish company Mullvad, which already offers a VPN offer based on Wireguard. The Mozilla service can thus count on a total of 750 servers, including 18 located in France. “Put simply, we design the clients and Mullvad provides us with the servers and the technical infrastructure,” Camp says. I promise, neither Mozilla nor Mullvad will have access to activity logs on the servers. “In the event of a request for information from the authorities, we will deliver the data we have, but these are kept to a minimum,” insists Dave Camp.
As a pledge of its good faith, Mozilla will be able to count on audits aimed at certifying the best practices of its VPN in terms of security. The results of a first penetration test aimed at flushing out vulnerabilities on the service’s infrastructure have already been published, and Mozilla promises a new audit, this time focusing on customer security. With a results release expected before the end of 2021, but if you don’t have time to wait, client source code is obviously available in open source for you to take a look at.
For Mozilla, this launch of a VPN offer is not trivial. In 2020, the foundation announced the dismissal of 250 employees within the Mozilla Corporation, a measure deemed necessary for the financial stability of the organization. The objective displayed by the president of the foundation, Mitchell Baker, was then to diversify its sources of income, to no longer depend solely on agreements signed with different search engines to be integrated by default in the browser. If the foundation has started since 2014 an evolution of its model by going to seek other search engines like Yandex and Yahoo, Google remains an important part of the revenues of Mozilla and the dependence of the foundation on a single actor worries the management.
Mozilla is therefore trying to diversify and is counting on the launch of new paid offers to generate new lines of income. On the front line, Pocket Premium, a service for managing bookmarks and web pages, and Mozilla VPN.
However, it is difficult to find a place in a sector already dominated by certain well-known players (NordVPN, Protonvpn and other Express VPNs) and which has a large number of competitors. To make a difference, Mozilla relies above all … on its name. “We are new to this market, but we can count on a reputation and more than 20 years of defending privacy. In addition, the foundation is a non-profit organization, and we favor the defense of privacy in search of profit, ”says Dave Camp.