Antivirus giant McAfee buys VPN provider TunnelBear

TunnelBear and McAfee logos

Internet security company McAfee has bought VPN provider TunnelBear. McAfee hasn't announced how much the deal is worth, but in a statement the company said it plans to integrate TunnelBear's services into its own VPN service, Safe Connect.

“We’re confident this acquisition will serve both our end users and partners by embedding its best-in-class, hardened network into our Safe Connect product,” said McAfee CEO Christopher Young.

The end of free VPN?

There's a chance this acquisition could spell the end of TunnelBear's free service. It's currently first in our roundup of the best free VPNs , but that could all change when it's integrated into McAfee Safe Connect, which has a different pricing model.

McAfee Safe Connect offers a free seven-day trial, but after that there's a subscription fee of US$7.99/£7.99/AU$11.49 per month, or US$47.88/£47.88/AU$68.99 per year.

There could also be a change in TunnelBear's terms. The Canadian company is known for its clear privacy policy, which explains every piece of data it collects from its users and why, but once the McAfee purchase is complete, it'll need to abide by US laws. If you currently use TunnelBear, it's well worth keeping an eye out for anything new.

What's next for McAfee

The start of 2018 has been a busy time for McAfee. At last month's Mobile World Congress, it demonstrated a new feature for Amazon Alexa that lets you check the security of your home network and change its settings with just your voice. For example, you can see how many devices are connected, set a time limit for your child's iPad, and disconnect any devices you don't recognize.

Last month, the company also announced a deal with European internet provider Telefonica, providing security software for home and mobile networks. McAfee Secure Home Platform will be integrated with Telefonica's broadband routers, with extra protection for users' phones when they're out and about.

Could we soon see a voice-activated VPN from McAfee, or routers with TunnelBear tech built in? We'll be keeping an eye out.