F-Secure Freedome VPN Review

Our Freedome VPN review starts by observing that it is a new product offered by F-Secure. a well-respected European security company that is headquartered in Sweden.  Using their VPN service will ensure that all of your online traffic will be secured from prying eyes.  It will help to keep you more anonymous while surfing the Internet by allowing you to virtually connect from 27 different locations.  Their service blocks malicious software from reaching your device.  Freedome VPN will let you monitor, track, and block tracking programs.  This can further increase your online anonymity.

Freedome VPN Review

Freedome VPN Pricing and Special Offers

F-Secure has a unique way of pricing their Freedome VPN service.  Unlike most providers, they price their service in 12 month terms only.  They have three different packages with the difference being the number of devices that you can connect to the VPN.  The folks at F-Secure have generously offered our VPN Fan readers a special offer. Enjoy a 20% discount with prices starting at just $39.99 for a year of unlimited VPN.

Freedome VPN Pricing

These device packages and their VPN Fan readers pricing are as follows:

  • 3 devices – $39.99 per year or about $3.33 per month
  • 5 devices – $47.99 per year or about $4.00 per month
  • 7 devices – $63.99 per year or about $5.33 per month

If you have an average size family, you will probably want to sign up for the 5-device plan.  This plan allows you to connect up to five devices to their Freedome VPN service for about $4.00 per month.  We feel this is a reasonable price and provides the best option for most users.

F-Secure offers a number of different ways to pay for their Freedome VPN service.  You can pay for it using a credit card.  The cards they accept are Visa, MasterCard, American Express, and JCB.   If you like to keep all of your online purchases in one place, they also allow you to subscribe using PayPal.  You can use PayNearMe card at the local 7-Eleven near you if it is available in your area.  Finally, they accept payment by bank transfer, check, or money order.

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Free Freedome VPN Service

F-Secure offers a 5-day free trial of their service.  No registration is required to sign up for this free trial.  Just download and install the VPN software from their website.  At the end of the trial period, the service will no longer work. Instead it will prompt you to sign up for a paid subscription when you open it.

In addition to the free service, F-Secure has a 30-day money back guarantee for their paying customers.  This will ensure that you have plenty of time to make sure the service is just what you are looking for.  To request a refund, just contact the staff at F-secure during normal business hours.

Freedome VPN Network and Server Locations

The Freedome VPN network is mid-size and still expanding.  It contains 27 server locations but as it is only about a year old, it is still growing.  Current locations include the following countries:

  • Asia – Hong Kong, Japan, Singapore
  • Europe – Belgium, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, the Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, the United Kingdom
  • North America – Canada (Montreal, Toronto and Vancouver), Mexico, United States USA (East coast, Northwest, South, Southeast, and West coast)
  • Oceania – Australia

Even though the Freedome VPN network isn’t the largest, it does have locations in Asia, Europe, Oceania, and North America.  They have VPN servers in Canada, the United Sates, the UK, and other popular streaming media locations.  Their servers in Denmark, Finland, Ireland, Norway,  Spain, Sweden, and Switzerland allow P2P traffic.

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Freedome VPN Privacy, Security, and Support

F-Secure has a no-logging policy when it comes to their Freedome VPN service.  They do not keep any logs about connections established through their VPN service to external addresses.  Thus, no browser destinations can be logged back to their users.  Their Privacy Policy for their VPN users states the following:

We respect your right to privacy.
We encrypt your data traffic.
We do not share nor sell any of your traffic.
We do not read your traffic.
We do not know what traffic is yours.
We know security.
We have no back doors.

F-Secure does maintain some temporary logs of some metadata for maintenance reasons.  These logs include the following information: duration of the VPN sessions, the amount of data transferred, the device ID and the public IP address that the VPN client used to connect to their service.  Additionally, they track some diagnostic data to improve the service but you can opt out of this.  As always, you should check out their Freedome VPN TOS and Privacy Policy for yourself to see all if you are comfortable with them.

F-Secure uses Advanced Encryption Standard (AES) to encrypt all of your Internet traffic while connected to their service.  The control channel handles the handshake phase of the VPN connection which verifies the server and remote point and establishes the secure tunnel through which the encrypted traffic will travel.  It also establishes the rules and transfers the keys that the VPN service will use for data transfer.  The data channel is used for data traffic encryption and to verify data integrity.

Specifically, the Freedome VPN service uses the following technical details for Android, Windows and Mac OS X devices:

  • Control channel:
    • TLS, 2048 bit RSA keys with SHA-256 certificates, AES-256 + HMAC-SHA1
  • Data channel:
    • AES-128 + HMAC-SHA1

It uses the built-in IPSec security for iOS devices utilizing the following:

  • Control channel:
    • IKE: 2048 bit RSA keys with SHA-256 certificates , AES-256 + HMAC-SHA1
  • Data channel:
    • AES-128 + HMAC-SHA1

Their service uses Diffie-Hellman key exchange to provide for Perfect Forward Secrecy (PFS).  AES is one of the best encryption algorithms for VPNs if it is implemented properly.  As you would expect from a well established security company like F-Secure, the above specs show that they understand this.  Consequently your data will be well protected from uninvited third parties while using the Freedome VPN service.

F-Secure has an online community and a FAQ database that all users can access for general questions and technical issue.  Subscribers also get access to free technical support through online chat during normal business hours.  You can also call for problems during these hours.  These hours and numbers can be found on their website.  They also have a security blog site and a social media presence on Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube.

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Hands-On Testing of Freedome VPN

F-Secure has developed custom software to help you get the most out of their VPN service.  They have clients for Windows and Mac OS X.  They also have mobile apps for iOS and Android.  The specifications for these platforms are as follows:

  • Freedome VPN for
    • Android 4.0.3 and above
    • iOS 8 or later
    • Windows 7 and above
    • OS X 10.9 or later

F-Secure has designed similar interfaces for all of their custom VPN software.  They have also made it easy to install and use their software on all major OS platforms.  This will shorten your learning curve for Freedome VPN.  As a result, you will be connected to one of their secure servers in just a couple of minutes.

Installing Freedome VPN Custom Clients and Apps

Installation of their custom software is easy and begins by first visiting their website and downloading it to your device by selecting the button for your device..  This will let you open the proper installation file or save it to your computer.  Running this file on your PC or opening its app on your Mac will allow you to complete your Freedome VPN client installation.

The iOS and Android buttons will take you to their respective stores (iTunes or Google Play store).   Once there, you can tap on the “Install” button to finish the installation of the Freedome VPN app to your device. You can then open it by tapping on the “Open” button or launch it later from your apps folder.

Using the Freedome VPN Windows Client

Running the file you downloaded as an administrator will allow you to finish the VPN client installation on your PC or laptop.  This process is illustrated below.

Freedome VPN Windows Client Installation

Be sure to examine the usage and privacy policies.  Once you are sure these are acceptable to you, click on the “Accept” button to start the client installation.  After a short time you will see a screen to install the virtual adapter,  Click the “Install” button on this screen to continue the installation process.

After the installation completes, you will see the Freedome VPN client’s main connection screen.  This screen has a menu of features down its left-hand side.  We will examine these in greater detail when we look at the Android app later in our Freedome VPN review.  The features include the following:

  • Browser protection – Utilizing this will alert you to unsafe websites.
  • Tracker protection – This will monitor and block online trackers which will curtail targeted advertising and allow your websites to load quicker.
  • Private search – Turning this on will keep your ISP and other third parties from logging your search activities.
  • Tracker mapper – This is a graphical interface that allows you to monitor websites that you visit for software trackers and block them.
  • Settings – This contains some general startup settings for your VPN service.
  • Subscription – From here you can subscribe to the service or log in using your registered code.
  • Help – This will open the Freedome VPN support page on their website.

Freedome VPN Windows ClientClicking the ON/OFF toggle button in the middle of the screen will connect you to your chosen virtual location.  In this case it will connect you to the location closest to you.  This is the default when you first open the client.  Clicking on the current location will open a list of alternate locations that you can connect to. This screen also shows you the bandwidth protected in kilobytes, the harmful sites it has blocked, and the number of tracking attempts that it has blocked at a glance.

As you can see, F-secure has made both the installation and use of their Windows client easy for anyone. Just a few clicks will have you connected to your chosen server and allow you to bypass censorship, stream content from a favorite site, and secure all of your Internet traffic from prying eyes.  It will also block malicious software, annoying trackers, and help you be more anonymous while browsing the Web.

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Using the Freedome VPN Android App

Once you have finished installing the Freedome VPN app to your Android device and open it, you will see a small tour of some of the benefits and features.  The below image shows this tour which you access by sliding left on the screen.  The first two screens discuss why Freedome VPN was created and how it can increase your Internet security.  The third shows the tracker mapper feature.

Freedome VPN TourAt the end of this tour, you see the login/subscribe screen.  If you have a total security package code, tap the “Redeem code” button and enter it to activate the service.  If you have subscribed to Freedome VPN and have received your login credentials, tap the “Login” button and enter them.  Else, tap the “Start using Freedome” button to open the free trial and begin using the service.

When you open the Freedome VPN app for the first time, you will first see a summary of the Terms of Service, along with links to the TOS and Privacy Policy.  Once you have examined these and determined that you are comfortable with them, tap on the “Accept” button.  This screen also has a box to allow F-Secure to collect anonymous data to improve the service.

Freedome VPN First ConnectionAfter you have accepted the TOS, the main app connection screen will open.  The app automatically chooses the closest VPN server location to you.  If you want to connect there, toggle the protection button as is shown above.  The first time you use the app, it will prompt you for permissions to establish the VPN service on your device.  After you allow these, you will be connected to the closest Freedome VPN network server.

The main connection screen also shows your current protection status for apps, trackers, and the browser.  These can be expanded by tapping above the connection toggle button or sliding down as shown below.  Tapping on one of these protections on the expanded layers screen will allow you to toggle that protection as is illustrated by tapping app security below.  Turning on the various protections will provide the following benefits:

  • App security – all currently installed apps are scanned and marked as trusted.  New apps are scanned before you install them.
  • Tracking protection – this will block most tracking software which will allow some Web pages to load quicker and keep you from being targeted.
  • Browser protection – block malware and other malicious software from reaching your device.  It will also warn you about dangerous or suspicious sites and block them.
  • Connection protection – your VPN connection status.

Disconnecting from the Freedome VPN will disable all the other protections except the apps protection which is always on.  You will always be protected against harmful apps compliments of F-Secure, even if you don’t subscribe to the Freedome VPN service.

Freedome VPN Protection StatusThe area below the connection toggle on the main screen shows the protection history while using the VPN service.  Similarly to the protection status, these histories can be expanded to examine them in greater detail.  Simply tap below the connection toggle or slide up to show these.  Tapping on one of the expanded layers will open a screen with even more details as is shown below using the app security feature which list those apps which have been scanned and now trusted.  The histories shown include the following:

  • Traffic protected – Data protected in MB.
  • Number of harmful sites blocked – tapping on this will open an example demonstration  of the feature.
  • Software tracker attempts blocked – tapping on this will let you expand it and display graphically using the tracker mapper.  This will be illustrated later in this section.
  • Apps secured – List the trusted apps and when they were scanned.

Freedome VPN Protection HistoryTapping on the tracker attempts blocked will allow you to open the graphical tracker mapper as is shown below.  Once the mapper is open, tapping on one of the small numbered circles will display the website associated with that tracker.  The large circle with the letters in it represents the sites that your have visited.  Tapping on it will display all of the tracker websites that are associated with it.  Information for the dictionary.com site is used to illustrate these in the tracker mapper below.

Freedome VPN Tracker MapperTapping on the menu (3 horizontal lines) icon in the upper right part of the mapper will open a menu for the mapper.  This menu has the following elements:

  • Tracking top 5 – show the five websites with the most trackers.
  • Start a new log – create a new log which will also automatically delete the current one.
  • Center screen – center the graphical tracker representation.
  • Share – attach the file to email or another source and send it to others.
  • Export – save log and export it to another program.
  • Delete – manually delete current log.

New logs will collect tracker data on the websites you visit for 24 hours and it is kept for three days unless you manually delete it or start a new tracker mapper log.

The last thing that we want to examine on the main connection screen is the app menu which can be accessed by tapping on the menu icon in the upper left corner.  This is illustrated below.  The menu contains the following elements:

  • Subscriptions – will allow you to enter package codes, log in credentials, or subscribe to the service
  • Settings – contains the parameters you can control in the app which we will discuss.
  • Feedback – will let you rate the app, send feedback to staff, or take a survey.
  • Invite friends – send a code to friends using email, Facebook, or Twitter that will let them try out Freedome VPN for 14 days.
  • Help – will display a small guide on how to use the app or access the online community.
  • About – displays the latest version information for the Android app.
  • Quit – displays a confirmation screen that allow you to exit the app.

Freedome VPN Settings

The settings screen shown above has some general settings for the app that can be toggled.  These include running on power up, displaying an icon for Freedome VPN  in the app bar at the top of your Android device, and allowing F-Secure to collect anonymous data about your VPN usage.  It will also let you set trusted Wi-Fi networks that are allowed to bypass the VPN and connect directly to the Internet.

Now that we have looked at all of the features and settings for the Freedome VPN app, let us take a look at the app in action.  Remember that you can toggle the connection on and off by simply tapping on the protection button which we previously used to connect to our closest location.

If you want to select another VPN server location, tap on the current location.  This will display a map with our current location indicated by a flag icon representing the country it is in, the closest server to your current location, and the most recent connections.  This makes it easy to connect to previously connected countries.  Tapping on the right-pointing arrow beside the recent locations will open a list of all the locations you can connect to.  Tapping on the United Kingdom and returning to the main screen will connect you there.  This is illustrated in the image below.

Freedome VPN Server ReconnectionAs you can see from our review of their Android app, F-Secure has designed the custom software for Freedome VPN to display all the info you need to ensure your online security at a glance.  It is shown on the main screen along with your VPN connection status.  Installation of the app is fast and easy.  The interface is intuitive and simple to use.  Toggling these settings can be accomplished with just a few taps of the screen.  Connecting to their service requires very little effort.  Disconnecting only requires one tap of the protection toggle button.  Nothing could be easier.

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Freedome VPN Speed Test

The speed of the Freedome VPN service was good.  The results show that you will be able to transparently use it with most of your Internet applications.  There was some loss of speed while connected to their VPN server.  This is caused by the extra overhead required to secure and encrypt all of your Internet activity.

Freedome VPN Speed Test

The speed test shows that the encrypted connection lowered our base ISP download speed from 26.45 Mb/s to 22.03 Mb/s.  This is a drop of about 16.7% to a server in Tonkawa OK.  Using the Freedome VPN service will secure you Internet transactions, allow you to overcome censorship, and unblock streaming content that would otherwise not be available to you.  We think that that this loss of speed is worth the peace of mind provided by these benefits.

Conclusions

Freedome VPN is a new service that has been provided by F-Secure, a well known online security software firm that is located in Sweden and the United States. They are thus subject to the respective laws of those countries.  They have been providing VPN service for less than a year so it is still expanding.  Currently they have 27 server locations and are looking for others.  This means they have a mid-size network with coverage on four of the seven continents, with Africa, Antarctica and South America being the exceptions.

The VPN service uses an AES based algorithm with 256 or 128 bit keys for encryption.  AES based encryption is widely regarded as one of the best for structuring VPNs. Freedome is a no-logging service with regard to the sites that customers visit. They collect some metadata for maintenance of the service.  You can read their TOS and Privacy Policy to learn more.

Their software supports most OS platforms, and is easy to install and use.  Customer support is through FAQs, online community forums, and social media.   Paid subscribers also get access to chat and phone support during normal business hours.

What we liked most about the service:

  • They have custom software for Windows and Mac systems.
  • Freedome VPN has mobile apps for iOS and Android devices.
  • All of the custom software is easy to install and use.
  • They have similar software interfaces for all of their software platforms which minimizes its  learning curve for different devices.
  • Extra features to block malware and trackers.

Ideas to improve the service:

  • Add more servers and locations, possibly in South America and Africa regions.
  • Consolidate areas of their website to make it easier to navigate products.
  • Consider offering a monthly payment option for the VPN service.

F-Secure’s Freedome VPN could be the one you are looking for.  They offer a 5-day free trial, as well as, a 30-day money back guarantee so you can test their service.  This should afford you more than enough time to fully test it and see if it suits your needs. Try out their VPN servers for yourself and see what you think.  If you like the Freedome VPN service, you can sign up for it from just $4.00 per month and access the VPN on up to five devices.

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