VPNs based in Pakistan

VPNs (Virtual Private Networks) are a significant factor in ensuring a safe connection and privacy when using the internet. In an age where consumer privacy is not given much priority, the number of VPNs available and VPN users signing up for them has exploded. The competition for providers is fierce, and a handful of companies control the majority of the market.

The underlying technology that makes up a VPN is sophisticated, involving information encryption which is fed through the VPN companies’ servers, and sent to the wider internet. Thus, there is a degree of trust required between the VPN user and the company they decide to sign up with.

Of course, there is no VPN company in operation out there that will admit that they’re untrustworthy, or that they sell data, or that they have a checkered history when it comes to privacy. In fact, many VPN providers will go to great lengths to conceal that they’re owned by other companies which may have come other scrutiny in the past.

Recently, SaferNet has reported on the fact that many VPN companies go to great lengths to conceal who truly owns them. Aside from megacorporations playing a part, one of the most notable owners is China, owning a third of all major VPNs through various parent companies. However, another big player in this field is Pakistan, and a company named Gaditek.

This is yet another example of VPN providers not being transparent with their userbase.

Human rights and internet censorship in Pakistan are appalling. Freedom House’s annual internet freedom report has repeatedly given Pakistan a rating of “not free.” due to its actions against citizens and journalists. The Pakistan government practices and the government blocks citizens from accessing websites and social media platforms that express dissenting political opinions.

During large protests and politically sensitive events, authorities often disable mobile internet around the area the events take place in.

Worst of all, there are several cases of people being sentenced to death for their social media activity. Some reports suggest that Pakistan has begun targeting human rights defenders with invasive cyberattacks. The government will often state these are issues of ‘national security’, yet these decisions receive a lot of international criticism.

Pakistani laws and the VPN ethos do not mix. The government enforces strict data retention laws and requires ISPs to keep communication logs for a minimum of one year, or longer if requested by the government. It is also extremely easy for authorities to obtain a warrant to access citizens’ private data for almost any reason. This means that a VPN offers virtually no protection from the Pakistani government.

Gaditek concealing VPN Services

Note: The investigation into Gaditek was initially reported on by VPNPro

Gaditek has a global reach, with 7 VPNs that are popular in Pakistan but also worldwide. While they may promise their users in Pakistan privacy, this is impossible within the laws of the country; something Gaditek isn’t upfront about. From their headquarters in Karachi, Gaditek has deployed several VPNs, the most popular being PureVPN, Ivacy, and unblock. They refer to themselves on their website as “a human-centric New Age company.”

As well as being at the behest of the Pakistani government, Gaditek employs a number of shady marketing practices.

The employees of Gaditek/PureVPN have been connected to the following VPN review sites:

  • vpnranks.com
  • bestvpnservice.com
  • kodivpn.co
  • bestvpn.co (previously bestvpnprovider.com)
  • usavpn.com

This is a profile from Humayoun Khan, who worked at Gaditek from 2014-2015 and wrote “unbiased VPN reviews” for vpnranks.com, netflixdown.com, and bestvpnprovider.com:

Additionally, Aazim Akhtar is listed as the Senior Editor for vpnranks.com, but on Zoominfo.com, he’s listed as working at Gaditek as their Team Lead for Content Production:

Vpnranks is one of the most popular VPN ranking websites in the world, with 2.5 million monthly visitors. It is now believed that the website is a front for Gaditek to push their product.

Furthermore, an investigation by VPNPro showed that some employees of PureVPN and Gaditek also worked for another VPN provider called OneVPN, which is owned by Unravel Technologies.

Unravel is supposed to be based in Hong Kong, but like PureVPN, its base is actually in Karachi, Pakistan. Muhammad Fahad’s job profile shows him working at first Gaditek then Unravel, both in Karachi:

Then there’s Ashad Zaid’s LinkedIn profile that shows he only worked at Gaditek from 2015-2016, but not Unravel Technologies or OneVPN, but still lists OneVPN (along with Gaditek products PureVPN and Ivacy) as some of the projects he’s worked on:

By this, it would seem that Gaditek also owns OneVPN, but is not reported by them. While the Hong Kong address for Unravel suggests a Chinese connection, there is greater evidence else to show an even stronger connection.

PureVPN, IvacyVPN, and vpnranks.com all share the same registration address in Singapore. Yesterday, SaferNet reported on VPNs secretly operating from China. One of the largest companies that do this is name Innovative Connecting (IC).

IC themselves are a whole other story and own several companies they haven’t been transparent about. IC’s registered address is the same as PureVPN, IvacyVPN, and vpnranks.com.

This suggests that there is an incredibly strong link between Gaditek and IC, with the latter possibly being a parent company to the former. Either way, it’s clear that neither company is being quite honest, and that is the last thing a VPN user wants from a provider

A Risk-Free VPN and the Future of the Industry

It is clear that the VPN industry, initially thought to be a bastion of privacy and security, has become controlled by mendacious parent companies, holding companies, and megacorporations that are willing to sell out the average user to governments or advertisers.

In an age where living without a VPN leaves you and your data entirely exposed, it is nothing short of tragic that users wishing to escape into the safe harbor of a trusted VPN have their fears turned against them.

There are always independent VPN services fighting the privacy fight in earnest, without turning on users and seeing them as the product to sell.

When considering a VPN service, consumers now must be well-informed or face the risks associated with choosing an untrustworthy provider.

Here are some factors those who are searching for a VPN should keep in mind:

  • Independence; is the service owned by another company who themselves own a number of other VPN services?
  • Data Limits
  • Speed and throttling
  • Price; the majority of ‘Free’ VPNs are expected to sell your data
  • Security
  • Company headquarters – Is the company based in a country with modern privacy laws?
  • Privacy; what kind of logs are kept?
  • Customer support

At SaferNet, we offer a competitive VPN for individuals, families, and businesses that ticks all these boxes and more.

SaferNet is the perfect solution to the cybersecurity issues that individuals, families, and businesses face today. It not only connects every device using a secure, 24/7 always on, military grade VPN, but it also stops outside cyberthreats, malware and viruses as well. On SaferNet, all users are protected anywhere in the world, all the time, on any cellular or Wi-Fi network. In addition to SaferNet’s VPN and cyber protection, it also offers a range of employee or parental/family internet controls including internet filtering, monitoring, scheduling, and blocking access to websites or even entire website categories

Typically, a business or family would need 3 separate services for a VPN, Malware Protection, and Internet Controls; SaferNet offers all 3 features in one service. SaferNet truly is an endpoint security presence that can be implemented in minutes around the world, on phones, laptops, tablets, and computers at an economical price point that caters to all sizes of businesses and families. SaferNet guarantees a smooth setup and installation process that takes only minutes, and an easily accessible control hub for you to monitor all your employee’s or family members devices; including activity, time spent online, and threats blocked.