- Apr 24, 2016
Another short news item that came to my attention the other day. Comparitech, a British consumer information and comparison site that is also active in the field of security, was taken over in the fall of 2021 by Aura, which on the other hand also bought the provider of Hotspot Shield (from Pango). Here's a quick look at a rather opaque scene.
Who is Comparitech?
Here on the blog, Comparitech has been mentioned quite regularly (see links at the end of the article). Security researcher Bob Diachenko from Comparitech has come up with several reports about vulnerabilities. The British consumer website mainly offers tests and reviews of VPN services, as well as various other products such as network monitoring tools, antivirus software, password managers and ID theft protection. The site was founded in 2016 by Richard Patterson, and Comparitech visitors are mainly from the United States and the United Kingdom.
Silent takeover by Aura
This, of course, arouses covetousness in the industry, and in October 2021, Aura Inc. acquired Comparitech Ltd through its UK subsidiary AnchorFree Ltd. The acquisition price is estimated to be between $50 million and a hundred million. It must have been a silent acquisition that was not publicly announced.
The information came to me via vpncheck.org , who are in direct competition with VPN comparisons. They're upset because Aura, in addition to owning a
VPN comparison website, namely comparitech.com, Aura also owns a number of VPN brands, including Hotspot Shield, Betternet, VPN 360 and Ultra VPN. The acquisitions of Hotspot Shield from Pango was mentioned here.
It's is a shark bassin, where you no longer know who is behind VPN providers and VPN comparison sites and what interests are being pursued. I would like to remind you of the company Kape Technologies, which bought various VPN comparison sites and VPN services and can look back on a not entirely clean past (see my blog post Former malware distributor buys ExpressVPN, CyberGhost and Co.).
The VPN industry is currently in acquisition fever. Nord Security, legally registered as Nordsec Ltd, merged in February 2022 with Dutch VPN provider Surfshark B.V. VPN comparison sites that are still independent point to this development (like here). This merger follows the acquisition of AtlasVPN by Nord Security in October 2021.
In this regard, no VPN comparison site can be trusted anymore, or hardly any. And users of public VPN services have to be aware that their surfing profiles might be analyzed and, if necessary, access data might be fished and later leaked (see 21 Million VPN User Records Leaked; will VPN be substituted by SASE?).