Reports that a fake Virtual Private Network (VPN) company is falsely claiming to be associated with Plex and targeting Plex users have set off alarm bells in the VPN industry.
Recent high-profile erosions of the privacy protections previously enjoyed by internet users have sparked intense interest in the use of VPNs as a way to protect privacy.
Unfortunately (if not very surprisingly), it appears that some unscrupulous individuals are exploiting the general public’s lack of knowledge about the VPN industry to sell them phony VPN services.
MySafeVPN is Fake
Plex is a popular media player system that allows you to upload files to a Plex server. You can then watch uploaded content from any device you own. Many Plex users have recently received an email purporting to be from a company called MySafeVPN, which claims to be an offshoot of Plex:
“Plex media server has now released a new service called www.MySafeVPN.com.”
The email references the recent Congress decision (now ratified by President Trump) to allow Internet Service Providers (ISPs) to harvest and sell US customers’ web browsing data, plus the UK’s terrible new government surveillance laws.
It plays on the real alarm these developments have caused to slyly suggest that files uploaded to Plex Media Servers (many of which likely breach copyright laws) may now no longer be private:
“However, with the recent change in US privacy bills, UK privacy laws and more, it is now more difficult to fill these media servers with the content that users want to enjoy.”
Thing is, Plex has never heard of MySafeVPN. As Plex employee kiniCharlimno notes,
“This is not us! We were also taken by surprise as many Plex employees received the same email, myself included. We’re seeing very similar emails going out from the same outfit to former Boxee users as well. We are investigating and reporting them to their service and mail providers, but believe this could be related to the 2015 forums breach.”
This statement was confirmed to Motherboard by Scott Olechowski, Plex’s co-founder and Chief Product Officer:
“This is *absolutely not* a Plex affiliated service or offering. If anything, it suggests that mysafevpn.com is super sketchy and we would recommend using almost any other VPN service with your Plex Media Server.”
Plex also denies claims made by MySafeVPN that it is staffed by disgruntled ex-Plex employees.
Users of the now default rival service to Plex, Boxee, have also been targeted. One poster to Plex discussion boards reports falling for the scam, and paid $24.99 via PayPal for a three-month subscription.
Unsurprisingly, he discovered that the service itself was sham, and simply did not work. I am pleased to report that he received a full refund from PayPal.
Be Careful of Fake VPN Services
As we at BestVPN.com have seen first-hand, there has been a surge of interest in VPNs following recent developments, which have rightly alarmed internet users everywhere.
Many of those showing new interest in the subject have likely never even heard the term “VPN” before, and certainly have very little understanding of how to tell a good VPN from a bad one (or even worse, a scam one!).
In addition to outright fake VPNs such as MySafeVPN, there are many cowboy VPN companies out there. These are keen to exploit the booming interest in VPNs. Many of them are poorly configured, so they leak users’ real IP addresses, others contain malware, and others don’t even bother to encrypt users’ data!
This slap-dash behavior is all the more shocking because people who use these VPN apps do so in the belief that they will improve their online privacy and security!
We therefore strongly recommend that anyone interested in purchasing a VPN to improve their privacy only choose trusted providers recommended by reputable sources, such as BestVPN.com (of course!).