back to article Microsoft Edge's 'Secure Network' sounds a lot like a built-in VPN

Microsoft appears to be planning a VPN-like solution for its Edge browser judging by a support page for the upcoming feature. The change is described as a "preview feature." It has yet to show up on our Canary and Dev versions of Microsoft's browser, however. The theory is that by using the Microsoft Edge Secure Networking …

  1. Korev Silver badge

    Didn't Opera do this a few years ago? IIRC this was the proper Opera, not the Chromium reskin...

    1. MrDamage Silver badge

      The original Opera offered a "Turbo Mode", which essentially made Opera servers a proxy, but I don't think it offered the VPN service until afetr it was bought out. I may be wrong though.

  2. IGotOut Silver badge

    To me..

    it's a more integrated of Cloudflare warp, but for the browser rather than device.

    Aka Cloudflare 1.1.1.1

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    All your data are belong to us.

    The interesting question that isn't really interesting is if Microsoft are going to channel everything through a VPN for those 2 users will they make their data available for local government?

    1. LDS Silver badge

      OF course they will delete the raw data after 25h - and having processed them to extract all the interesting information.

  4. fidodogbreath Silver badge

    Neutron privacy bomb

    online tracking (including stopping an ISP from slurping browsing habits) is trickier

    ...while leaving MS browser-habit slurping unimpeded.

    Cloudflare powers the service, which will permanently delete all diagnostic and support data collected every 25 hours.

    Deleting "all diagnostic and support data collected" is not the same as deleting "all data collected."

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Neutron privacy bomb

      OK, I get they delete the data every 25 hours. But what happens to the data during said hours? Care to bet it's mined and sold to the highest bidder?

      1. fidodogbreath Silver badge

        Re: Neutron privacy bomb

        And why 25 hours? Is Cloudflare's data center on Martian Standard Time?

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: And why 25 hours?

          I've no idea in their case, but I have seen 25 hours chosen where a company wanted to guarantee a whole day but without having to bother with either (a) daylight savings where during the switch the day was briefly 'longer' (or 'shorter') or (b) accounting for clock inaccuracy/eventual consistency.

        2. mobailey

          Re: Neutron privacy bomb

          The frankly boring explanation is:

          If you have a process that runs once every day, and that process takes less than an hour to run: then all that you can promise is that it will be completed within 25 hours.

          -mobailey

      2. David 132 Silver badge

        Re: Neutron privacy bomb

        >Care to bet it's mined and sold to the highest bidder?

        Well, Microsoft's shown recently that they don't see one-off revenue from software sales as their main income stream any more. These days it's all about recurring subscriptions and data-mining; witness their unseemly push to get customers onto SaaS and their stuffing of adverts and telemetry into consumer Windows. Oh, and the fact that you can now pretty much run Windows forever without activation - with minimal restrictions - could also show that the real value of the OS for Microsoft now lies in what they can mine from ongoing users.

        So I personally would approach this new VPN in the same way I'd view an offer of a "free" seminar from a time-share or MLM company. Run away if you have any sense. That old saying about "if you're not paying for something, then YOU are the product"...

      3. U1traVio1et

        Re: Neutron privacy bomb

        Cloudflare don’t sell users data

        1. Aitor 1 Silver badge

          Re: Neutron privacy bomb

          Well, of course they sell it, same as akamai.

          Only they would pretend it is made anonymous, so they can say "we do no sell your data"

          1. U1traVio1et

            Re: Neutron privacy bomb

            why hasn't this been taken to trading standards ?

  5. Cinderellaphant

    URL

    I wonder how this is going to affect gateway based URL filtering. Will corporate users use this to bypass on-prem security?

    1. MatthewSt

      Re: URL

      I would imagine corporate devices will have the option to disable this (Edge is full of Group Policy goodies) or even configure it to respect your corporate Cloudflare account's rules

  6. Sub 20 Pilot

    Thus leaving MS with even more browsing details that others can not see and another opportunity to ''monetise'' - a hideous Americanism - people's data. Those people who have paid for the OS, or paid to use the OS for the pedantic. I look forward to retirement when I can dump their odious shite from every work machine.

    1. X5-332960073452
      Headmaster

      Monetize - would be the US spelling

  7. LDS Silver badge
    Devil

    If only home routers could offer a VPN too....

    When I'm away I VPN into my own home network and can then navigate from there. Without having to rely on the good will of "free" VPN providers.

    1. Gene Cash Silver badge

      Re: If only home routers could offer a VPN too....

      You mean like OpenWRT?

      https://openwrt.org/docs/guide-user/services/vpn/openvpn/server

      https://openwrt.org/docs/guide-user/services/vpn/openvpn/client-luci

      It's got the "works on my machine" seal of quality assurance.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: If only home routers could offer a VPN too....

        Likewise. I run OpenVPN in conjunction with Pi hole to block adverts while away from my home network. Works really well.

      2. LDS Silver badge

        Re: If only home routers could offer a VPN too....

        I mean like most decent routers, actually - my title was ironic. Most of them now can run some kind of VPN, especially OpenVPN or Wireguard that for basic VPN needs require little setup and have simple clients installations.

        That's why I see little use for these "browser VPNs" that still go through endpoints one doesn't control - and a VPN is only as trustful as the endpoint it connects to is - and once active one funnels all of its traffic through it.

        1. Korev Silver badge
          Terminator

          Re: If only home routers could offer a VPN too....

          Anyone who knows why/how to run an OpenWRT router isn’t the target audience for this.,,

          1. LDS Silver badge

            Re: If only home routers could offer a VPN too....

            There are commercial routers that do run custom versions of OpenWRT - so people run it without knowing.

            Anyway, OpenWRT is not the only embedded software able to run a VPN. There are a lot of consumer routers running software based on Linux, OpenWRT or whatever that do allow to be used as small VPN servers. It's really just a matter of looking at what your router can do out of the box and enable it. Asus routers can do it. TP-Link too. And many others. These VPNs moreover do work with any application and not the browser only.

            It is true that where you are forced to use the ISP-provided router you can get a model so heavily neutered that many features available in the OEM model has been disabled.

            It is also true that I met *developers* who didn't know what a guest wifi network is and how to setup it so maybe this kind of people will never find the VPN settings too, and need to be herded by "secure networks" provided by data slurpers...

      3. thondwe

        Re: If only home routers could offer a VPN too....

        Or any number of alternatives - I've moved to Pfsense (was on a free Sophos offering until I needed IPV6) on a nano PC box - easy to add VPNs to these (I've had point to point and site to site running) - take control of your own firewall!

        BTW, this MS offering smells like a bit like Apple's "Private Relay"? Though I expect MS's version will have a corporate element to enable secure BOYD stuff in the browser??

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: If only home routers could offer a VPN too....

      > When I'm away I VPN into my own home network

      That's not secure enough. That's why I VPN through the laptop of the guy sat two tables away. If he gets lifted, I'll know they *were* after me.

  8. Tessier-Ashpool

    See also iCloud Private Relay

    iCloud+ Safari users can turn this setting on in iCloud settings to get similar functionality. Mostly limited to Safari, but it's free for any paid-for iCloud subscription.

    1. X5-332960073452
      FAIL

      Re: See also iCloud Private Relay

      Free --->> iCloud subscription

      Oxymoron

  9. gerdesj Silver badge
    Childcatcher

    The P in VPN stands for Private

    lol

    1. captain veg Silver badge

      Re: The P in VPN stands for Private

      But only virtually.

      -A.

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