NordVPN logo on a connected world

NordVPN’s Meshnet private tunnel feature for Windows, macOS, and Linux is now free for everyone, even users who don’t have a NordVPN subscription.

Meshnet was first released by NordVPN in June 2022 as a paid feature, allowing users to create private, encrypted tunnels between devices they trust to pass network traffic, essentially creating their own VPN servers ( virtual private network).

For example, Meshnet lets someone route their network traffic from their smartphone through their home computer while on vacation, making it look like they’re browsing from their usual location.

User traffic can also pass through a secure tunnel to a friend’s or relative’s computer as long as they are using the Meshnet application and have been invited into their friend’s Mesh.

NordVPN Meshnet Client App
NordVPN Meshnet Client App
Source: BleepingComputer

This feature can help users access geo-restricted platforms and secure user data when using risky and unsecure WiFi hotspots.

Even more useful, the Meshnet private tunnel feature allows you to access internal devices while you’re on vacation, business, or just on the road as if you were in the office or at home without opening any ports on your firewall.

For example, the Windows Remote Desktop feature is handy for accessing your computer when you’re away from home or the office. However, you should never expose Remote Desktop to the internet as it is commonly exploited for ransomware attacks, and for home users it is not always easy to deploy a dedicated VPN.

However, with Meshnet, you can install NordVPN software on both the remote desktop and laptop and configure them to be part of the same Mesh. Then, from your laptop, you can connect to the IP address assigned to the RDP server by MeshNet and access the Remote Desktop computer as if you were in the network.

BleepingComputer tested this feature to do just that today, and it worked well and was easy to set up.

MeshNet is not only useful for work but also for games, as you can invite friends to your Mesh so that they can access internal and private game servers, regardless of the physical distance between them, and without opening any ports on your firewall.

All Meshnet users can restrict others’ access to their network, providing decent, but not perfect, control over shared resources. However, it would be better if NordVPN added more granular security permissions, such as specific IP addresses and ports accessible and bandwidth limits.

Connectivity customization options
Connectivity customization options (Computer Beep)

Today, NordVPN announced that the system will be available for free to everyone, while the service’s Linux client is open source for added transparency.

To celebrate this decision, NordVPN engineers also introduced a new feature in Meshnet that allows users to securely share files of unlimited size with their friends.

Additionally, both users must consent to the transfer so that the system minimizes the risk of unwanted malicious file transfers.

The library used for file sharing, Libdrop, and the library used for network communications, Libtelio, were also open sourced.

NordVPN says you are not the product

NordVPN is one of the largest VPN service providers with a almost perfect save securely. Yet some people may still find it difficult to entrust their network data to a private company.

Concerns are further amplified when the product on offer is free, but NordVPN assures Meshnet users are not the product.

As the company explains in the press release, Meshnet is inexpensive to operate, requiring a tiny fraction of the company’s massive global infrastructure (5,000 servers in 59 countries).

Therefore, making it available to everyone will not result in a noticeable financial burden for NordVPN.

“Opening it up to a wider audience doesn’t require us to develop new systems and invest more than we already have,” it reads. NordVPN announcement.

At the same time, NordVPN says the move aligns with its core value of helping to make the internet a safer place for all users, whether or not they can afford a subscription to its products.


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