We abide by a robust No Logs policy which is at the core of our service since our inception. This is why despite the requests we receive, we have no data to share.
We were the first in the industry to publish a Transparency Report back in 2011, and we’ve continued this tradition ever since. We’ve outlined the different types of requests we receive from copyright holders and law enforcement institutions. Now, we’re publishing the data for 2015.
As usual, we’ll break down the numbers into 3 main categories. They are:
Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) complaints are often sent from law firms representing copyright holders such as Paramount, Sony Pictures or similar companies. These complaints usually indicate that copyrighted material was illegally shared via a CyberGhost IP address. They normally provide additional details such as the torrent file’s name, the date on which it was shared, the uploader’s IP address, and what port was used.
Malware activity flags represent complaints from various parties that received spam or detected attacks from CyberGhost IPs. Website owners or application developers signal DDoS attacks, botnets, scams, fraudulent log-in attempts, and automated emails received from websites detecting a black listed IP address. We also receive forwarded complaints from various data centers we collaborate with.
Various law enforcement agencies or police departments request logs for an IP linked to their investigation/case. These requests are usually received by the data centers and forwarded to CyberGhost.
Our Transparency Report aims to offer insights about the various requests we receive to disclose the identity of CyberGhost VPN users. We receive them from law enforcement agencies, police offices, website owners, and law firms around the world. Since we don’t collect or store any user data, we’re not able to comply with these requests.
Compared to the previous year, we have a 21% decrease in DMCA requests, even though our user base increased by 60%. Over the past 21 months, we received an average of 1,318 requests per month. We’re taking these requests into account as we keep in mind the increased activity of numerous production and distribution firms and copyright holders.
Reported malicious activities through CyberGhost VPN’s network increased significantly by 310% in the past 12 months. We went from an average of 99 per month in 2014, to 407 per month in 2015.
Popular security companies such as Kaspersky Lab, Trend Micro, Cisco, and Symantec also reported substantial increases in malicious activities during the same period.
Our user base increased from 3.5 million to 7.5 million people. That said, this hasn’t influenced the number of police requests we receive. On the contrary, we counted 71 requests for user data, which translates to a monthly average of 6 demands between January 2015 and December 2015. Overall, the number of police requests we received declined by 24%.
We can associate the reason for the increased numbers of users and malicious activities with the new regulations pertaining to censorship and mass surveillance. We noticed a decline in the number of DMCA requests by 59%, and in police requests by 17%. Keeping recent malware developments in mind, we can report malicious activities on the US servers rose by a substantial 243%.
More than ever, international media brought attention to the implications of these provisions, reported on the National Security Agency (NSA)'s activities, and also highlighted the importance of digital privacy. Because of this, we can notice an increase in activity on CyberGhost VPN’s US servers.
We can correlate an increase in activity with an increase in requests for user data pertaining to those activities. The requests increased by 60% compared to our average numbers between June and August 2015.
We can notice the same increase in activity on the German servers as we do on our worldwide ones. Malicious activities have increased by 115% while DMCA complaints decreased by 27% and police requests by 4%.
In May 2015, WikiLeaks released ten months of transcripts from the ongoing German Parliamentary inquiry into NSA activities in Germany, provoking massive dismay and consternation. Following this incident, Reporters Without Borders Germany (RSF Germany) took Germany’s foreign intelligence agency Bundesnachrichtendienst (BND) to court. Whistleblowers are critical to the free journalistic investigations, research, and reports.
This contributed to a higher awareness of confidentiality concerns and the right for individual privacy among German people. This is why we noticed a 60% increase in German users in 2015.
Read more about changes in the digital landscape and its impact on VPN usage, and learn about encryption as a digital weapon in the 21st century.