CyberGhost VPN’s Transparency Report

April – September 2019

 

OK, Ghosties, it’s that time of the year again.

No, we’re not talking about Halloween. Nothing that scary.

This is about our Transparency Report and the numbers we’ve been compiling for the past six months.

A new chapter in our Transparency Report

Back in April, we released a Transparency Report covering the first quarter of this year. Now we’re updating the numbers with the latest batch of legal requests that came our way.

For all our new Ghosties, here’s what all this is about:

In a Transparency Report, companies publish information about the various requests received from governments and law enforcement agencies. Sometimes, they also mention if data has been removed or handed over.

But, since we’re in the VPN business, we do things differently. And it all starts with our location.

We’re based in Europe, in privacy-friendly Romania. This is the same country that publicly refused to uphold the EU Mandatory Data Retention Directive. The Romanian Constitutional Court declared the Directive unconstitutional. So here we can honor our strict No logs policy. We have no data to hand over, and we do not collaborate with the authorities.

With this in mind, now let’s check out what happened in April, May, June, July, August, and September!

Q2 2019 numbers

19,051

You might remember April, May, and June, as those lovely months when you were planning your summer holiday. During that time, we had other things on our mind here at CyberGhost VPN. That’s when we received 19,051 legal requests from various law firms, police departments, or copyright holders.

However, this figure is smaller than our Q1 total: 22,959. You can go back and compare these stats in our Q1 Transparency Report.

We break our legal requests into:

      • DMCA complaints;
      • Malicious activity flags;
      • Police requests.

Let’s see what they’re all about.

DMCA complaints

15,770

DMCA complaints are copyright infringement claims. They signal that copyrighted material has been shared illegally using a CyberGhost VPN IP address.

DMCA complaints make up the majority of all requests at 82.7%. This is a small drop from Q1 when 84% of the claims were of this nature.

April
May
June
3,767
4,291
7,712

Malicious activity flags

3,263

No rest for the wicked.

These inquiries usually signal abusive behaviors being performed via CyberGhost VPN IPs. In this category, we include DDoS attacks, automated spam emails, botnets, various scams, or suspicious login attempts.

The total number of Q2 malicious activity flags adds up to 3,263 and 17.1% of all requests. Again, we can notice a small decrease compared to Q1. That’s when we received 3,602 malicious activity flags.

April
May
June
903
1,169
1,191

Police requests

18

We get Police requests from various law enforcement agencies and police departments worldwide.

They generally request access to logs or user data about people involved in investigations or cases after an IP address has been traced back to one of our datacenters.

Less than 1% of all requests in Q2 come from the Police. The situation was similar in Q1 when we had 21 similar claims.

April
May
June
5
7
6

Moving on, here are the key numbers for Q3.

Q3 2019 numbers

26,085

In July, August, and September 2019, the world was plagued by a series of extreme heatwaves. As you might expect, more people had to stay indoors.

This made Ghosties busier than usual on our servers, and it shows in the stats.

DMCA complaints

21,332

We can see the number of requests relating to copyright infringements increased by 35% compared to Q2. In Q3, DMCA complaints made up 81.7% of all the requests we received.

The month of July also marks the highest number of DMCA complaints so far in 2019.

July
August
September
8,207
7,555
5,570

Malicious activity flags

4,737

Compared to Q2, we can now notice a 45% increase in the number of malicious activity flags we got.

Again, we got most requests in July. The number slowly decreased in the following months.

July
August
September
1,932
1,641
1,164

Police requests

16

With just 16 police requests in three months, these types of inquiries made up less than 1% of our total requests.

The number is similar to our Q1 and Q2 stats, as we consistently receive a small number of police requests.

July
August
September
6
2
8

Putting it all in perspective

So far, this is our 2019 from a legal requests point of view:

We have not complied with any of these requests, and we don’t have the data to do so.

And since Romania is not part of any international surveillance alliance, like the 5 or 14 Eyes alliances, we are under no legal obligation to change or modify anything in our system, even if it would aid ongoing investigations.

We don’t keep tabs on our Ghosties, and we like it this way.

It’s looking bleak out there

So far, 2019 has been a disaster for global privacy. In just nine months, there has been an unprecedented rise in cybersecurity attacks.

Hackers increasingly target banks and financial institutions.

Identity theft is on the rise, and even Apple products, previously a bastion for privacy, have come under scrutiny after significant vulnerabilities were reported.

This year has also been plagued by an anti-encryption crusade. Backdoors in end-to-end encrypted chat apps, such as WhatsApp, have been proposed. All in the name of national security and with no regard for individual privacy.

Yeah, 2019 is not a good year for cybersecurity. But we’re still here, stronger than ever.

Our fight to protect privacy continues

As a company, we have a long history of protecting privacy. And today, we do it for more than 30 million people all over the world.

Through our strict No Logs policy, we make sure that every single Ghostie can enjoy privacy and anonymity online, without fear of tracking, targeted ads, ISP snooping, and government surveillance. After all, the only way to keep your data safe is not to store it. And this is a much-needed stance in today’s online world.

As always, we’re set on building products capable of withstanding digital threats. Our mission to safeguard our Ghosties’ private lives continues.

In the meantime, we’ll keep on sharing our quarterly Transparency Report numbers. Until the next edition, make sure to check out this dedicated section on our website.

Stay safe and secure!

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