Browsec is an anonymous Internet surfing addon for your browser, this is not a real VPN, applications you have installed, like FTP, Bittorrent and the like will not be tunnelled, Browsec only hides your computer IP for Internet browsing and nothing else. I am always very cautious when something is provided for free, my logic is that if I am not paying for it, the company must be covering expenses some other way.
It was alarming to me that there is no physical office and no information about the company behind Browsec, all they have is a support email address, obviously this is not a privacy friendly company but I was willing to give them a go to be able to read the news and playing online games behind a firewall, evading visits to banking or email accounts to ward off opportunities of passwords being captured.
There are two ways to get Browsec, you can install a Chrome browser extension from the official Chrome store, which gave me some reassurance knowing that Google monitors extensions for viruses, and another way is to download a portable Firefox browser with Browsec embodied or you can find it in the official Mozilla Firefox addons website.
I decided to download the portable Firefox browser, the first thing I did before launching the browser was to scan it for viruses with Bitdefender, nothing dangerous was found, I ran the package and extracted the files inside a folder in my hard drive, initialising the Firefox portable browser clicking on FirefoxPortable.exe, the first thing I noticed was that surprisingly the addon was not enabled by default, I had to access the Firefox menu and start Browsec manually, when this is done a shield button appears on the browser toolbar and clicking on it activates or deactivates the proxy.
Only a single location in the Netherlands is provided, you can’t choose in between countries or servers, speed was decent, I am on a 10Mbps home connection and I was getting 9Mbps, perfectly acceptable but a single location is not going to help you stream online content from USA or UK online TV, you can’t even use this proxy to stream online content from the Netherlands where the proxy is located, when you visit Google services like YouTube, Google believes that you are in Russia, you can only watch online content available in Russia.
After a minute of browsing the Internet with Browsec, Bitfender warns me that it has found a potentially malicious application and it has deletes a file named brwsc.exe from my drive alleging that “the application’s behaviour can harm your computer“, this is when it comes to my mind that Bitdenfer detected the virus after I activated the addon, when it first scanned Firefox Portable it gave me the all clear but Browsec ships disabled.
Bitdefender didn’t name an specific trojan horse or virus, the detection was based on the addon behaviour, probably because Browsec collects data about my browsing habits. It would be unfair to claim that Browsec contains a trojan horse, this would not be first time that my antivirus wrongly claims a VPN service behaviour can be harmful and it inspires me a little trust that the Browsec addon can be downloaded from the official Chrome and Firefox websites, but, the red flag from my antivirus put me off.
The number of days that it would take me to do a clean reinstall if my computer is infected, and the economical damage that I would incur in if a trojan horse captures my passwords, persuaded me that it works out cheaper paying $5/month for a trusted VPN that does not sell my data, than living with the uncertainty of not knowing what is going on with the proxy when I surf the Internet.
My conclusion is that, the addon works, and speed is fantastic, but you are selling your data to Browsec and the file is flagged as harmful by some antivirus, do you really want to take that risk? Your call.