iVPN, a VPN provider, has announced that it will discontinue its port forwarding service following Mullvad’s decision to do the same. Port forwarding allows VPN users to grant access to systems or services running behind the VPN, such as websites or game servers. Both providers cite concerns over the potential misuse of port forwarding for malicious purposes as the reason for this decision.

Reasoning Behind the Decision

Mullvad and iVPN state that port forwarding can be exploited for malicious activities. Mullvad explained that individuals have frequently used this feature to host unwanted content and malicious services from ports forwarded through their VPN servers. Consequently, they faced pressure from law enforcement agencies, had their IP addresses blacklisted, and experienced cancellations from hosting providers. To address this issue, Mullvad removed all configured ports on July 1st.

iVPN states that Mullvad’s action led to a significant influx of new customers, increasing the risk of abuse. Although most customers do not use this feature for malicious purposes, the actions of a few individuals can have consequences for the entire VPN network. Consequently, iVPN has decided to phase out port forwarding gradually.

Timeline for Discontinuation

As of June 29th, iVPN has stopped offering the port forwarding service to new customers. On September 30th, all configured ports will be deactivated, and the feature will be entirely removed. Depending on their needs, iVPN suggests that customers explore alternative solutions, such as using a free mesh VPN like Tailscale, which allows accessing home servers from outside the local network.

The discontinuation of port forwarding services by VPN providers iVPN and Mullvad reflects growing concerns over its potential misuse for malicious purposes. By taking this action, they aim to address security risks, protect their network reputation, and prevent abuse. Users are advised to seek alternative solutions and explore options to fulfill their requirements.

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Last Update: July 4, 2023