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Proton introduces Stealth protocol to help bypass VPN blocking

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In response to the crackdown on protests and blocking of VPN services in Iran and Russia, Proton has launched a new feature called Stealth that will mask VPN traffic, allowing people to access websites that have been blocked. The company is also sending a link to the VPN app directly to users in the countries where the website has been blocked.

The Stealth feature disguises VPN traffic as HTTPS traffic, making it harder for deep packet inspection to flag. Stealth mode is already available for Android users and is in beta for iOS. The macOS and Windows apps will come later.

Stealth mode is available for all Proton VPN users. Proton’s engineering director Samuele Kaplun said that Stealth was inspired by the blocking of VPNs, protests, and crackdowns in Iran and Russia.

“We believe that the people who need to bypass censorship the most are the same people who are not necessarily able to pay for [a VPN service],” said Kaplun.

“Accessing the internet is a human right, so we’re doing our part.”

Kaplun added that the feature is working as they have seen an increase in connections in both countries.

“And in Russia in particular…Now that we’ve introduced it, people are giving feedback that they are now back online,” said Kaplun.

Proton’s website is blocked in Iran. The company is sending users a direct download link through its customer service systems.

To activate Stealth, open the Proton VPN app on your device.

  • On Android,  tap  →  Settings → Advanced → Protocol and choose Stealth.
  • On iOS and iPadOS, tap Settings → Security options → Protocol and choose Stealth.
  • On macOS, ProtonVPN in the macOS taskbar → Preferences → Connection → Protocol and select Stealth from the dropdown menu.

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