ExpressVPN has announced a new partnership with Dynabook (formerly Toshiba Client Solutions), in which the VPN software will come pre-installed on all new and future Dynabook PCs.

Talking about the new partnership in a press release Damian Jaume, president of Dynabook EMEA said: “VPNs have become an indispensable tool for internet privacy and security, so we’re excited to bring a safer experience to our users right out of the box through this partnership,

“We chose to partner with ExpressVPN because they are absolutely unparalleled in the industry when it comes to cutting-edge security, super fast connection speeds globally, and ease-of-use. They share our deep commitment to building a safe and open internet experience.”

ExpressVPN’s vice president Harold Li has expressed equal enthusiasm for the joint venture, saying: “We’re thrilled to work with Dynabook to provide their customers with greater internet privacy, security, and freedom.

“It’s extremely gratifying for us to see that VPNs are no longer just tools for cybersecurity experts, but that companies and individuals alike recognize their importance for all internet users.

The ExpressVPN custom app for Windows 10 will be pinned to the PC’s taskbar by default and also accessible from the start menu. The partnership is “open-ended,” with no end planned by either company.

Users will be offered a 30-day free trial of the premium VPN service before they have the opportunity to buy a longer-term subscription. The free trial is accessible with only an email address required for a setup, no payment or credit card information necessary.

Prices range from $6.67 per month or to $12.95 a month depending on the length of the plan.

ExpressVPN assures us that users will be able to easily uninstall the program from their new Dynabook device should they not want it, however if they choose to do so they will no longer be able to take advantage of their free trial.

According to the press release, Dynabook has never worked with a VPN provider before, and appointed ExpressVPN as its official partner after a “rigorous selection process.”

The Dynabook team carried out due-diligence by conducting tests on ExpressVPN’s software, taking into account various factors including its security, reliability, speed, ease-of-use, privacy policy, and backend architecture.

Dynabook is something of a new name in the consumer laptop market. It was established as a name in June 2018 when Japanese electronics firm Sharp acquired the PC arm of compatriot and rival company Toshiba, rebranding its products with the Dynabook label.

ExpressVPN was founded in 2009 and is based in the British Virgin Isles. It now has an infrastructure comprising over 3,000 VPN servers located across 94 countries.

It provides standalone VPN apps that can be installed on Windows PCs, MacBooks and iMacs, iPhones, Androids, Linux devices, routers, and Amazon Fire TV devices.

In addition to the VPN service, there are browser extensions for Google Chrome and Mozilla Firefox, as well as a smart DNS service called MediaStreamer, which is compatible with smart TVs and games consoles, too.

The apps use top cipher AES-256 to encrypt internet traffic, as well as OpenVPN, which is the industry gold standard for VPN protocols.

ExpressVPN’s technology has undergone various independent audits prior to Dynabook’s testing.

In 2018, cybersecurity firm Cure53 carried out an independent audit of its Google Chrome browser extension, which yielded eight “security-relevant” findings. Four of these were categorized as “vulnerabilities” and four as “general weaknesses.”

ExpressVPN went on to successfully fix or mitigate seven out of the eight issues, which Cure53 verified in its final report, concluding that “no security issues which would allow an attacker to influence the state of the VPN connection via a malicious web page or alike were discovered.”

The following year in July 2019, PwC carried out its independent audit of ExpressVPN, with the aim of confirming that ExpressVPN was operating in compliance with its privacy policy, which claimed not to store any VPN connection logs such as a user’s IP address, connection timestamp, or session duration.

ExpressVPN’s policy remains much the same, and does collect data relating to the date a user connected to the service, their choice of VPN server location, and the total amount of data transferred per day.

PwC’s audit also covered the VPN company’s in-house TrustedServer technology, which ExpressVPN launched in April 2019 as a part of its commitment to ensuring it never stores any sensitive user data on any of its servers.

The technology wipes all data with every reboot and never writes data to the hard drive.

While Dynabook hasn’t partnered with a VPN provider before, this is not the first time that ExpressVPN has worked with a hardware brand.

In September 2019, ExpressVPN joined forces with PC and printer company HP to “help its users stay private and secure online.”

The partnership, which is ongoing, is similar in vein to Dynabook’s; HP pre-installs ExpressVPN software on its Spectre x360 13 PCs with a 30-day free trial.

So far the VPN hasn’t been included with any of HP’s other models, but ExpressVPN has said that it will roll out the integration to more HP device models in the near future.

Li said: “[We] are excited to say that we will have more partnerships to share soon. Our work with major technology brands like Dynabook and HP reflects the fact that VPNs are now seen as an indispensable tool for online privacy and security.

“We believe that when public knowledge in VPNs is strengthened, all VPN players and users will benefit from it. And ultimately, a stronger VPN industry means a safer, better internet.”

The only other similar partnership between a VPN provider and a hardware provider to date is that between Private Internet Access (PIA) and Purism, a social purpose corporation that designs and produces secure hardware (laptops and smartphones) and software.

In April 2019, PIA announced that a “PIA-based” software was to be included by default in the Librem 5 phone, as well as within the PureOS for the Librem 18 and Librem 15 laptops. It is reported that PIA will collaborate with Purism for future service bundles too.

Web browser company Mozilla Firefox has also worked with VPN providers to offer a more holistic security package – ProtonVPN in October 2018 and later Mullvad in late 2019.