Introducing Microsoft Edge Secure Network

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Microsoft


Today,
we're excited to share that we have kicked off experiments for Microsoft Edge Secure Network in the Canary channel of Microsoft Edge. We are opening this preview to a small audience to get initial feedback and recommendations so we can offer the best in-browser Secure Network experience. 
 

 

What does Secure Network do?

With Edge Secure Network, you can connect to public Wi-Fi at coffee shops, airports, restaurants, hotels, & other venues, complete transactions, and shop online, all with the improved privacy and security that gives you the peace of mind you deserve.

 

Secure Network helps you protect your information by masking your device's IP address, encrypting your data, and routing it through a secure network (powered by Cloudflare) to a server that is geographically co-located so it’s harder for malicious actors to see your true location and what you’re doing. It also prevents your internet service provider from collecting your browsing data, like details about which websites you visit, and helps prevent online entities from using your IP address for profiling and sending you targeted ads. 

 

                          BrandonMaslen_0-1652385984813.png

 

As part of our first experiment, we’re giving everyone who tries this out a small amount of free Secure Network bandwidth to use however they see fit.

 

For some activities like streaming videos, this allotment may be used significantly quicker than other activities like shopping and browsing the web. We encourage you to use the built-in controls to enable and disable the Secure Network and use this data however it best suits your needs and send us feedback about how Secure Network works for you. See our support page for more details.

 

We will be diligently reviewing feedback as we over the coming weeks, so keep an eye out for Edge Secure Network and help us create the best experience possible!

 

How it Works

BrandonMaslen_1-1652385984840.png

 

Whenever Secure Network is connected, your browsing traffic will be encrypted and routed through our service’s servers and then to its final destination. This helps ensure that your personal data will be more secure no matter what complicated route your browsing data takes or how many parties are involved in providing the content inside your favorite web page.

 

Geo Location and Regions

                                BrandonMaslen_2-1652385984843.png

A lot of web technology relies on trying to intelligently provide results based on where you are located.

 

We want to ensure that the web still works as you expect it to so when you search for a nearby restaurant or local movie showtimes, you can still get relevant results. We also want to help protect you as an individual, so you’re not personally associated with those results just by browsing the web.

 

 

We’ve partnered with Cloudflare to help ensure that if VPNs are allowed in your region, wherever you connect to the Secure Network service, you will connect to a local data center and the IP address your browsing data flows through will be geographically similar to your actual region. However, websites will not see your individual network address, keeping your browsing disassociated from you while still allowing the internet to ‘just work’ as you expect.

 

Microsoft Account and Data Collection

During this preview phase Secure Network requires users to be signed into the browser with their Microsoft account. Sign-in is used solely to authenticate to the service and ensure you’re to receive more free data during the current period. No data about your user identity or account is sent over the Secure Network connection as part of this service. Additionally, limited diagnostic data may be ephemerally present on our partner’s servers for no more than 25 hours to help troubleshoot connection and performance issues, but is not persisted or directly associated with any given user.

See our privacy promise and Cloudflare privacy notice for even more details.

 

Send Us Feedback

Be on the lookout for Secure Network as we expand our testing. We look forward to discovering how you would like to use Secure Network to protect your data, what works well, and what we can improve. Let us know on the shield icon flyout by giving us a quick thumbs up or down or use the in-browser feedback icon to send us more detailed feedback.

 

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As always, thanks for being a part of this journey towards a more private and secure web!

7 Replies
This is great feature, but one issue is the limit of 1GB data usage. It would have been nice if there was unlimited option. In addition, we could predict some ISP would attempt to block this feature , because this is also a way to bypass censorship.
It is for testing purposes so 1GB per week is more than enough for testing. I think there will be additional plans when it will launch officially

As someone who has been a paying Microsoft customer for years, this type of advertising is extremely disappointing.

>Whenever Secure Network is connected, your browsing traffic will be encrypted and routed through our service’s servers and then to its final destination.

How are you "encrypt[ing traffic] to its final destination"? Do you have agreements with specific websites to tunnel traffic to them? Are you trying to say that traffic to websites using CloudFlare as a reverse proxy doesn't touch the public internet? Because if not, then you are just another proxy and you are not in fact providing additional security for traffic transiting the internet.

>helps prevent online entities from using your IP address for profiling and sending you targeted ads.

This may be technically true, but it's also misleading and omits important context. Unless you're going to start stripping user agents out of your browser, websites that want to send targeted ads can still identify individual users with pretty high fidelity (in some cases, even higher than an IP address). Also, this "advantage" is not really relevant if you're on a public wifi network, as you previously mentioned, because all of the users on that wifi will likely be NATted to the public internet.

 

Edit: And the linked support page is even more misleading:

 

>When using Microsoft Edge Secure network, your data is routed from Edge through an encrypted tunnel to create a secure connection, even when using a non-secure URL that starts with HTTP. This makes it harder for hackers to access your browsing data on a shared public Wi-Fi network.

 

This goes beyond overhyped marketing and is actually dangerous to consumers, because they may be misled into thinking that an HTTP connection is secure and transmit sensitive information over cleartext that they shouldn't. It's really shameful of a company like Microsoft that's trying to position itself as a security-oriented company to be engaging in this kind of misleading marketing.

For testing, it would be okay, but I am wonder what the final plan would be, in case it has any limitation several users might not want to use such features. I am also wonder about how it performs in countries under heavy censorship.
As always, the devil is in the detail. For some time now I have been setting the DNS on every machine I own or fix to Cloudflare, and I use Opera's VPN when I REALLY don't want anyone snooping over my shoulder. No ad platform has a "legitimate interest" in my bank details or health records.

However here in the UK and ,I understand, in the US the governments are trying to prohibit end-to-end encryption - the usual "think of the children" line.
More importantly, you'll get severe push back from Google et al because they wont be able to track our every click.

Stick to your guns, and don't be dissuaded, someone needs to take a stand.
I've been reading Brad Smith's "Tools and weapons", and I like what I read. It mostly corresponds to my memories.
Its difficult to lie consistently, as various politicians have found out, so I'm inclined to believe what he writes.
I hope Brad isn't planning to retire any time soon :-),
can't get a chance to test it any ideas?

@BrandonMaslen Guess the new security feature appears only if you use Bing as default now?  It appeared briefly for a day when I was testing Neeva and has disappeared in subsequent updates to EdgeCan.  Looks like it has 'moved on' in version 104 to other users.  It was interesting to see how it protected the IP of the PC when turned on. I ran a live comparison with Edge and EdgeCan and tested using utilities from GRC.com.  Would be interesting replacement for VPN if you only needed the protection alone.  Hope that future postings can explain more clearly how to find and use this. Was glad to at least test for day.  Setting back to Bing seems to not bring it back.