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NordVPN tries to scare you into using its new Apple TV app

NordVPN app listing on Apple TV.
Phil Nickinson / Digital Trends

As we’ve written previously, tvOS 17 opened the floodgates for VPNs to run on Apple TV hardware. And the major players are all on board, along with some you’ve likely never heard of because not everyone has a huge marketing budget. First it was ExpressVPN, and today NordVPN has announced its availability.

Whereas some companies tout a VPN’s ability to let you watch content that’s not available in your country — literally by routing your network traffic through another country — NordVPN is going with scare tactics in promoting its virtual private network on Apple TV.

“Users often forget that mobile phones and computers are not the only gateways to your network for cybercriminals,” Vykintas Maknickas, head of product strategy at NordVPN, wrote in an email announcing the availability of NordVPN on Apple TV. “A smart TV is usually connected to the internet, so it can also be hacked, and cybercriminals can spy on users, steal data, or even try to access other devices on the home network. A dedicated VPN app for Apple TV will allow our users to ensure cybersecurity and protect their privacy. Moreover, a VPN can even improve the streaming experience by increasing users’ privacy.”

That’s … quite a statement. It also has more than a little bit of Chicken Little in it. Yes, any connected device “can be hacked.” Yes, “cybercriminals can spy on users, steal data, or even try to access other devices on the home network.” But it’s important to note that a VPN unto itself certainly won’t keep that last part from happening. And the blanket “steal your data” trope is just that — a trope.

And this is a good time to remind folks — you know, like users who often forget that mobile phones and computers are not the only gateways to your network for cybercriminals — that internet traffic tends to be encrypted, the apps you already use probably send “your data” more places than you realize, and are you telling me I’ve been using Apple TV for all these years without someone taking over all the other devices on our network? Guess I was just lucky.

It’s also a good reminder that you’re really trading one master for another. NordVPN’s email notes that “once connected to a VPN server, third parties such as an ISP can no longer follow the user’s activities online.” That really means that you’re trading your ISP’s DNS lookup servers for NordVPN’s DNS lookup servers, so it’s the latter that’s able to see which websites you’re going to and no longer the former.

And with that, it’s a good time to remind everyone that a VPN isn’t magic that makes you disappear from the internet. It’s a tunnel. And you need to be able to trust who controls the tunnel, because that’s where all your network information is now flowing.

Anyway, if you’re looking for a VPN to use on Apple TV so you can access the content from a streaming service that’s not otherwise available in your country, you can now use NordVPN to do so.

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Phil Nickinson
Section Editor, Audio/Video
Phil spent the 2000s making newspapers with the Pensacola (Fla.) News Journal, the 2010s with Android Central and then the…
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