Malwarebytes Privacy VPN Review 2024: A Great Beginner VPN

Malwarebytes Privacy VPN is a popular VPN from a long-time cybersecurity company, Malwarebytes. But does it live up to its hype?
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4.2
Editorial Rating
Learn More
On Malwarebytes Privacy VPN's website

VPN
Malwarebytes Privacy VPN
  • Includes Browser Guard ad blocker, which blocks YouTube ads
  • Maintains solid speeds when connected to international servers
  • No-logs policy is not third-party verified

Malwarebytes Privacy VPN is suitable for those with basic security requirements and lightweight streaming needs. It passed our DNS and WebRTC leak tests, so we feel assured that it can offer privacy for online activity. It also maintains good connection speeds and includes an ad blocker (Browser Guard) that even blocks YouTube ads. However, its limited coverage includes up to five devices, and it's only available as an annual subscription.

Malwarebytes VPN is a user-friendly option for basic privacy, but other premium VPN providers would be better if you require more diverse features, flexible subscription options, and stronger protection against logging and government access.

We aim to address all of your concerns as well as pricing, features, test results, and more about Malwarebytes Privacy VPN.

Pros
  • Browser Guard can block YouTube ads
  • Includes an automatic kill switch for Windows
  • Maintains good connection speeds
Cons
  • Only unblocks Netflix in some regions
  • Limited to only 500+ servers
  • No-logs policy isn't third-party audited

4.2
Editorial Rating
Learn More
On Malwarebytes Privacy VPN's website
VPN
Malwarebytes Privacy VPN
  • Includes Browser Guard ad blocker, which blocks YouTube ads
  • Maintains solid speeds when connected to international servers
  • No-logs policy is not third-party verified

In this article
Malwarebytes Privacy VPN review at a glance
Our experience
Who is Malwarebytes VPN best for?
Prices and subscriptions
Features
Test results
Compatibility
Customer support
VPN alternatives
FAQs
Bottom line: Is Malwarebytes Privacy VPN good?

Malwarebytes Privacy VPN review at a glance

Price $3.33–$8.33/mo
Free version No, only a 7-day free trial
Max # of connected devices 5
# of servers 500+ in 40+ countries
VPN protocol WireGuard
No-logs policy No logs
Headquarters Santa Clara, California, U.S.
Netflix access Yes
Learn more Get Malwarebytes Privacy VPN

How we test and rate VPNs

We complete standardized hands-on tests for each VPN we review so we can put their claims to the test. This includes vigorous third-party testing by comparing our internet speed while connected to different servers, checking for DNS leaks, making sure the kill switch actually works, and more. We also make sure we can comfortably access popular streaming sites, like Netflix, and still do our day-to-day work without interruption.

Once we’ve completed the testing, our editorial rating is calculated by taking into account key features you’d expect from a good product. We score each VPN in the following categories and use a weighted average to calculate the final rating out of 5 stars: price, server count, speed, security, and features.


Our experience

Malwarebytes VPN is super easy to install and use right away. After selecting the Windows download, we just needed to log in. From there, the VPN dashboard was ready to go. Malwarebytes even offers a simple yet effective tutorial to explain the key features. 

Malwarebytes Privacy VPN tutorial explaining the auto-connect feature
Malwarebytes Privacy VPN tutorial explaining the auto-connect feature

It's a little annoying that the dashboard is static in the lower right-hand corner of the screen, and there is no option to pin the app to our nav bar. Essentially, we have to exit out of the dashboard to minimize it and can only open it again by clicking the desktop shortcut. Other providers offer a more seamless experience when it comes to moving the dashboard. But the Malwarebytes dash is more compact compared to other VPNs, which is convenient because others can be a bit too sprawling and busy. 

Connecting to a server with Malwarebytes VPN is easy

Connecting to a server is also easy. After selecting the country, a list of available servers by city populates, making the selection process a breeze. However, there's no option for a recommended or optimized server, which isn't ideal for most users. We also didn't see any optimized servers for streaming, torrenting, etc. 

Identifying and locating advanced security features like split tunneling and multi-hop is not straightforward because Malwarebytes has its own labels for these VPN features. The best way to understand the available features is to read through the Help Center articles, which also isn't ideal. Basically, Malwarebytes calls split tunneling "connection rules" and multi-hop "connection mode." Confusing, right? We think so. 

Who is Malwarebytes VPN best for?

Malwarebytes Privacy VPN is best for beginners who don't need advanced functionality. It's a good option for basic privacy and security, but there are limitations to consider. While this VPN offers both multi-hop and split tunneling functions, these features are limited to Windows.

And while the monthly investment is low, there’s only an annual subscription option. Not everyone needs 12 months' worth of VPN services. Luckily Malwarebytes says you can cancel at any time. If you fall within its 60-day money-back guarantee, you can submit a support ticket to customer service and receive a refund.

Additionally, Malwarebytes is based in the U.S., which may make your data accessible to the government despite its no-logs policy. Those same logging policies may not meet everyone's expectations, as it does collect license information to validate the license key. Also, the pre-set plans display a maximum of five device connections, which may be perfect or not enough for some. 

There is an option during the checkout process to increase the number of devices to 20, but you'll be paying the equivalent of $15/month for the trouble. If you have a large household, it's better to consider a VPN provider that offers unlimited simultaneous connections.

An annual subscription for Malwarebytes VPN covers only 1 device

Overall, there are other VPNs that offer greater privacy, more flexibility, and better device coverage. But the average person is likely to find this sufficient for their everyday needs, and the ability to bundle the VPN with Malwarebytes antivirus protection is a bonus (if you're okay with paying extra). 

Prices and subscriptions

Malwarebytes VPN offers three subscription options. You can also bundle it with Malwarebytes antivirus, which we give 4.6 stars for its effective anti-malware tools.

While the pricing may seem reasonable, the least expensive plan protects only a single device, and the most expensive plan provides a modest upgrade for multiple device coverage. The VPN also offers only annual subscriptions, which doesn’t provide much flexibility. (If cost is a constraint, there are ways to save money on a VPN.)

Malwarebytes Privacy VPN cost

Plan 1 Device3 Devices 5 Devices
Price per month $3.33/mo $4.17/mo $5.00/mo
Price per year $39.99/yr $49.99/yr $59.99/yr
Learn more View Plan View Plan View Plan

Malwarebytes Premium + Privacy VPN bundle cost

Plan 1 Device 3 Devices 5 Devices
Price per month $5.00/mo for 1 device $6.67/mo for 3 devices$8.33/mo for 5 devices
Price per year $59.99/yr$79.99/yr$99.99/yr
Learn more View Plan View Plan View Plan 

Malwarebytes offers a free 7-day trial for its VPN service as well as a 60-day money-back guarantee.

Speaking of prices, we'd love to see Malwarebytes accept additional payment methods. Currently, it only accepts PayPal as well as credit cards, including Visa, MasterCard, and American Express.

Other VPNs, like ExpressVPN and NordVPN, accept multiple payment methods, including cryptocurrency and gift cards. And Mullvad VPN even accepts cash. The anonymity these types of payments provide is especially ideal for anyone using a VPN for personal security.

Features

Malwarebytes Privacy VPN is a reliable and secure choice for streaming and meeting basic security needs. However, some users may have security concerns about the company or the VPN service.

Some of our favorite features include the following:

  • Unblocks Netflix libraries: With 500+ server locations in 40 countries, you can enjoy extensive access to Netflix libraries in the U.K., Japan, Canada, and more.
  • User-friendly interface and guides: Simple navigation and readily accessible online guides.
  • AES-256 encryption: Utilizes highly secure 256-bit encryption trusted by governments and businesses.
  • Automatic kill switch for Windows and macOS: Instantly cuts off internet traffic if the VPN connection drops, enhancing data protection.
  • Uses WireGuard: The WireGuard protocol offers faster VPN speeds and reduced lag.
  • Offers multihop and split tunneling: Malwarebytes calls multi-hop (double VPN) “connection mode” and split tunneling “connection rules” — both features provide additional security for your Wi-Fi connection.

Here are the potential cons we see with Malwarebytes Privacy VPN:

  • Jurisdiction: Based in the United States, Malwarebytes is subject to data retention laws and intelligence-sharing agreements. This raises concerns about government surveillance and data access.
  • Logging policy: While claiming a no-logs policy, Malwarebytes’ privacy policy should be reviewed for specifics. Minimal logs can still compromise privacy.
  • Limited server network: With a limited server network, slow connections and speed drops may be more common, and it can be frustrating to find a good server due to overcrowding.
  • Advanced security features: Malwarebytes Privacy VPN prioritizes simplicity over advanced security features. If you need stronger security measures, you might find it lacking. There are additional security features included if you bundle the VPN with Malwarebytes Premium antivirus — but you’ll need to pay more.
  • Independent audits: From the looks of the website, Malwarebytes Privacy VPN hasn't undergone independent security audits, potentially affecting trust in their privacy and security claims.
  • Feature limitations: Some features, like multihop and split tunneling, are available only for Windows, leaving out macOS and mobile users.

Evaluate your security needs before deciding if Malwarebytes Privacy VPN meets your requirements. Want to binge-watch your favorite TV series this weekend? Likely a solid choice. Trying to run from the government? Not so much.

Server count and countries

  • 500+ servers in 40+ countries

Having servers in different locations allows you to access specific content, improve your connection speed, and enhance privacy and security by connecting through different countries.

Malwarebytes Privacy VPN over 500 servers across the globe.

Currently, Malwarebytes Privacy VPN has over 500 VPN servers spread across more than 40 different countries. Here is the breakdown by continent:

  • Europe: Albania, Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Serbia, Slovakia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Ukraine
  • North America: Canada, the United States
  • Asia: Israel, Japan, Hong Kong, Singapore
  • South America: Brazil, Colombia
  • Africa: South Africa
  • Oceania: Australia, New Zealand

While Malwarebytes Privacy VPN has fewer servers than competitors like NordVPN, which has over 6,300 servers, it still provides wide coverage across various continents. The smaller server count could lead to congestion if there are too many users on the same servers. However, the server count comes down to your specific needs.

No-logs policy and headquarters

  • Malwarebytes Privacy VPN logs policy: Malwarebytes VPN logs minimal data, including license data, software version, and public key.
  • Malwarebytes Privacy VPN headquarters: Santa Clara, California, United States

Malwarebytes Privacy VPN claims to have a "no-logs policy," but its privacy policy suggests some data collection. It notes collecting your license data to activate your license, your software version to provide updates, and your public key so that your VPN app can establish a connection.

Being based in California, United States, raises concerns due to surveillance alliances like the Five Eyes alliance. A VPN provider in such jurisdictions may have to share user data with the government. If you’re concerned about privacy, you may prefer VPNs based in countries outside of these alliances to minimize the risk of government surveillance and data sharing, such as NordVPN (Panama), ExpressVPN (British Virgin Islands), or CyberGhost (Romania).

While not a true no-logs policy, this stance isn't unusual in the VPN world. It's worth noting that Malwarebytes Privacy VPN doesn’t log network data, which includes personal information like email addresses and IP addresses.

Kill switch

A kill switch is a feature that prevents your device from automatically switching back to its regular, unencrypted internet connection if the VPN unexpectedly disconnects. This is especially important if you’re using public Wi-Fi and want to prevent hackers from gaining access to your device. Malwarebytes Privacy VPN has an automatic kill switch feature for both macOS and Windows.

Multi-hop (double VPN)

The multi-hop feature is currently exclusive to Windows users, so mobile and macOS users are left out. With multi-hop, also known as double VPN, you can establish a connection through two different VPN servers, enhancing your online privacy and security. Malwarebytes calls this “connection mode.”

By using multi-hop, your data gets encrypted and passes through multiple VPN servers, making it harder for anyone to trace your online activities back to your device. This extra layer of protection is particularly useful in countering potential surveillance from entities like the Eyes alliances, especially given that Malwarebytes is based in the U.S.

Considering these factors, if you have lesser security needs, are a macOS or a mobile user, or prioritize simplicity and user-friendliness, Malwarebytes Privacy VPN without multi-hop may still be a suitable choice.

Split tunneling

Split tunneling is an advanced security feature that allows you to redirect select traffic through the VPN service. This can be helpful if you want to keep your VPN active but need to access certain websites that may have restrictions against VPNs (e.g., a banking website). Malwarebytes VPN offers this function, but it's a little confusing to find because it's labeled as "connection rules" in the Settings. 

Encryption

Malwarebytes Privacy VPN uses a strong encryption method called the Advanced Encryption Standard (AES), specifically AES-256. AES is military-grade encryption specifically chosen by the U.S. government to protect important and secret information. AES is widely used around the world to encrypt sensitive data, both in software and hardware. By using 256-bit encryption, Malwarebytes Privacy VPN ensures your data is secure and protected from unauthorized access. This means your information stays private while using the VPN.

VPN protocol

Malwarebytes Privacy VPN uses the WireGuard tunneling protocol, a free and open-source option designed to be faster than other VPN protocols like OpenVPN, IPsec, and IKEv2. It's paired with AES-256 to encrypt your data. WireGuard also runs better on mobile devices and offers faster speeds and more reliable connections.

Test results

Testing VPNs helps us understand how fast and reliable they are at protecting your privacy and security. We tested the performance of Malwarebytes Privacy VPN by measuring the download, upload, and latency speeds while connected to its servers around the world. We also tested how formidable it was against Netflix geo-blocks and ensured there were no DNS and WebRTC leaks.

Speed tests

During our original testing using Malwarebytes Privacy VPN on a 2018 MacBook Pro, we experienced significant lag and delays when loading web pages. Buffering was noticeable, causing delays in streaming content.

To assess the impact on internet speed, we conducted a baseline speed test without a VPN. Our download speed was 245.5 Mbps, upload speed at 124.5 Mbps, and ping rate was 35 milliseconds (ms). With Malwarebytes Privacy VPN enabled, the download speed decreased by as much as 148%. The upload speed decreased up to 135%, and our latency also saw a significant increase, reaching up to 150%.

Based on these results, we found Malwarebytes Privacy VPN unequipped for activities that demand low latency and high bandwidth, like professional gaming, torrenting, or serious streaming.

When we retested Malwarebytes Privacy VPN on our PC, we had a significantly better experience. We actually saw an improved download speed when connecting to a server in Paris from the US, which is unusual. Otherwise, we saw consistent speeds maintained on par with other premium competitors. It's normal to see at least some drop in download and upload speeds when connecting to a VPN, but the drop was marginal when connecting to an NY server from PA. Even the speed drop when connecting to a Brisbane server in AU wasn't too bad, as we typically see huge speed drops when connecting to servers on the other side of the world.

Malwarebytes Privacy VPN speed test results

Test type No VPN US to US US to EU US to AU
Download speed 450.71 Mbps  445.01 Mbps 474.30 Mbps 416.63 Mbps
Upload speed 42.06 Mbps  39.58 Mbps
32.41 Mbps 32.86 Mbps
Latency (ping) 15 ms 14 ms 91 ms 226 ms
Download speed % difference N/A -1.26% +5.23% -7.56%
Upload speed % difference N/A -5.89% -22.94% -21.87%
Latency % difference N/A -6.66% +506.66% +1,406.66%
Test results as of 06/05/2024.

Malwarebytes Privacy VPN Netflix tests

  • Malwarebytes VPN Netflix test results: Yes, it unblocked all Netflix libraries except when we were connected to AU servers

Something we’re seriously impressed with is Malwarebytes Privacy VPN’s access to Netflix. For Netflix streamers, you’re in luck. Almost all of the Malwarebytes VPN servers have unblocked Netflix’s worldwide libraries. If you're new to streaming with a VPN, we recommend you learn how to watch Netflix on a VPN.

When we changed the server to one in the U.K., Canada, or the U.S., it worked like a charm. We quickly unlocked regional libraries and streamed with no issues. 

Malwarebytes quickly unblocked Netflix in the U.K.
Malwarebytes quickly unblocked Netflix in the U.K.

The only issue we ran into with Malwarebytes VPN was that we couldn't access Netflix from an AU server. Netflix quickly identified the use of a VPN and blocked us from accessing the platform. We also tried a NZ server just in case, but we received the same error message. 

Malwarebytes Privacy VPN was unable to unblock Netflix when connected to a server in Brisbane, AU from the U.S.
Malwarebytes Privacy VPN was unable to unblock Netflix when connected to a server in Brisbane, AU from the U.S.

During our initial testing on macOS, we were able to access regional libraries in the U.K., Canada, and Australia, but not the U.S. Our Netflix access flip-flopped during our PC test: We quickly accessed Netflix in the U.S., U.K., and Canada, but not Australia. This means there's no guarantee the server location you want will unblock Netflix, but it's worth trying.

Malwarebytes Privacy VPN Netflix test results

US to US US to UK US to Canada US to AU
Did it work with Netflix?
Test results as of 06/05/2024.

It's important to note that streaming platforms are always trying to detect and block VPNs. On the other hand, VPNs are always trying to find ways around detection, so you may find different VPN servers, a whole different VPN, or even trying Netflix on another day may work if you run into trouble.

DNS and WebRTC leak tests

  • Malwarebytes VPN DNS leak test results: No leaks
  • Malwarebytes VPN WebRTC leak test results: No leaks

Our WebRTC test showed Malwarebytes Privacy VPN has no leaks.

A DNS leak test checks if your device accidentally shares your browsing activity outside of the private VPN tunnel, potentially exposing it to your internet service provider (ISP) or others. A WebRTC leak test verifies if your actual IP address is revealed when using WebRTC, which could also jeopardize your privacy.

We used a special tool to detect leaks, and none of the servers tested had any IP, WebRTC, or DNS leaks. This means that when you use the Malwarebytes VPN service, your browsing Information stays protected inside the VPN tunnel, and your real IP address remains hidden when using WebRTC applications.

Kill switch test

  • Kill switch test results: passed

A kill switch is an essential security feature of any VPN worth its salt. If your internet cuts out or your VPN connection drops for any reason, a kill switch can ensure that your IP address isn't exposed. One way to test whether this feature actually works is by switching between servers during an IP test. From Pennsylvania, we first connected to a New York server for the test. During the test, we quickly switched to a Georgia server. The results? Our real IP never displayed while the kill switch was enabled. 

Malwarebytes Privacy VPN passed our kill switch test
Malwarebytes Privacy VPN passed our kill switch test

Compatibility

Whether you're using a Windows computer, a Mac, an Android device, or an Apple device, Malwarebytes Privacy VPN has got you covered. This VPN is compatible with desktop and mobile apps for:

  • Microsoft Windows 7 and up
  • macOS Catalina 10.15.4 and up
  • Android 9 and up
  • iOS 14 and up

Customer support

Malwarebytes Privacy VPN has a large knowledge base with helpful guides, FAQs, forums, and a blog. But if you need an immediate answer, you'll have to rely on the AI chatbot. 

AI chatbot 

Although Malwarebytes offers an (ostensibly) 24/7 AI chatbot, the bot is populated with pre-set prompts, so you need to navigate through them to get your question answered. 

Malwarebytes AI chatbot has pre-selected prompts
Malwarebytes AI chatbot has pre-selected prompts

Chat with a live agent

The ability to chat with a live agent is restricted to subscription holders. Plus, it's a runaround to try and connect with a live agent. Basically, you need to access the AI chatbot first. The bot will decide whether your assistance requires connecting with a human or submitting a support ticket. For the latter, you need to submit a ticket and wait to hear back via email. 

When we clicked to talk to a live agent, we were redirected to the AI chatbot prompt.

There is no option to directly connect to a live agent with Malwarebytes VPN

Help Center

Although Malwarebytes offers a Help Center, it isn’t immediately evident from the account page. You need to click on a short list of (most likely) common topics to be directed to the Help Center. There are a lot of user guides, but the info is short and sweet. So if we wanted to find more information on whether Malwarebytes VPN offers torrenting support, for example, we need to turn to a Google search instead. From there, we're directed to numerous forum threads. 

So, the info is out there, but you may have to comb through guides, blog articles, and even forums to get the answers you're looking for. And for those who are wondering, no, Malwarebytes doesn't support torrenting. 

VPN alternatives

Malwarebytes Privacy VPN impressed us with its ability to unblock Netflix but we also found its feature set lacking. Luckily, there are plenty of VPN providers on the market. Based on our extensive testing and research, we can recommend the following as solid alternatives:

Starting price Starts at $3.99/mo (billed every two years) Starts at $2.19/mo (billed biannually) Starts at $2.03/mo (billed every two years)
Number of devices 10 Unlimited 7
Server count 6,300+ in 111 countries 3,200+ in 100 countries 11,700+ in 100 countries
Streaming support
Torrenting support
Learn more See NordVPN Pricing See Surfshark Pricing See CyberGhost Pricing

Malwarebytes Privacy FAQs


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Is Malwarebytes VPN better than NordVPN?

Malwarebytes Privacy VPN may be suitable for basic browsing and streaming needs, but it isn’t ideal for gamers or users with high security and privacy requirements due to potential latency issues and logging policies. In comparison, NordVPN offers more features, compatibility with a wider range of devices, a larger server network, an independently audited no-logs policy, and stronger privacy measures. If enhanced privacy and faster speed are your goals, NordVPN is the better move.


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How do I know Malwarebytes VPN is working?

The connection status is displayed under the app's ON/OFF toggle. If you still can’t tell if Malwarebytes VPN is working, do a quick IP address test.

  1. Make sure your VPN is disconnected and go to a privacy-oriented search engine, like DuckDuckGo. Type and enter, "What is my IP address?" Write down what IP address comes up.
  2. Start Malwarebytes Privacy VPN and connect to a server. Double-check to see that you're connected by looking at the ON/OFF toggle. Notice the IP address the VPN has given you at the bottom of the VPN’s interface.
  3. Repeat step one and record what your IP address is now.

If your IP address didn't change from step one, your IP address is not concealed. If it matches the one you picked during step two, your IP address is masked.


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Does Malwarebytes VPN hide your IP address?

Yes, Malwarebytes VPN can protect your online privacy by hiding your IP address. Your IP address is like your home address on the internet. This VPN has network filters that block connections to certain applications’ IP addresses or ports unless the VPN is connected, adding an extra level of privacy protection.


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Can you turn off Malwarebytes VPN?

Yes, you can turn off Malwarebytes VPN. Simply open the app and toggle the ON button to OFF, or right-click on the tray icon and select "disconnect." Disabling the VPN may reduce your online privacy and security. To resume using the VPN, just turn it back on using the same method.


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Who owns Malwarebytes?

Malwarebytes was founded in 2004 by Marcin Kleczynski.

Bottom line: Is Malwarebytes Privacy VPN good?

Malwarebytes Privacy VPN is a good choice if you want basic security and streaming capabilities. It offers a user-friendly interface, strong encryption, and a kill switch that cuts off internet access if the VPN connection drops. It can also be bundled with Malwarebytes Premium antivirus software for multi-layer device protection.

However, there are a few factors to consider. The server network is limited, leading to fewer server options compared to competitors as well as potential slowness due to overcrowding. In fact, our speed tests revealed mixed results. Initially, we experienced a serious drop in internet speed and noticeable lag on macOS. But when we retested on Windows PC, we saw well-maintained speeds across the board. We also had mixed results when trying to unblock Netflix from various locations. This means you'll have to guess and test to see if this VPN works for you.

But you don't need to be tech-savvy to use Malwarebytes VPN because the interface is user-friendly. So if you prioritize streaming and have moderate security needs, Malwarebytes Privacy VPN is a suitable option. 

However, if you require stronger security, additional features, monthly subscription plans, or broader device coverage, other premium VPN providers like NordVPN, Surfshark, and CyberGhost may be worth considering.

4.2
Editorial Rating
Learn More
On Malwarebytes Privacy VPN's website
VPN
Malwarebytes Privacy VPN
  • Includes Browser Guard ad blocker, which blocks YouTube ads
  • Maintains solid speeds when connected to international servers
  • No-logs policy is not third-party verified
Author Details
Cheyenne Lightfoot is a freelance content writer specializing in the intersection between identity and access management and user privacy. As an account executive, she has helped small-to-medium-sized businesses prevent data breaches, safeguard sensitive information, and achieve compliance with passwordless multi-factor authentication software.
Kate is an Editor at All About Cookies. She has 8+ years of digital publishing experience as a content manager, developmental editor, and curriculum writer. She leverages specializations in EdTech and educational publishing to create impactful, well-researched content that aids learners of all ages.