A Seattle startup called Cloak has launched a new service that promises to easily protect Macs and iOS devices from snooping on unsecured wireless networks.
Founded by three Microsoft veterans, the company had previously been offering the Cloak service as a public beta, but it’s now a bona fide Version 1.0, with a new level of polish and improvements based on feedback from testers.
Cloak uses Virtual Private Network (VPN) technology but is designed to work automatically in the background, not manually as with many VPNs. When Cloak is enabled, the technology protects the wireless transmissions from computers and devices on unsecured networks such as those at many coffee shops.
With the launch, the company has added new features including one called OverCloak that takes extra steps to protect data by restricting access to normal (non-HTTPS) websites until a secure connection can be established.
Cloak offers a basic plan for $7.99 a month, for protecting up to 20 GB of data; and a pro plan for $14.99 a month, for up to 50GB. The company no longer offers a free plan, as it did during the beta period, although testers will be grandfathered into that free plan for now. Cloak is also offering a 30-day free trial.
Cloak was founded by engineers Dave Peck and Peter Sagerson; and product designer Nick Robinson. Despite working at Microsoft in the past, the team has experience in the Apple ecosystem. Sagerson, for example, was an engineer in Microsoft’s Mac Business Unit, involved in areas including security for Mac Office.
The company has said it hopes to make versions for Windows and Android, but Peck said today that there isn’t yet anything to announce on that front.
We first spotted Cloak at the gdgt Seattle event last year. Cloak is in San Francisco this week to promote its launch at Macworld Expo.
Ironically, the company’s official launch also means that its founders might not need to use the service as much. Cloak now has its own offices in Seattle’s Fremont neighborhood.