Opera, the company behind a suite of cross-platform browsers, is looking to make Web surfing more secure through its acquisition of SurfEasy, a Canadian virtual private network service.

SurfEasy’s VPN service allows users to browse the Web privately and anonymously on smartphones, tablets and computers by encrypting all traffic sent to and from a device, much of which is normally transmitted in the open.

“Privacy and security has always been top of mind for Opera's users, making the acquisition of SurfEasy a seamless fit,” Lars Boilesen, CEO of Opera Software, said. “Opera has evolved beyond our browser roots and this step will add a critical building block toward a broader portfolio of applications.”

Through the partnership, the company’s privacy service will have the potential to reach Opera’s 350 million users. But it also has the potential to attract even more users, especially in countries with strict censorship laws and constant Internet monitoring. It may also have the added benefit of helping Internet users get around geographical restrictions placed on certain streaming websites.

In Opera's quest for a larger share of the browser market, it faces an uphill battle. As of February, its browser accounted for less than 2 percent of global share, compared to Google Chrome’s massive 49 percent, according to StatCounter. However, it is one of the most popular mobile browsers in developing markets like India, where it is getting a leg up through its use on mobile devices like Xiaomi's Redmi note.

Statcounter Opera The Opera browser accounted for less than two percent of global browser share in February Photo: StatCounter

The exact terms of the deal haven’t been disclosed, but Opera plans to integrate some of SurfEasy’s technology in the future, while maintaining its apps for Windows, Mac, Android and iOS.