Opera may be lagging way behind when it comes to browser market share, but the company still claims over 350 million users between its desktop and mobile products. With all eyes on online security and privacy, the company is hoping to capitalize on this and gain a stronger footing against its rivals in the browser war with the acquisition of Toronto-based VPN provider SurfEasy.

The acquisition will allow Opera to integrate SurfEasy's secure browsing services into "joint products". It's not immediately clear what these may be. The obvious guess would be integrating SurfEasy's VPN tools into Opera, although an entirely new product could be in the cards as well. 

Opera CEO Lars Boilsen said Opera has evolved beyond its browser roots and this step will add a critical building block towards a broader portfolio of applications. "Privacy and security has always been top of mind for Opera's users, making the acquisition of SurfEasy a seamless fit," he added.

Opera has a strong user base in developing markets, where features like data compression on mobile devices have proven especially popular. As TechCrunch points outs, these markets also happen to be heavy VPN users, with people looking to keep their browsing from prying government eyes, and access content and services that would be otherwise blocked or unavailable.

In case you're unfamiliar with SurfEasy, we've highlighted their software a couple of times here at TechSpot. They offer standalone applications for Windows, Mac, iOS and Android which let you skip the usual VPN configuration steps – no choosing between PPTP, OpenVPN or L2TP/IPSec and no need to load configuration files for each server. Just install and you're ready to go.

The company claims to use bank grade encryption and has servers in Brazil, Canada, Germany, UK, Singapore, and US. They offer a free tier capped at 500MB of monthly traffic but you can bump that indefinitely through referrals and other relatively effortless mechanisms. Paid tiers start at $2.99/month for unlimited usage on one mobile device or $4.99/month on up to 5 mobile and desktop devices, or $2.49 and $3.99 respectively per month if paid annually.