If an online service is free, here’s a red flag! This is the logic you should use before opting for a free VPN. Despite promising security at no cost to your pocket, many collect and sell your data that is supposed to remain encrypted and anonymous.
The first function of a Virtual Private Network (VPN) is to be a secure intermediary for your internet traffic. Encryption helps mask your computer or cell phone address, ensuring private browsing.
However, free virtual private network web services can profit from your data and still be a gateway for cybercriminals. So, understand below why it is possible to get hacked with free VPN and which are the ones that undermine cybersecurity without you knowing!
What are the risks of using a free VPN?
The risks of using a free VPN are several. After all, the companies responsible for free VPNs are able to access the content of the pages you access and your device.
This information is valuable, literally. VPN providers trade the data to advertisers in order to cover the costs of the entire operation and profit from the misleadingly offered service.
Therefore, the user cannot enjoy the advantages of using a VPN that should be safe and honest.
How about discovering the main risks of using a free VPN? According to the 2016 analysis of 283 VPN apps for Android by the Scientific and Industrial Community Research Organization (CSIRO), they are:
1) Free VPNs can log your online activities
About 72% of the free VPNs studied by the CSIRO have external trackers in their software.
This means that they are aware of your browsing flow, just like Google does when you browse without protection. However, it is not possible to know to whom free VPN operators send your data.
The promise of private browsing is not fulfilled by VPN operators’ free service. Source: GettyImages
2) They have non-transparent privacy policies
According to the independent review site Top10VPN, more than half of popular free VPN apps for mobile devices are run by companies with hidden Chinese ownership.
Additionally, around 86% have subpar privacy policies and 64% do not have a website that makes it easy to find information about who operates the free VPN app.
3) May infect your device with malware
The CSIRO study found that 6 out of 10 malware-infected VPNs are free versions. That is, 38% showed some behavior of malicious software.
- Check it out: After all, is it safe to use VPN? Find out if your service is reliable or a scam
It has been observed that identified malware is usually associated with advertisements displayed by free VPN. The user is bombarded with various on-screen advertisements, exposing him to unwanted and dangerous clicks.
Malware can steal and encrypt data from free VPN customers. Source: GettyImages
4) Slow down your internet speed
Your browsing speed is also a downside here. Some free VPN operators may even offer protection against malware but generally reduce your browsing speed in order to force the user to migrate to their premium version.
5) Trade user bandwidth
There are VPNs that profit from your bandwidth and lend your IP when you are not using it to other customers. This is a big risk as you don’t know the intentions of those who want to use your IP.
Which free VPNs are not secure?
Based on studies by VPN and cybersecurity experts, the virtual private network operators most susceptible to the risks just outlined are:
- VPN Free, Rocket VPN, CyberGhost, Betternet, SuperVPN, CrossVPN, and Tigervpns – there is the presence of malicious software;
- Psiphon and Hoxx – monitor user activities and give access to advertisers;
- Betternet and Hotspot Shield – do not deliver on their promise not to show ads;
- AnchorFree VPN and HotspotShield – redirects without permission to other sites;
- Proton VPN – slows down the internet speed of free plan customers.
- Hola VPN – commits bandwidth diversion;
What is needed to have a secure VPN?
The first step is to get as much information about the VPN or hosting provider as possible. Customer and expert reviews are the clues that tell you the virtual private network’s true reputation.
The second step to having a secure VPN is to read the privacy terms and policies. That giant text that we usually ignore and just click on the “I agree” button is what will save you from possible thefts!
Third step: organize your financial planning to be able to subscribe to a premium plan VPN. This way, you avoid privacy, security, slow internet, and annoying pop-up ad issues.
To help you with this mission, check out our article where we explain how to choose your VPN safely ! Enjoy and share the information on your social networks and let your colleagues know.TecMundo discount coupons: