One of the most recommended security internet tools is VPNs providing users safe and secure access to unsecured networks. While most VPNs offers privacy and anonymity at a low and affordable monthly rate, many can be used free, by selecting to use a free VPN service it is vital that the terms & conditions are carefully read.
The risk of exposing privacy versus paying a low fee for complete security could be a dangerous risk security conscious users would want to avoid.
The main benefits of using a VPN is to prevent spying, avoid search engines following your every move, eliminating sites logging your search history, enjoy privacy and to ensure that all data are encrypted and safe.
Are Free VPNs Risky?
All free VPNs are not safe, recent tests and research found that a number of privacy threats and security risks when using free VPN services. VPN use is immensely popular with individuals that wish to avoid government surveillance, find the best privacy and security solutions, and in most cases, the main objective is to avoid hacking or being spied upon and to safeguard personal information from prying eyes.
Not all but some of the free VPN solutions could endanger user’s online privacy since several shady companies and scammers from around the globe pose as VPN suppliers in order to rip off users that are not pros in cybersecurity. A huge rise in online security interest and privacy matters forces users to look for VPN services, and one of the biggest problems is that most users are not aware of what to check before accepting a VPN option. Several VPN reviews and recommendations are available on our site, although we take a look at why free VPNs could compromise user’s security.
Vast Range of Malware Forms
Malware could take on a vast range of forms and is always focused on rippling internet users off. Should malware be hidden within a VPN, it has access to the most sensitive information and can use the private user information to send emails, hijack other online accounts, send user spam, and lock devices also referred to as ransomware demanding a ransom before locked data are released. Malware can send emails that confuse users via the personalised details it contains to provide passwords. Malware is the most popular way to infect user’s systems, and several studies have shown that several of the free VPN options, and in majority those offered to Android users contain malware. It is scary as VPNs are installed to enjoy protection and privacy and is trusted by millions, although the best VPN option is the paid versions. The list of reasons why a free VPN could not be a good option continues.
Free VPNs Could Be a Way to Steal Bandwidth
Shocking but true some of the studies found that several free VPNs were basically tools enabling criminals to steal user’s bandwidth, and then it is sold to third parties as well as advertisers without most users even being aware of it. The most frightening part of bandwidth theft is that others use the stolen bandwidth to engage in other activities, which the person that it is stolen from has no knowledge of occurring. These activities could include highly illegal activities such as child pornography as well as other services.
Free VPNs Could Hide Tracking
Tracking software is used to collect private information, record all activities, and hidden tracking devices are used to gather information, which can be sold to third parties. During studies, quite a few free VPN services were found to contain tracking software even though the user was promised top security and high-levels of encryption. During testing, some free VPN software was found to host hidden tracking and malware upon installation, especially on mobile. The information is sold at a huge profit since it provides advertising and marketing companies with the much-wanted information to base ads on individuals shopping habits, places visited and other interests or hobbies.
Free VPNs & Fraud
Nothing is for free is the belief of many, and with free VPNs (again not all) the biggest risk is users identity and sensitive information such as banking and other financial details. Subscribing to untrustworthy free VPN services could place users in danger since the free VPN could collaborate with several other third parties wishing to obtain sensitive information such as bank account numbers, credit card credentials, and other personal information.
Information theft opens up individuals to the danger of financial fraud and identity theft, and with the necessary information at hand, anyone could log into victim’s accounts, making purchases or do other damage. Luckily most banking services warns users of unusual account logins, or account access from unknown devices, although once your finances are at risk, it is challenging and time-consuming to correct.
The Danger of Trusting Free VPNs to Guard Your Privacy
It could be a very dangerous option to trust free VPNs to safeguard your most personal details. Most VPN users do not read the privacy policies before accepting VPN services, and once it is installed, it might be too late to correct this error. Privacy policies part of VPN services did in some cases state the information it would collect, and by installing a free VPN service, users normally just click on “I agree” without actually knowing what they agree to.
Each country has different laws and by finding out in which country the free VPN supplier is located could save you from harm’s way. The location is relevant due to the legal differences as well as the regulations when it comes to data and privacy. In some countries, VPN service providers are forced by law to keep data logs.
The most frustrating method used to acquire personal information is browser hijacking, it was found to occur often in free VPN hijacks, which is a way to forward users browser to a partner website, without the knowledge or consent of the user. One way of detecting hijacking activities is that once you switch on your system several browser extensions, programs and other software could be installed. The installed software is in most cases created to make uninstalling difficult in the hope that users will just ignore it, allowing more browser activities to be recorded.
Free VPN Services Could Have Internet Traffic Leaks
It is important to realise that the studies revealed that some free VPN services are not worth installing. Good VPNs secure all traffic and encrypt information between user’s devices and the VPN servers. It is unfortunate that the testing of several free VPNs showed problems such as IP address leaks. IP address leaks mean that the users IP address is leaked, which exposes the original location and this is a serious problem in free VPNs and even in some paid versions.
VPN services that are well-worth trusting normally would include the kill switch feature, and when users select to use a VPN service that offers the feature, once the IP address is exposed the VPN will turn off or disconnect programs or disconnect the user from the internet. VPNs offering the kill switch feature are highly recommended and offers complete security.
Avoid Free Services That Could Put You at Risk
Free applications and products from VPN providers in most cases put users at risk while some are created to abuse user trust and security. The main aim of false VPN services is to make money through the collection of user information and then selling that information to third parties or create an environment that allows then to steal bandwidth. Another danger to be wary of when using free services is the risk of identity theft.
It is important to select a reputable and reliable VPN service provider since VPNs are the most significant security tool available for internet users. Once a reliable VPN is installed all data is encrypted, browsing is anonymous and all activities are private, and at the same time, the entire family could enjoy safety in a secure online environment.
Several top VPN providers offer family plans, great yearly deals and lots of additional features that could hugely benefit users. The monthly cost of most VPN services is highly affordable, and once it is installed, it offers easy access and great protection.
By signing up at a VPN service provider users have access to all the latest VPN updates, which appear regularly as security measures are upgraded to block newly created viruses, Trojan’s or the latest ransomware or malware.
Paid services also include 24/7 assistance and should users detect any irregularities on their systems the VPN providers can be contacted to investigate the problem immediately. The low monthly fee offers much more than just protection and allows individuals to know that experts are constantly working to ensure all information is secure and that all data are unobtainable by cyber thieves and hackers.