Several people decide that a free VPN would be the best choice for them, mainly because they do not want to pay for the service. They may be needing a VPN for multiple reasons. For example, they may want to view content that is blocked due to their location, or they may want to make their privacy and security online even better. A VPN offers users the chance to do just this.
However, a new study on free VPN that was compiled by researchers from the University of California at Berkeley, along with CSIRO, a federal research agency in Australia, has found that many free VPNs are not living up to their promises at all.
Users who have been using these free VPNs could have set themselves up for many dangers that are found online. And for those who have used these free VPNs, the damage could already be started, without their even knowing this.
There are some free VPN providers who offer a reliable service. However, the free plans are always limited in functionalities and security, therefore never use them for sensitive tasks.
How A Free VPN Can Be Dangerous
This study has analyzed 300 different free VPN connection. Here is a list of several startling facts that were discovered:
- 84% of these VPN’s were leaking the users’ web traffic.
- 38% of these VPN’s contained malware or malvertising.
- 18% of these VPN’s did not encrypt the data of their users.
In most cases, these free VPNs state that they offer you protection online through hiding your web activity, protecting against malware and other issues, and encrypting your connection. Most of them didn’t prove true to their claims.
Most Dangerous Free VPN On The Market
For the purposes of this study, there were 10 free VPN’s that were discovered and labeled as the worst offenders for not offering protection to those who use these. These free VPN’s included:
- Archie VPN
- sFly Network Booster
- One Click VPN
- Fast Secure Payment
For those who have used the top ten free VPNs listed here, or any other free VPN for that matter, have greatly changed their Internet experience. When a person starts using one of these free options, they are basically handing over their internet connection to the VPN provider.
The problem arises in these VPN’s being untrustworthy. A VPN provider can see and store your data and your activity online. These providers can then do what they see fit with the information in which they are collecting from the user. Do you understand how unreliable free VPN connections pose a danger to your digital security?
Additionally, if the data was not encrypted, this leaves the connection open to any snooping eyes. This could be a huge issue for those who may be utilizing, for instance, a public Wi-Fi connection. For those VPN providers that are inserting malware, this greatly affects your online experience. For example, the VPN provider can decide to bombard you with advertisements for their gain.
The problem is that many people have already used these free VPN’s, thus their information is already compromised. What to do if you have used a free VPN connection?
- Stop using this free VPN. While saving money is great, in most cases, you are getting what you pay for. In this case, you are on the losing end of the spectrum as your information has been compromised, you probably have numerous counts of malware on your device and your location may have been easily recognized.
- Invest in a good virus and malware protector and cleaner. You need monitoring for these types of issues, and you also need to clean the malware or malvertising that has already infected your device. If you have noticed your device is running slower, freezing or otherwise acting odd, it could be these viruses and malware are slowing it down.
- Make sure to get a reliable VPN. This does mean going with a paid VPN. The subscription costs of these VPN plans are relatively low when you consider how many dangers there are with free VPNs. In addition, since you are paying for this VPN, the provider is there to provide you a service. Thus, they are not going to allow your connection to be seen or your information to be sold to the highest bidder. You can rest assure that you are in safe hands.
Free most always sounds better to everyone. After all, why pay for something when you can get it for free. However, this study has shown us that sometimes when you get a VPN for free, you are paying more for this in the long run.
The online world is full of hackers, and those who are trying to hurt you in some way. Take whatever precaution you can to protect yourself while online, a paid VPN is a perfect place to start.
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