VPNs have increasingly become a common tool for internet users for secure browsing. Be it individuals or businesses, all heavily rely on VPNs to get rid of geographical restrictions and ensure greater data security.
We all know that using reliable internet connections is the first line of defense against all virtual odds. This is absolutely true. Therefore, having an internet connection like Cox gives you absolute assurance of network security. It offers a complete cybersecurity solution to protect your devices. Check out Cox Servicio al cliente (For Spanish speakers exclusively) to learn about what more it has to offer you.
That is all good, but when you use a VPN, you need to understand that it is in their hands to ensure absolute data security.
You may have seen that there are several VPNs; some are free, while others require you to pay for them.
So, there is always this question that users ask themselves why should they pay for something that they can get for free? This question is valid, but you must remember a popular saying that if you get something for free, then you are the product.
Don’t understand it yet?
Let us outline free VPNs to help you understand why using a free VPN might not be a safe option for protecting your privacy.
What are Free VPNs?
We all know VPNs(Virtual Private Networks) allow you to connect to the internet privately. As a result, you can hide your online identity and bypass geo-restrictions to browse content. Moreover, it provides an extra layer of security to your WiFi connection.
A Free VPN is a free-of-cost VPN that you can easily download on your phone or personal computer and use right away.
But the question we wish to address in this article is whether they can provide as strong a shield as the paid versions or not.
Before we hop on the crux, let us feed you with a quick finding of the Cybernews report that paves the path for the discussion. In 2021, 18GB+ of connection log data was accidentally made public. So, it is stated that the risk of data breaches with a free VPN is worse than not using a VPN at all. Now, why is that so?
- Low-Quality Security and Encryption Protocol
Most free VPNs use less secure and outdated encryption protocols, such as a PPTP, which is susceptible to security threats. As a result, you are always on the brink of being hacked or interception. This attests to the notion that free VPNs fail to provide the same security as paid VPNs.
- Risk of Selling User Data to Third-Party
What we all know about VPN is that it works as a protective barrier against online threats. It secures your online data and activities from others’ surveillance. A free VPN, however, would not be able to meet the standards. Instead, they are alleged to collect and sell your personal information and record of online activity to third parties, putting your security and privacy at risk.
According to a report, around 38% of free Android VPNs contain malware. It means that by installing a free VPN, you permit the exploitation of your data unknowingly. You know what your information going into the wrong hands means, right?
- Data Vulnerabilities and Malware Infections
As said earlier, multiple security research has revealed that most VPN apps have extreme vulnerabilities. This means that they compromise your security as well as provide channels for malfunctions. Most of these vulnerabilities manifest in the form of online ads. They display pop-ups, and as you click anywhere on the screen, they redirect you to malicious pages. As a result, your device is put at risk for malware and phishing attacks.
- Data Logging
VPNs are supposed to provide users with a safe ground to surf the internet. The data must be encrypted, not allowing anyone else to know about the users’ online activity except the VPN itself. This means that VPNs need to be transparent and should adopt a no-log policy. In essence, they should bare themselves from tracking users’ online activity.
But this is the ideal case, and with most free VPNs, it is not like that. Many VPNs have tracking libraries storing users’ sensitive data.
Other Downsides of Free VPNs
Besides security concerns, there are many downsides to using free VPNs, which are as follows:
- Slow Internet Speeds
When using a free VPN, the users may experience a dip in the internet speed. With limited access to servers and resources, free VPNs may offer slow internet speeds. As a result, if you want to stream or download large files with a VPN on, you would struggle to get through.
- Data Caps Imposition
Another problem that comes with free VPNs is that they impose data caps, limiting data usage per day or month. It is not good, especially when you want to carry out data-intensive tasks with VPN frequently.
- Lack of Customer Support
Mostly, free VPNs do not offer technical assistance or customer support. It means there is no way to go if you have any problem to resolve or configuration to make. As a result, you will have to stroll through online platforms to find solutions, which is time-consuming.
Free VPNs sound incredible, but they hold potential threats that can jeopardize your privacy and security. Therefore, it is important to know the risks before choosing a VPN to make an informed decision.