There’s nothing wrong with trying to save a little money every now and then. Cutting back on dining out or getting a $6 latte every day is a good place to start.
But one thing you definitely don’t want to skimp on is online security. You think you’re saving money with free VPN downloads or apps, but they will cost you in the end.
That’s because when it’s free, you’re the product. Keep reading for reasons you can’t trust free VPNs and why you really need to invest in solid protection.
That free VPN just won’t cut it
As we said earlier, if you’re using a free VPN you are the product. That means the company offering the VPN is watching your every move so it can later provide you with targeted ads. Before you know it, you’ll start seeing pop-up ads all over your device.
Some of the companies have even shadier practices that can put your online life at risk. An example from a couple of years ago was HotSpot Shield VPN. The company behind the app was accused by the FTC of violating users’ privacy.
A flaw in the free VPN was found that cybercriminals could exploit. Hackers could extract configuration data, including location and Wi-Fi network names from the installed web server. This information could then be used to reveal users by linking their location and Wi-Fi network data. Tap or click here for more details.
Even worse, there’s a good chance free VPN apps are malware in disguise. A recent study showed more than 38% of free Android VPN apps contain some presence of malware.
These are just a few reasons to stay away from free VPNs. It’s just not worth the risk to leave such serious protection services to untrustworthy companies.
Why you need a VPN you can trust
A virtual private network, or VPN, is a layer of protection between your devices and the internet. If you’re connecting to Wi-Fi outside of your home, you definitely need to use one.
So what does a VPN do? It hides your IP address and your location. It also encrypts your data after it leaves your device and travels to whatever websites you visit.
If you’re on an unsecured or public network, like at a coffee shop, airport or shopping mall, you send queries through “cyberspace” and they route through private networks to other computers or servers.
This opens a door through which information is exchanged. Those servers send you data and they pick up yours, including your IP address, location, device and more.
A VPN blocks this two-way exchange. The IP address and location data come from the VPN host’s server, so the servers on the other end learn nothing about you or your data.
You might even want to use a VPN at home if you want to keep your ISP from tracking you. It’s important to know ISPs record everything you browse and download from the internet. They track and record data through your IP address, port numbers and DNS address.
ISPs can then sell your private data to vendors, advertisers and other third-parties. A VPN blocks your ISP from doing this and stops them in their tracks. This is why, if you’re concerned about privacy, using a VPN at home is key.
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