Is a Free VPN Safe? What’s the Catch?

Free VPN

They track their users’ data. Facebook, a company that generates several privacy concerns due to its revenue model, bought the VPN app Onavo, which had a free version available. Then, it proceeded to run it secretly to collect and sell the data from its free users to other companies or use it for its own means.

This situation occurs with many free VPN providers. When they sell your data to third parties, they’re able to target you with malware and spam. In some cases, they expressly lay it out in their privacy policies, but it doesn’t make it any better. After all, it makes it risky to use the internet while connected to the free VPN.

They provide third-party access to your data. As we previously stated, free VPNs tend to collect and sell your data, including personal information. In most cases, they do this to target you with more relevant ads. However, some companies don’t stop there. They might do what they desire with it and put you at risk.

They have limited security features. These service providers often possess limited functionality, meaning you don’t get adequate security features such as a proper kill-switch, DNS leak protection, and other essential protocols.

Your identity is left somewhat unsecured, and the software may expose it if something goes wrong at an inopportune moment. Most free VPNs tend to provide L2TP and PPTP protocols. Some don’t even offer a functional VPN service. Instead, they work as a proxy and leave your IP address out in the open.

They may result in financial fraud and identity theft. These services partner with other parties and provide them access to your user data, possibly causing these potential issues. The reason is that although they offer you the VPN, they have to collaborate with other companies to finance it, and they put you at risk for it.

What Should You Consider When Buying a Paid VPN Service?

The best alternative to using free VPNs is buying a reliable and secure VPN service. It would be best to get one that values its users and provides them with a good experience on top of every essential feature a VPN should have. Here are some of the factors you should consider when purchasing a VPN.

Privacy policy. VPNs located in Europe or those that serve Europeans have to comply with the General Data Protection Regulation. Under this legislature, companies have to divulge any data they collect from their users or face hefty fines.

VPN companies under this regulation need to have a transparent Privacy Policy regarding data usage. If you know that a particular free or paid VPN operates in Europe, you can read it to see whether it misuses your data.

Technical and legal security. VPN companies should have the required expertise to maintain your internet traffic private. Their protocols and encryption algorithms must be secure, and they should have leak protection measures as well.

The best way to complement excellent protocols and encryptions is by having legal security. Checking whether the VPN’s main office is in a country with strong data protection laws is vital. The best-case scenario is that the company isn’t in a country that’s part of the five, nine, or fourteen eyes surveillance agreements.

Versatility and ease of use. Using a free VPN or a paid one with a rough user interface isn’t worth the time. VPNs nowadays can be straightforward, so if you’re unable to access the setting you want in a short time, you should consider another one.

It should be easy to use regardless of the platform you’re using, whether it’s a PC, laptop, or smartphone. The VPN should allow multiple connections as well.

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