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According to Go-Globe’s infographic on The State of VPN Usage, 25% of users have recently used a virtual private network. This is no surprise that the VPN industry is predicted to be worth $27.10 billion this year. In 2022, it is expected to gain $35.73 billion worth of revenues. Indeed, VPN is a lucrative business! However, is using a free VPN safe?

In the previous post regarding Free VPN Isn’t the best VPN, I already shared a few reason why a free VPN is not exactly the ideal option for you. Now, I will enumerate more reasons for you to not immediately jump on the free VPN bandwagon.

3. What? More Ads?!

You used a VPN to be secure, but you end up in a more deadly territory because of the pop-ups that suddenly appear. It’s very counterproductive to use a VPN that exposes to more annoying ads that you are avoiding in the first place. Moreover, these free VPNs are sneaking in trackers, which can still snoop and follow all the digital footprints that you leave behind.

A notable example for this is AnchorFree Inc’s Hotspot Shield VPN. In 2017, there was an FTC complaint regarding privacy violations by providing ads. It was found out that Anchorfree Inc sold personal data to third-party firms. In number 14 of the complaint, Hotspot Shield uses this information to “identify [a user’s] general location.” Not only that,  Hotspot Shield also collected “unique device identifiers, and other application information” on a regular basis.

AnchorFree stated that, “the free version… is funded by ads. Since then, Anchorfree has been posting annual reports, which are accessible to the public.

4. Constant buffering would mean more waiting.

Why would people get a VPN? Because they want to access streaming sites even when they are away from home. Usually, some countries ban sites and these include streaming services such as Netflix, Disney+, HBO Go, Vudu, and more. In some cases, websites block your access if they found out you are in another location. So, how are you supposed to watch the video on a premium subscription site when your connection is slow to be begin with?

A free VPN would mean a very slow connection. Don’t expect to be able to flawlessly stream your favorite shows overseas. Often times, free VPNs only have a few servers available, meaning you spend more time waiting and bouncing between different over-crowded servers because paid users get more priority than you.

Also, subscription websites are doing their best in identifying users who are trying to sneak in their sites. They won’t hesitate to block IP addresses leeching of their premium services. Free VPNs won’t be able to provide you with a new IP addresses every time you go online. So, it would be pretty hard to log in a streaming site if your VPN is merely a free version because you’re stuck with an old and worn IP address.

Final Words

In looking for the right VPN for you, please do read the post regarding the 4 Factors to Consider when Choosing a VPN. Don’t immediately choose it because a VPN is free. Remember, ransomware attacks are continuing to increase each year. In 2019 alone, Kaspersky Lab noticed a 60% growth in vicious attacks, which are targeting passwords and other personal credentials.

Previously, I talked about the basics of having a virtual private network and what the factors to look for when buying a VPN. Catch up on that and more: 4 Factors to Consider when Choosing the Right VPN

A VPN is really helpful when you are always on the go and constantly moving from one place to another. When you are using a public WiFi, the VPN will serve as your shield from anyone who might steal your passwords, bank details, and other personal information. You are paying for a service to protect your privacy and your family’s privacy as well! So, when a VPN offers their services for free, how will they make money? What do they gain from this free service?

Below, I will share to you a few reasons why you should NOT choose a free VPN.

1. Free VPNs are not exactly safe.

Top10VPN.com analyzed a total of 150 VPN apps downloadable on Google Play… and what did they find out? When they tested the 150 free VPNs, majority of them had malware and viruses; app permissions. From the data collected from November – December 2018, the researchers concluded that 85% of the free VPNs are unsafe.

You see, these VPN providers need to secure their users and they would need the hardware for it. Usually, their servers are located in different countries and maintaining these servers are pretty expensive. The thing with free apps — not just VPN — need to maintain their services, and they do this through the data provide. So, go for paid services because if not, you would end up on the VPN provider’s menu.

Another Top10VPN.com found out that 59% of apps they have inspected are connected to China. The free VPN apps are not so free after all because the developers were sharing the data of their users to the Chinese authorities. Other than that, 64% of apps had no activity outside the Google Play Store page, and sadly, only 17% of them bothered to respond to customer emails.

2. It also comes with a free malware.

There’s a huge to get a free malware as well. In fact, the chances are 1 in 3 VPNs have bugs.  To be more precise, 38% of free VPN app may have malware according to a Data61/CSIRO paper. So, would you rather spend more than a $100 per year, or  would you prefer your bank details getting compromised? Surely, having your personal data stolen is more troublesome. You can earn your money again, but if your identity gets stolen, your are in grave danger.

At the end of the day, free services have their own repercussions because you are paying with your personal data. There’s no such thing as a free lunch. Talk to industry experts if you need help regarding cybersecurity. Do not put yourself at risk just because of some free app you found on the internet. If you have any questions and want to schedule an IT consultation, you may contact Omnipotech Support Center or call us at 281-768-4800 right now!

 

Next? More Reasons Free Why a Free VPN Is Not Advisable

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