The Risks of Free VPN

VPN is a virtual private network that provides a connection “over” the regular Internet. Simply put: with the help of this technology, you can visit blocked resources or hide your location from sites. VPN was invented to organize remote work so that employees can securely connect to the office network from home, while on a business trip, or work from different departments.

The technology can be compared to a long tunnel through which all network traffic goes. In the case of a VPN, the content remains isolated from the rest of the participants: the signal goes through several intermediaries to the main server and then returns through intermediaries.

You should look for the right VPN for a secure connection. Services are divided into paid and free, but you will have to pay in any case – either money or information. Free applications can analyze visits to sites or impose advertising messages. Of course, this can also happen with paid services, so you should read the privacy policy and terms of service before paying for the service. In this article, we will look at the dangers of free VPN.

How VPN Technology Works

Before talking about vulnerabilities, it is necessary to understand how this technology works, which is gaining more and more popularity every day. A VPN is a so-called “encrypted tunnel” between a user and a server. The server authorizes the user. It grants the right to perform certain actions, such as reading mail, surfing the Internet, etc. Your device has an IP address provided by the Internet provider, the VPN server changes your IP to its own, and from VPN servers, all data is transferred to external resources you are interested in.

Free VPN: What’s the Catch?

However, you should remember that not all information is encrypted when using it. Different VPN services may differ in such characteristics as the degree of encryption, hiding the fact of connecting to the server, storing logs, and cooperating when issuing information to third parties.

NOTE: The transfer of data to third parties is the main type of income for VPN services that provide their services “for free”.

What Else is Potentially Dangerous in a Free VPN

There are several reasons why it is dangerous to use a free VPN:

  • Embedding ads. It’s not uncommon for free VPNs to embed their banner ads into your “encrypted tunnel”. Where a careless click on a random banner can lead is unknown, but the user may encounter both fraudulent schemes and openly viral software.
  • Transfer of data to third parties. When using VPN services, the company providing the service may accumulate a decent amount of data about the user, not only statistical data but also personal data. All this data is further sold to large analytical companies.
  • Break connection. Periodic disconnection of the VPN connection, sudden release of traffic to the public network. Often, you may not notice a disconnection and data leakage. The VPN connection may not be restored automatically. This is very inconvenient.
  • Viral activity. On the Internet, there are often pseudo-VPN services that only imitate the operation of a VPN but infect your device with virus software. In the vast majority of cases, these are free programs.

By connecting to a VPN, you give all traffic to the owner of the service. It is impossible to know how he will dispose of these data. But if a company is making money with a paid subscription, it has less reason to sell information. A free VPN service has to make money from somewhere else. After all, the cost of maintaining servers does not disappear anywhere.

Cybersecurity experts advise against using a VPN for any sensitive internet activity. No service can guarantee that it will not monitor or transmit data for commercial purposes or under the law.

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