The popular maxim, “there’s no free lunch” is quite true. Free VPNs are really not what they profess to be. They can be very risky to use. Really, no VPN service will give you their services totally free for an unlimited amount of time. No. It doesn’t work like that. You will definitely pay for it is another way.
In the past year, popular VPNs like Facebook-owned Onavo, VPN Free, Tigervpns, Rocket VPN, and EasyOvpn have all been found of malpractices. The scary thing here is these services have been downloaded more than a million times.
Now, let’s delve into some common reasons why free VPNs are a risky playground.
Why free VPNs are risky
1. They track your data and sell it for profit
What VPNs do is they encrypt your data so your Internet service Providers do not see what you are doing online. This essentially translates that your ISPs will not be able to track you. But the VPN services can track you. These free VPNs gathers users’ data through tacking libraries. Then, they sell these information to some advertising and analytics organisations.
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A VPN service like Betternet was found of this malice. Their free VPN app contained 14 different tacking libraries.
2. Free VPNs may install malware in their apps
One of the most common characteristics of a free VPN is malware injection. These malwares are used to steal your private information from your computer or mobile device. They may also encrypt your data and demand a ransom.
3. They steal and resell your bandwidth
Hola VPN was found guilty of this malice. Some free VPNs steal your bandwidth and resell it to other companies. They use your device’s resources to move traffic on the internet.
In the case of Israel based Hola VPN, they stole users’ bandwidth and resold it through their sister company, Luminati.
4. Some free VPNs are involved in Browser Hijacking
Browser hijacking simply refers to the redirection of your browser to websites without your consent. These free VPNs normally redirects your browser to their affiliate networks.
HotspotShield free VPN promised its users shielded connections, security, privacy enhancement and ad-free browsing. But it was found to redirect user traffic to Alibaba.com and eBay.com. HotspotShield free VPN did this through it partner networks Conversant Media and Viglink. This revelation was made bare by the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO).
If you want to use a free VPN, it is always a good bet to go for free VPNs from paid VPNs. These kind of VPNs are usually limited in features and strength. But it is better to go for these ones than those that offer complete services for free in you value your privacy.