Imagine a good(VPN) as a bodyguard for your bank account. As you stroll through the busy lanes of public Wi-Fi, your VPN protects you from password-stealing and protects you from insecure areas. You trust your VPN ̵
With the increase init's no surprise that the VPN market is booming as consumers want to protect their online information. The Global Web Index reports that 25% of Internet users accessed a VPN last month, while VPN apps account for hundreds of millions of installations on mobile operating systems. Meanwhile, global VPN market value growth is estimated at $ 35 billion by 2022.
In this market, finding a VPN you can trust is not easy. However, there are some VPNs that you should never choose: the free ones.
. 1 Free VPNs are just not that safe
As our sister site Download.com has already reported, free VPNs can be very dangerous. Why? To get the hardware and expertise required for large networks and secure users, VPN services need to pay expensive bills. As a VPN customer you either pay a premium service with your dollars or you pay for free services with your data. If you do not order at the table, you are on the menu.
About 86% of free VPN apps on Android and iOS – that's millions of installations – have unacceptable privacy policies ranging from a simple lack of transparency to the explicit exchange of user data with Chinese authorities According to two independent investigations from the year 2018 to free VPN apps from Top10VPN. Another 64% of apps did not have an Internet presence outside of their App Store pages and only 17% responded to customer support emails.
Apple reportedly put a hammer on apps that share user data with third parties on June 3. However, according to an update to June's Top10VPN survey, 80% of the top 20 free VPN apps on Apple's App Store appear to violate these rules.
As of August, 77% of apps in Top10VPN VPN ownership are considered potentially insecure – and 90% of the apps deemed potentially insecure in the Free VPN Risk Index still pose a risk.
"Google Play downloads of apps we identified as potentially unsafe have risen to a total of 214 million, an increase of 85% in six months," the report said.
"The monthly installs from the App Store remained constant at around 3.8 million, a relative increase as this was 20% less apps than at the beginning of the year as some apps are no longer available."
On Android, there are 214 million downloads for a variety of user credentials collected by involuntary volunteers. And what is one of the most profitable things you can do with large amounts of user credentials?
. 2 You Can Intercept Malware
Let's get this out of the way now: According to a CSIRO study, 38% of free Android VPNs contain malware. And yes, many of these free VPNs were highly rated apps with millions of downloads. Your chances of catching a bad bugs are greater than one in three.
So, ask yourself what it costs less: A high-quality VPN service for about a hundred dollars a year or hiring an identity theft recovery company after a jerk has stolen your bank account and Social Security number?
But it could not happen to you, right? Not correct. Mobile ransomware attacks are increasing rapidly. Symantec discovered more than 18 million mobile malware instances in 2018, up 54% year over year. And Kaspersky has recently seen a 60% increase in Trojans stealing passwords.
However, malware is not the only way to make money with a free VPN service. There is an even easier way.
. 3 The Ad-Valanche
Aggressive advertising practices through free VPNs can go beyond being hit with a few annoying pop-ups, and quickly penetrate into dangerous territory. Some VPNs sneak trackers through the gaps in your browser's media reading capabilities, which then remain on your digital track like a jailer in a B-grade remake of Escape from Alcatraz.
HotSpot Shield VPN became known in 2017 for such allegations when an FTC complaint was filed for excessive advertising privacy violations. Researchers at Carnegie Mellon University found that not only did the company have a built-in backdoor for secretly selling data to third-party ad networks, it also used five different tracking libraries and redirected user traffic to secret servers.
When the story became known, HotSpot parent company AnchorFree e-mailed the results of the researchers to Ars Technica: "We never divert our users' traffic to third-party resources, rather than the websites they choose to visit The free version Our Hotspot Shield solution clearly states that it is financed by ads, but we do not intercept traffic with either the free or premium version of our solutions. "
AnchorFree has been offering annual coverage since then Transparency reports, but whose value benefits the reader.
Even though potential credit card fraud is not a problem, you do not need any pop-ups and ad-lag that will burden you If you're already faced with another major problem with free VPNs, this is not possible.
. 4 Buffering … Buffering … Buffering
One of the main reasons why users receive a VPN is access to their preferred subscription services – Hulu, HBO, Netflix – when they travel to countries where these companies have access to them the basis of your data block location. But what's the use of accessing geo-locked video content that you paid for when the free VPN service you use is so slow that you can not see it?
It's well known that some free VPNs sell your bandwidth and may put you to the test for everything they do. The most famous case waswho silently stole the bandwidth of his users in 2015 and sold them in mercenary style to any group that wanted to provide their user base as a botnet.
At that time, Hola CEO Ofer Vilenski admitted to being owned by a "spammer," but claimed in protracted defense that this bandwidth usage was typical of this type of technology.
"We assumed that Hola is a (peer-to-peer) network and that people share their bandwidth with the community network for their free service," he wrote.
If it is not enough to be pushed into the service as part of a botnet to slow you down, free VPN services usually also pay less servers. This means that your traffic typically waits longer between remote, overcrowded servers, or even waits behind paid user traffic.
To top it off, subscription streaming sites are of interest to those trying to sneak into their video services for free. These services routinely block a large number of IP addresses that they have identified as being part of a turnstile freeloader. Free VPNs can not afford to invest in a long list of fresh IP addresses for their users, as is possible with a paid VPN service.
This means that you may not even be able to sign up for a subscription media service that you have paid for if your free VPN uses an outdated batch of IPs. Good luck that HBO is loaded via this link.
. 5 Paid options are getting better and better
The good news is that there are many solid VPNs on the market that offer a range of features depending on your needs and budget. Browse our reviews and reviews to find the right VPN service for you. If you are looking for something mobile-specific, we have rounded up.
If you would like an introduction before deciding on a service you want to spend cash on, we havethat will help you get a grip on the basics of VPNs what to look for when selecting a VPN service.