Not all VPN providers are trustworthy — here’s why
VPNs have become popular because of features — encryption, IP address masking, improved anonymity, content unblocking etc. — that help improve online safety and privacy for users, not to mention that a lot of providers are offering them for free. But should you really trust them?
Privacy and security concerns
It’s a well-known fact that users are becoming more worried about their personal privacy and security when visiting websites, downloading files and doing other activities online. In the US, more than 80 percent of users are concerned about their privacy and security, according to a report conducted by Arbor Networks in 2016. The same can be said for users in the UK, where the majority are more concerned about their data privacy than losing their income, according to a report published in January 2016.
With malicious attacks becoming more frequent and ubiquitous, an increasing number of Internet users are starting to look for ways to protect their privacy, security, anonymity, and right to information online, and one of these is the use of VPN technology.
But not all VPN service providers are trustworthy. If you’re thinking about using a VPN to improve your online privacy and security, here are two important things that you need to know before you download one.
VPN providers collect and monetize your information
VPNs are not cheap to operate. They run on servers, and managing and maintaining servers can be expensive. Servers also consume data and electricity, and some components require software licenses. Providers would also need to upgrade existing infrastructures or purchase new ones if they want to accommodate more users. So how can providers of free VPN services stay operational when they don’t even make money? The answer: they use your information as their source of income.
When you use a VPN, your incoming and outgoing traffic go through the provider’s servers. Some providers collect all of these and sell them to advertisers or any third party organization who might be interested in them. So if you’re using a free VPN, you could be paying for what the provider calls a free service with your privacy.
VPN providers install additional software without your knowledge
Delivering malicious payloads through file downloads is an effective way to infect a system because it takes advantage of the whole download process. A VPN service provider can install additional software on a user’s device without the latter knowing about it, not just when the application is downloaded for the first time, but also during updates.
You might think you’re installing only a single application, when in fact, your download actually includes bloatware or even malware, e.g. adware, spyware, and keylogger software.
With both of these in mind, you need to make sure that the VPN service provider that you choose is trustworthy. At Betternet, we are transparent in how we provide our services in terms of how we use your data and how we generate income, aside from providing our users all the benefits of using a VPN.
If you want to download or learn more about Betternet, please visit our website. We also have a blog where we provide tips on how you can improve your Internet experience. You can visit the blog here.