Internet privacy should be everyone’s main concern, whether you use the internet just use for social media or internet banking, you should want to keep your browsing as private as possible.
There are a plethora of premium VPN products available across the market and you have the option to pay for a variety of services that will endeavor to keep your browsing private and your data safe, but what about the free services? Is there a dark side to free VPNs? Read below to find out more.
Free VPN’s Track You
Unlike the premium services, free VPN’s will track and log all of your activity whilst you use the service. This is exactly the type of activity you wanted to be protected from, hence why you are looking into using a VPN for your browsing.
Your browsing list, IP address and any other important information can then be circulated to other companies, groups or organization who may not use it in the most legitimate or legal way.
Can Free VPN’s Ever Be Safe?
As we previously mentioned, no one does anything out of the goodness of their heart, especially when it comes to products where there is money to be made.
A study conducted by the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO) assessed and analyzed over 200 android free VPN applications and found that over 70% of these apps utilized third-party tracking libraries, so in short, they cannot be trusted.
These applications also required the user to sign that they agree that the applications can have access to private information such as messages across different platforms and various user accounts.
Why would an application that is supposed to keep your information and private data safe need to access something that is so unnecessary?
Why Free Isn’t Ever Actually Free
When something says free, we immediately think of cost, but if the cost is free, what is being taken instead? No one does anything for free, this includes businesses and especially internet-based products.
If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is, so how exactly do these free products derive benefit from you using their service? Well, they make their money by selling your data. By signing up for a free VPN you are allowing the service to sell your data on that the VPN collects to a third party who may not use it for ethical purposes.
A large amount of us are openly concerned about how much information and data is held on us by businesses and organizations we’ve never actually had anything to do with and by using a free VPN service, you are allowing even more access to your data.
How Else Do Free Services Exploit Users?
If the stealing of your personal data isn’t enough to deter you, what about throttling your bandwidth? This is another very real side effect of using free services.
CSRIO found that not only do these products do all of the above, but they can also undertake even more damaging activity under your IP address and you may not even know about it.
As you have let these applications in, they can essentially hijack your browser. Whilst this may not bothersome if they are redirected to sites like eBay and other e-commerce platforms, the full meaning behind it is that the application has full control over your browser so can direct you wherever they wish so that they can earn an affiliate commission or something even more malicious.
In a large number of free downloads, you can be sure that your machine or device may at some stage become infected with malware. Some of the malware that has been discovered on these free services is designed to steal your personal and sensitive information that it will then sell on to the highest bidder, totally at your expense.
Whilst it may seem like a free VPN is an amazing option, especially if you are first learning about them and considering your digital footprint, free is never free. Whilst you are not parting with any of your hard-earned cash to pay for a service, you are paying for it in far worse ways. The amount of data that can be collected about you and then sold on, even in a short period of time is horrifying.
Not only that, these services will throttle your bandwidth and then make more money off the back of redirecting you to affiliate sites to further increase their income.
When a VPN states that it is free of charge, it is free from a financial charge, but what they will take from you and then profit off is not worth considering. Before you select a free VPN, thoroughly research the platform and ask yourself the question of why it is free in the first place.