While there may be a couple of free VPNs that you can actually use reliably for a few general tasks, we wouldn’t recommend the rest. There’s no room for error when it comes to online freedom, security, and privacy; we need to be strict and critical.
If you take your online security and right for anonymity seriously, you must avoid certain free VPN services. In fact, you are much better off paying a few bucks a month, the price of a coffee latte, to enjoy the maximum possible privacy at the highest speeds.
It doesn’t take too long for hackers and cybercriminals to incriminate you; with a few illegal videos and pictures, your whole future can be taken away. Online frauds can be committed in your name, your banking details can be stolen when using a free public WiFi, your internet traffic can be snooped, and you could be caught for copyright infringement. There are numerous dangers in the virtual world that users just start to realize.
7 most dangerous VPN security risks:
VPN based in a surveillance-friendly country
Collecting and selling personal data
Your IP address used as an exit node
Political and other activists, hackers, and computer users who don’t want their ISP (Internet Service Provider), cybercriminals, authorities, and governments to spy on them and hold them responsible for their internet traffic must avoid the following top 3 free VPNs at all costs.
Top 3 Free VPNs to Avoid
#1 Hola VPN
This Israel-based VPN service is one of the shadiest networks in the history of Virtual Private Networking. This service is built on a volunteer-powered Peer-to-Peer network. If you join, you practically have to share your IP address and bandwidth with other free and premium users as well. This creates the unfortunate potential for cybercriminals to misuse this free VPN and commit all kinds of online crimes posing as you. Yes, you read it right.
Imagine a horrible situation when you need to explain yourself to the FBI why your IP address comes up as the source of child pornography uploaded to here and there. This network can also be used to build a botnet; some think that it is essentially a botnet of over 150 million computers. A real heaven for cybercriminals and hell for innocent users.
Hola sells its huge volunteer network through its other company called Luminati. In fact, they must make a fortune out of this free peer-to-peer network since they offer five different plans for third parties starting from $2 per GB (with $100,000 minimum monthly commitment) up to $12,5 per GB (with $500 minimum monthly commitment). Well, obviously, not the kind of plans that individual users could enjoy using. But god only knows what kind of traffic would go through your bandwidth if you are a free user.
You should know that Hola VPN collects data about you and your traffic, such as your IP address, which is the easiest way to trace you to your physical location. Since this provider also claims that they willingly share all this information with the authorities when asked or forced, well, do the math how secure and private you can stay using this free VPN.
Recent cybersecurity case
MyEtherWallet (MEW), the popular cryptocurrency service, was under attack via hacked Hola VPN extensions. In about five hours, cybercriminals had access to any MEW accounts if users had the hacked Hola extension active and logged into their MEW accounts during that time.
#2 VPN Gate
Another great example of the total breach of internet privacy is this Japanese free VPN that keeps an extensive log about you and your online activity. What’s more, VPN Gate is also a free service that is built on volunteers where all individual peers can spy on your traffic and log whatever information they want. Even if these logs are supposed to be deleted ever two weeks, does it sound like a great online privacy tool?
So, what if you are a political activist using this free VPN service and your government forced VPN Gate to provide all the logs about you? Do you think you could end up in jail just because you failed to find a decent provider that could keep your anonymous?
#3 Betternet VPN
Betternet is based in Canada, which is not exactly the safe haven for privacy, Canada being one of the most eager Five Eyes countries, the global surveillance alliance, and having strict data retention laws. Well, let’s just say, if Betternet keeps any logs about you, it may backfire in your face.
And, unfortunately, this provider logs your connections, creates tracking libraries for third-party advertising, and since there’s no kill switch, chances are it may leak DNS and your IP address as well. In other words, if you use Betternet for sensitive internet traffic, you could risk being exposed.
Free Android VPNs to Avoid
A study from 2017 made by the Australian CSIRO Research Projects revealed that out of the examined 283 VPNs for Android 38% were tracking users and contained malware. Now, that’s a very high percentage, which means you need to be extra careful when choosing your protection for your Android device.
Let’s see which are the free Android VPNs to avoid at all costs:
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If you want to find the best and most secure free VPN for Android, please click here.