With market leaders Nord, ExpressVPN and Surf Shark advertising heavily across multiple forms of media, VPNs are becoming an essential part of online security. A virtual private network is perfect for keeping your data and identity safe when browsing the web, but choosing the right provider is crucial. While many VPNs only cost a few dollars a month, internet users are still opting for free alternatives – but could this decision be detrimental to your security?
Slow Internet Speeds
If you’re tried a free VPN, this point will come as no surprise. Sure, a REALLY slow internet connection won’t compromise your safety, but it’s certainly frustrating at best. When using a Virtual Private Network, your data is often sent to a secure location before accessing online content, so naturally this will slow your connection down a bit – but free VPNs definitely take this lag period to the next level.
Free VPNs only allocated you a small amount of bandwidth and will simply disconnect when the limit has expired. Most providers give you no warning that your bandwidth is low – meaning all the efforts of hiding your IP and other information will be immediately ruined. With these free alternatives, there is often no way to monitor the amount of data you have used or the amount you have left. Before you know it, the protection is taken away and all your details are visible.
Hidden Adware and Malware
Lion Sourced aren’t about to claim that ALL free extensions and software contain hidden adware or malware – but we know for a fact that some do. Adware essentially overtakes your browser, bombarding you with ads that earn the provider money. While adware isn’t always harmful to your computer, it’s certainly malicious and annoying. Malware is a step above and is essentially a virus that can make your PC useless. Why would a company intentionally give their clients’ computer a virus? Well, they usually wouldn’t. The most typical way this happens is by hackers accessing the providers server (Which is often not secure, as intense security requires a big investment), the hackers then install the malware and wait for its distribution.
Keeping Your Info
A VPN can definitely protect your information from leaking to the websites you visit, but as this information is sent to the provider and masked, that means it can be stored. Certain information is highly valuable to online advertisers and marketing corporations – who are prepared to pay top dollar in return for this data.
To conclude this article, I’m not suggesting that ALL VPN companies are trying to leak or sell your information. There has to be some honest providers out there who genuinely offer a great, free service. Unfortunately, the insufficient server protection, cyber-criminal links and poor reputation is enough reason for me to stay far away. If you’re looking to take care of your security when surfing the web, the few dollars a month is certainly worth the investment.