We live in the age of internet. Just a day without the intricate wireless communication seems impossible nowadays. Internet is work, play and entertainment, it is the pass time of a bored commuter and the most essential tool for a white collar. It is also the most essential tool of a hacker. Your information is floating everywhere on the web, your precious personal data, protected by just a few layers of coding and algorithms. Sadly, hackers are getting better and better each day. So, what do we do to protect against potential hack of essential data? The call for the day is VPN. Virtual Private Network, commonly known by its acronym VPN is a tool that makes your device safe by using encryption over a less secure network. The VPN encrypts the traffic that exits your device and merges with the data from other devices which completely changes your IP address.

There are many VPNs out on the market. Every now and then you see commercial for paid VPNs like Nord VPN or Dashlane. But why should you pay for anything that is available in free. There are literally thousands of other VPN applications that are available for absolutely free. So why not use free VPNs? The truth is, nothing is free. The paid VPN providers charge you upfront, whereas the free VPN providers use other indirect approaches. These methods are not just unethical and sometimes illegal but completely contradict the reason why you were using a VPN in the first place. The bottom line is, the so-called free VPNs actually make your device more unsafe.

Let’s explore some of the reasons why you shouldn’t use free VPNs.

1. Inclusion of malware:

The purpose of getting VPNs is to stay protected from intruders and malware so it is really surprising to see VPNs actually coming with malware. A recent study that included 283 VPN providers revealed that astonishingly 38% of them came with malware. Among them 96% were free VPN services. Most of these malwares were advertisement and marketing related, which makes sense as the main mode of revenue for free apps are advertisements. The premium VPNs, on the other hand, come with additional malware protection, along with advertisement blockers including unlimited bandwidth.

2. Online Activity Trackers:

This is another alarming thing about free VPNs. The reason you would use VPNs is to not let any company have access to your data, but the free VPN apps are doing just it. The main source of revenue for free VPNs are advertisement money. For making advertisements target you better, these VPNs collect your online activity like your browsing history so know which sites you have visited and what stuff have you bought in the past. In the same study they showed that, ironically 72% of free VPNs came with third-party trackers embed in their software. It makes sense to use a premium VPN which doesn’t collect your data. ExpressVPN is the best no-log VPN you can choose if you are looking for a premium VPN. It will be well worth the investment.

3. Auction of your Bandwidth:

In 2015, one of the most popular free VPN providers, Hola was apprehended for selling user bandwidth and private data to hackers to carry out botnet attacks, with the knowledge or permission of any user. In simple terms they let the hackers use the processing power of millions of devices to orchestrate a massive cyber-attack. Be careful to read the privacy policy before using any free VPN service.

Experts have debate whether the risks that come with free VPNs are worth for the value. Every time the answer was no. Which makes sense, as the modern free VPN providers are contradicting the only thing VPNs are used for, rendering them just useless apps that change your IP address.

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