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Why You Shouldn’t Trust Free VPNs
April 21, 2020
Online security should be a priority for all Americans, as our entire lives are largely powered by the internet—meaning that any intrusion to our online privacy can be a major disruption. We should all learn to take the right precautions. Some have opted for tools that they think will keep their information secure, but the frightening reality is that many of these products actually exploit and expose users, offering anything but online security.
A virtual private network (VPN) is one resource that some believe can make their online surfing safer. A VPN is designed to hide the user’s ID address and location; it’s a good idea, in theory, but the way many are accessing these VPNs is actually making their online security more vulnerable. A number of free VPNs have popped up, offering to cloak users’ information without any catches; however, we all know that nothing is entirely free and the tradeoff for these companies is that they get access to all of the users’ private data. They can see where they’re going online, what they’re doing, what their interests are and other private information—which they then later use for targeted advertising and other purposes. Other free VPNs have actually been linked to cybercriminals, who’ve used them to disguise malware, while others have been shown to be susceptible to hacking—which can put users’ entire digital profile at risk.
On the other hand, paying for a VPN is a smart idea: In that case, users can rest assured that they’re making a smart investment, and not being scammed by the attractive pull of a freebie. Similarly, free email services are notorious for putting email users’ data privacy in jeopardy, as those providers also entice users with the promise of a free service—but in the process, the company is gaining access to all of their private information.
Unfortunately, few things in life are actually free. And when they are, there’s often a hidden motive, like with free VPNs and email services. By opting instead for paid services, users can trust that their online security is a priority both for them and their providers.
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