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Know how free VPN service is putting millions of users at risk


NOVEMBER 15, 2020

New research has revealed that many supposedly free VPN services are lacking in security. A research by ProPrivacy found that a huge number of free VPN apps fail to offer even basic levels of privacy and security, putting millions of users at risk of having the internet activity tracked.

The news is especially worrying as interest in VPNs has grown steadily in recent months following many global events like US TikTok ban or the Hong Kong anti-China protests.

Not just that, if you look at free VPN services more closely, you’ll notice that very few of them are of acceptable quality. Even the best free VPN subscriptions often have data limits or speed caps.

Some providers offer a limited basic application for free, with the intention of persuading you to get a paid subscription afterward.

Problems of free VPN

ProPrivacy researched the top 250 free VPN apps available on the Google Play Store, and found that 40 per cent were not able to protect users’ privacy adequately

These apps had collectively been downloaded 81.4 million times – almost equivalent to the population of Germany, or a quarter of the United States.

ProPrivacy tested free VPNs for a range of leaks using both IPv4 and IPv6 connections, finding that a large number were not securing data properly.

The news came alongside a similar study by CSIRO which found that over three quarters (75per cent) of free VPNs had at least one third-party tracker rooted in their software.

These trackers collect information on customers’ online presence and forward that data to advertising agencies to optimize their ads.

‘There is no such thing as a free lunch. If a user does not pay for a service, there must be an alternative price to be paid. And, very often, it’s privacy. That is exactly what happened this July, when seven free VPN providers were caught leaking 1,2TB of personal user data despite their continuous claims to be holding no logs,’ says Daniel Markuson, Digital Privacy Expert at NordVPN.

Courtesy/Source: DNA