With everything being online nowadays it’s no wonder people feel that their data is becoming more and more insecure. They all visit various sites for entertainment, cooking, dating, and banking and rely on their antivirus software for security and privacy. Another tool that is most frequently used is a VPN (Virtual Private Network). It’s a tool designed to help you stay more private online by hiding your IP address or encrypting your browser’s activity. Because the popularity of having a VPN has been growing, many VPN providers have emerged.
All of them promise better security and privacy, but only some keep their promises. So how can people know if a VPN is safe to use? How do they know their data is secure and with so many VPNs out there how do they know which is the most secure VPN provider? The basic distinction between VPNs is whether you pay for them or not. If you pay for a VPN provider it’s more likely that the provider will take care of keeping your data secure because you pay for their services. If you’re using a free VPN you might want to ask yourself whether it’s as trustworthy as it says.
People use a VPN provider mainly for two reasons: privacy and security. If the former is the reason you have a VPN then you should make sure your provider doesn’t watch what you do and the information the provider keeps for itself. That information can be sold to third parties or used by authorities. If the latter’s the case, then you don’t need to worry because the company you work for or the school you go to make sure your data is kept safe.
Whether you’re using a free or a VPN you pay for, you need to know whether your provider is taking your privacy and security seriously. For this purpose, you need to do some research. If you’re using a free VPN then you should do some serious digging because if they don’t have premium plans they’re likely making money by logging your data and selling it for marketing purposes. Paid VPN providers are better because you pay them for better security and privacy right?
Not exactly. Some paid VPNs provide security, but not privacy proving again that you can’t be sure if your data is safe online. When doing your research you should have the following things in mind:
The Geography Trap
Using a VPN service from another country doesn’t make immune to your own country’s laws. If a law enforcement agency needs your data for an ongoing investigation they will use their authority to get it, without regard to your privacy. Sometimes data can be used for a good purpose like intercepting terrorism. For example, laws like The Patriot Act in the US allows a government to keep logs of domestic and international phone calls so they can intercept terrorist attacks. This sounds fine until you realize that US citizens are sacrificing their privacy for security and don’t know if their phone records can be used for other purposes.