VPNs or Virtual Private Networks are advertised that they keep your data secure. They also boast of privacy features and many more. VPN’s work by re-routing your IP to a random location. Therefore, your Internet Service Provider (ISP) eg. BSNL or JIO, can’t see what you are watching on the internet. This is a must-have tool for those who take privacy seriously and don’t want their internet searches to be tracked. There are many free and paid VPNs available in the market today.
However, some VPNs claim that they keep your data secure. This is partially incorrect. Your data surely is secured in a way, but it doesn’t mean that a hacker can’t hack into the VPN and see what you are doing. Here are some issues related to any VPNs data security.
A data leak happens when a service accidentally lets go of private information. Data leaks in the world of VPNs is too common, and even big companies can fall to it. One such example can be NordVPN, whose entire user data was leaked in 2019 as per media reports but the company has denied it. They said in an email to The Mobile Indian, “Yes, we had a security incident in 2019, but NordVPN’suser data was not affected. Our service as a whole was not hacked; our code was not hacked; the VPN tunnel was not breached. The NordVPN applications are unaffected. It was an individual instance of unauthorized access to 1 of more than 5000 servers we have.”
Some VPN services are fishy. They may install other programs in the background which may harm your computer. An example can be seen in Hola, a very famous VPN service which was found to be infected with Malware. The service was immediately shut down and users were asked to uninstall the application.
It is safer to go for a paid subscription service which provides reliable security.
Some VPN services keep a log of your searches. This may cause some trouble if the VPN service has to declare the logs. This again makes your VPN redundant.
Though this issue is rare, the VPN service can also sell your logs to advertisers to provide ads to you. This again defeats the purpose. A study has shown that free VPNs have a higher tendency for doing this. A good policy would be if they delete your logs immediately after logging off from the VPN service. No-log VPNs are popular and are the service to go for if you want to remain truly anonymous.
Giving IP address to other users
An IP (Internet Protocol) address is the address which identifies your computer. A VPN replaces your IP address so that your ISP can’t identify it.
Sometimes, your IP address may be assigned to another user to mask their browsing. This can land you in trouble if that user searches something illegal. This is a rare case, but some VPN services were caught doing this. Any other user can see anything suspicious, such as child pornography or censored stuff, but you will then land in trouble. This is a really serious situation, and you should choose a VPN which provides a fresh address, rather than exchanging it with someone.
Lack of kill switches
A kill switch is a program which disconnects you from the net if your VPN service is down. This helps to hide your browsing from your ISP. However, a lot of VPN services come without a kill switch. Due to this, one wouldn’t know if they got disconnected from the VPN or not.
VPN Take Away