Why “Free” VPN Services Could End Up Costing You

This week, there were alerts issued in a range of both software and online platforms – from T-Mobile user data to software cracks to PayPal accounts. What these all have in common is backdoor access capabilities to capture your data and share that with cybercriminals. 

One of the most used security platforms is  a VPN service. However, many of the free versions of these systems can cause more damage than actually protecting your sensitive data.

If you’re currently using a free VPN service, it’s time to replace or patch your online vulnerabilities before you or your organization falls victim to cybercrime. Here are just a few ways free VPN services fall short of necessary protections.

How Do VPN Services Protect Me Online?

Enterprise Solutions Consulting Free VPN Services IT MSP

Virtual Private Networks (VPN) are effective ways to hide your location and activities from trackers, bots, or cybercriminals. A VPN works by sending a device’s internet connection through an intermediate, private, and encrypted tunnel. This masks a device’s real IP address and hides personal information, location, and other data.

Trustworthy VPNs from reputable platforms stay up-to-date on the latest cybersecurity regulations and cybercrime methods. They also host their own bandwidth, to keep you surfing, working, emailing, or streaming at top speeds. Your paid subscription to these platforms help you access more trusted services.

Rented or free VPNs may have openings in their security, leaving you vulnerable to cyber attacks. They also tend to offset the costs of running the service by selling your data or piggybacking on your internet connection.

Why Not Use a Free VPN?

They can steal your IP address

Research from the University of Sherbrooke in Quebec have found that some users may actually be tricked into allowing their residential IP address be used as a proxy through free VPN services. Users add a free VPN service onto their computers, and the software offers their IP address to be rented or stolen by cyber criminals. 

They can sell your information

Free VPN services can also use their own trackers to follow your activity, selling that information to marketers or more malicious third parties. Most of the top paid VPN services have strict logging policies that limit how much data they track and store about you. 

They don’t use strong encryption

The cheaper the VPN, most likely the more lax their encryption protocols. Free services tend not to use their own encryption, which means connections are far from secure.

They could include malware or viruses

One study found that nearly 40% of tested free mobile VPN apps included malware – like trojans, adware, riskware, and spyware. Avoiding these types of online viruses and cyberhacking tactics is the reason to use VPN services to begin with. 

They might be stealing your bandwidth

Some free VPN services could also be hijacking your internet’s bandwidth and selling it to other users – weighing down your connection speeds. Because it’s technically your connection, any online activities (including illegal ones) could be traced back to you.

Bottom Line: Use a Reputable, Paid Service

There’s a reason they say “you get what you pay for.” You should never entrust your sensitive personal or customer information to free service providers. You may think you’re cutting costs while remaining protected. But this is almost never true.

If you are looking for recommendations on trusted, tested, and safe VPN services, our cybersecurity experts can help. Enterprise Solutions Consulting used and relied on many services to shield our customers over the years.

How can we as a Managed Service Provider help you do more?

Over the years, we have uncovered thousands of dollars in wasted spending, untold hours of lost productivity, and inefficient technology systems. Our services give your organization saved time by expanding performance and security through network monitoring and protective maintenance. You can protect your data without having to sacrifice your level of support that your organization requires to move forward prosperously. 

Contact Enterprise Solutions Consulting today for a discussion about what a Managed Service Provider can do for your organization. We’ll get your systems and processes assessed for vulnerability, lost billing, and missed opportunities.

Happy Managed Service Provider Clients

“Enterprise Solutions Consulting, I appreciate your leadership and how you model good service. You have an above average level of professionalism and integrity that is expressed through your work. This is what makes ESC great beyond delivering top shelf IT work.” – Processes Director, Chicago