Is your VPN service truly reliable? Here's what you should consider to avoid losing your privacy

Is your VPN service truly reliable? Here's what you should consider to avoid losing your privacy

Having installed a VPN, we feel safe and do not take into account the risks that may remain in using these technologies. What secrets do VPNs hide?

VPN services are becoming increasingly popular due to growing concerns among users about the privacy of their online behavior. Most VPN service providers, both free and paid, position themselves as completely anonymous and secure for your data. This seems logical, since the very purpose of these technologies is to ensure complete anonymity of the user. But is this really so?

Firstly, data may be collected by VPN services for legitimate reasons, as it is necessary for the functioning of these systems. This information includes the amount of data that users used on the network over a certain period of time, as well as the number of IP address blocks requested and some other parameters. If this data remains within the company providing you with VPN services, then this is completely safe.   

But there are cases where having your data tracked could seriously compromise your privacy, and we'll list them here:

  • Selling your personal data to third parties

In the worse case scenario for users, VPNs can collect much more types of data, and this completely contradicts the very concept of a VPN as a shield for your privacy. This could include information about how much time you spend online, what times you log in and out, and what devices you use. All this data may not seem like much, but in reality it provides insight into your online behavior, and this information can become a valuable product for agencies and companies collecting data for marketing purposes.

  • Insufficient and flawed security protection, allowing data leakage

By using a free VPN that does not care about data protection (and free VPN services often are), you risk leaking your IP address and DNS queries. Without reliable leak protection, any hacker can track your search history.

  • Viruses or other malware

Some free VPN services that do not have a strong reputation may actually infect your device and steal your data, instead of protecting your privacy.

How to know if a VPN is reliable?

  • The first and easiest way to understand the reliability of a service is to review the VPN company's Terms of Service. Typically, reliable and proven services indicate in detail how they keep logs of user connections and for what purposes they use them. It should also contain information about guarantees for the protection of your data and obligations not to transfer it to third parties. Also read reviews from other users.
  • If you decide to use a free service, then try to choose a VPN with a large number of servers. The more servers a service has, the less risk there is of overloading connection failures that can lead to leaks.
  • If you want to dig deeper into the technical side of things, try to find out if the service uses reliable security technology. It is important that the VPN service meets modern security requirements such as IP/DNS leak prevention, AES 256 encryption, and a kill switch, among others.
  • And here is a tip for those who are very seriously concerned about being as anonymous as possible. Choose truly anonymous VPN services with a no-logs policy. Many services advertise in their advertisements that they provide an anonymous VPN. But you can find a brief mention in the Terms of Use that they reserve the right to record user data. Find out what kind of data they collect: if it is, for example, the user's Email, connection time, browser version, OS and other similar data, then this means that the service records logs and therefore is not anonymous.