TECHNOLOGY WATCH: Free Virtual Private Networks and What You Need to Know
By Space Coast Daily // January 8, 2018
can you get a decent VPN for free?
Going into 2018 there are a lot of reasons to be concerned about your privacy while browsing online content. Sure, you’re probably okay checking your email in a public space or Googling unusual topics with wild abandon.
But, it’s better to be safe than sorry. Using a VPN, or virtual private network allows you to browse, download, and use your credit card online with greater peace of mind, and while they aren’t 100% hacker-proof, it’s a good idea to lock your digital door. So can you get a decent VPN for free? The short answer, yes.
But, you will need to keep in mind that there are some limitations, as compared to their paid counterparts. Most of the free options do work to keep your online doings out of the hands of those using it with malice.
One thing you should know is that most online services–save for things like Wikipedia–do need to make some money. At least in the sense of keeping things going. A free VPN might get money by selling some user data to third-party channels, which for some users, cancels out the benefit of using the tool in the first place.
What Does a Free VPN Do?
VPN servers, both free and paid, give users the opportunity to connect privately from their mobile phone or laptop–even over public WiFi.The idea is that people can conceal their location and activities from the government, an employer, or hackers. And with the repeal of net neutrality, there are plenty of reasons online users would want to keep their browsing habits to themselves.
Are VPNs Legal?
If you’re worried about the legality of the whole thing, cruising through other IP addresses is perfectly legal in most countries. In fact, many large businesses use VPNs to keep sensitive information secure and out of malicious hands and away from competitors.
Are There Any Risks With a Free VPN?
Privacy protections vary by service. As we mentioned above, many free VPNs can offer their service because they make their money selling data to advertisers or other third-parties. But, it’s not all bad apples making up the free VPN bunch. That said, we recommend looking into a free VPN service that doesn’t put consumers at risk.
How Do You Find a Good, Free VPN?
A good free VPN adheres to certain criteria. The VPN should be a true virtual private network, not a proxy, and should provide a true VPN service. Some services actually connect you to a separate third-party server, which reduces the security you’re looking for.
But, we recommend checking reviews and proceeding with caution. If you aren’t paying for a service, there may be a catch.
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