A Virtual private network (or VPN) is a great tool if you care about your personal privacy and security on the Internet. It acts as a portal to connect you to the larger world of the Internet, while providing some data protection features such as encryption when your data is tunneled through the VPN, creating a secure channel that is safe from eavesdropping, data hijack and interception. All sounds good so far, right? However, did you know that there are VPN security risks that could make VPN usage even more dangerous than browsing the Internet without it?

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A VPN should provide complete protection to user privacy and security

VPNs should provide browsing protection and confidence of data protection, even if you had installed the VPN for other different reasons like unblocking region-locked videos or buying cheaper air tickets. What a VPN should NEVER do is to perform the reverse and to introduce additional security risks.

Unfortunately, certain VPN security risks have been increasingly common due to the introduction of free-to-use VPNs, such as Hola VPN or Melon VPN (See our article here for VPN Hola security risks). However, it is important to note that these VPN security risks could also be found even in paid VPNs. Here are the top 5 VPN security risks that you should know.

#1 Logging

Logging is one of the biggest VPN security risks for you as a VPN user. Why is that so? That is because VPN providers could be recording and storing information without your knowledge, such as your IP Addresses, websites you visit, timestamps and duration, your activity on websites and more.

The danger here to you as a user is this information could be used to personally identity you and your entire internet usage. The VPN provider could simply retrieve logs that correspond to your use, revealing the pages you have visited, the duration and activity on the websites, rendering your privacy completely zero which is not why you used the VPN in the first place.

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Many free VPNs log your personal information and web activity

If you are using a VPN to stay completely unmonitored, this would mean law enforcement and government could retrieve these logs from the VPN providers, putting your personal privacy and security at risk.

Thankfully, there are some VPNs which boasts a no-logs policy, and those are the VPNs that you want to go for. VPN Proxy by Appsverse is one such VPN with a no-logs policy, which means that we could not even see your user data, usage information, nor IPs and timestamps even if we wanted to. Use only VPNs with a zero-logs or no-logs policy to avoid having your data recorded and stored.

#2 Untruthful Privacy Policy

Carrying on from #1, VPN services usually include links to a privacy policy or data collection policy to help you understand exactly what data they collect and how the data would be used, especially with VPN services who log your information.

An untruthful privacy policy is highly unacceptable but often the case. Several VPN companies may state one thing on their privacy policy but do another.

For example, IPVanish claims a no-logs policy but was later exposed to have provided user information to a court in 2016. See excerpt below for the court documents stating the information IPVanish provided, such as 1.IP Addresses 2. Full name 3. Email address 4. Account details.

IPVanish's untruthful policies exposed when they provided information to court

PureVPN is another VPN who advertises that is a no-logs policy, but was found to have revealed information with the US Department of Justice.

PureVPN's dishonest logging policy are brought to light in court case

How did the VPN company get information such as 1.IP Addresses 2. Full name 3. Email address 4. Account detail in the first place?

Our recommendation is to read through the privacy policy word for word before deciding to download a VPN.

#3 DNS leaks

What is a DNS leak? A DNS leak is an important VPN Security Risk could be seen as a security flaw that allow DNS queries to be seen by ISPs despite using a VPN service.

With a VPN connected, your DNS requests should be routed through the VPN and hidden from your ISP. However, there are times when your browser ignores the connected VPN and send DNS queries directly to your ISP.

This can lead to a false sense of security and a false belief that you are anonymous and private. The result of DNS leak is as though you have never connected to the VPN service at all.

To avoid this issue, you should make use of a VPN service that offers DNS leak protection. Some VPNs that will help to monitor your DNS queries to make sure that they are being sent through the VPN instead of your ISP. (VPN Proxy by Appsverse offers in-built DNS protection!)

#4 Your IP address used as an exit node

This is probably the worst VPN security risk among the five. Hola VPN might be a completely free-to-use service, but it has this huge security risk built into its business model which can be seen as unethically exploiting their users without their knowledge.

Hola VPN uses each free user as an exit node for its paid service. In other words, when free users are connected, a portion of your internet bandwidth on your device is used to help provide VPN service to their paid service.

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Your device is unknowingly used as VPN router for Hola paid service

What happens when someone uses Hola VPN to conduct something illegal? Chances are, you are going to get implicated too, since Hola VPN does not even provide proper encryption for its VPN service. We highly recommend you to stay off Hola VPN.

#5 Malware

It is quite a surprising discovery that some VPNs have VPN Security Risks such as Malware and viruses that can actually compromise your security instead of protecting it.

In a study conducted by ICSI Networking group at UC Berkeley, it was found that 38% of the 283 VPNs studied in the VPN exhibited signs of malware infection. Among those infected are some free providers such as Betternet, SuperVPN, and CrossVPN.

UC Berkeley ICSI: Free VPNs are much more likely than paid VPNs to contain malware.

The study also revealed that most of these malware are related to web advertising, which is no surprise that many free VPNs rely on ads for revenue.

Thankfully, a good VPN is not expensive (That protects you against VPN Security Risks)

Fortunately, you do not need to pay an arm or a leg to get a good VPN which protects you from the above 5 VPN security risks. Not all VPN services are so expensive and also engage in hidden logging or information sharing.

VPN Proxy by Appsverse is such a VPN that is not only affordable and competitive in pricing, but also takes your privacy and security as the utmost priority. After all at Appsverse, we are a company that builds user privacy and security tools in a world of increasing internet risks and danger. Our VPN, VPN Proxy by Appsverse is such a VPN will pass your tough requirements for privacy and provide the highest level security privacy you want in a VPN.