The criminals aren’t the only ones using VPNs to mask their browsing history. Every bit of our online activity gets tracked. The gathered data is then used to tailor the ads in a way that will increase the chance of us spending money. Not everyone is okay with this state of affairs, which is why many people decide to start using VPNs. Some of them are even free, but are they worth it? In a second, you’ll learn whether downloading free VPNs for Android is a smart move. Let’s go!

Are VPNs worth it?

Your Internet Service Provider knows your internet habits, and you shouldn’t be worried about it only because you are ashamed of your weird fetishes. What’s even more troubling, ISPs then proceed to sell this data to advertisers. If you would rather avoid being constantly targeted by ads reminding you that this one time you’ve googled “chairs that look like shoes”, then according to the experts at VPN Compare you should start using VPNs. This way, your activity wouldn’t be tracked in any way.

Mind you; we are talking right now about VPNs that work as they should. Unfortunately, more and more people decide to start using free VPNs. And most of them are dangerous. How?

Trusting strangers

Recently, the case of Hola Free VPN received mainstream attention. Instead of relying on servers that would be responsible for the service, this VPN directed traffic through the devices of other users, essentially making them nodes in a network.

Why is it worrying? Let’s be honest: a significant amount of online activity masked by VPNs is illegal. It means that by using Hola, you agree to allow someone to use your IP address. What if the intentions of the person with which you were paired weren’t so innocent? You could potentially be contacted by the police. Still, it is reported that around 184 million people have used Hola services. Apparently, people are quick to assume the good intentions of others.

A 2016 study found out that 38% out of 283 VPNs they’ve studied had some type of malware. When it comes to ads, the surprising amount of people don’t even bother to read the privacy policy. Some of them are even upfront about their intentions to sell the data to third parties.

Your data?

Some of the “free VPNs” go even one step further. It is not enough for them to instal spyware – they could steal confidential data from your device. Think of the passwords to all sorts of websites – Facebook, bank accounts, email accounts. What’s worse, the companies dealing with the security threats note that it is becoming more frequent for those free programs to be infected with viruses. To counteract this rising threat, you should install an antivirus on your smartphone. Theoretically, you should be safer if you instal apps only from the official app shops, but even among those, there could be several well-hidden lines of malicious code.

Death by thousand ads

Another annoying thing that becomes immediately apparent is the astonishing amount of ads. Even if those apps don’t come with adware, you might see the never-ending torrent of pop-ups. It might not pose a threat to your device, but you’ll quickly grow tired of using it.

Terrible bandwidth

Although many people use VPNs to order drugs online, you could download a VPN with less nefarious activity in mind. Perhaps you are traveling abroad, but you would like to be still able to access your favorite tv series. Sadly, the content of some of the subscription networks isn’t available in every part of the world. The issue with many free VPNs is that though they won’t steal your credit card data, they might be just too slow. The strength of their servers isn’t on a par with their premium rivals.

All those efforts don’t remain unnoticed by the streaming giants, and with time they block additional IP addresses. It means that even if the quality of the connection is passable, you might not be able to access the streaming platform at all.

Not worth it

Some people might prefer to not spend any money at all for a VPN, but they need to be prepared that their device could end up with a malicious program. It doesn’t mean that all free VPNs are dangerous, but having the ever-rising popularity of VPNs in mind, the amount of computers and smartphones that get infected every day is bewildering. That’s why if, for whatever reason, you decide to start using VPNs, you should choose a paid one. This way, you’ll avoid compromising your confidential data to third parties, which in the long run could prove fatal for your finances. Unfortunately, it is often the case that things that are advertised as being “free” come with the unwanted side effects.