A Study Says VPN Use increased during Coronavirus Lockdown – Here are the Risks that come with it

A Study Says VPN Use increased during Coronavirus Lockdown – Here are the Risks that come with it

Due to the Lockdown measurements and the work-from-home trends that have resulted from the Coronavirus pandemic, there has been an increased global demand for Virtual Private Networks (VPN) which secure private online data and allow full access to websites that would otherwise be restricted.

But, just how effective are VPN? What risks do they pose, if any?

VPN , as mentioned earlier, promise anonymity when surfing the web and assure that users’ data would be safe from Internet Service Providers, Surveillance, and malicious attacks from hackers.

However, these promises only remain promises when you pick a VPN provider that is not big on privacy and security. Among data leaks, hacking, and malicious attacks, many risks can come with using a VPN that is not secure, or which does not respect the privacy of your data.

Data leaks occur when a user is using VPN to hide their web traffic and their IP addresses but these data still leak. One of the main reasons why a data leak might occur is if a user’s VPN connection drops while they are using it, hence revealing their real IP addresses.

To prevent this, it’s advisable to use VPNs that provide an automatic Kill Switch Feature that “kills the internet when the VPN connection is down. One such VPN that enforces this feature is the Nordvpn. NordVPN has a Kill Switch on Windows, Mac, Android, and Linux.

Another risk of using VPNs concerns the shady privacy and logging policies that some VPNs enforce. A privacy policy is a policy that will inform the user how private their data will be, and assure them of not distributing this private data.

A good VPN should enforce 100% privacy when it comes to their users. Unfortunately, this is not the case with most VPNs. More often than not, while a VPNs marketing policy might insist that the VPN offers top-notch security, the privacy policy might indicate otherwise hence misleading a user. It’s therefore advisable to thoroughly read the privacy policy of a VPN before installing it.

A logging policy is one that determines what data the VPN will be logging. Typically, with a computer that does not use VPN, all the user and connection data are automatically logged into the ISP. A VPN should prevent this, but in the process, some VPNs log this data into their servers. This prevents users from having any control over their privacy.

Fortunately, there are some VPNs like NordVPN that enforce a zero-log policy, which is what a user should look for when searching for a suitable VPN to install.

VPNs with poorly configured encryptions might also lead to interception of your data by cybercriminals and surveillance agencies. This can be done by simply using brute force to decrypt the weak encryption configured for the VPN.

A reliable VPN is one that uses strong encryption measures and is not afraid to share this measure with its users. One such encryption is the Advanced Encryption Standard 256 (AES-256) which is practically impossible to crack using brute force. NordVPN uses this encryption to protect its users.

In a nutshell, before installing a VPN, it’s always advisable to read up on its providers, the privacy policy, the logging policy, and also read some reviews of other users who have used them before