VPN Providers, are they safe?

VPN Image by Petter Lagson

Recently someone came to me to show me how they were taking advantage of a VPN provider's service. They were excited about taking advantage of Netflix shows that were not available in the US. They were doing this by connecting to a VPN server in the UK.

I did hear of a good reason to use a VPN provider and that would be for safety reasons, for example in countries which prohibit freedom of speech or religion. Even in these situations or any other, there is a risk a person takes by connecting to these VPN providers. Let me start by explaining what a VPN network is.

A VPN network allows you to cover your internet activity by creating a "secure" connection via these VPN providers. First, you download the VPN providers application which includes all the servers you can connect to, to mask your internet activity. These servers can live anywhere in the world. Some VPN providers are free to use, while others are not.

Now let me explain why I see an issue with these services:

  • A VPN connection is supposed to be a secure connection that you trust, and this is what I see as the issue.

  • How can you trust a VPN connection if they can't guarantee that your traffic is not being logged on their servers and then sold to third party companies? When I say traffic, it means anything your connected device is reaching out to the internet for, and I mean anything.

  • Some VPN providers do guarantee zero logging. But, even they are prone to another issue that all VPN providers are susceptible to. If a hacker gains access to the VPN providers network, they could potentially act as a VPN server and log all your internet traffic. Take a look at a report from techcrunch.com about NordVPN.

Techcrunch Report: https://techcrunch.com/2019/10/21/nordvpn-confirms-it-was-hacked/

The only VPN connection you can count on is the one that you own.

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