Worst VPN Services – VPNs to Avoid in 2020 – Protect Your Privacy
When it comes to choosing the right VPN, you want to make sure that you’re not choosing one that could potentially compromise your security or privacy.
VPNs are extremely useful tools that will protect your privacy and security while you’re online. It’s our recommendation that you always use a VPN. That being said, not all VPNs were created equally, and some are certainly better than others.
In this post, we’ll take a look at some VPNs that we really think you should avoid at all costs. The reasons for this vary, but in general, you cannot rely on these VPN services to protect your privacy or security while you’re online.
What makes a good/bad VPN?
VPNs are designed to hide your identity while you’re online, and subsequently to encrypt and protect your data. It follows logically, then, that a bad VPN is one that manages to do neither of three things, or manages to do both but at the cost of logging your data and potentially spying on you.
The VPNs mentioned in this article are here because they fail to meet the standards that you’d want from someone you’re essentially trusting every single thing you do online to. For example, some of them are based in countries where the authorities require them to store your data and can request that the VPN company hand that data over to law enforcement at any moment. For journalists and activists, this could mean a life sentence.
A good VPN will encrypt your data, keep your activity private, and it’ll be based in a country like Panama or the British Virgin Islands, where data retention laws do not apply. This means that these companies don’t store your data and thus couldn’t possibly look at it themselves or hand it over to anyone else, even if they wanted to.
Worst VPN services
Using a VPN is like handing over the keys to your private life to a third party, so you absolutely have to make sure that you trust this company to guard your data and not look at it themselves. As you might have guessed, a lot of the VPNs on the following list cannot be trusted to do this, and some of them might even be funded by security services in their respective countries.
These guys were actually pretty popular back in 2015 for changing the game up a little and making their customers ‘exit nodes’, meaning that your IP address was bounced through the other users on the network. It made for a secure setup – the problem was, Hola sold this bandwidth to a third party service and thus grossly violated the privacy and security of their users. Never use them.
Opera Free VPN
Keeping to the rule of never trusting a free VPN, using Opera Free VPN (which is actually a web-proxy, not a VPN) is a terrible idea. The Opera Browser keeps logs of what you do while you’re using their ‘VPN’ and potentially sells this information on to third-parties.
The unprofessional name should be warning enough, but HideMyAss are still popular in the VPN space. The problem is that they were found to have collaborated with the FBI to catch a hacker by handing over the hacker’s data from their servers. The hacker’s actions were illegal, yes, but this clearly shows that HideMyAss keep your data on file and they’re willing to share it – and maybe sell it.
This one is based out of Australia, which is a member of the Five-Eyes intelligence sharing community, which means that they can seize data and share it with the governments of other countries. Australia is absolutely not the kind of country that you want your VPN to base its servers and HQ out of. Don’t use them.
This is another case of a VPN service collaborating with the FBI. You may well think that handing over the data of a criminal as evidence in their prosecution is a good thing, and by all means there is an argument there that it is, however, this again shows that PureVPN stores your data even though their private policy states that they do not.
Facebook’s Onavo VPN
Facebook bought Onavo back in 2013 and has since rolled it out to users to protect them while they’re online. The problem is that – as you’d expect from Facebook – they collect your data and traffic and use it to ‘build better experiences’. These ‘better experiences’ are probably more targeted ads for you, and given Facebook’s recent track-record, it may well be something a little more unfavorable.
What should I look for in a GOOD VPN?
A reliable VPN will be based out of a country like the British Virgin Islands, which means that it doesn’t have to log your data. It’ll also be popular and have a good reputation. For example, ExpressVPN was criticized for not handing over data regarding to an attack in Istanbul, even though an assassin was using their service. Their reasoning was that they simply didn’t have the data to hand over.
You also want AES 256-bit military-grade encryption for all your data, and you want to ensure that the VPN hides your IP address and features a ‘kill switch’ that will automatically disconnect you from the internet in the event that your IP address is about to be compromised.
You also want one that offers good customer support and has servers all around the world. These two things will ultimately give you a much better experience in the event that something goes wrong – it’ll also allow you to watch US Netflix and BBC iPlayer wherever you are in the world.