VPN security risks: learn how to use VPN more risk-free

Anton P. | August 04, 2023

VPN security risks involve multiple factors: software, the company, infrastructure, and external influence. 

For instance, you require the provider to address security flaws in applications. Additionally, you want the VPN app to execute modern practices and offer fair conditions. 

Most of the risks of VPN services arise from the providers’ failure to meet expectations and norms. 

Users need to trust the provider to offer quality protection when picking VPN services. After all, a VPN is a mediator between you and the internet. 

Learn about VPN security risks and how to avoid them.

VPN security risks to know 

A VPN (Virtual Private Network) can benefit your online security. Companies use them for controlling remote access. Users turn to them for entertainment, safety, or when working remotely. 

Generally, trusted VPNs are secure, adding necessary protections against man-in-the-middle attacks and IP or DNS leaks. However, VPN connections are not immune to occasional issues, highlighting the need to maintain software. 

Let’s discuss the possible VPN security risks and how to avoid them. 

Privacy is a BIG DEAL!

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  1. VPN offers old security standards 

VPN security might be weaker due to providers’ use of older protocols. For instance, L2TP (Layer 2 Tunneling Protocol) is one of the protocols VPNs can use to transfer data. However, it is no longer the preferred protocol when the market offers much more secure and fast alternatives. 

How to avoid this VPN security risk: 

It is best to choose VPN providers that support the following protocols or multiple ones:

  • IKEv2/IPSec
  • WireGuard®
  • OpenVPN
  1. Free VPNs log data and show ads

Free VPNs can be a risk to your online activity. If you open Google Play Store, you can see hundreds of entries for a VPN. However, any free software tends to perform several things that clash with VPN ideas: 

  • They show ads within the apps, likely based on users’ behavior. 
  • They tend to capture large amounts of user data. 

Knowing that a VPN can access all your online activities, the provider must follow a no-logs policy. 

It means that the VPN won’t collect and share data about what you do online. Such conditions are essential for remote workers dealing with sensitive data. 

How to avoid this VPN security risk: 

Not all free VPNs are untrustworthy. 

They are likely secure if they do not have ads, follow no-logs policies, and do not track your behavior. However, finding a secure free VPN can be difficult. 

Here are some tips on how you can know whether a free VPN is worth your attention: 

  • Find out how the VPN provider makes a profit without selling data or showing ads. For instance, Atlas VPN offers a free version but also has a premium version with more security features. 
  • Check whether the provider company is trustworthy and what information they reveal about their VPN applications. 
  • Look for information on audits: whether external security experts have reviewed the free VPN. 
  1. VPN does not have a no-logs policy

One of the biggest VPN security risks is how the provider handles user data. This rule applies to both free and premium VPNs. 

A VPN needs to guarantee that your personal information remains safe. Also, it needs to follow a no-logs policy. It means the providers do not track your behavior while connected to VPN servers. 

How to avoid this VPN security risk: 

Users should read the privacy policies of VPN products. The providers should explain how they deal with user data. For instance, Atlas VPN tries to collect as little information as possible. Thus, users can even pay for premium plans with cryptocurrencies

  1. VPN no longer gets developer support

It is possible that developers no longer oversee and fix issues with a VPN application. Thus, providers must continue working on the product: improving it, and issuing regular updates. 

How to avoid this VPN security risk:

You can see whether providers maintain their products by reviewing how frequently they release patches or updates. Look for a VPN that responds to their community’s answers and fixes issues. 

  1. VPN leaks data and IP addresses

A VPN should conceal your IP address and encrypt data without fail. Therefore, checking whether these features work well is essential. If a VPN leaks data, it can put your privacy in danger, especially if you use a VPN in complicated situations

How to avoid this VPN security risk:

You can run DNS or IP leak tests to see if your information is secure. Also, read expert reviews to know whether they have detected issues. 

  1. Users expect too much out of a VPN

Many VPN security risks might occur because users believe a VPN protects them from viruses and malware. Also, people might assume that their personal data cannot be tracked at all. 

While VPNs can have additional features for protecting users, they usually won’t stop malware. Furthermore, users should understand what information a VPN can hide. For example, a VPN won’t help against tracking cookies. 

How to avoid this VPN security risk:

Users should learn more about how a VPN works and what these applications can do. Also, providers can educate users by providing more information on their products. 

Overview of VPN security risks 

A VPN can be a long-term solution for improving your security and privacy. However, users should take the time to choose trustworthy and robust products. 

Overall, here is how you know that a VPN provider can offer more risk-free protection for your internet connection: 

  • A VPN uses modern protocols and encryption methods. 
  • A VPN receives regular updates and patches. 
  • External audit companies have reviewed a VPN product.
  • A VPN does not show ads. 
  • Users can find information about the no-logs policy VPN follows. 
  • A VPN responds to community requests and has helpful customer support.
Anton P.

Anton P.

Former chef and the head of Atlas VPN blog team. He's an experienced cybersecurity expert with a background of technical content writing.

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