As time goes by, cybersecurity has become a concern to more people. Everyone is trying to make their devices secure as much as possible by downloading antiviruses, learning how to set up firewalls, using complex passwords, encrypting sensitive data, and keeping up with new updates. However, some people may ask what about the service providers? Can they see our online activities and collect our data?
We know that ISPs can give our activities to authorities by the law in most cases, and to solve this privacy issue, we use VPN service, so are VPN service providers collecting our data? However, we need to know how VPN works and if VPN service providers collect our data. So, in this article, we will answer these questions and learn how to choose the right VPN. Also, check VPNGeeks reference to see the best VPN services.
Table Of Contents
What is a VPN service?
VPN refers to (Virtual Private Networks), and it’s a service that keeps your connection secure by tunneling and encrypting your traffic. Also, VPN hides your actual IP address, which means your real location is hidden by using another IP address from your VPN service provider.
VPNs use many protocols to secure your connection, such as PPTP, L2TP, OpenVPN, SSTP, WireGuard, and many other protocols. Furthermore, VPN uses algorithms to encrypt your data, such as AES and Blowfish.
Besides all the security benefits you can get from VPN, it allows you to access restricted content like streaming services and blocked websites. In addition to that, you may find better offers while online shopping if you are using VPN.
Risks of using the wrong VPN
Actually, not all VPN service providers can fully protect your privacy. The reason is not all VPNs have the same encryption, and some of them may have a DNS leaking which could expose your real IP address. Also, not all VPNs have a No logging policy, which means they collect your activities and could be used against you.
Security issues are just one side of that. The other side is poor services like slow speed and high ping. Moreover, you may not access some blocked services.
These problems mostly come from free VPN service providers and unknown providers who can collect your data or try to do that.
What about passwords?
These days, most websites have an encrypted HTTPS connection with their clients. However, if the user types in those websites’ passwords, the VPN service provider can’t see it, and this is because there are two layers of encryption, one for VPN and the other for the visited website. So, VPN can only see in the first layer but can’t see encrypted data with the website.
Note that this is true if the website uses an HTTPS connection, but if you are using an HTTP connection, a VPN can see all the data passing through because there is one layer of protection provided by the same VPN.
Suppose a VPN service provider wants to decrypt your traffic with these secured websites. In that case, they must trick you into using a fake certificate that will allow them to see your passwords, but if they do that, it will be the end of the journey in the business world for them because many users will know.
What data can VPN collect?
While using a VPN service is a good idea, a free VPN could be terrible and worse than not using VPN at all. Because free VPN service providers may collect usage information about you, such as your real IP address, the website you visit, the time you visit these websites, and more. Also, they may sell your data to third parties, including governments, which means your privacy is at risk.
On the other side, known, trusted, premium VPN services may have a No logging policy, which means they don’t collect your activities or sell your data to third party’s.
Premium VPNs claim that they don’t collect any sensitive information. Still, they collect information about using their app and other information related to the customer such as ID number, type of service free or premium, and the VPN IP address you use to improve user experience.
Tips for choosing the best VPN
Every person has a different opinion, so we can’t tell people to use a particular Provider and stick with it, but we can help you choose using these tips listed below.
- Search for a VPN with Kill switch feature; this feature will keep your identity hidden if the connection to the VPN server suddenly goes down.
- Search for a VPN with No DNS leaking; DNS leak may expose your real IP address, so make sure to use a VPN with No DNS leak. You can test your VPN online to find a DNS leak.
- Stay away from free VPNs, most free VPNs collect your data and sell it to third party’s, so it’s better to choose a premium VPN.
- Configure your VPN right, make sure to use the highest encryption algorithm, and change the PPTP protocol. You can find tutorials on the internet for that.
Overall, your privacy is what VPN providers are trying to protect, and this is why you pay money for it. However, if the VPN service provider fails to do this, they will lose their client’s trust and lose the business, and this is fair to say that your passwords are safe while using the right VPN.