VPN Real vs Fake

VPN use all-time high, but not awareness of real versus fakes

The popularity of virtual private networks (VPNs) has never been higher, but how can users be secure while using them?

An all-time high number of people are increasingly using virtual private networks as a means of protecting their privacy, but they may be placing themselves in danger by doing so.

Over a quarter of UK citizens questioned using a VPN, but research by NordVPN, one of the top VPN services available, discovered that 40% of those people were using free services, some of which may be harmful and even controlled by hackers.

In addition, young males between the ages of 25 and 44 were found to be the most probable VPN users, while Generation Z was found to be more inclined to utilise free services that put them at risk due to a lack of disposable means. The poll started in 2020 and included over 150k responses across 18 nations.

Young adults born between 1995 and 2015 the least aware

Seventy-three per cent of VPN users use the service to safeguard their personal information and prevent potential security breaches, while twenty-seven per cent use it to get access to material that is restricted in their country.

However, NordVPN warns that free VPN services be a risk factor for users regarding their PII data being leaked to cyber attackers, or becoming targets for targeted malicious ads.

People in the UK, notably those between the ages of 11 and 25, as well as students and those on a tight budget, used VPN services at one of the highest rates per capita.

According to the business, millennial males, who make up the majority of VPN users, are more likely to be aware of the risks associated with using a free VPN.

More individuals are concerned about the security of their online data, which is why VPNs are becoming more well-known, according to Adrianus Warmenhoven, a cybersecurity expert at NordVPN.

Still, they noted that there is room for improvement in terms of user behaviour, with some individuals preferring free VPNs over commercial ones and others just using VPNs at the office.


Warmenhoven argues that free services still need to make money, but instead of costing users, they frequently resort to selling and tracking user data to third parties, assaulting users with ads, or using heavy tactics to force free users to upgrade to paid versions.

They conclude that selecting trustworthy VPN providers is crucial to avoiding the “data tax”. Keep in mind that VPNs provide several benefits, such as concealed web surfing, protected use of public Wi-Fi, and even cost savings on airfare and hotel accommodations.

Warmenhoven recommends using strong passwords and virus removal software, but they also say you should be careful about what you disclose on social media since it might be used against you by cyber criminals.

Discover which affordable VPNs you can trust right now.