Nmedia - Fotolia
I've seen some free VPNs for mobile and client devices that are ad-supported. Are free VPN clients worth exploring as an option, or are they inadequate for enterprise security?
You probably have seen the free Hotspot Shield VPN client or other similar offerings for your devices. You can use Hotspot Shield over public Wi-Fi or a corporate wireless network with both mobile and client devices.
Like all free VPN clients, the free Hotspot Shield VPN client is restrictive, and is limited in terms of its functionality. The provider has to pay for the hardware, bandwidth, software and maintenance. The restrictions on all free VPN clients are lifted when you upgrade to paid subscriptions. You can check out the free Hotspot Shield VPN with a quick connection to your home office. It's simple to use and allows unlimited bandwidth, but it shows ads that pay for the service as you make the connection.
Depending on the size of the screen on your device, your annoyance with the ads may grow slowly or quickly. The smaller the screen, the more annoyed you may get with the ads. You may accidentally hit an ad while you try to make a call. To make the ads go away, Hotspot Shield suggests you upgrade and subscribe to a paid version.
In addition to intrusive ads, there are other things to consider before using a free, ad-supported VPN. The VPN may fall victim to malicious ads that could be logging usernames and passwords. Hackers could use hidden logs to send you unwanted email.
Some free VPN clients come with monthly traffic limits and time restrictions as alternatives to ads. Some that do not display ads (such as OpenVPN for Android) may have an ad-supported plug-in (EasyOvpn) that is used to connect to free VPN servers outside of the United States (Thailand, Japan or South Korea, for example). Some may contain outdated encryption that can be easily hacked. They may also collect your browsing history and other personal data, so be sure to read their terms and conditions and privacy policies to know what you're getting into.
Obviously, ad-supported VPNs and plug-ins are not a good option, and are inadequate for enterprise security. They should not be part of an enterprise's BYOD policy. You are better off with paid VPN clients and servers for enterprise use.
Find out what the best SSL VPN products on the market are
Learn more about the pros and cons of open source security tools
Read more on the best ways to protect digital privacy
Dig Deeper on VPN security
Related Q&A from Judith Myerson
An exploit code for Dirty COW was accidentally shipped by Cisco with product software. Learn how this code ended up in a software release and what ... Continue Reading
Cisco's Webex Meetings platform had to be re-patched after researchers found the first one was failing. Discover what went wrong with the first patch... Continue Reading
The TP-Link EAP Controller for Linux was recently found to be vulnerable to attacks. Learn from Judith Myerson what this means for users and how it ... Continue Reading
Have a question for an expert?
Please add a title for your question
Get answers from a TechTarget expert on whatever's puzzling you.