You wake up, excited about your big plans for the day. Maybe you’re meeting friends for lunch, you’re attending a conference, or you’ve got a big day ahead at work. Whatever it may be, you’re looking forward to a new start after a long winter’s sleep.
But, as you wake up and get ready for the day, you begin to feel a pinch in your side. You pull down your jeans to discover a mosquito bite, and although it’s not too painful, you know exactly what caused it. The annoying thing is that you’re not alone. Your boyfriend may have left for work without providing you with much relief last night, and you’ll have to take care of this annoying bit of skin on your own.
This scenario may sound like something out of a novel, but it’s all too real for many people. More and more people are discovering the joys of avoiding the lock-down presented by public WiFi and connecting to the internet via a VPN. But, as you’ve probably guessed, not all VPNs are created equal. There are many tricks and techniques hackers use to dupe and trick you into providing them with all your personal information.
So, let’s dive into how you can spot a fake VPN and avoid being caught (yes, even with a VPN, there are still ways to get caught).
The Differences In UX And UI
When comparing user experiences (UX) and user interfaces (UI), you should always compare the good, the bad, and the ugly. A good UX is one that is easy to understand, uses functionality that is easy to find, and doesn’t waste your time. A good UI follows the same guidelines but is more visually appealing.
Most VPNs are created with the mindset that users are only going to be viewing the website from their smartphone screen. Therefore, they have designed their websites and apps to look as good as possible on a tiny mobile screen. While this may be appealing to some people, it’s ultimately limiting the functionality that the average internet user wants/needs.
A good example of a bad VPN UI is Vyper, which we’ll discuss a little later. Most VPNs have terrible UIs that are unintuitive, confusing, and not at all easy to use. These are all important things to consider if you want to detect a fake VPN before being tricked into providing personal information or spending money.
Malware And Malicious Software (Malware) Attack
No one likes getting malware, but unfortunately, it’s a fact of life. Once you’re online, you’re at risk of being attacked. The best thing you can do for yourself is to ensure your software is up to date, that your antivirus software is working, and that you’re not opening any suspicious emails or downloading any suspicious files. If you follow these simple suggestions, you’ll make yourself a less attractive target to hackers.
Even with all these methods of protecting your data and avoiding getting hacked, there is always the chance you’ll get caught. The best way to ensure you don’t get compromised is to use a VPN that is highly recommended by reliable sources and maintains a good reputation.
Rogue APs And Co-location
A rogue access point (AP) is a malicious access point that is controlled by hackers and spammers to unlawfully intercept and/or redirect online communications (e.g., email, web browsing, etc.). A Rogue AP is usually hard to detect because it looks just like a normal AP and uses the same WiFi password as other nearby access points. If you’re not wary of WiFi hotspots that are unauthorized or unsecure, then you may end up downloading malware, getting hacked, or seeing your personal data compromised.
If you connect to a VPN anytime you’re on unsecured WiFi, then you’re protected from rogue APs and the potential for data theft and malware infections. When you use a VPN, your traffic is automatically encrypted and appears to be coming from another location. This makes it more difficult for hackers and other third parties to intercept and use your personal information without your knowledge. Your VPN provider will also have your back if you ever get hacked or a rogue AP compromises your data.
Rogue DNS Resolution
A rogue DNS server is a type of DNS server that is controlled by hackers and spammers to unlawfully intercept and/or redirect online communications (e.g., email, web browsing, etc.). A Rogue DNS server is usually hard to detect because it looks just like a normal DNS server and uses the same IP addresses as other nearby DNS servers. If you’re not wary of DNS servers that are unauthorized or unsecure, then you may end up downloading malware, getting hacked, or seeing your personal data compromised.
If you connect to a VPN anytime you’re on unsecured WiFi, then you’re protected from rogue DNS servers. When you use a VPN, your traffic is automatically encrypted and appears to be coming from another location. This makes it more difficult for hackers and other third parties to intercept and use your personal information without your knowledge. Your VPN provider will also have your back if you ever get hacked or a rogue DNS server compromises your data.
Where To Go Next?
Once you’ve detected a fake VPN, where do you go from here? There are several places you can turn to for additional information to help you make the right choice. First, you should look into the companies’ reputations as much as possible. What other customers say about the service will give you a good idea of how good it is. Also, review customer testimonials and see what others have said about the service. Finally, try out the free trial version of the VPN to see how it works. Don’t be afraid to use a free trial because, for the most part, you won’t be charged once you cancel the service.
If you’ve decided that the service is good, then you can sign up for a VPN account with confidence. Otherwise, it’s time to find a new option.