VPNs are widely used as tools for unblocking geo-restricted content and unlocking the full potential of your streaming subscription. While that’s a fairly valid reason to use a VPN, it doesn’t explain why no-logs VPNs are such a big deal all of a sudden. No worries; it’ll all become crystal clear soon enough.
Make sure to keep ProPrivacy’s choice for no-logs VPNs around for later. You’re going to need them if you’re not big into research and reading privacy policies all day.
#1 ISPs Selling Your Data
You wouldn’t think ISPs would argue that it’s their constitutional right to sell your data, but here we are. Then again, 2020 has just been a rollercoaster from start to finish. ISP and telecom lobby groups suing the state of Maine for infringing on their “free speech rights” seems tame, in retrospect.
Fortunately, VPNs ensure that no ISP (or outside third parties) can record your private browsing data for a profit. How? By using encryption to safeguard your data, of course. The process boils down to using complex algorithms to garble your network traffic.
Why no-logs VPNs in particular, though? Well, by using a VPN you’re essentially allowing the provider to see your browsing activity. As such, you’re going to need one that doesn’t store that data anywhere. Otherwise, they could end up selling it, much like your ISP (see the case of supposed “free” VPNs).
#2 Rise in Cyber Attacks
Another negative side effect of the pandemic was the massive increase in cyber attacks. Fortunately, encrypting your data also keeps hackers at bay. Although you still need to watch out for phishing attacks (scam emails and fake websites, basically), VPNs can protect you against:
- Evil Twin hotspots – Wi-Fi networks that mimic the real thing, set up by hackers to harvest sensitive data as soon as you connect your device. Free Wi-Fi may be tempting, but never use it without protection.
- Man-in-the-middle attacks on unsecured Wi-Fi networks, as well as security exploits on existing Wi-Fi encryption standards.
Even if hackers manage to steal your home Wi-Fi password using these exploits, VPNs encrypt your data before it even leaves your device. Encrypted data isn’t of much use without the decryption keys, so your logins, credit card info, and other sensitive info remains safe.
#3 Political Turmoil
Mass surveillance has only worsened since the start of the pandemic. The past few years have also been some of the most polarizing in recent history. Whatever side of the spectrum you are on, governments may target you for your beliefs – more so in countries with restrictive regimes.
Now, if your VPN provider keeps logs of your online activity, your political affiliations may come to light. All it takes is for a government to seize your provider’s servers to expose you and other users. No-logs VPNs ensure that your privacy remains intact, even in such scenarios.
They’re especially useful in the world of journalism. Just take a look at how Australian police used the metadata of journalists to hunt down whistleblowers. Such measures make it difficult to hold policymakers accountable for their actions. Using a VPN simply gives you a fighting chance if you’re in a similar high-stakes scenario, where privacy is key.
Be Careful Which No-logs VPN You Choose
Naturally, you’ll need to research your provider beforehand. Otherwise your data may end up in a massive leak, similar to this one from back in July. Seven free VPNs, all claiming to keep no logs, leaking the data of 20 million users.
If you don’t want to find yourself in a similar situation, be sure to check the following during your research:
- The VPN’s terms of service, especially any sections regarding data collection.
- Your provider’s jurisdiction – more specifically, whether the country they’re based in has any mandatory data retention laws. VPN providers are unlikely to go against such laws, making any no-logs claims dubious at best.
- A big plus if the VPN has been audited by an independent third party (usually a cyber security company). Alternatively, check for any court documents that prove their no-logs policy is the real deal.
Of course, the process of finding the right VPN can get tiring fast. Your best bet is to check out ProPrivacy’s list of tried and tested providers linked in the beginning.