Is Your VPN As Secure As You Think?

by joeheg

We’ve written plenty about why you should always use a VPN when connecting to an unknown wireless network. No matter if you’re in a hotel lobby, on a plane, sitting in a coffee shop, staying at an Airbnb or walking around a themepark, you’re able to use the Wi-Fi network.

While this is great for staying connected, it also opens you up to every bad person on the internet who’s trying to steal your personal information. Passwords, emails, financial information, and work documents are all open game if you log into the wrong network.

We searched for VPNs that were easy to set up and would work on all our devices. I ended up deciding on TunnelBear and we’ve been happy with the service.

We’ve had our share of troubleshooting along the way. For instance, we’d occasionally get kicked off the network when turning on the VPN. I learned there’s a setting that can fix that problem.

But I’d never considered something about our VPN until reading a comment on one of our posts. In short, the commenter said you should never trust a 3rd party VPN service because they’re obligated to give your data to the government if they’re asked by court order. In their opinion, the only surefire way to make sure your data is safe is to run your own VPN.

I didn’t even know that was a thing, so I did some searching, and it appears that it’s not all that difficult to set up. However, some things make it impractical for most average users. The biggest drawback is that you’re uploading a large amount of data through your home network and unless you have an internet connection with fast upload speeds, it would significantly slow down your internet. You’re also going to be the one who’s responsible for keeping your VPN up to date with all of the most recent security measures.

I did some more searching and found that companies have addressed the issue of handing over your data by not logging any user data. If they don’t keep it, there’s nothing to turn over if they’re asked to turn it over.

A quick search shows that TunnelBear has a no-log policy.

No! TunnelBear does not keep logs. This means we do not collect any information regarding what you ‘bear’owse while connected to our secure and private VPN.

See our Privacy Policy and Terms of Service for a detailed breakdown of how we go above and beyond to protect your privacy. You can also take a look at our blog for even more information on how we secure and encrypt your internet connection with our strong VPN. There, you’ll also find our Security Audits.

I guess how worried you are about the government getting hold of your internet activities depends on what you’re doing on the internet. I’m not concerned because using a VPN is to keep my private data away from hackers, not because I want to keep my conversations away from government eyes.

There’s another issue if you’re traveling to a country that’s known for blocking and monitoring internet traffic, China being the prime example of this practice. In this case, you may want to access parts of the internet that the government doesn’t want you to see. There’s plenty of information on how to use a VPN in these instances.

One last warning was about services that provide free VPN services. Be very careful with these companies because they have been known to collect the data sent through their servers and sell the compiled data. It might not be your personal information, but the websites you visit are logged. Yet another reason to find a company with a no-log policy.

After educating myself about VPNs and the options available, I’m still happy with my choice of VPN provider. If you already have a VPN, looking up their policies about data and privacy would be a good idea. The ones who do a good job don’t try to keep this information secret.

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This post first appeared on Your Mileage May Vary


Jared February 16, 2021 - 10:55 am

You’re overlooking a MAJOR factor here. They don’t have to turn over your data to the government IF they aren’t located in the U.S.

You’d have to be crazy to use a VPN based out of the United States (or another country that is draconian in this regard).

Plenty of VPNs are based in regions with friendly privacy laws and many of them purge records every 24 hours.

Jack Darby February 16, 2021 - 2:38 pm

The point of using as VPN isn’t to protect one from the “Big Bad Internet”, it’s to protect one from the prying eyes of whomever is running the network from which one is connecting, such as a hotel wi-fi network, employer network, or one’s home ISP (Internet Service Provider). Nowadays, since most legitimate websites use SSL to encrypt traffic to their websites to ensure security, a VPN is mostly good only to ensure that prying eyes can’t see to where one is connecting or traffic from a non-SSL website. And of course to access websites or content not available in one’s physical location, such as a bank or a streaming service

Island Miler February 16, 2021 - 3:28 pm

Tunnel Bear is definitely one of the better ones out there. I signed up based off of NYT’s Wirecutter review and have been happy with it. Too bad Netflix doesn’t fall for selecting servers in specific countries any more.

joeheg February 16, 2021 - 4:34 pm

I’d guess that some who are looking for a “serious” VPN are put off by TunnelBear’s tongue-in-cheek approach. When I looked deeper for this article, I found that they offer many of the same things the “SECURITY” VPNs do at a much better price.

Island Miler February 17, 2021 - 3:42 pm

I can see that being the case. I think it’s the perfect balance of ease-of-use and security. I do like the tongue-in-cheek approach too… though I may be a bit immature lol

Ness Rufino March 8, 2021 - 3:23 am

informative read. this is a great reminder especially most of us do not use a VPN when connecting to wireless networks on commercial establishments.

Rick Sachs March 24, 2024 - 3:31 pm

Some VPNs use ALOT more data than others. I found this comparing two VPNs during a free trial. Currently using Cyber Ghost, but will not renew due to constant reminders that it’s active even though it’s turned off.
The best time to save money and purchase a VPN is during Black Friday sales.

Steve March 24, 2024 - 11:41 pm

That’s why I use Proton VPN. Based in Switzerland it’s against the law to turn over your info to any government

PR March 25, 2024 - 5:28 am

This was a sponsored post and light on important details. If you want privacy and security, a VPN based in the United States will not offer either. No logging is also not as it seems…logs are kept, there are different types o of logs. Do deeper research and pass on Tunnel Bear on principle of sponsored post.

joeheg March 25, 2024 - 7:05 pm

This was not a sponsored post.Only our experience with a single VPN. I’m always up for suggestions for better options.


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