Most VPNs are very trustworthy but with hundreds of companies on the market you still have to be very careful who you trust with your privacy. In the case of VPN72 users were anything but safe. According to news reports VIP72 was a popular VPN choice for cyber thieves. Sometimes even scammers get scammed. The company was double crossing the people it claimed to be protecting. It seems that the company allowed access to infected proxies by using Bunitu bots to cash in on their own network. A Bunitu bot is considered to be malware used for advertising purposes. Currently, there are over 100k infected machines, but some estimates are closer to a million. In addition, the setup VIP72 was using is far different from traditional VPNs. Instead of using regular servers, the “VPN” relied on PCs that were configured as proxies. Users didn’t realize just how unsecure and dangerous the service was until recently.
One of the worst parts of VIP72’s service has to do with something that is supposed to be standard. As many of you know, one of the big reasons for using a VPN is for privacy. By telling users their data was encrypted, it lured them in to a false sense of security. In reality, the data was not encrypted at all using VIP72, and the unencrypted data was sold to the highest bidder. It seems that was a profitable venture for the company.
We can’t imagine any users would willfully use a company that allowed malware on their networks, nor can we imagine using a VPN where the data was not actually encrypted. Though VIP72 is an inexpensive service, they are clearly leading their users on. There is an ongoing investigation with law enforcement in to the company’s business practices. We had never even heard of VIP72 but none the less it points to what can happen when you trust the wrong person to protect your privacy. That’s not a slight toward those who were scammed by the service. Rather a reminder that we all need to be as diligent as possible when choosing a VPN and other privacy related services.
What can you do to protect yourself against the next VIP72? For starters I would suggest you use a well known VPN company. Steer clear of deals you see online attached to services you’ve never heard of. There are lots of VPNs offering cheap service but your privacy is too important to risk for the sake of a few dollars. The same is true for free VPNs. I’m not saying all free VPNs are bad but in general it’s safer to stay away from free VPNs. They have to be making money somewhere. I would also suggest reading a number of reviews before signing up for a VPN.