This Free VPN Leaked Millions of User Records

Bean VPN, a free VPN service, stored 18GB of user data in an unprotected database of 25 million user records.
Conor Cawley

You get what you pay for. At least, that appears to be the case with one free VPN service, Bean VPN, that has been storing swaths of user data on an unsecured database.

Virtual Private Network (VPN) services are designed to keep your data safe. By encrypting your internet traffic, these digital tools provide individuals and businesses alike with an added layer of security to safely surf the web.

Unfortunately, free VPNs often don't utilize the same level of security for its users, as Bean VPN users are finding that their data may have been readily available to hackers.

Bean VPN User Records Leaked

Discovered by cybersecurity experts from Cybernews, Bean VPN was reportedly storing user records on an entirely unsecured database. The database was approximately 18GB in size and housed the personal information of more than 25 million users. As for what that data could be used for:

“The information found in this database could be used to de-anonymize BeanVPN's users and find their approximate location using geo-IP databases. The Play Service ID could also be used to find out the user's email address that they are signed into their device with,” said Aras Nazarovas, security researcher for Cybernews.

This represents a pretty serious security risk for Bean VPN, particularly for a service that aims to improve the privacy of its users. But again, there's a risk when it comes to using any free service for business or personal use, and free VPNs are some of the worst culprits.

Should You Use a Free VPN?

If this story hasn't scared you off yet, let us reiterate the point that using even the best free VPN on the market poses a notable threat to your personal and professional security. From logging policies to encryption strength, these VPNs are often lacking in some significant way, which leaves you open to security gaps that could cost you a lot of money.

However, you shouldn't let a few free apples spoil the bunch, as paid VPN providers are often much more robust in their protection of your personal information and make for a great addition to your cybersecurity setup.

For businesses, Perimeter 81 is our top choice for VPNs, providing lots of features, zero-trust access, and thorough protection of your personal information. PureVPN and NordVPN both offer great business options as well, along with their respective personal solutions that will allow you to keep your internet traffic secure while offering unique perks like location-specific Netflix streaming.

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Conor is the Senior Writer for Tech.co. For the last six years, he’s covered everything from tech news and product reviews to digital marketing trends and business tech innovations. He's written guest posts for the likes of Forbes, Chase, WeWork, and many others, covering tech trends, business resources, and everything in between. He's also participated in events for SXSW, Tech in Motion, and General Assembly, to name a few. He also cannot pronounce the word "colloquially" correctly. You can email Conor at conor@tech.co.

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