VPN in UAE: Why residents should not download the free software

Dubai - Some firms selling free VPNs often sell user data to third parties for cash.

By Waheed Abbas

Published: Thu 7 Jan 2021, 10:48 AM

Last updated: Thu 7 Jan 2021, 10:50 AM

UAE residents who download virtual private networks (VPNs) for free compromise their data and security because many of these firms offering free VPNs are simply not trustable and sell data to third parties to make money.

Importantly, majority of the people in the country use VPNs that are reliable and offer advanced military-grade security protocols, according to Atlas VPN.

3.8m UAE residents have downloaded VPN, but is it legal to use it?

“Some people might not be able to use a VPN due to the price, so they turn to free VPNs. Of course, completely free VPNs need to make money somehow. So they often sell user data to third parties, which is the opposite of what a VPN should provide – privacy and security. People should research a free VPN provider carefully, as many of them had data breaches and other issues,” it said.

It is estimated that 5.58 million VPN applications were downloaded by the people in the UAE worth more than Dh14 million in 2020. The data was extracted by Atlas VPN from Google Play Store and Apple App Store, using Sensor Tower service from the top 45 VPN services.

The use of VPN in the country is not illegal if it is used as per the guidelines of the UAE government and Telecommunication Regulatory Authority.

UAE residents well-informed

Atlas study found that people in the UAE are quite educated, as most of them use Nord VPN which offers advanced, military-grade security protocols, like OpenVPN, IKEv2 as well as the new Wire Guard protocol.

“They also offer double VPN servers, which encrypts data on two different servers, providing an even higher grade of security,” it said.

Moreover, NordVPN is the only service in the VPN market that actually had two third party independent audits conducted by PricewaterhouseCoopers, one of the “Big Four” audit firms.

This means a third party company analysed NordVPN’s servers and confirmed that they do not store any information about their user’s activities online. On the other hand, NordVPN is quite expensive, but people in the UAE seem to be fine with that, Atlas said.


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