Virtual Private Network (aka VPN), this term that have been heavily popularized ever since the “Great Firewall of China” was created sometime in 1997. Believe it or not, VPN is as old as internet itself :-). In the olden years, VPN is nothing but a modem dial-up to a “number” which represents a network. So if you need to access to a “Jaring Network”, you dial in to 1515, or “TM Network”, you dial in to 1511.
Generally, VPN simply means a method of employing secure access to a remote network or computer over public network (or internet).
When you are able to encapsulate / encrypt your connection end-to-end (your pc / laptop to network VPN Server / endpoint) over a public network, you’ve got VPN working for you. VPN is a network service. VPN is a critical component to a business organization, especially when such businesses spans multiple regions, countries and continents. Today, VPN simply means a way of bypassing firewalls or be “hidden”.
A company VPN and a Free VPN varies as to which network / servers you are connected to. When you are using a company VPN, you are connecting back to your office or a network you recognized. A free VPN service allows you to connect to the provider’s network. You maybe hidden to the rest of the world but to the provider you are “visible”. As with all free services, there’s always a catch. There’s no free lunch 😀 . To provide a “free service”, the provider will want something in return otherwise the cost of bandwidth, servers, hosting, maintenance … etc … who is going to pay for all that? Some of these providers track your traffic, some forces you to install their VPN client (which could double up as a malicious application), and so on.
So the next time when you connect to any free VPN, take note not to perform transaction or work that would compromise your security.