I am sure you won’t want me to discuss the term VPN from scratch. But you must know the few features which make the best VPN for Mac.
Some of you might think that VPN is over-hyped, but in such case, you must think again. Also, I will discuss some reasons that why VPN for Mac is beneficial and necessary.
First, have a look at the features which you should not overlook in Mac VPN;
- Mac support
- Advanced features (kill switch, DNS leak protection, Split tunneling)
Among thousands of VPNs, there are only few which are compatible with Mac. Remember, that the VPNs which claim compatibility with MacOS not always fulfill their statement.
Therefore, before writing this blog post, I had performed some vital VPN tests and working of VPNs on my MacBook PC.
VPN tests which I performed were;
- IP leak Test
- DNS Leak Test
- Encryption Test
- Netflix test
- Torrent IP test
These tests authenticate the VPN service not just for declaring it best VPN for Mac but in every perspective. That’s why the VPNs which pass these tests could be considered best VPN services.
But, as you are here to see best free VPNs for Mac so I will list the free VPNs according to the performance they have shown in these tests.
Why You Need Mac VPN?
It is a common concept that Mac is securer than Windows. This belief is true to some extent but there are some flaws which might scare you if you are a Mac user too.
Here are some reasons which are a nightmare for Mac users and which majorly compel them to consider VPN.
The small light indicator shows you that your webcam is on or not, right?
But, this is not true if you are using Mac. In older versions of Mac, a built-in software disables the webcam/camera light completely.
Ghost Account Creation
On Mac, anyone could easily create a new account without the permission from the owner or admin of that device.
This is basically done through the method which tricks the Mac device into thinking that the device is being set up for the first time.
Here is how.
- Restart Mac device, press Cmd+S during the boot process. This step will take you to a black screen with white text.
- Type mount-uw and press enter.
- Type rm/var/db/ .AppleSetupDone and click enter.
- Then type sudi reboot and press enter again.
- A screen with the text “Welcome to your new Mac!” will appear and you will be allowed to create a new admin account.
This process will not change or remove any file from the device, just a new account control is added.
To avoid such risk, you can set a firmware password which can also block the data theft attacks on your Mac. But, in case you lose or forget this password, you need to get it fixed from Apple.
Anyone can reset your Mac password with physical access of minutes. This can happen if you don’t have firmware password but usually, this password management and handling is quite critical and you can lose it any time.
There are many ways of resetting Mac password and one which I know starts with the similar boot process discussed above in the account creation.
Besides, it is important to mention that no authentication is needed for password changing except when an Apple ID is linked to your account. However, there are other methods which could bypass this too.
Gatekeeper Security Gap
Gatekeeper was introduced in Mac OS 10.7.5 with the purpose of restricting malware. However, later it became a hassle for developers and consumers too.
Why? This is the reason.
“For apps that are downloaded from places other than the Mac App Store, developers can get a unique Developer ID from Apple and use it to digitally sign their apps. The Developer ID allows Gatekeeper to block apps created by malware developers and verify that apps haven’t been tampered with since they were signed. If an app was developed by an unknown developer — one with no Developer ID — or tampered with, Gatekeeper can block the app from being installed.”
You have to pay $99 per year if you want gatekeeper for yourself.
Also, due to legal processes, some companies disable gatekeeper as a part of their installation process.
Gatekeeper security gap picture
You can read the complete enrolling details and process here.
Despite having a gatekeeper, a malware can access your Mac device. Also, Apple has introduced the “Auto Rearm” feature to the gatekeeper in Yosemite which automatically turns on after 30 days of inactivity. Using terminal, this feature could be disabled but the terminal remains scary to many Mac users.
Why People Avoid Free VPNs?
There are broad chances that you think the campaign against free VPN as a tool to get people into spending money. But because of some legit reasons and evidence security experts recommend not using free VPN.
I am mentioning some free VPN drawbacks which I have noticed and seeing those, I am sure you will link your experience too if you have ever used free VPN.
But first, have you ever thought that could any service be free without any profit?
The answer is NO.
Here are some probable sources through which free VPNs are seeking benefit.
- The pop-up ads which could be from third party sources with user preference knowledge. These advertisers pay the service providers in order to get user data.
- Free VPNs also sell user bandwidth and an example to that is, the news which reported famous VPN “Hola” selling the user bandwidth.
Free VPNs are low-rated due to some proved security lacks.
- CSIRO study conducted in 2016, proved that from 283 tested VPNs, 75% of the VPNs contain tracking to some extent. As mentioned before, this tracking is mainly for the purpose of getting monetary benefit by selling the data to the third party.
- Activity tracking is also a common claim against free VPNs including some paid ones too. But, free VPNs are usually involved in monitoring activities such as browsed websites, the time you spend there and when you have visited the site. The study mentioned above also disclosed the fact that 72% of the free VPNs have a third-party tracker embedded.
Besides these extreme security lacks, there are some flaws which are immensely repelling internet users from using free VPN.
- The most annoying reason is extreme lagging and speed degradation. You might have experienced this issue if you have used a free VPN service anytime in the past.
- Data limit or bandwidth limit is obvious in free VPN strategy or plan. Most free services mention the data limit in their free package but some throttle bandwidth without prior notice.
- Most people use VPN to unblock US Netflix and for P2P file sharing. However, only a few VPNs provide privilege of torrenting and for Netflix, you can’t find any free VPN service. At least, I haven’t experienced Netflix unblocking with any of the free VPN services I have tested until now.
The free VPN drawbacks I have mentioned above are common hassles to users, but there could be many other issues besides these. You face this issue due to some reasons including, the monetary benefit and low investment in free plan (of course, no one will invest maximum when there are fewer ways to get profit).
But, because most free VPNs have their own premium (paid) service, these are the tactics to move free version users to the premium version.