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China owns nearly 70% of the worlds VPNs

china, great firewall, internet security, china VPN
Many fear China increasing control of the internet, offering free VPN services is one example

Experts. Chinese oversight of the internet is now greater than the United States

While browsing the internet, you'll see advertisements for different companies offering virtual private network (VPN) solutions. VPNs are thought to be a smart tool to use online, with rampant data breaches and threats to individual digital privacy.

Studies reveal that more than half of the VPN tools currently on the market are owned by private companies within the borders of China. While this does not necessarily spell trouble for users of those products, it does invite a discussion on the ramifications of VPN ownership.

We'll cover the basics of VPN services in this article and dive into how the revelation about China should change how you interact online. Recent ransomware attacks all over the world mean we should be more careful about how we use, store data.

How VPN apps work

Normally you'll connect from your home or office through your internet service provider (ISP) who manages traffic in a geographical region. The ISP knows which web pages you visit and what data you send as that's the way for response traffic to be correctly routed back to your computer, tablet, or smartphone.

Using websites with secure sockets layer (SSL) technology can help protect your personal information online, but the most effective solution is to connect to a VPN service. A VPN is a secure tunnel between your device and the internet, masking your traffic from everyone including your ISP. 

VPNs work through two mechanisms: the client tool and the endpoint server. A VPN provider gives you access to the client tool, which you can install on any device and log in. Once authenticated, your web traffic will become encrypted and sent directly to the endpoint server for additional routing to the internet.

The endpoint server is the only system capable of decrypting your web requests and sending them to the right place. The same happens in reverse. 

China poses a threat to internet security

The new study regarding Chinese companies owning so much of the VPN market is interesting. Chinese citizens have few access options for VPN tools, something emphasised by the recent news of Apple removing more than 600 VPN-related apps from the iOS App Store as reported across the internet.

The Chinese government runs intensive surveillance programs on its citizens to monitor internet activity. Every technology company in China, including ISPs, must comply with any governmental request for data. On request, an ISP provides a log of all websites that a certain person visited on a certain day.

VPNs are encryption tools intended to make your online data anonymous to outside parties. But if you are running a VPN that is developed and owned in China, then there is a serious chance that your information is not as private.

china, great firewall, internet security, china VPN
Chinese law states Government can demand to see anyone's internet activity and review all information moving through China.

How to find a trustworthy VPN provider

VPN providers are famously modest with their ownership details. Many companies refuse to declare where they are owned and operated. 

So don't select your VPN provider based on cost alone. Some VPN providers offer free solutions online, but these are often unreliable or not as secure as they appear. The Facebook iOS app was removed by Facebook when it discovered users were pointed to a VPN provider who collected and sharing users network traffic details. Facebook plans to introduce a new more reliable service

Many free VPNs are owned by Chinese companies and are subject to surveillance programs. Remember all data routed through China is subject to Government oversight. Chinese companies own multiple VPN companies and route them through the same channels.

As you compare the cost and features of VPN services, emphasise your digital privacy. 

Why worry about China?

So what how many VPN services China owns? Well, there are nearly 1.5 billion people in a country who do not respect data privacy, switches off the internet at will to prevent inconvenient news from spreading. Citizens require Goverment permission to make overseas calls.

With more than half of the world’s online privacy tools owned by sources behind the Great Firewall, we need to pay attention and probably sooner rather than later. 

When to deploy a VPN

The small-to-medium-sized business may find a VPN connection critical for any employee who needs to work remotely while still having access to a company’s internal resources like servers and databases.

VPNs offer advantages for personal internet activity. The most important privacy feature of a VPN service is its logging policy. If you take one thing away from this article, it’s to ensure that you choose a no-logging VPN service. 

  1. Choose a VPN provider with a No-Logging provider
  2. VPN limits details shared with advertisers
  3. Prevent Public WiFi from sharing your details with Dark web criminals
  4. Reduce your chances of being hit by malware and ransomware
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