We use VPNs to be anonymous and experience ad-free browsing or streaming online. But putting your whole trust in a VPN to protect your identity is not easy, especially for someone who just started using a VPN. You can’t just help but wonder, can you be tracked using a VPN? Let’s find out that really quickly.
Can you be tracked with a VPN?
Yes and No. The answer is pretty complex and all the questions you have will be answered.
Yes, using a VPN does change and hide your IP address. VPN hides your IP address and connects you to the internet through a VPN server located somewhere else. So your web traffic and what you browse can’t be tracked anymore. If someone else such as your ISP or government wants to track your activity they will see the VPN server’s IP address.
But still, there are things that will be tracked even if you use a VPN. Especially if you are using a free VPN, be aware that some of them still keep track of some of your data or show you a bunch of ads which makes using a VPN useless. But if you are using a premium VPN such as NordVPN, most of these could be avoided.
How You Will Be Tracked & Possible Solutions [Even If You Use A VPN]
Cookies are used by websites and advertisers to track your online activity and that’s pretty bad for your privacy. And ISP supercookies which your ISP uses to track your activity once you connected to the internet but that’s not a problem since the VPN encrypts your connection.
- Once you are done with your online activity and disconnect the VPN remember to clear the browser cookies.
Even though VPNs offer a firewall feature to block malicious websites that may harm your device they cannot protect you against all kinds of malware infections whether they are phishing emails, trojan horses.
- Use good antivirus software such as Malwarebytes or Bitdefender.
- Use a good Password Manager (etc: Lesspass)
- Enable 2 Factor Authentication of your online accounts.
- Use anti-phishing browser extensions.
03. Social Media
If your social media pages have your private data such as your address, full name, phone number, email addresses then using a VPN wouldn’t protect you if they are visible to the public. Someone would be able to track you down easily if that’s the case.
- Remove private information or hide them from the public on social media sites.
Now the thing about emails, both free and email still collect your mobile number to verify your identity. So if someone were to access that they still can track you down through it.
- Start using an anonymous email provider (even to register on VPN services).
05. VPN Logs
Some VPNs still keep track of your data using logs, and there are two main types of logs. Usage logs that keep track of your IP addresses and the sites you visit. The second type is connection logs which keep track of your bandwidth usage.
- This mostly happens in free VPN services, so to avoid it you could use a paid VPN service for a VPN trial such as NordVPN free trial.