We found that 12 out of 16 of the VPNs we studied were either inaccurately portraying their products and technologies, or making hyperbolic or overly broad claims about the type of protection they offer their users. These claims, combined with a steady stream of security breach news, can make people worry more than necessary about banking online or visiting websites that are already HTTPS encrypted. They can also give VPN users a false sense of security if they fail to realize that the protection offered is not comprehensive.

“Hyperbolic claims and over-promising VPNs are not only unethical, they are also dangerous because they can promote a false sense of security,” says Reethika Ramesh, PhD student in Ensafi’s laboratory and senior researcher at VPNalyzer.

For example, many VPNs have promised complete anonymity or undetectability, or protection from advertisers, governments, and criminals. However, advertisers and governments are …

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