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VPN Ads Used to Scare Users.

A VPN, or virtual private network, is a method used to add a layer of security and privacy when using public and private networks. It works by replacing the user’s IP address with one in a different location such as a different state or country. Business users utilize VPN’s for additional security when performing transactions or when additional security is necessary. Popular VPN providers allow their ads to be placed on third party sites as an incentive to drive downloads and subscriptions. Whenever a user clicks the VPN link on a website, the 3rd party site makes a commission. Some 3rd party sites are using a scare tactic to drive higher click rates by redirecting the user to a page that states something to the effect of “You’ve been hacked,” “Your iPhone is Infected By 6 Viruses” or “Hacker is Tracking you.” These ads have been used for quite some time and go as far back as last year. It is unknown if the promoted VPN provider is aware of these ads or if they are just turning a blind eye to the scare tactics.

Analyst Notes

It’s important to remember that these redirects are just a scare tactic, and not to be taken seriously. If redirected, the user can simply close the page. If the user cannot close the page, then close the browser and restart the session. It is recommended to never install any apps that use a scare tactic, as the user does not know what they are getting into.