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Hacks and malware affect more Windows-devices than any other.

That’s a fact. (Not some Apple fanboy, uber-nerd’s heavily biased opinion.)

But there’s a very good reason why it’s a fact.

Because the most users are on it, by far – and it’s not even close.

Window’s holds 89.23% of the marketplace at last count. And that’s actually down a few points from before (where it’s traditionally been over 90%+).

There are so many people on Windows, and it’s used so widely around the world, that it’s a HUGE target for hackers. Sometimes that target even extends to U.S. government officials like Hillary Clinton, as you’ll see in a second.

New Windows 10 upgrades however are also a cause for concern, pushing the boundaries of privacy invasion like no operating system has ever before.

But don’t worry. Because we’ve rounded up the best VPNs for Windows to protect yourself.

Operating system market share

(image source)

1. ExpressVPN

ExPress VPN Review

The leader in the VPN industry, ExpressVPN, is located in the British Virgin Islands. Although this service is on the more expensive side, it is definitely worth it for any of your Windows devices.

ExpressVPN’s servers are located in 87 different countries, making it easy to find a connection for you. Out of the 136 servers located around the world, this provider has a built in speed test for users to see which server has the fastest connection as possible for any of your Windows devices.

With ExpressVPN, you can browse the internet without any restrictions and remain undetectable.

The live chat feature offered at any time of the day, 24/7/365, allows you to have your questions answered as fast as possible. Their support agents are knowledgeable and can help you with any problem you may encounter with their system.

When using this VPN provider, keep in mind there is a kill switch capability so if your connection does time out for whatever reason, whatever software or website you may have been using will be subsequently killed.

Setup and connection are super easy with setup taking only a couple of minutes and connection taking only a couple of seconds.

This VPN provider has the best security with 256-bit encryption with their standard OpenVPN. You can stream your favorite shows anywhere you go with unlimited bandwidth, speeds, and server switches.

If you are connecting to the free Wi-Fi in your local Starbucks with your Windows laptop, you can be rest assured that your information is protected from hackers trying to access your bank information and emails. Additionally, ExpressVPN offers an exclusive .Tor service through the Tor network. This allows you to basically remain total anonymous and undetectable on the internet.
ExpressVPN is offered not only for any of your Windows devices but for all other major devices, allowing you to remain anonymous with any device you have.

2. IPVanish

IP Vanish Review

With a relatively large network of 700+ servers in 60 countries, IPVanish is a great choice of VPN provider for any of your Windows devices and operating systems (Windows 10,8,7 and Vista). IPVanish claims to be the “fastest and fastest-growing VPN service in the world”.  They have a zero logging policy and want to make sure you have the most anonymity as possible when browsing your favorite sites.

Setup is easy and very user friendly, just like the service.  The apps are very user-friendly and there is an app for virtually every device, so all your devices can be protected! Each account has up to five device connections at a time.

Support is always available via live chat but it may not be instantaneous, with a first-come, first-serve support policy. To ensure your protection on your Windows device, IPVanish has 256-bit encryption with their standard OpenVPN protocol. There are three different pricing plans, all including the same features but for different lengths of time.

And maybe you just want to try out IPVanish, then there is a risk free 7-day money-back guarantee! Another great feature is a kill switch for if your VPN connection times out at any time.

IPVanish has over 40,000 shared IPs, and a feature that will change your VPN IP address after whatever length of time you choose.

If you’re on a shared network, you can ensure that your information isn’t being shared with any of the other devices on the network with the LAN Blocking. If you want to enjoy all the benefits of a VPN service without downloading the third party to your device, this VPN provider offers a SOCKS5 protocol for free so you won’t have to download their apps onto any of your Windows devices.

When it comes to your online safety and freedom, IPVanish is a great decision of VPN provider. You will be kept anonymous and your information will remain private with IPVanish.

3. NordVPN

NordVPN Review

NordVPN is a great VPN provider when you’re looking to remain 100% anonymous online. They are several great security features in place to ensure that your Windows device is completely protected from hackers and third parties that want your personal information. One of those great security features is the DoubleVPN feature. This applies the 256-bit encryption TWICE when you’re connected to the DoubleVPN server. This maximizes your protection and outcompetes other VPN providers who only offer the “measly” 256-bit encryption with their protocols.

Another unique security feature is the Tor over VPN servers with NordVPN that secure your anonymity online at all times. And with the kill switch feature, you will never be exposed online even if the VPN connection drops for whatever reason. With all of these security features, it is easy to see how you can remain 100% anonymous online. Additionally, NordVPN does not keep any logs and is very strict about this policy.

This VPN provider offers a vast network of over 724 servers to choose from all optimized for speed and security. These servers can be found in 57 countries around the world. NordVPN has created different servers for specific purposes, like the best security and the best speeds possible for streaming and browsing.

Round the clock customer support is there to help you with whatever questions or concerns you may have while using this VPN provider.

Not only does NordVPN want you to be as safe as possible when browsing on any of your Windows devices, but they strive for the best speeds possible. There are servers designed for your streaming purposes, and no caps on bandwidth.

With so much to offer, NordVPN is a great VPN provider for those looking for the maximum (seriously, the maximum) protection possible. All of the same features are included in the pricing plans available and there is also a risk-free 30-day money-back guarantee.

4. VyprVPN

In over 70+ locations, VyprVPN has 700+ servers worldwide. VyprVPN sets itself apart from other VPN providers because they create their own software, manage it, and update it regularly. Other VPN providers use third parties to create their VPN servers, but VyprVPN directly engineered their servers. Your information is kept out of the hands of any third parties, and VyprVPN has a zero logging policy so they can’t keep traffic of what you’re doing on your Windows device.

Network restrictions ban people from using specific sites like YouTube, Netflix, and Facebook. VyprVPN wants you to retain your internet freedom at all times, and their VPN technology reflects that.

They have created an unmodified OpenVPN protocol called Chameleon, with 256-bit encryption, for people who want to remain free on the internet. Chameleon particularly defeats VPN blocking and throttling, especially in countries that are known for blocking. When you’re connected to the Chameleon protocol, your internet will be uncensored.

VyprVPN offers PPTP, L2TP, and OpenVPN protocols in addition to the Chameleon protocol. One of the differences between VyprVPN and other VPN providers is the way in which pricing plans are set up. Not all features are included in every plan, and with VyprVPN, you get what you pay for. OpenVPN and Chameleon protocols are offered with the more expensive plans, Pro and Premier.  

A kill switch feature allows you to remain protected when the VyprVPN connection drops. Unlimited bandwidth, speeds, and server switching will allow you to download and stream as much as you want.

The support team at VyprVPN is always there for you through live chat,  social media, and email. Their policy of 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, you can contact support at any time with any questions you have. This is a great service if you’re looking to remain free on the internet and prevent blocking.

5. VPNArea

VPNArea has a lot to offer Windows device customers with servers in over 60 countries, you can connect to just about any major city around the world. VPNArea offers all major protocols to their users, including SOCKS5 protocol, and a OpenVPN of military strength 256-bit encryption to keep your information out of the hands of hackers.

Several features within the VPNArea app make it a great choice for any Windows device.

The app offers users the ability to speed test ping and download speeds, something that can come in handy when you want to be connected to the fastest of the 200 servers available.

You’ll enjoy the unlimited bandwidth with this VPN provider and you can even see how many people are connected to a server prior to connecting to it. This will allow you to connect to a less busy server and reap benefits.

Once you have started using the service, you can create a list of Favorite Servers, making connecting to the VPN even quicker.

On-the-go, you can connect to any free Wi-Fi and remain anonymous. If the VPN disconnects and you have Killswitch enabled, you won’t have to worry about your activities being revealed to eavesdroppers or governments.

With such a large network, you will share an IP with other users, making it more difficult to be located online. There is an Anti-DNS Leak feature so no one can see what websites you’re visiting. Specifically for any Windows device, the Anti WebRTC system built in to ensure your location can’t be discovered by the websites you’re visiting.

Each account is allowed six devices to be connected to this VPN service at the same time. Most major devices are supported by VPNArea, allowing you to connect all of your devices.

To protect your Windows, VPNArea has essential features that make it a great VPN provider to keep your location, information, and activities private.

Why Windows Users Need a VPN

1. WikiLeaks got 41,000 Emails from Hillary Clinton Windows Computer

In March of 2016, John Podesta, then Hillary Clinton’s campaign chair, received a ‘privacy alert’ email to change his password.

It was the same kind of routine email notification that you typically don’t pay much attention to. So neither, did the Clinton campaign’s technical staff.

But we all know what happened next.

Turns out, that email was a phishing email; a fake privacy alert designed to look realistic while injecting malware onto the device.

Before long, 41,000 (and counting) of Podesta’s emails suddenly found themselves in the hands of WikiLeaks. And the ‘leaked email’ scandal was just one contributing factor to Clinton’s downfall.

This was the modus operandi for Fancy Bear, a group of Russian-linked hackers that gained credit(?) for their attack on the Democratic National Committee members.

Unfortunately, this same group has since turned its attention towards exploiting a few recent flaws in the Window’s operating system.

Google was actually the first to pick up on the attack that apparently zeros-in on a problem with Adobe Flash and Windows kernel.

Microsoft has already been monitoring this hacking group since 2007, internally referring to them as STRONTIUM. Microsoft’s Executive Vice President of the Windows and Devices Group, Terry Myerson, wrote about this latest attack in a blog post:

“Microsoft has attributed more [zero-day] exploits to STRONTIUM than any other tracked group in 2016.”

Of course, hacks and attacks like this are reported all the time. It seems like it’s almost daily or weekly at this point.

And that’s because they actually happen frequently.

According to CNN, there are “nearly one million new malware threats released every day.” In the last year alone, over 317 million pieces of malware were created. That number has literally exploded over the past few years, almost sixfold in the last decade.

Malware Threats Graph

(image source)

Windows machines often face the brunt of that attention, with the largest pool of users and relatively ‘open’ system (compared with Apple).

But that’s not the only threat Windows users need to be aware of. Or protect themselves from.

Their own operating system, in fact, is harvesting their personal data and selling it to the highest bidder.

2. Windows 10 “Free Upgrade” isn’t “Free” After All

Microsoft became Microsoft through software licensing.

While Windows was often bundled on machines from different devices makers, their big hits like Microsoft Office were sold on annual (and later, monthly) licensing contracts. Especially when you can sell those licenses in bulk to device manufacturers and businesses (for hundreds or thousands of ‘seats’ at a time).

But all of that’s started to change in the past few years.

Instead, Microsoft has decided to pull a Google by going the freemium route; attempting to create a platform of freemium users they can monetize in different ways.

The strategy, according to Chris Capossela, Microsoft’s Chief Marketing Officer, is to “acquire, engage, enlist and monetise.”

Here’s what that means (when you peel away the PR-BS that surrounds that statement).

Microsoft Office, their cash cow for all these years? Free.

The free apps Skype and Acompli? Still free.

New Windows operating system upgrades? Free.

The idea, in true Google-fashion, is to get as many people possible using these products on a daily basis. That way, they’re tied to the Microsoft ‘ecosystem’ (see: Apple) and you can monetize power users on subscriptions or use ads to subsidize the rest.

And therein lies the problem.

There’s naturally going to be a huge gap in the amount of revenue generated. At least initially. So Microsoft needs another way to make up for that shortfall in ‘lost’ licensing revenue.

The source of that revenue, according to David Glance, the Director of UWA Centre for Software Practice at the University of Western Australia, is: your privacy.

Windows 10 is off to a great start, shooting up to 67 million installations in only two days after it’s launch. One reason? It’s free! So why not for most users.

Here’s why it’s ‘free’.

Each Windows 10 user gets a brand-new “advertising ID”. That ID collects data, including everything you do and enter online, so that they can show you increasingly personalized advertisements.

Across their platform!

So not only will these ads pop up when you’re browsing the internet like normal. But they’ll also show up in games you’ve downloaded from their App Store as well.

According to David’s excellent digging, their privacy statement says they collect the following:

“[…] current location, search query, or the content you are viewing. […] likely interests or other information that we learn about you over time using demographic data, search queries, interests and favorites, usage data, and location data.”

This Privacy Statement is 38 pages containing 17,000 words. So good luck deciphering it. Windows 10 privacy settings are split across 13 different screens.

And look what David found out what Cortana (like Siri) knows about you:

“[…] device location, data from your calendar, the apps you use, data from your emails and text messages, who you call, your contacts and how often you interact with them on your device. Cortana also learns about you by collecting data about how you use your device and other Microsoft services, such as your music, alarm settings, whether the lock screen is on, what you view and purchase, your browse and Bing search history, and more.”

Windows 10 Screenshot

(image source)

The other issue, according to David’s piece, is Microsoft’s approach towards working closely with government agencies. Basically, all they have to do is ask, as Microsoft will, “comply with applicable law or respond to valid legal process, including from law enforcement or other government agencies.”

But wait, there’s more!

WiFi Sense is a new feature on Windows 10 that will “share access to your WiFi with friends and contacts on Facebook, Skype and Outlook”. This is also switched ‘on’ by default.

How many people might get access to your own personal network then? How secure do you think that is?

You’re not going to NOT use Windows 10. You have to upgrade at some point. (And it’s not like any of the ‘other guys’ are much better.)

So there’s only one logical solution.

Take matters into your own hands.

Here are the best VPNs for Windows that are on the market today. They’re your only shot at protecting yourself from hacks or worse – your own operating system’s security vulnerabilities and complete invasion of privacy.

3. Windows is Still (in 2017) The Biggest Target For Hackers.

Windows users are the biggest target for hackers. (Another reason to use a VPN on a Windows computer)

Simply because there’s more of them. MUCH more.

That’s not the only problem, though.

Because Microsoft’s new freemium business model has pushed them to find revenue from other sources. Namely: profiting off of your privacy by showing advertisements.

Windows 10 is collecting everything you do online, including your location, browsing activities, searches, social connections, geolocation, and more.

And there’s not much you can do to protect yourself.

Except… use a VPN.

That’s only way to truly protect yourself from hacks and Microsoft’s prying eyes; creating a secure connection so that no one can access or monitor and record all of your personal, private data.

For only a few bucks a month, you can’t afford not to use a VPN.

Unless you enjoy having your location, information about friends and family and searches broadcasted to random advertisers.

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