Starting originally with DOS, Microsoft eventually made their first GUI operating system with Windows 1.0 in 1985. Since then, Microsoft has been creating a new operating system every few years, until the latest release of their software — Windows 10. Which is expected to be the last Windows operating system they release.
Though many disgruntled users have encountered the infamous ‘blue screen of death,’ there are other concerns which pose far greater threats. The largest flaws found in any Windows operating systems relate to security, because these flaws have the potential to compromise your data. Most users have heard that Windows is one of the least secure operating systems ever created, and that it is prone to viruses, malware, and susceptible to hackers.
Not surprisingly, this isn’t too far from the truth.
Many Windows users are tempted to use PPTP to establish a VPN tunnel on Microsoft platforms. For those of you who don’t know, Microsoft created PPTP back in 1996. That’s one of the reasons why PPTP is included by default in the software. However, you should refrain from using this security protocol unless it is a last resort.
PPTP has been known to contain security flaws for decades now, and it offers weak encryption. To browse the Internet with peace of mind, users should really use the latest and greatest encryption algorithms that cannot be cracked, hacked, or broken (such as AES-256).
However, PPTP still does provide some marginal value. We already know that the U.S. government (and likely other organizations around the world) have the ability to decrypt data sent through a PPTP tunnel. Having said that, the average hacker may not have the means to break the tunnel’s encryption. Still, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure, and users are better off not taking a risk in the first place.
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Windows 10 Security Flaws
Windows users always need to be up-to-date with the latest and greatest security flaws of their operating system. However, with the introduction of Windows 10, we’ve seen a paradigm shift regarding the types of information security and privacy threats that exist. Today, there is a new kind of threat lurking in Windows 10. Default Windows 10 settings send personal information to Microsoft, and these settings must be disabled for privacy and security.
In the past, the most common Windows flaws and bugs made it easier for attackers to hack into a computer to steal information. While there are still similar security flaws in Windows 10, users must understand the largest threat that Windows poses is in the sharing of personal data.
Microsoft knows the average user doesn’t know the technical meaning of various Windows terms and configuration options. Because it isn’t open source software, the general public doesn’t really have a clear idea of how the software functions behind the scenes.
Such factors make it very easy for Microsoft to create mechanisms in Windows 10 that share a lot of personal data with external parties. A few of the settings that should be turned off or changed from their default state include the following:
- Privacy data
- Location and telemetry data
- Group policies sending information back to Microsoft
- The default update mechanism
For users that are either going to upgrade or install a new version of Windows 10, you can (and should) disable these settings from the get-go. When a user reaches one of the first installation screens titled ‘Get going fast,’ an option can be seen in the lower-left hand corner that is labeled ‘Customize settings.’
The next screen seen after clicking on this option will display four on/off switches that can be toggled to change the default settings. For the highest level of security and privacy, all of these settings should be turned off. It really isn’t Microsoft’s business what users do on their computers, and it really seems a little underhanded that they would collect all of this information by default.
To further enhance your security, let’s take a closer look at the best VPNs for Windows 10 in 2016. But before we do, understand that these are the best current VPN services for recent Windows platforms as well (such as 8 and 7), and they also work with Windows phones.
According to us, ExpressVPN is certainly one of the best, if not the best VPN service for most people. And its Windows app is definitely worth a try. ExpressVPN does a decent job of providing setup instructions for Windows 10 users, and they offer a complete, well-rounded service with fast and reliable server connections.
Users will be able to take advantage of the latest encryption standards for extremely secure tunnels, and ExpressVPN has servers in 100 locations across 94 countries around the world. This is important for people who want the flexibility to terminate their VPN connection in a neighboring country to decrease latency overhead.
However, there are a couple drawbacks to their service. They cost a little more per month than many other VPN providers, though we feel that the quality of their service justifies the cost. The second drawback is the fact they only allow connections from one computer and one hand-held device per account.
Other Reasons Why We Like ExpressVPN
ExpressVPN can get into any media site you have a subscription to. Thanks to its vast server network that beats out just about every other VPN service on the planet. The company’s location in the British Virgin Islands, and its strict no-logs policy, guarantees users protection from prosecution.
In addition, ExpressVPN has a 30-day money back guarantee. While they don’t offer a free trial, most people agree that an entire month is more than adequate time to test out a service.
- Servers in 94 countries
- SmartDNS & Network lock
- Great mobile & desktop apps
- Collects non-identifiable metadata
- Rather expensive
- Only connects 3 devices
VyprVPN is a secure and reliable provider that keeps you safe while you’re browsing the Internet, and can also access Netflix. VyprVPN is a clear choice as one of the best VPNs for Windows 10 because they are based outside of the U.S.
We discussed earlier how Microsoft farms personal data via Express Settings, but many users also fear the U.S. government coercing technology companies to create backdoors into their software.
This concern derives from the information leaked by Snowden, but VyprVPN users don’t need to worry about this since Vypr is based in Switzerland. However, there are other attractive features of the service such as a free trial that gives users a chance to test out their servers.
Other Reasons Why We Like VyprVPN
VyprVPN is a fast, secure and reliable VPN provider. Better yet, not only does it keep you safe while browsing the Internet, it can also access geo-restricted Netflix sites.
They even have cool software features such as a killswitch and the ability to route specific applications through the VPN tunnel and it offers up to 5 simultaneous connections, so all your devices can be safe and Netflix ready at once. Better yet, today, they have over 700+ servers in more than 50 countries.
- Great security
- Up to 5 connections
- Clients for most OSes
- No refund after 3 days
- Some logging
- No encryption on basic plan
TorGuard offers a rock-solid service, with plenty of features, no major flaws and pretty good customer care support. Torguard VPN is another fantastic service on Windows 10. Like previous providers, they have a setup guide on their blog that shows users how to setup their client in Windows 10.
They also have the added benefit of being based in Panama, therefore being free from the influence and coercion of the U.S. government. Unlike the previous two VPN services, however, they allow up to 5 simulations connections per account.
That way, you can connect smartphones, tablets, and other devices. Also, they have extra options such as a proxy service to help enhance security. But the real drawback of their service is that their client isn’t as feature-rich as other providers, and some of their servers don’t offer the strongest security protocols.
Other Reasons Why We Like TorGuard:
TorGuard combines a wealth of stealth servers (1600 servers in 50 countries), which when coupled with their P2P policy, does this VPN an excellent service with which to torrent.
When it comes to platform support, TorGuard has apps for Windows, MacOS, Android, iOS and even Linux. The VPN also offers over 80 payment methods, including Bitcoin of course, and store gift cards.
- P2P allowed (torrenting)
- 1600 servers in 50 countries
- Gets into the BBC iPlayer
- Can’t get into Netflix
- Performance speeds vary
- IPv6 leak prevention bug
Despite being small, BolehVPN is a major player in the Asian VPN market and also kicks ass on the international VPN scene. BolehVPN ranks fourth on our list of the best VPNs for Windows 10, and they offer a great service loaded with features. First and foremost, they offer secure protocols such as L2TP/IPsec and OpenVPN.
Also, users can benefit from their very favorable no-logs policy and can rest assured that their activities aren’t being recorded. They even allow P2P to accommodate BitTorrent users. P2P downloaders might also be interested to know they have a unique torrent tracker called IPTorrents.
There are a couple of drawbacks, though. For example, they only allow up to two simultaneous connections per account and have servers located in only 11 countries.
Other Reasons Why We Like BolehVPN
BolehVPN does everything important well, and is a great overall service. And to bolster genuine anonymity in Windows, it supports Tor and xCloak obfuscation technology.
Having said that, they do offer a fantastic all-around service that’s loaded with features designed to protect your data, privacy, and anonymity. Plus, when combined with the fully featured Windows desktop client, it’s clear that we have a winner on our hands.
- BolehGeo service is handy
- Supports Tor for anonymity
- xCloak obfuscation technology
- Only offers 2 simultaneous connections
- Presence in 11 countries only
- No telephone or chat support
AirVPN combines a fantastic attitude to privacy, support for Tor, speed and reliability into one fantastic package that’s also easy on the wallet.
AirVPN is our last pick for the day, and it comes with many enticing features. Because of their active server presence in Europe, the company is a fantastic choice for European users who want to terminate their VPN connections in a nearby country. They aren’t priced too highly either.
A one-year subscription will only cost €4.50 ($5.12) per month. Some of the best features of their service include strong encryption with AES-256 and 4096-bit RSA keys, P2P support for torrent downloads, and a network of internal servers for origin obfuscation.
Other Reasons Why We Like AirVPN
AirVPN has a fantastic attitude to privacy and the technical know-how to back it up. When it comes speed and reliability no other provider really touches AirVPN, other than perhaps ExpressVPN.
The service has access to more than 60 servers in 14 countries. They even show users real-time server data to help them find a server with the most capacity.
- Unbeatable privacy & security
- Supports VPN over Tor
- Blazingly fast & very stable
- Website UI needs improvement
- Small company
- Not a lot
Windows 10 is touted as the last operating system in a 30-year long technology dynasty, but it still has serious security flaws. Remember to turn off the default settings which send data to organizations and Microsoft. These default settings are a massive invasion of privacy
Also, users should refrain from using PPTP – even though the software is readily available and easy to use and configure. Lastly, because of the security flaws found in Microsoft’s operating systems, and the nature of the Internet, Windows users should always use a VPN tunnel to secure their data online.
If users forego the use of VPN encryption, there’s no telling who might capture and read an innocent user’s information.