Many people think they are 100% safe from hackers when they use a well-trusted VPN service.
That’s typically a misconception!
Do VPNs Protect from Hackers?
VPN services make sure your Internet traffic is encrypted and that your IP is hidden. But they cannot protect you from hacker viruses and malware that find their way into your system from malicious links in spam emails or bad code hidden inside programs.
For this, we need something else.
Stay tuned as we tell you exactly how you should let VPNs and antivirus work in conjunction to keep you safe!
Let’s get started.
3 Ways You Can Be Hacked While Using a VPN
This requires a detailed answer. Let’s start with the good news:
A hacker cannot directly get into your system when you’re using a good VPN service, but there are other ways into your system that you need to be aware of.
You can still get infected with bad stuff from hackers even though they cannot access your computer directly!
Here are some ways a hacker may infect your device (phone or laptop) while you’re connected to a secure VPN server:
1) When You Download Bad Software
If you download malware or software that contains bad stuff that can still get into your system even though it’s downloaded through a secure VPN connection. Think of it this way:
The VPN is like sending an armored tank to pick up your package at the post office. It will not be possible to see the package or access it while it’s being transported but if the package itself is bad news you will still receive that bad stuff when you open the package.
OK, maybe not the best analogy, but you get the point.
Make sure to NEVER download things on the Internet that you are not 100% sure about. Do your homework and make sure you only get stuff from trusted sources!
Many people think hackers only attack your system directly by gaining access to your system through the Internet connection. While that is true in some cases, it’s much more likely that the hacker will gain access to your data or your system via the use of malware or viruses. That way they will let you click something or download something, and use that program to snatch some information you site.
Your VPN provider has no part to play in this and they simply cannot protect you from stuff you invite in!
2) If you click on toxic links
We all get a ton of spam emails with malicious links that we should never click. But these links can also be places around on websites that we get across.
When you happen to click one of these links you will invite hacker-code into your system. Even though you’re doing so through a super-secure VPN server that has the best encryption available!
3) If you’re using a bad VPN
Many VPNs are free and like always:
Few things are TRULY free on the Internet.
When you choose to go with a low-quality VPN provider on your site you also invite trouble into your system in many cases. The problem is that they will typically sell your information and they might even install bad code on your system that can do harm.
Hackers are smart people. They know how to get around obstacles.
That’s what they do.
So, make sure you never use a VPN unless you trust them. You shouldn’t trust a free VPN. Not only is it typically slow and clunky because you will be sharing the bandwidth with a ton of other users, but more importantly, it’s not safe.
You need to go with a trusted VPN that has a good reputation in the market. We’ve made a comparison of trusted VPNs that work great on any device. They are only around $5-10 per month so it’s a CHEAP price to pay for protection. It will quickly cost you a fortune if your system gets hacked!
What Are the Best VPNs to Stop Hackers?
We’ve looked at the biggest VPN providers and ranked them by how well they protect you. Some of the things we look at when we’re talking protection from hackers are how well your data is protected and how well your IP is hidden from the outside world.
These are some of the basic features of a VPN provider, and something you should expect them to do with military precision.
But none of them will stop attacks from hackers when they try to get to your system using viruses and malware.
That being said, we do recommend using VPNs for security reasons. But mostly a VPN will make sure the data you send is non-traceable and impossible to decipher. The data you invite into your system by clicking on it or downloading it will still get into your system. You will need a good antivirus program to take care of these things before they enter your system.
Here are the VPNs we recommend you use:
They have a super strong network of servers around the globe.
They encrypt your data really well and you can let their kill switch system shut down the internet connection if the guards are down. If your data is not protected it will turn off the connection and block all traffic until you get it back up again.
This is the VPN I’m currently using on my computer right now. They have very strong encryption as well (much like the one you find with ExpressVPN) and they have German engineered (Oh, yes – German!) algorithms to keep you safe.
They also work with Android TVs and ALL other devices you can think of!
Will VPNs Protect PHONES From Hackers?
Your phone is as exposed to security threats as any other device. But there’s a difference that we need to understand.
In order for an App to be available on the iPhone App Store or on the Google Play store, it needs to be approved by either Apple or Google. That means that you can generally trust the software you find in the app stores.
But that doesn’t mean that you cannot get infected otherwise.
Installing a VPN on your phone is just the first step toward securing your phone from hackers. You also need to make sure you don’t click on anything that you don’t trust. Just like you wouldn’t click a suspicious link inside an email on your laptop or desktop computer.
It’s a great idea to combine your VPN with an antivirus app.
There are several options for Android and iPhones and you should just go to the app stores and see what they recommend. Really, they are the pros when it comes to protecting and vetting the apps you let into your phone.
ALSO, when we’re talking antivirus apps.
Do You Need Antivirus If You Have a Vpn?
You will need antivirus protection alongside your VPN connection to be safe from hackers and malware. The reason is that VPNs cannot protect you from bad applications you install accidentally by clicking a link or downloading an infected file.
You need to make sure that you are protected against malware that will try to enter your system. Especially if you like to browse around on websites you don’t know etc.
Here are some scenarios where you should DEFINITELY combine a VPN with some serious antivirus software:
- If you stream from unknown websites
- If you download programs from sites you don’t know
- If you browse websites in languages you don’t know
- If you’re using an email client with bad spam filtering.
In all of these cases, you need to be sure you’re protected from hacker viruses and malware.
What Does a VPN Actually Stop?
So, how ARE you protected when you’re using a VPN?
Here are the things a VPN will do for you in regard to safety:
- They will hide your internet traffic from the ISP (Internet Service Provider)
- They will hide your IP
- They will add encryption to your traffic
That’s about it.
So, as you can see, you’re not protected from malware that tries to find it’s way into your system through some clever hacker code!