Why you should use a VPN service to prevent cyber threats
Not sure which cybersecurity options are worth investing in? These days, users are increasingly turning to premium VPN services to thwart hackers and snoops. Here's a quick overview of why a quality VPN service is one of the most effective ways to protect your online security and privacy.
Why use a VPN service to protect against cyber threats?
Each time you access the internet, your computer, smartphone, or tablet PC is assigned an IP address by your Internet Service Provider. That Internet Protocol is unique for that session and to your computer or device for that matter. However, even though it appears to be just a series of numbers, the IP address reveals things like your location, even the operating system you might be using and your ISP. Not to mention the fact that it allows for your ISP to easily track all the websites and information you’re accessing online.
Now if tracking does not bother you, hacking should. Your IP address in the hands of a hacker with malicious intent is all that’s needed to start finding an exploit like an open port. What a VPN service does is it masks your IP address, plus it encrypts all the traffic to and from your computer. Additionally, it also hides your activity from the ISP.
VPNs help protect against malware
The best VPN service out there will offer Malware protection, in addition to a host of other features. Malware is one of the means by which hackers can gain access to sensitive information about the files on your computer, the websites you access, and even gather password information. Plus, malware on the computer or any other device for that matter can open a doorway for other malicious software like Trojans which work as a sort of direct connection between your computer and the hacker.
Public network or Wi-Fi protection
The other important aspect of cyber threat prevention is protection on otherwise public networks. Each time your device accesses a public Wi-Fi connection like in a coffee shop it (the device) exposes some information to that network, one of which being its' MAC address. The MAC address is unique to each device that accesses the network and does not change. The MAC is a huge find for hackers who can use it along with other information to hack into places like your bank account.
Your device also exposes all the traffic routed through the public Wi-Fi connection. So, if hackers have access to the public Wi-Fi or if they run it, it is straightforward for them to see everything you’re doing online. When you use a VPN, the public Wi-Fi does not see anything except for encrypted traffic. The encryption is near impossible to crack, and so the information or traffic is useless to a hacker.
Protects you from phishing attempts
Have you ever received an email from PayPal saying that your account is blocked and that to unblock it you’ll have to sign-in by clicking on the link in the email? It does appear genuine except for PayPal didn’t send that email - a malicious hacker did. If you were to click on that link, it would take you to a website that appears to be PayPal’s log-in page, but in reality, it isn’t. Any and all information entered into the page would be captured by the hacker who would then have access to your PayPal account.
The way in which a quality VPN service can help you is by blocking the website. Usually, VPN services have a database of such malicious links and websites which are blocked. Generally speaking, if you’ve been sent this email, others have received it too which means that the VPN service has blacklisted it. However, the one thing you need to bear in mind is that VPN services don’t necessarily advertise that they block phishing websites because it is hard to do. But in most cases, it can be a big help.
So what type of VPN service should you choose?
Ideally, you’ll want to choose a premium VPN service with ad-blocking and malware protection. However, the VPN should be capable of providing you multiple connection options so that it can be tweaked to the way you use the internet. Also, it should support mobile devices and operating systems like Android and iOS. That way even the apps you use to access the internet like Facebook, Twitter, WhatsApp, etc. are all protected. Finally, and perhaps above all, it should not throttle the speed of your internet connection significantly, though a slight reduction in speed is to be expected as traffic is bounced from multiple servers to ensure anonymity.
A premium, quality VPN service is one of the best cybersecurity tools out there, and should be used as part of your overall cyber threat protection plan. Creating strong passwords, only accessing sites that use HTTPS-encrypted SSL certificates, and enabling two-step verification whenever possible are just a few other ways to ensure your online activity remains private, your security uncompromised.
Top VPN Canada is a team of VPN experts based in Canada that review the most popular VPN services worldwide. They also provide great advice regarding cybersecurity and several guides about VPNs that are useful for beginners.