The increased availability of the internet comes with many benefits, the notable one being convenience. Increasingly, the work setting has morphed from office-based to remote work environments due to the proliferation of the internet. Furthermore, the rise of the gig economy and COVID-19 has made remote working more prevalent.
With remote working and freelancing prevalence, virtual private networks (VPNs) have also surged. The initial reason for the increase in demand for VPNs was to help technical people access critical technology assets anywhere. However, nowadays, almost everyone needs a VPN to protect themselves from pernicious attacks on their computers.
Cyber Threats that a VPN can Handle
Let us look at five major cyber threats that a VPN can handle.
1. External Hacking Threats
Malicious elements trying to steal information from your computer will have a difficult task when you use a VPN. With a military-grade encryption technology VPN and its advanced data encryption level, it can be difficult for cybercriminals to steal data from computers.
Therefore, if you have a VPN and connect your gadget to public Wi-Fi, you don’t have to worry about external data hacks. A hacker will not manage to steal your credit card information, password, or any other critical information. Instead, the service will securely route your traffic through an encrypted tunnel to an external server.
However, it is noteworthy that VPNs are only for connections and cannot guarantee your gadgets’ physical security. Therefore, in addition to VPNs, it is advisable to augment cybersecurity through strong identity controls, passwords, and 2-Factor Authentication protocols.
The motivations for spying on your online activity are varied. They include stealing data for direct financial gain, targeted advertising, etc. So, it is essential to be wary of spyware because you don’t know how the sender intends to use the information collected.
Most internet users are accustomed to cookies but aren’t aware of spyware and its potential harm to their computers. Malware can be very vicious because it doesn’t just destroy your computer but also collects data.
While a VPN cannot prevent your computer from downloading spyware, it conceals your location, preventing the senders from monitoring your online activity. In addition, with the best VPN, you can access anti-malware and ad-blocking software to keep you safe online.
Moreover, some people have anti-spyware software on their computers. It cleans any residue of the malware that remains after a download.
Ideally, malicious elements trying to steal people’s information build their phishing websites using an HTTP domain because they can’t get site certification. However, as users become more aware of the HTTP protocol, they’ve become less susceptible to these sites, reducing phishing attacks.
However, most hackers have upped their game and are now using the HTTPS protocol in their domain name, deceiving most users and stealing much personal information. Therefore, it is important to use a VPN when browsing to avoid such a scenario.
When selecting a VPN service, choose one that gives you privacy and security protection when online. Get a VPN with a malicious website detector to identify links that may compromise your security.
With a VPN, malicious actors can’t monitor your online traffic and direct you to their website through browser hijacking. In addition, the private network connection insulates your network connection, limiting any attempt to hijack your browser while securing your browsing session.
Finally, one of the attractive aspects of phishing websites emanates from their emails to online users. Often, the messages seem legitimate and luring. However, once victims visit the site, they are lured into sharing the personal information hackers use to steal from them.VPN creates a private channel that can’t allow malicious actors to track your email address for phishing purposes.
The rise in popularity and value of cryptocurrencies has created an opportunity for illegal activities to thrive in the nascent ecosystem. With the cost of mining cryptocurrencies rising and beyond, many malicious people have devised ways of profitably participating in the process without incurring huge costs. The new fraud is cryptojacking.
It is essential to know why it is gaining prominence to understand cryptojacking. Coin mining is a very costly and lengthy process. It involves the use of expensive computer equipment and vast amounts of electricity. Therefore, the more devices at your disposal, the faster you can mine coins. But due to cost constraints, most people can’t foot the enormous electricity bills and acquire the equipment. These are the constraints that lure cybercriminals to engage in cryptojacking.
Cryptomining may occur in two ways. First, it may happen via phishing tactics in which malicious emails are used to install a crypto mining code on a device. Once a victim downloads an attachment or clicks on a link in the email, it runs a code that eventually downloads the crypto mining script on the computer. The computer owner will never notice that the script is working from the background.
In the second case, malicious attacks are carried out on a victim’s web browser to mine cryptocurrency. The attacks are generally fileless since they don’t involve copying files to a disk. Moreover, it is difficult to ascertain any signature of the attack. It is very invisible—the perpetrator benefits by putting the victim’s machine to work.
Interestingly, in both cases, the code serves the interests of the hacker. It solves complex mathematical problems (mining) and transmits the results to the cybercriminal’s server without the victim noticing.
VPNs can prevent such an occurrence. They mask your IP address and prevent malicious actors from targeting your devices. With a good VPN, most cryptojacking protocols will be neutralized.
Since the first half of 2020, ransomware groups have been ferociously attacking the enterprise sector. Cybercriminals have learned of certain intrusion vectors and have exploited them to the detriment of most enterprises. Specifically, the criminals use unsecured RDP endpoints, email phishing, and the exploitation of corporate VPN appliances to gain access to corporate networks.
In 2020, RDP was the most popular intrusion vector used by hackers to access Windows computers and install ransomware and other malware. As a result, cybercrime groups constantly scan the internet, searching for RDP endpoints. Then they carry out brute-force attacks on the systems in search of their respective credentials.
While VPNs are also an attack vector, you can significantly reduce the risks of ransomware attacks with frequent patching. Patching fixes security vulnerabilities and bugs to improve performance and security. Moreover, VPNs can also mask user IP addresses and encrypt internet traffic to minimize the chances of phishing, which is another ransomware attack vector.
How to Choose A Trusted VPN
However, questions may arise. For example, how to choose a performing VPN that can provide a corporate level of security and a reliable connection? There are multiple pre-existing VPN tools like NordVPN, Surfshark, and HotstpotShield; still, one of these can minimize cyber threats.
But the App that recently got significant traction is Switcherry – It is a fast-growing VPN app that is quite popular among iOS users. The exciting part is that, unlike others, it doesn’t limit you to daily or monthly traffic, nor do you have to deal with annoying ad pop-ups that most other VPN apps serve. Furthermore, it is completely ad-free as Switcherry App comes with pre-installed ad-blockers.
The concern about online privacy and data breaches has been at its peak in recent times. However, everyone deals with it their way. To some extent, a trusted VPN can help you have anonymity and protect your online identity. Switcherry comes to the rescue in such cases as well. This VPN app neither stores log files nor saves data for the websites you visit.
Most interestingly, Switcherry doesn’t ask you to share your data to access this App. Only username and password are self-sufficient. Isn’t that sound cool for your data privacy concern?
Whether you are working from home or on-site, the need for internet security will continue to dominate cybersecurity discussions. As clearly explained, a VPN is the one solution that will minimize the cybersecurity threats that have dominated the internet. With a good choice of VPN, you can work freely – anywhere – without worrying about cybercriminals. So, as you choose your VPN, consider the features mentioned above and enjoy secure browsing!