In today’s day and age, it is hard to imagine not being connected to the internet all the time. It is a modern day need that most of us cannot live without. But our online lives bring with it newer cyberthreats. A good antivirus software and use of a reputed VPN can thwart most of them and protect our privacy.

We have already discussed the threats VPNs can and cannot protect you from. In case you missed it, you can read it here. But there is always a question that we are asked repeatedly, and that’s about how a VPN can protect you from hackers. So we thought of answering it today. Here’s everything you need to know about it.

A VPN employs two key techniques to protect you from hackers, including:

  • Encryption:

One of the primary ways the best VPNs protect you from hackers is through encryption. When you connect to a VPN, it creates a secure tunnel between your device and the VPN server. All data transmitted through this tunnel is encrypted, making it unreadable to anyone trying to intercept it. Even if hackers manage to intercept your data, they won't be able to decipher the encrypted information without the encryption key, effectively thwarting their attempts to access your sensitive information.

  • IP Masking:

Another key aspect of VPN protection is IP masking. Your IP address is a unique identifier that reveals your location and can be used by hackers to target your device or track your online activities. When you use a VPN, your IP address is replaced with the IP address of the VPN server you're connected to.

This masks your real IP address, making it appear as if you're accessing the internet from a different location. By hiding your true IP address, VPNs make it significantly harder for hackers to identify and target your device or track your online behavior.

By combining encryption and IP masking, VPNs create a secure and anonymous online environment, making it more challenging for hackers to infiltrate your device or intercept your data. However, it's important to note that while VPNs provide robust protection against certain cyber threats, they are not foolproof. Users must still practice good cybersecurity hygiene, such as using strong passwords, regularly updating software, and avoiding suspicious links or downloads, to further enhance their overall security.

What else can I do to protect myself against hackers?

While using a VPN is an excellent step towards enhancing your online security, there are additional measures you can take to further protect yourself against hackers. Here are some important steps to consider:

  • Create Strong and Unique Passwords

Use strong passwords that include a combination of upper and lowercase letters, special characters, and numbers. Don’t use easily guessable information, such as your name or birthdate. Additionally, when it comes to enhancing your online security, consider utilizing only the best free VPNs. Also, make sure to use unique passwords for each of your online accounts to prevent a single breach from compromising multiple accounts.

  • Enable Two-Factor Authentication (2FA)

Two-factor authentication provides an additional security layer to your accounts by requiring an additional verification step, usually through a text message, email or authentication app. This ensures that even if hackers obtain your password, they still need an additional factor to access your accounts.

  • Keep Software and Devices Updated

Regularly update your operating system, web browsers, antivirus software and other applications. Software updates often include security patches that address vulnerabilities and protect against the latest threats. Enable automatic updates whenever possible to ensure you stay protected.

  • Enable Firewall

Activate the built-in firewall on your computer or install a reputable third-party firewall. Firewalls act as a barrier between your device and the internet, monitoring incoming and outgoing network traffic. They can help detect and block suspicious connections, providing an extra layer of protection against unauthorized access.

  • Use Antivirus Software

Install reliable antivirus software on your devices and keep it up to date. Antivirus software, along with the fastest VPNs, scans for and detects malware, viruses, and other malicious programs that can compromise your security. Regularly schedule scans and enable real-time protection to proactively identify and eliminate threats.

  • Secure Your Router

Your home Wi-Fi router is a gateway to your network and devices. Change the default username and password of your router to unique and strong credentials. Enable encryption, such as WPA2 or WPA3, to secure your Wi-Fi network. Regularly check for firmware updates from the router manufacturer to patch any known vulnerabilities.

  • Exercise Caution with Email and Attachments

Be vigilant when opening emails, particularly those received from unfamiliar senders or containing suspicious attachments or links. Phishing emails are a common tactic used by hackers to trick users into revealing sensitive information or downloading malware. Verify the authenticity of emails before clicking on any links or providing personal information.

  • Be Mindful of Public Wi-Fi Networks

Hackers often target public Wi-Fi networks due to their vulnerabilities. So it is recommended to avoid accessing sensitive information, such as online banking or personal accounts, when connected to unsecured public Wi-Fi. If you must use public Wi-Fi, connect through a VPN to encrypt your traffic and protect your data from interception.

  • Regularly Back Up Your Data

Create regular backups of your important files and data. Having backups in place is crucial in the event of a security breach or ransomware attack as they enable you to restore your files and minimize the potential damage caused. Store backups on external hard drives, cloud storage or other secure locations.

  • Educate Yourself about Social Engineering Tactics

Stay informed about common social engineering tactics used by hackers, such as phishing, pretexting or impersonation. Be cautious when receiving requests for personal or sensitive information, even if they seem to be from trusted sources. Always verify the authenticity of such requests through alternate channels before sharing any sensitive information.

By implementing these additional security measures alongside using a VPN, you can create a robust defense against hackers and safeguard your personal information and digital identity. Remember, online security is a continuous effort, so staying informed and practicing good cybersecurity habits is key to protecting yourself against evolving threats.