How VPNs can minimize cyberattack risks

In our daily lives, we use the internet constantly. From browsing social media, doing online banking, to working from home, we rely on this worldwide connection now more than we ever have before.

With this increased dependence on the internet, it’s worrying that cyberattacks are showing an alarming rise in 2021.

While there are a few obvious ways to protect yourself from these sorts of attacks, like antivirus software, one of the more overlooked methods is a VPN.

The biggest reason to get a VPN is to preserve your privacy online. By proxy, securing your information also defends you against multiple types of cyberattacks.

The best VPNs encrypt your data and mask your IP address when connected. To learn more about VPNs and which deserves your dollar, head over to VPNBrains.

Types of Cyber Attacks and VPN Efficacy

MITM Attacks

The easiest way to fall victim to a cyberattack is by using public WiFi without a VPN. Most WiFi connections in public require no password and are entirely unencrypted, making them a huge security risk.

Anyone else using the same connection could launch a MITM attack on your device. The worst part is, you might not ever know it happened.

A MITM (Man-In-The-Middle) attack is a cyberattack where a third party intercepts communications between two parties while maintaining the illusion that the two are directly communicating with each other.

This most commonly takes place between a user and a website, where the attacker steals a user’s information by monitoring their activity. This can provide the attacker with sensitive information like login credentials and street addresses.

Fortunately, most VPNs fully encrypt your information when browsing, even over an unsecure connection like public WiFi. A hacker will be rendered utterly incapable of attacking your device.

A VPN is the best way to prevent MITM attacks, so you can browse safely and securely.

Direct Attacks

The truest and most dangerous form of hacking is when a hacker uses your IP address to gain complete control over your system.

Almost every website tracks the IP address of users who visit their site. If you visit a shady site or one that has been compromised by a virus or other malicious software, your IP address could end up in the wrong hands.

Once a hacker has your IP, they can use it to gain access to every device connected to your WiFi. This is increasingly concerning when you consider the capability of these devices.

Your smartphone and PC likely have cameras on them, which can be turned on at any time by a hacker with access. Not to mention the private information stored on these devices.

A VPN nips this problem at the bud by hiding your IP address and masking it with the IP of the server you’re connected to. A hacker can’t exploit your IP address if they never know it.

Phishing

“Phishing” is a term usually associated with a website designed to steal an unsuspecting user’s information. The user typically believes the site is safe and unknowingly provides sensitive information to scammers.

While many VPNs will block shady domains automatically, new phishing websites are being created at an alarming rate, and a new domain might not be recognized by a VPN’s blacklist.

Phishing has been around for more than twenty years, iconically in the form of phishing emails. These emails can make the subsequent phishing site seem even more official and potentially alluring, promising the user a fake reward for clicking the link.

A VPN isn’t foolproof for protecting you from phishing, but it will block you from connecting to most phishing sites, and that protection can be invaluable.

DDoS Attacks

One of the more infamous cyberattacks is the DDoS (Distributed Denial-of-Service) attack, in which a network is taken offline by flooding it with redundant requests in an attempt to overload the system.

These are especially common because they’re relatively easy to do, not requiring a lot of expertise to accomplish. This is due to DDoS attack tools becoming more readily available.

DDoS attacks are only becoming more prevalent and powerful, this report warns, with there being “5.4 million recorded DDoS attacks during the first half of 2021- an 11% rise compared with the same period last year.”

To be the target of a DDoS attack, the perpetrator must know your IP address. As you already know, a VPN is excellent at keeping your IP address a secret.

A VPN will hide your IP address, and prevent you from becoming the victim of a DDoS attack.

VPNs Are Effective

VPNs can do a lot more than just keep you anonymous online. Encryption and IP masking go a long way towards boosting your cyber security.

In this modern-day, where your connection to the internet is more important than ever, you need all the help you can get. Even if a VPN only protects you from a single cyberattack, it is worth it.

If you’re looking for a way to minimize your risk of cyberattacks, add a VPN to your arsenal.

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