While we should all endeavor to protect ourselves online, Antivirus and VPNs (Virtual Private Networks) have become the most popular tools to protect our devices and ourselves. These tools can work independently of each other, or as popularity grows developers are combining both into one program. Which one should you use to protect your online activity, your data, and your privacy?
There are many threats you can encounter while online. There is malware (malicious software), this term is used to describe any form of harmful software that is meant solely to harm your devices. This includes AdWare which is designed to hijack your browser, spyware, and many types of viruses. While there are many types some most common are,
- Resident Virus – This virus lives in your RAM memory ( Random Access Memory ). It is designed to interfere with normal system operation, which in turn could lead to file and or program corruption.
- Trojans – look like programs that are disguised as a useful app, but have viruses embedded in them.
- Direct Action Virus – Are designed to attack certain.EXE files ( .EXE files are Executable file, most common on Windows systems and are only ever used to launch an application and should only be opened with caution and knowledge it is safe to do so ) and.COM files ( .COM file is an executable file similar to .EXE file, they contain commands that are used by the computers operating system ). The purpose of this virus is to infect files in folders.
- Worms – Are designed to infect numerous devices by replicating themselves without any assistance.
- Browser Hijacker – Has the ability to infect your browser, so when you type a domain name into the address bar it can direct you to a fake website. They also have the ability to open multiple fake websites that can, in turn, harm your computer.
- Ransomware –
Is one of the newer types of virus, it can prevent users from accessing their computers, by locking screen, or files until a ransom is paid. Some more modern Ransomware will encrypt files, and then force the user to pay a ransom for decryption key through one of the varied online payment methods such as Bitcoin, UKash, and others.
These are just some different viruses you might encounter, and once they infect your device they can corrupt files, and possibly destroy your device beyond repair. While malware is not the only danger you may encounter when online browsing the web, you may also come across
- Phishing scam and spam
- Hacking and Identity theft
- Surveillance and Data theft
Viruses are one of the many tools hackers used to gain unauthorized access to your devices and steal your private information. Antivirus Software and VPNs both protect you, but in different ways. Both having their own strengths and weaknesses.
How Antivirus Software Protects
Every time you open anything on your device you are vulnerable to virus infection, be it your email, a website, app or browser. What keeps you safe is the use of a trustworthy and reputable Antivirus Software program.
Antivirus Software continuously monitors your activity by scanning for anything unusual.
When the Antivirus Software detects a potential threat it will ( depending on your settings ) automatically delete, quarantine the threat. By quarantining threat it allows you to inspect the possible virus and you can then delete.
The ever-evolving sophistication of these threats it is imperative you keep your Antivirus software up to date. Most programs will allow you to set automatic updates. This is probably the easiest and safest way to ensure your software is up to date.
How A VPN Secures Your Personal Data
Reputable and trustworthy VPN services allow you to surf the internet anonymously, it accomplishes this by connecting to secure private servers and hiding your IP address. The process in which a VPN does this is known as a VPN tunnel, the VPN encrypts and encapsulates your data. This process both hides and renders your data unreadable.
It is then sent to destination and is decrypted so you can access whatever it is you were trying to gain access to.
Reputable and trustworthy VPN services will also use a military-grade security measure such as 256-bit keys AES ( Advanced Encryption Standard ) to prevent tracking, this is used by the US Government, NSA for securing classified information including TOP SECRET level.
This type of security is known as Symmetric-key Encryption, there is only one key for both encryption and decryption of the data.
Both parties need the same key to communicate, because of the increasing power of today’s computers the keys have become increasingly long to prevent Brute Force attacks ( Brute Force attack is a method used to guess a secret code by trying every combination of characters, you simply try every combination from 000 to 999 until you get the right combination to open ) so 256 bit is the gold standard as it cannot be brute-forced, because using today’s computers, to run through the all the possible combinations would take billions of years.
Most reputable and trustworthy VPN services also use what is known as a Kill Switch, the kill switch will automatically disconnect internet connection in the event of VPN server disconnection, which in turn could lead to tracking, hacking and stolen data.
In The End
So while you can plainly see that both Antivirus Software and VPN service protect you, they do it in different ways. Antivirus Software is better at protecting you from online threats, and while the VPN service is better suited to protect your data information and privacy.
In the end, they are designed to work together, they are no Antivirus Vs VPN, with the use of both whether they are stand-alone programs or Antivirus Software with VPN added they will protect you from almost anything you may encounter while online, surfing, shopping, reading emails, banking, etc. You shouldn’t choose between one or the other you should have both!!!
I hope you enjoyed and found this post informative and if you have any questions regarding VPN’s please leave me a comment, and I will get back to you soon, Thank you
Stay secure and always practice
Safe Text !!!