Thursday, December 7, 2023

Hackers Begin Targeting VPNs as The World Moves Remote – Here’s What You Need to Know

Virtual private networks are an essential tool for any business that enables workers to connect to their corporate network remotely. However, like any security system, they aren’t perfect. With so many businesses moving to remote working and utilizing VPNs for the first time, hackers have smelled blood.

Why Are Hackers Targeting VPNs?

For many people, a VPN is a means of accessing content that is usually region-blocked or hidden behind some kind of content filter. However, while VPNs are becoming more popular for personal use, many people have been using them professionally for a while now. For years, VPNs have provided a secure way for workers to access corporate networks remotely, and most businesses that have offered remote working have installed a VPN of some kind for their employees to use. As this ipvanish review highlights, keeping data secure and encrypted is essential to what a VPN does.

When a VPN is configured correctly and working properly, it keeps all the data that flows between client devices and the corporate servers encrypted. However, no system is completely perfect, and if businesses don’t take the time to keep their VPNs patched and upgraded, they risk falling prey to known security flaws in commercial VPNs.

From the perspective of a hacker, if they can breach a VPN’s security and decrypt encrypted data, they can snoop on communications between workers and their businesses. The sudden switch that many businesses have had to make recently to a predominantly remote-working environment has meant that many businesses with no prior experience of using VPNs are now deploying them for the first time.

This scenario presents a unique opportunity for hackers to take advantage of a large number of inexperienced users now signing up for VPNs. If your business is one of the many currently using a VPN, here’s what you need to know about the latest security issues.

Make Sure Your VPN Client Is Kept Up To Date

While most commercially available VPN services are very secure, vulnerabilities are occasionally discovered, and there are hackers constantly trying to find new holes in VPN security systems. As a result, weaknesses will be found now and then, when they are, information about those weaknesses will inevitably spread online.

Usually, VPN providers are good at promptly releasing patches to address any security issues. However, these patches are no good if you don’t take the time to install them. Many of the businesses that have fallen prey to this latest wave of attacks have failed to keep their VPN clients upgraded.

Make sure that you keep all of your software and systems updated and install the latest patches as soon as they are available. With most VPN software, you can set it to automatically download and install updates when they become available. This is the best way of making sure that your VPN stays up to date.

Watch Out for Phishing Attacks

A computer sitting on top of a tableDescription automatically generated

One of the most common ways that cybercriminals are able to undermine sophisticated security systems is by the use of a phishing attack. Phishing attacks utilize carefully crafted emails that are designed to trick the recipients into handing over their login information. By using phishing attacks, attackers have been able to breach corporate networks and undermine all the expensive security that’s in place.

With the access they gain from a phishing attack, a malicious actor could install malware or undertake other actions to circumvent the security that your VPN is supposed to provide. The best defence against phishing attacks is education. Teaching your employees what to look out for and how to spot a phishing attack makes it much less likely that they’re going to fall for such an attack.

Pay For An Appropriate Service

Before you commit to any VPN provider, you need to make sure that the service it is offering is suitable for your business. That means that you need to know the package you choose supports enough simultaneous workers and devices that you will have connected at any one time.

For small businesses, in particular, it can be tempting to save money on their VPN expenditure and have some of their less important devices or users connecting without the benefit of a VPN. However, your network security is only ever as strong as its weakest point. If you have devices that aren’t protected by your VPN, then they can end up undermining the security of your devices that are connecting via the VPN.

With so many new and inexperienced users rushing to start using VPNs, there are ample opportunities for malicious actors to cause trouble. Cybercriminals have noticed this influx and are eager to take advantage of it. Every business should have a VPN in place for remote workers, but it is important to note that your VPN won’t keep you safe if you don’t update it and configure it properly.

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