The spread of the worldwide COVID-19 pandemic is to blame for a 238% rise in cyberattacks in 2020, with as many as 80% of firms seeing an increase in online attacks.
This has left many users left scratching their heads as to how to secure their online movements from hackers lurking around every digital corner.
Although nothing will guarantee you’re 100% protected online, the best Virtual Private Network (VPN) will go a long way in safeguarding your online privacy.
A VPN for Remote Work
Many of us have had to relinquish our regular office location for a home office during the pandemic, whether at the start of the year or even now during the second round of lockdowns.
This means protecting your home from cybercriminals is something that should be high on your list of priorities. Without VPN protection, you’re endangering countless company and client information that could prove fatal if it falls into the wrong hands.
Not only that but unlike before, where we only had one device connected to the internet, our homes are full of open connections. These include smartphones, smart thermostats, baby cameras, smart televisions, home assistants – and even smart refrigerators.
All of these devices can be used to launch attacks or pinpoint your exact location.
With a VPN, your online connection remains private, and by activating a high-quality VPN, you will no longer be transmitting your IP address to the world.
How Does a VPN Protect You from Cybercriminals?
There are two main ways in which a VPN can protect you from cybercriminals.
One of them is encryption. A VPN encrypts your data before sending it to another device, and then that data is decrypted when it arrives at its destination. The best VPNs use military-grade encryption.
It is virtually impossible to crack, so even if someone were to get their hands on your information, it would all be jumbled and illegible, rendering it useless.
The second way which a VPN protects your information is through IP masking. Your IP address is pretty much your online address. Those that know-how can use this information to locate your home address.
When you use a VPN, all of your online activities go through the VPN server, which can be anywhere in the world where your chosen VPN provider has servers, ensuring your real IP address is completely hidden.
According to Forbes, “In addition, this VPN server is being shared simultaneously by many other users. This provides anonymity in numbers, since to the Internet, the traffic from every computer that’s being routed through the VPN server appears to be coming from a single user. This not only makes stealing your information more difficult, it also eliminates targeted advertising. Pair a VPN service with the “incognito” mode on your browser, and you’ve got a double dose of Internet privacy.”
Other Ways to Protect Yourself from Hackers
While a VPN is indisputably a strong layer of defense when it comes to warding off cybercriminals, but you can do even more to secure your connection. Follow these tips to enjoy greater protection:
Use antivirus software – although hackers might attempt to inject malware onto your device, you can use AV software to attempt to detect it.
Avoid using public Wi-Fi – in fact, it is highly recommended that you never connect to a public hotspot without using a VPN, especially if you’re going to access sensitive data or do some online banking or shopping.
Update your software – many applications come with bugs that software developers only discover after the software has been made available to the public. Make sure to update all of your software to ensure you patch any potential security vulnerabilities.
Activate firewalls – while a firewall might not stop a hacker from attempting to break into your devices, it will definitely be an annoying barrier making their lives much harder.
While it’s true that a VPN cannot guarantee complete online protection from hackers, it certainly goes a long way in securing your online movements.
With many people unable to rely on their traditional offices that are equipped with additional security and whole teams dedicated to IT protection, it is imperative to protect your online movements; however, you can.
For a couple of dollars, a month, a top VPN will offer thousands of server locations to choose from with additional security protocols that will go above and beyond in defending you from online criminals.