Does a VPN protect me from hackers on public Wi-Fi?
Yes. The way VPNs function empowers them to protect your Wi-Fi connections. Since there are hundreds of millions of hot-spots out there, the utility of Wi-Fi is obvious. But the threats its use pose to you aren’t as easy to see.
Wi-Fi is inherently less secure than a cable connection. Wi-Fi works on radio waves, and just like with regular radio, anyone can tune in and catch the signal.
They can simply capture the signals as they fly from your device to the router. They are able to set up false routers to steal your data. They can use public Wi-Fi to inject malware on your device or to pretend to be you online.
A VPN defeats all of that. By encrypting your data, it ensures that hackers can’t read it. All the smart measures they use are useless if the information they steal is unreadable.
Does a VPN protect me from hackers at home?
Yes, and protecting your home from hackers is something that becomes more and more necessary every day.
The days when the personal computer was the only internet-connected device at home are long gone. We now have smartphones, home assistants like Alexa, smart fridges, and more. Sadly, every open internet connection is an inroad for hackers.
Smart baby cameras, radios, and even picture frames have vulnerabilities.. Hackers can access them if they know your IP address. They can use it to launch attacks and hack into your devices that guard your personal data – or to pinpoint your location in the world.
But what if you could hide your IP? That’s what VPN does as part of its normal operations. With a VPN on, you won’t be transmitting your IP – your digital equivalent to home address – anymore.
How does a VPN protect me from hackers?
There are two core features of a VPN that protect you from hackers:
Encryption: a VPN is made to enable secure connections between two devices over the internet. Part of this is encrypting your information. It happens on your device before sending it to the VPN server, decrypting it there and forwarding it to its online destination.
Leading VPNs like Surfshark use AES 256-bit encryption. The details of this are a bit complicated, but in short, it makes your data impractical to crack. It would take multiple human lifetimes to do it.
This means that when a hacker intercepts your data, they get nothing useful out of it.
IP masking: IP address is basically your home address online. Sometimes, it can even point to your real-life address for the people who want to track you down.
However, if you use a VPN, you connect to a VPN server before going online. This means that all of your online activities are then marked by the server’s IP address, not yours. Your real IP is hidden.
Thus, the hackers can’t identify your location, can’t track down your network, and can’t crack it to access your data or mess with your IoT gadgets.
As you see, a VPN is a great way to secure your devices and make them much harder to crack for hackers. But we also have some other tips on increasing your security as well.
What else can I do to protect myself against hackers?
A VPN provides a strong layer of defense. Can you improve your security even more? Yes. Here are some tips that will help you raise your defenses:
- Keep your software updated: software developers usually try to patch any security issues. That’s why you should regularly check if your software (the operating system of a device including) has pending updates.
- Enable firewalls: firewalls may not stop every hacker, but it makes their work a lot harder. Enable those firewalls, even if they’re the default system ones.
- Use antivirus software: hackers may inject malware (viruses and such). Use antivirus to sniff them out.
- Secure your router: change your router’s password and constantly update the firmware. Disable features like UPnP, Remote Access, and WPS to make it more secure.
- Be careful on public Wi-Fi: don’t access any sensitive services like banks while using public Wi-Fi – hackers may be looking to steal your data.
These are the basics that should keep you going while you search for a good VPN.
How to find a secure VPN?
When you’re looking for a VPN that will protect you from hackers the best, there are several things to look for:
Kill-switch: this feature disconnects you from the internet if the VPN protection drops. That way, you will not accidentally leak your data online.
Secure protocols: VPN protocols (the approaches to setting up a VPN connection) evolve over time. OpenVPN and IKEv2 are the current industry leaders in security and are used by good VPNs. Avoid those that still use L2TP, IPsec and PPTP.
Supported platforms: you want a VPN to be installed on all of your devices. Get one that supports the most platforms (as an aside, a single Surfshark account comes with unlimited installs).
History: research the history of your chosen VPN. Look up “breached VPN” on Google to see if it experienced data breaches.
Price: the best VPNs are all paid as this gives them the funds to both support the product and to keep its security measures up-to-date.
Hackers are a danger online, but you can take steps to protect yourself. One of the biggest and easiest measures you can take today is to get a VPN. Encryption and hiding your IP will cover many of your vulnerabilities without you even noticing it. So invest in a VPN that will protect you from hackers today!