According to Microsoft’s Digital Defense report, there has been a massive increase in cyberattacks against unsuspecting users and businesses of all sorts. Two such threats that have surged in the last few years are ransomware and phishing attacks.
This should not come as a surprise since back in 2019, 65% of organizations based in the United States experienced successful phishing attacks. Such attacks can damage businesses and individuals, costing millions, but they are detrimental to your reputation as well.
Now, the question is whether VPN (Virtual Private Network) software can protect your cyber infrastructure from these threats? The simple answer is no, but it can protect your online privacy by encrypting your internet traffic and making sure no one can watch over your shoulder. This includes government agencies and malicious hackers.
In this way, threat actors planning to attack your company or devices at home will never be able to get their hands on your real IP address.
How to Recognize Phishing Attacks
A ransomware attack can infect a computer through pirated software or malware-infected files attached to a phishing email. That is why cybersecurity researchers advise users to download apps and software from authentic stores rather than third-party ones.
However, a phishing attack is a type of threat that can trick even a tech-savvy into not only giving away crucial login credentials but also result in downloading malicious payload especially develop to lock users out of their computers and demand hefty ransom in return.
So how would you recognize phishing emails? Well, for starters, such emails contain links or lead to downloading malware that can help cybercriminals obtain your sensitive information or your client’s personal data. The consequences of both can be damaging to one’s reputation and finances.
The general rule to avoid email phishing is that we shouldn’t open up emails from an unknown sender, especially if they have these words in the subject:
However, not every phishing email will be an obvious one. That is especially true amid situations of global panics – such as the coronavirus pandemic.
Since the beginning of the pandemic, more advanced cybercriminals have been known to impersonate COVID-19 related authorities [PDF]. Therefore, unsuspecting users would not even imagine that such emails could lead to downloading a malicious virus.
VPNs, privacy and cyber attacks
The best or most popular VPNs are big on privacy and have a strict policy that protects their customers from data leakages to third-parties including ISPs.
However, while you should never log your personal information on unreliable websites and keep your browsing activity hidden; it is also essential that you take advantage of a reliable anti-malware solution out there.
Choosing the Right VPN Service
There are many VPN services available on the market nowadays, but not all of them offer the same benefits. Which is the best VPN depends on your individual needs or the needs of your company.
Most of the top VPNs offer rapid speed, built-in ad blocks, multiple servers that can change your IP (internet address), enable you access to popular streaming platforms or bypass censorship, and more.
Increased internet speed is particularly valuable to those who need to communicate with international clients or give their home-based employees access to a digital business platform.
Some VPNs are adapted for business use and can be connected to multiple devices. Others are more about being user-friendly for individuals or companies that employ freelancers that are not too technology savvy.
There are alternatives such as free VPNs and proxies, but they are not recommended since they don’t offer the same level of anonymity and cyber safety. Some are even notorious for data leakage or selling user data to advertisers.
Cyber attacks will not always be apparent, and that is why businesses and individuals worried about their security and privacy should emphasize on using security solutions along with VPN.