Does a VPN Protect You From Hackers?

A VPN does indeed protect you from hackers along with a myriad of other benefits. This is the cheapest, yet essential, form of security you can add to your everyday life. A VPN enhances security and privacy even from your internet service provider. A VPN will encrypt all traffic between you and your server making it impossible for cybercriminals to decrypt any data, or steal your sensitive data. 

VPNs might also keep you safe from DDoS (Distributed Denial of Service) attacks that flood your network with unwished-for requests and traffic. Fortunately, for DDoS attacks, the attacker needs to know your IP address and since a VPN hides your IP address, they can keep DDoS/DoS attacks at bay. There are millions of ways hackers can push into your network and steal information in-transit or stored in cloud storage. Let’s see how a VPN actually protects you from some specific kinds of attacks. 

How Does a VPN Work?

Before you get into the details, it is beneficial to know what a VPN does to provide privacy to your online endeavors and how effective is it. An online service that encrypts your traffic and hides your IP address is known as a Virtual Private Network. 

Once you get the app, it could be a free VPN or a paid one, you connect to a VPN server and establish an encrypted tunnel or connection between the two. Now when any data passes from this connection, it is encrypted end-to-end. While loading a website, the VPN app will send a connection request to the VPN server through your ISP’s network and the VPN server will then route it to the website while hiding your IP address so the website only sees the VPN server’s address. In the same way, your Internet Service Provider won’t be able to see the website you’re browsing. 

Protection against Fake or Public Wi-Fis

Just as anyone can tune in to a radio, anyone can grab the signal and tune in on your Wi-Fi network as well. Wi-Fis work on radio waves and are prone to cyberattacks and intrusions. Public Wi-Fis are the easiest way to inject malware, monitor your traffic, retract information, and decrypt it from a connected device. VPNs ensure that hackers are unable to read or interpret data. 

Sometimes, a hacker would set up a fake hotspot that poses as a real Wi-Fi, just like a free Wi-Fi at a coffee shop or the airport. And when you connect your phone to this fake network, they’re all set to dive into your traffic. This is where a VPN comes into play and turns your data into a form that is simply gibberish to hackers.

Protection Against Remote Hacks

A VPN might also be able to prevent remote hacking, which can be done in multiple ways. One of the ways is knowing your IP address and using it to break into your computer from remote locations. This method includes Shared Resources and their exploitation, along with malware and social engineering. 

Thus, a VPN when hides your IP address, offers an extra layer of protection. But a VPN can’t do much if the hacker already knows your IP address. If you’re positive that you’re being hacked, try getting your ISP to change the address and keep the new one hidden constantly and the network protected. 

Blocking Connections

Phishing emails are fairly a common way to get an internet user to click on malicious links. According to some studies, hackers are up to creating around 1.4 million phishing websites on a monthly basis. Phishing emails are one category where a VPN cannot ensure your safety at all times. 

The best it can do is block the connection if you happen to click on a phishing link you received via email. VPN will act somewhat like a firewall and block any shady or malicious domains by breaking the connection. For this, it is best you never open the suspicious link you find online. 

Protection against MITM Attacks

When a hacker puts himself between the web server and you, it is called a Man in the Middle or MITM attack. SSL hijacking, HTTPS spoofing, DNS spoofing, etc. are some of the types of MITM attacks. When a hacker spots weak encryption, he/she will eavesdrop with packet sniffers that intercept your data packets. By abusing meek encryption standards, they can steal sensitive information such as login credentials or credit card numbers. 

Hackers can run successful MITM attacks on your home Wi-Fi and any other public Wi-Fi you connect your devices to. A VPN will encrypt the traffic and prevent any hacker from monitoring it as they can’t decrypt or even intercept it. VPN also strongly encrypts your DNS queries to prevent fake redirects when you’re visiting a website.