How a VPN Protects You From Being Hacked

Nearly 300 million Americans were impacted by data breaches in 2021, with their personal data being exposed online.

While it may seem impossible to prevent when hacks are at such a large scale, there are ways you can easily protect yourself.

Staying safe online requires a few simple tools and a VPN is one of them. We’re going to help you understand everything you need to know by looking at:

  • How a VPN works;
  • Why it’s a good defense from hackers;
  • The types of attacks you can protect yourself from.

What exactly does a VPN do?

A VPN, or virtual private network, is an accessible and simple tool that will boost your online privacy and security. A VPN can change location data from your computer, phone, or tablet.

Normally when you connect to the internet, your device sends data to the servers of the website you’re using, and the data you want – like your video or news article – is sent back. This means information like where you are based is shared directly on the internet connection. 

Using a VPN is different. When you go online, your data is sent through a secure tunnel to the VPN’s server. From there, the request is sent to the website, which then sends back the video, photo, or text you want through the VPN and back to you. 

Put simply, a VPN adds a layer of security between your devices and the internet.

How does a VPN protect from hackers?

Letting someone see where you’re going online might not seem like a big deal. However, it can be the first step to different types of hacks and data breaches. 

The layer of protection that a VPN offers means your real browsing location is protected. Finding out where you are in the world can be the first step to stealing your identity and when you’re online you share your IP address which can tell a hacker at least what town or city you’re in. 

A good VPN will also add encryption to your online activity, making it nearly impossible for your internet connection and data to be accessed. 

This can be especially important when you’re using public WiFi. When you’re accessing the internet at the local coffee shop, when you’re going through an airport, or even when your kids are at school, that network can be super vulnerable to hacks so a VPN makes it seem like you’re not actually using that network at all. 

With a VPN, you’re able to:

  • Hide your current location;
  • Encrypt the data you’re sending and receiving;
  • Hide your browsing activity when using public WiFi;

Which cover most of the hacks you might face in your everyday life. 

What hacks can a VPN protect against?

There are other data that you share with websites – think about the last time you bought something online or signed up for a new service. Sophisticated hackers can try and “listen” to this data, known as a Man in the Middle Attack, but a good VPN will add a layer of encryption to your data, preventing anyone from prying. 

A super common hack is called a DDoS, or distributed denial of service. This is the type of hack your business or employer is likely to face and it will bring down their website or network. It’s only possible when the hackers know your IP address, so using a VPN to access business networks denies them the data they need. 

Cookie hijacking is another common way for a hacker to hijack your computer and access your data. Cookies are the things you’re asked to accept or reject when you access a new website and track your online activity on the website. 

When a hacker hijacks your cookies, they can watch what you’re doing and even pretend to be you on that website. Accessing the internet through a VPN can help prevent this type of attack. 

As an individual online, you want to make sure you’re protected from:

  • Man in the Middle, or listening hacks;
  • Distributed denial of service, or DDoS hacks;
  • Cookie hijacking.

All of which a good VPN will be able to help you avoid. 

Protecting your browsing from hackers

Identity theft and credit card fraud aren’t something you want to deal with; it’s costly and time-consuming to fix. 

Most attacks like this now start online, with hackers gathering your data and watching what you do so they can pretend to be you and use your credit card details. 

A VPN is a quick and simple way to be protected. It adds a layer of security to your browsing, making sure no one knows where you’re connecting from or what you’re connecting to. 

Did you like what you just read?

Show your support for Local Journalism by helping us do more of it. It's a kind and simple gesture that will help us continue to bring stories like this to you.

Click to Donate