Computer systems have always been vulnerable to threats but in recent years, it has become much more of a problem. Cybercrime and spying from companies and internet service providers (ISPs) are putting our online privacy at risk. With almost 40% of computers in the world supporting Windows, it is by far the most popular operating system in the world. Therefore, it is also the most frequently hit by attacks of all kinds. Here we discuss some of the challenges and how a VPN can help users avoid these.
What is a VPN?
Before we get into what a VPN for Windows is capable of, it is important to understand the basics. A VPN or Virtual Private Network is a program that allows secure and private internet access on public and private networks. It can help users protect their digital identity and online browsing activity over Wi-Fi hotspots or the internet in general.
VPNs have always been used by people to gain more freedom when browsing the internet but in recent years, their usage has grown even further due to the rising threat from cybercriminals. A VPN is one of the most effective ways to protect against spying and breach of privacy from ISPs and any other element that may be trying to get access to a user’s sensitive information without permission.
How does it work?
A VPN is like a barrier that stands between users and hackers or other elements with malicious intentions. In order to understand how a VPN for Windows works, it is important to understand how the internet works. In simple terms, whenever a request to access a website is initiated by a user through the address bar in their browser, a packet of data is sent to their local ISP.
The ISP then routes this data to the website it was intended towards. During this process, the ISP and the website you are trying to visit know your exact location and can track everything that you do online. With a VPN is place, instead of going to the ISP, the request users send goes through a secure server owned by the service and then to the website it was intended for. The real location of the user is, as a result, hidden from others.
What are the threats to windows security?
Without a VPN, the normal internet pathway is full of places that make a user vulnerable to a variety of threats. In an unprotected connection, the IP address is public and so is all the browsing. Whatever a user does on the internet, they can be tracked continuously. Hackers can take this a step further and try various tactics to plant viruses or trick users into giving away their private information.
Here are a few ways in which this can happen:
By far the biggest threat to Windows security are the internet service providers and cybercriminals. Government agencies can also get access to user browsing history and they too, go through ISPs. Hackers on the other hand, can take advantage of the various places that our data is stored like social media sites by stealing from them or directly targeting the user’s computer.
A malware is a virus that is send to a computer or network system by a third party to infect and disable it. There are different types of malware, each with their own unique function. Some common examples include ransomware which locks access to data within a computer unless an amount is paid to the hacker for its release, spyware which secretly allows the sender to keep track of all activities happening from a device and adware etc.
This is one of the most common ways for hackers to steal information from users directly without them knowing. The way it works is that a false form, questionnaire or email is sent to the user. The open it or fill it out without knowing that it might be a trap. The information they enter is collected by the hacker or the email attachment that a user may open, sends a virus to their computer which lives their undetected until it is too late.
These attacks are targeted towards individuals or businesses who can suffer losses if they go offline. Examples can include e-commerce stores. In a Denial of Service (DoS) or Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) massive amounts of junk traffic is sent to the servers of a website or personal computer causing to a crash and go offline for some time. By the time a system recovers, there are considerable damages incurred to it.
How a VPN eliminates windows security risks?
Although a VPN looks like it is only doing a simple job, there are a lot of features that come with it for added security. Even the simple task of masking the IP address and making data traffic anonymous is enough to get rid of a lot of threats like spying or theft of personal information. It is one of the best ways to comprehensively protect yourself from any online threats.
Most threats that end up inside a Windows computer start on the outside. Hackers or other entities use IP addresses and data traffic to check where a user is and then send malware or other types of viruses to infect their systems. With a VPN, no third party is able to tell what your IP address is and what you are doing online.
VPNs offer added protection through end-to-end encryption. The services offering top of the line programs come with 256-bit encryption which is the same as used by various government departments too. This encryption is vital in plugging any loopholes that have been left when data is in transit because this is when it is most vulnerable.
A VPN for Windows is one of the most complete security packages that you can get at the most affordable price. In light of all the elements trying to sneak in and steal information from your computer, it is important to have a VPN coupled with an antivirus installed at all times. It is always better to play safe than sorry.