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Does a VPN Protect You from Hackers?

Last updated: March 5, 2024 25 min read
Does a VPN Protect You from Hacker

A VPN reinforces your online privacy and security in several ways, including hiding your IP address and encrypting your traffic. And this keeps you safe from hacking exploits. Learn what are the common attacks a VPN protects you against and how it does so.

The sea of the internet continues to grow exponentially, but so have the sharks in it! Hackers are a nightmare to businesses and internet users. Malicious people using the internet are increasing daily. That is why someone hacking or spying on you is easier and more common than ever. Every device connected to the internet is a target of a hacker. And none of your private information, pictures, messages, browsing history, or banking information is safe!


Hackers can bring an organization to its knees through malware, such as spyware and ransomware. The criminals use programs and codes to infiltrate systems and bring malicious demands to the hosts.

Presently, hackers are drooling over your personal information and trying to get you through malicious links to your email or chat apps. Some will use attachments containing malware targeting to exploit any security vulnerabilities in your systems. Others are waiting for you to expose your IP address to know where to start the cyber attack on you or your network systems! 

To keep yourself or your business safe from hackers, consider getting security tools for your systems, like a robust VPN service. The VPN encrypts your traffic so no one can intercept it and see your personal information. This post guides you on how a VPN protects you from hackers online.

VPN Protection Against Hackers

You’re the prime target of cyber attacks if you have a business or a smart home. However, a VPN can protect you from hackers and other malicious cybercriminals. 

Protect Your Data

The VPN will give you a new IP address different from yours. The security tool conceals your actual location. And, because the IP address is the foundation of a hacker’s plot to access your computer systems, hiding this critical information bamboozles the hacker.

VPNs also use military-grade encryption to protect internet browsing traffic from interceptions. Remember, hackers typically have enough technological infrastructure to penetrate your traffic and know what you do on the internet.

But, the encryption protocols make it impossible for them to pinpoint your device or gain access to your networks.

How Does a VPN Protect My Home from Hackers?


It’s necessary to protect your home networks and devices from cyberattacks, especially if you have smart TVs and other smart appliances. A VPN makes it easy for you – it encrypts your network connection, ultimately protecting you from hackers and cybercriminals.

Malicious strangers messing with your smart home or the Internet of Things could be dangerous. They would take control of your home assistants such as Roombas, smart appliances Alexa, or Google Home and can exploit it. Sadly, almost all open internet connections and networks are another new way for hackers to execute malicious plans.

Smart radios, picture frames, and even baby cameras can easily fall into the hands of hackers. Once hackers know your IP address, they can easily intercept your connection and start running your home network.

The malicious individuals can launch serious attacks on your network and ruin your organization. And, remember, your home is your sacred place, and you don’t want anyone messing with it. You don’t want the baby camera to take pictures of your kid and send them to the hacker, do you?

Fortunately, a premium VPN like ExtremeVPN hides your IP address, making it impossible for hackers to access your home network. Also, you run an encrypted VPN connection in the home network, which is difficult to intercept. So, your home will be a ghost in the eyes of the hacker.

Can a VPN Keep Me Safe from Hackers on Public Wifi?

Yes, in some cases. Basically, hackers normally intercept the signals from your device to the router if you are unprotected. They can set up fake routers that intercept what you send from your device on the Wi-Fi.

Safe Public Wi-Fi Connections

The fake WAP (Wireless Access Points) attacks normally inject malware onto your devices using public Wi-Fi. This hands all your private information into the hands of the attacker.

But, if someone creates an access point or intercepts public Wi-Fi to see what you are sending to websites, then the VPN will stop that. The VPN will ensure no interception of information between you and the receiver of data you send on the internet.

Even if the hacker is the ISP or the main admin of the Wi-Fi, they cannot read your traffic. A VPN encrypts your data traffic through secure protocols and channels that make your online activities impossible to read for any snoops.

VPN vs. Ordinary Hackers

VPN vs. Ordinary Hackers

If you live a lifestyle of online privacy hygiene, you shouldn’t be afraid of hackers. At least you will not touch malicious links and give up your passwords to everyone who wants them.

You can rest assured that as far as online safety and security go, you will not be the point of weakness in your online privacy and security struggle. But that doesn’t mean that hackers will stop there. Most malicious cybercriminals will go after your devices and networks and try to plant malware that takes full control over your online life.

The VPN protects you and your activity from malicious actors on the internet. But first, it’s important to understand how hackers get to your devices.

The Most Common Hacks a VPN Will Protect You Against

Are you worried that a specific hacker attack might penetrate through your systems and take over your devices and networks? If yes, you should get a VPN.

Here is a quick summary of how cybercriminals hack your device and how the VPN will protect you!

Also known as session hijacking, cookie theft is the process through which hackers use your cookies to view everything you are browsing, including your social media chats and banking information. Most cookie thieves target open public Wi-Fi and other random hotspots. They intercept the Wi-Fi network and start viewing what you do online. A high-quality VPN like ExtremeVPN encrypts your connection so no one can view what you do online.

2. Malware Infiltration

VPNs cannot remove already installed malware and viruses. If you’re hacked already, the VPN will not help you. However, if you haven’t, you can count on the VPN to provide encryption and a new IP address. The VPN diverts the hacker’s attention from your device to the VPN servers, which are heavily encrypted.

3. Fake WAP

Some hackers target public spaces and establish fake Wi-Fi hotspots without passwords. So, you can go to a cafe like McDonald’s and find another open network such as Free_Star_bucks_Wi-Fi. The malicious Wifi provider’s idea is to lure people into using the free network. They want to entice you to open your sensitive websites using fake Wi-Fi.

But, when you try using this WAP network, you risk losing your data and infecting your hardware with malicious malware from the hacker network.

The cybercriminal usually roots the network hotspot through their hardware. This means they can see everything you do online because they are your Internet Service Provider (ISP) at the time!

Not even the impenetrable Apple devices are immune to this kind of attack. Several iPhone and Mac OS users have noticed a Wi-Fi bug spread through the fake WPS hotspots that break through your wireless functionality. That’s why even your iPhone requires a VPN.

4. DoS and DDoS attacks

Distributed denial of service attacks are types of hacking where the cybercriminal sends a lot of empty data to a website or online service to crash it from the overload. And, when someone targets you with a DoS or DDoS attack, your internet will be useless and unusable. Yet, all they need to carry out these attacks is your IP address. You need a strong DDoS-protected VPN to avoid these attacks.

5. The Man-in-the-Middle Attacks

Sometimes, the cybercriminal places a server between your device and the website you want to browse. They use technology that intersects your connection to a website.

Therefore, they can see all the information you send or receive from the website and everything you do on that platform.

ExtremeVPN prevents these attacks by securing your connection. Our military-grade AES-256-bit encryption protocol will protect your connection and eliminate the possibility of a man-in-the-middle attack. However, if your connection is already intercepted, there is little a VPN can do for you.

6. Remote Hacking

Remote hacking lets cyber criminals access your device or network without authorization. In short, the hacker will get your IP location and then mirror everything you do on your desktop or smartphone to be visible on their side.

This gives the hacker control over your device and can take pictures of you remotely with your phone. Fortunately, ExtremeVPN hides your real IP address, making it impossible for the hacker to spy on you or access your device remotely.

7. Evil Twins (Malicious Hotspots)

If you are a regular internet user at Starbucks or other cafes, you might have noticed several Wi-Fi hotspots with this same name. For instance, one is Starbucks Official Wi-Fi, and the other is Free_Starbucks Wi-Fi and Starbucks Wi-Fi. Only one of these networks is genuine. The others are just evil twins or malicious hotspots. Fortunately, ExtremeVPN hides all your data from the eyes of the operators of the evil twins.

How Does a VPN Protect You from Hackers


Once you realize that hackers are always on high alert trying to get you, you must employ a few security tools. A robust VPN like ExtremeVPN, an antivirus, and a firewall. These will guarantee you the privacy you need against obstinate hackers. However, each tool has a distinct function and role when securing online connections.

The Virtual Private Network (VPN) secures your internet traffic by encrypting it and sending it through a tightly safe tunnel, making the data unreadable. A VPN encryption is so advanced and effective that even hackers cannot possibly intercept this defensive protocol.

Below is a breakdown of how a VPN successfully protects you from hackers.

Military-grade Encryption:

The VPN network has a safe, secure tunnel through which it connects two devices over the internet, thus encrypting your traffic and information that passes through it. Encryption happens when your device is connected to the VPN network.

So, the data you are about to send out is encrypted right on your device before it’s forwarded to the VPN server. Then, it’s decrypted again before being sent to its online destination.

Leading VPNs such as ExtremeVPN have military-grade AES- 256-bit encryption, which is so powerful that most security agencies worldwide use it. The protocol is so sophisticated that hackers find it impermeable for malicious exploits.

And because the data is impractical to crack – it would take hackers several decades to crack it, and they only have a few minutes of your online time and data – they decide not to.

IP Masking

When browsing the internet, your device and location give you a specific code to which you get permission to access online services. Your IP address is your online form of zip code or postal address on the internet. So, it tells other websites your exact internet position and the device you’re using.

Sometimes, your IP address can tell your actual location and address where people can track you down. And you don’t want a stranger on the internet to have such information that might risk your life and your loved ones.

However, you can connect to a VPN to get a new online identity. The VPN masks your IP and gives you identity. The VPN lets you browse the internet securely by masking your IP address. Instead of your IP address, you surf the internet using the IP address of the VPN server.

And because most hackers need the IP address to track you down or infiltrate code into your networks, you are safe. They will not identify your exact location or IP address and, therefore, will not possibly track your network.

Therefore, the hackers will not know where to send their malware or how to start messing with your network or IoT gadgets. This makes the VPN a strong tool for securing your devices and networks from malicious cybercriminals.

Kill Switch

The best VPN providers, like ExtremeVPN, have a kill switch feature that stops traffic whenever your VPN connection drops. Think of a kill switch as a measure that prevents your real identity from leaking into the hacker’s domain.

In short, the kill switch will cut off your connection whenever your network goes low, and the risk of leaking your IP address spillage increases. Sometimes, the VPN connection drops briefly, even before you notice it.

When this happens, the kill switch feature protects your data from exposure. The kill switch temporarily suspends your internet connection until the VPN connection is restored again.

Ad Blocking

While VPNs themselves don’t block adverts, some advanced VPN providers offer ad blockers. The Threat Protection features block pesky ads, malicious website pop-ups, and other intrusive web trackers to fortify your online safety.

This ad-blocking feature comes in handy when browsing a compromised website. Sometimes, blocking advertisements protects you from the infections that come with evil codes and scripts on those adverts.

At the same time, it prevents you from unknowingly downloading malware or other viruses through third-party advertisements. 

Secure Protocols

The best way to tell whether a VPN is safe is by looking at its protocols. Always get a VPN with a reliable and secure protocol such as WireGuard and OpenVPN. ExtremeVPN offers advanced protocols for its users, including WireGuard, IKEv2, IPSec, and OpenVPN. Cybersecurity experts worldwide often use and love these protocols due to their excellent speeds and robust security guarantees.

The Wireguard protocol comes in several forms, providing users with the best electric speeds and top-tier protection.

Which Cyber Threats Can’t be Prevented by a VPN?

Defend Yourself Against Hacking Attempts

While VPNs are extremely useful tools to combat cybercrime, they still have their fair share of limitations. It’s not every cyber attack threat targeting your device that a VPN can solve.

VPNs can protect and hide your data from the view of people who’d like to intercept your connection. A VPN will also hand you a new IP address to browse websites anonymously.

But, the tools cannot fight off the hackers who have accessed your phone directly. If you send data that is not encrypted, the VPN can do nothing to protect you on the receiver’s end.

Here are some cyber crimes from which a VPN will not protect you:

Personal Mistakes

Unfortunately, none of the cyber security tools can save you from your security mistakes.

  • If, for instance, you click on malicious links or install malware on your device, there is nothing the VPN can do to remove it.
  • Also, the VPN is not to blame if you browse a high-risk website and enter your bank details and other personal information.
  • If you have weak, guessable passwords and someone figures them out, it will be difficult for the VPN service to protect you there. To create a strong password for your accounts, try ExtremeVPN’s password generator tool.
  • If you fall prey to social engineering tricks and give up your personal information to someone, no security equipment or software can save you from the con.


Phishing is an attack in which hackers spam you with emails masquerading as legitimate businesses. For example, they send you an email that seemingly comes from your bank or social media account and then add you to change the password.

And, once you click on any of their links, they immediately download malware that exposes your credentials. And, for this specific hacking style, the VPN has no cure.

Malware and Viruses

The VPN cannot detect or remove malware installed on your device. Many hackers use exploit kits and malware, including Trojan horses, to access your device. The malware is a program that needs to be downloaded directly onto your device before it can start taking over your online activity.

Mostly, you install malware by accidentally clicking on malicious ads and links or using infected SD cards and flash discs without proper hygiene. Once the malware is installed on your device, the VPN may not prevent the hacker from monitoring your data directly. 

Other Ways of Protecting Yourself against Hackers without a VPN

Protection Beyond the Temporary

A VPN provides a strong layer of protection against hackers and malware infiltration. But yes, you can improve your online security even more.

Here are tips to fortify your online defenses:

Keep All Software Updated

Never use outdated software because it contains loopholes through which hackers can penetrate their spyware and other malware. Software developers always patch security issues by issuing new updates. So, you should check regularly with your software provider or operating system for updates.

Secure Your Network Gateways and Internet Routers

Be sure to change your router’s passwords regularly to ensure nobody can figure it out and penetrate your networks. Remember, your router forms the gateway to all your appliances.

The situation becomes even more critical when all your devices are connected through the Internet of Things, Smart Home, or business networks. In such a case, you should disable WPS, remote access, and UPnP to ensure a secure router.

Enable Firewalls

Firewalls will form a fence that all have or malicious online users will have to pass through before they get to you. Think of the firewalls as a fence that forms the first line of defense that every hacker or spy would have to jump over before they come to you. The firewall may not stop every malicious hacker or malware infiltration, but it will make their work harder.

Be Careful with Public Wi-fi

Avoid using public Wi-Fi without proper protection. Do not access websites or services where you need to enter your bank information or other sensitive details about yourself. Hackers normally intercept public Wi-Fi and read it to steal your data.

Beware of Juice Jacking

Sometimes, the hackers might use malware installed on flash discs at the airport charging ports and other places. So, if you use these charging ports, the malware automatically installs onto your device and steals information. So be careful with charging ports and also avoid the temptation of putting every flash disk or SSD memory device into your phone or computer.

Install Antivirus Software

Most of the common malware is detectable using antivirus scanners. A strong antivirus program offers real-time protection against online or software security threats. It also stops infections before they even happen. Find premium scanners and antivirus software that detect, locate, and even remove malicious applications, files, or codes from your device.

Beware of Socio-engineers

Some hackers don’t even need to access your device. Instead of trying to hack your computer or other devices, social engineers target your mind. So, they trick you into giving them your private information, and once they have it, they can now access all your devices and networks. So, avoid chatting with strangers or giving them unnecessary information about you. Do not download or click on any link on chat groups or forums.

Some hackers will use phishing to lure you into giving up your privacy. For instance, they can encourage you to open email attachments or links you do not trust. By doing this, the sender aims to convince you to click on links that lead you to download malware.

Then, the malware takes over your systems, devices, and networks. So, block those suspicious emails and messages on SMS, social media, or any other platform.

Will Private Browsing Protect Me from Hackers?

Stay Anonymous Online and Protect Your Privacy

Contrary to popular belief, private browsing does not protect you from hackers in any way. The only thing browsing does is not to save your browsing information on your specific device. However, it does nothing when protecting you from malware and traffic interception.

Dedicated hackers will get you whether you use the private browsing feature. The idea that you can protect yourself from hackers by Control+Shift+N on your browser is a myth. 

All that private browsing does is clear all your browsing history and the cookies you have acquired immediately after you close the window. But, it does not hide you or your traffic from the eyes of your ISPs, change your IP address, or encrypt your connection in any form.

In the end, of course, Private Browsing will not help you avoid any malware from infecting your devices. However, using a VPN, you can protect yourself from hackers using encryption and the new IP address

Which Devices Do Hackers Target?

Some devices are easy to tap and crack, but most are simple. A hacker is always looking for any device that can accommodate a program and is connected to the internet. So, as long as your device can install software or is programmable, hackers will work hard to get it.

And, of course, hackers have advanced their methods of accessing user devices. From computer networks to internet routers and network gateways, these malicious guys have used technology to penetrate your systems.

hacker icon

So it doesn’t matter whether you are using a tablet, a laptop, a phone, a desktop computer, a Smart TV, an Internet of Things network, or anything else. Hackers will even penetrate your SmartWatch and car computer.

The mobile phone is the most targeted device by hackers and espionage agencies. Today, the smartphone has become the most essential technological device for individuals. The small handy computer contains all the information about a person, including their current location, thoughts, browsing data, shopping lists, and plans. So, hackers consider it a goldmine to penetrate the device!

Some of the sensitive devices targeted by hackers include:

  • Smartphones
  • Computers
  • SmartTVs
  • Smartwatches
  • Smart Homes
  • Internet of Things (IoT)
  • Servers
  • Internet gateways
  • Routers
  • Pacemakers
  • Drug infusion machines
  • Wearable devices
  • MRI devices
  • Online Gaming Systems
  • Webcams
  • Home Wireless Network
  • Smart Light Bulbs
  • Coffee Makers

However, you can take the proper steps to protect your devices from hackers. It’s easy to prevent basic takeovers using the right tools, such as a VPN and antivirus software. While the VPN encrypts your data connection and gives you a new IP address different from yours, the antivirus software fights off malware.

Espionage has gone to a whole new level with the invention of advanced technologies that will penetrate popular firewalls and encryptions. For instance, the Pegasus spyware from the Israeli technology company NSO Group is making headlines everywhere.

Pegasus uses zero-click exploits to infect smartphones, computers, and network systems. No user interaction is required for Pegasus to access your microphone, text messages, webcam, and several other programs on your device.

In short, the advanced Pegasus espionage program will take over your devices even when you observe all possible online security measures. The program is so great at staying undercover that it can even self-destruct automatically when necessary. Therefore, it’s difficult for you to detect or remove it.

Although it was initially made to target criminals and terrorists, the company has also expanded its use for commercial purposes. This means that individuals and governments can buy it to target innocent people. So, if you are an activist journalist, political figure, or business mogul, you must beware of the Pegasus attacks.

How Do I Know if I am Hacked?


While it’s not easy to know if your device is under cyber attack, you can always look out for setting common trends. For example, you can always tell if someone is watching you through your phone or has infected your network with malicious codes by how the device behaves. At least keep closely tracking your network and device performance, as it will tell you what’s happening.

Here are a few ways to know if your device is hacked:

1. Blinking Camera Light

If your webcam keeps blinking, it could be in use. It could be someone else if you need to be operating the camera app. It may not be a hacker but an application running in the background and causing the blinking of your webcam. But it could also result from malware or spyware on your device operated by a hacker.

2. Your Battery Life Diminishes

If your battery is drained quicker than usual, it indicates that extra programs need more battery power. First, ensure that your smartphone or laptop has a functional battery. If all these are in perfect condition and the battery drains faster than usual, you dry your eyebrows. One way to find out is to check through your task manager for the power consumption trend over time.

3. Computer Resources

If your computer is slowing down than usual, it could mean you’re stressing the computer resources. If your phone now takes longer to load applications, you can suspect an increase in the activities of background applications.

4. Extortionists Contacted You

The worst scenario is when someone has already extracted and used your sensitive information against you. By the time the hacker reaches you to blackmail you and extort your money, it’s already too late. In most cases, they get sensitive images and messages of you and then threaten to publish them publicly.

5. Regular System Failure

If your device keeps freezing or the operating system keeps crashing, this could be a sign of malware infection.

6. Scanning Finds Infected Files

Viruses will easily find infected files and other suspicious programs. Running the antivirus scanner reveals possible hacking software.

7. New Unauthorized Files and Programs

If you find unauthorized programs or files or changes to specific files, that could be a definition of an infection or infiltration by hackers.

Best Tools to Protect You from Hackers

Protect yourself from cybercrime and hackers by putting enough measures in place. You can use tools to help you prevent, detect, or remove malware or malicious codes from your device. The VPN, antivirus, and other features will protect you from viruses, malware, or any form of personal data leakage.

  • VPN: You already know VPNs will give you a whole new online identity that’s difficult to locate. So, hackers will try to find you but won’t get you because you’ll be using a masked identity. High-quality VPNs like ExtremeVPN encrypt your data to prevent anyone from intercepting it.
  • Antivirus Software: Protect yourself from malware threats and infections by installing a strong antivirus program. The antivirus scans, detects, and removes any installed codes that could be malicious. Also, the tool comes in handy when preventing the installation or download of any compromised software.
  • Password manager: Have a strong password manager that’s impossible to break. Don’t store sensitive passwords on your browser, as that can be visible to hackers. Also, your email password manager can easily be compromised, which would be catastrophic to your privacy. Instead, find powerful password managers and employ the 2FA authenticators for every login.
  • Firewall: Have a firewall on your routers and network gateways to add an extra layer of security to your systems. While the firewall may not be perfect, it makes it harder for hackers to access your sensitive networks and gadgets.


Do VPNs protect you from hackers? Is hacking a reality or just paranoia? Fretting about hackers spying on your smartphones and other devices might sound a little paranoid. But it’s the same privacy concern that people have. Your privacy and security are as important as your personal health and general safety.

Hackers are always trying to penetrate your device and steal information from you or extort money from holding your files. Many of these hackers will access your sensitive videos and pictures in compromising situations and blackmail you for money.

Fortunately, you now know you need a robust VPN like ExtremeVPN to keep you safe from hackers. As the internet grows, malicious hackers devise tactics to make your online browsing a nightmare. But you can beat them with ExtremeVPN.

ExtremeVPN allows you to receive and send out information securely. The security tool will encrypt your data and give you a new IP address that is difficult for hackers to unravel. And with the VPN, you can use public networks and wifs confidently and securely.

If you are looking for the best VPN against hackers, ExtremeVPN is your best bet!


Can VPNs themselves be hacked?  Up
The best VPNs are unhackable. But VPN companies that fail to deliver top-level encryption and watertight leak protection expose you to possible hacking. However, the risks are only limited to VPNs that are either too weak in using the protocols or those that hand in reports to authorities. So, you must get premium VPN services such as ExtremeVPN that not only uses powerful protocols but is also headquartered far away from the jurisdiction of prying eyes. 
How can I tell if my phone is hacked? Up
While it’s not always easy to know whether you’re hacked, there are certain signs to check. First, if your devices consume more power than usual, it could be because a new program runs in your background. Also, if your phone slows down, you have unnecessary applications or programs in the background. Then, if an extortionist contacts you, you’re hacked.
How do I protect my device from hacking? Up
You can mitigate the probability of getting hacked by using the following tips: 1. Install a decent virtual private network (VPN) such as ExtremeVPN to encrypt your data connection and traffic. A VPN gives you a new IP address, making it difficult for hackers to track your online activities. 2. Have proper online hygiene. Do not open suspicious links or attachments, nor give anyone your password or login credentials. 3. Don’t fall prey to social engineering tricks. 4. Have proper online security tools in place. Install an antivirus and set up a firewall to protect you from any malware takeover. 5. Update your software.
What does a vpn protect you from? Up
A VPN protects you from several online threats, including remote hacking, cookie theft, DDoS attacks, MITM attacks, Fake WAP, etc. It hides your IP and encrypts your internet connection to prevent hackers from accessing your location.
Does vpn prevent hacking on public wifi? Up
Yes, a VPN can protect your sensitive information on public wifi. It enhances public network security by masking a user’s IP address and rerouting it through a private server, giving a false image of using the internet from another location.

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About the Author

Minhal is a content writer specializing in cybersecurity and tech news. With a background in journal...
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