Discover whether a VPN protects its users from internet viruses or whether they should use an antivirus with a VPN. From the difference between a VPN and an antivirus to detecting viruses on your device and how to protect yourself from catching malware and other malicious files. Read our complete guide to learn how to enhance your cyber hygiene using a VPN and an antivirus while browsing the internet.
Using the internet in this era isn’t safe anymore. You will face different threats, including data breaches, viruses, malware, etc. We know it’s unfair as it shows the dark side of Internet use, but it is what it is.
However, you can keep yourself safe from these threats using a top-notch VPN like ExtremeVPN and an anti-virus. Using these tools, your chances of getting attacked will be drastically minimized. However, many internet users think they can protect their devices from viruses using a VPN.
Let’s discuss the difference between VPNs and anti-viruses and determine whether a VPN actually guards you from internet viruses.
What is a VPN?
Virtual Private Network (VPN) is one of the most widely used tools that provide safety and security while using the internet and ensure that third parties can’t access your data and online activity.
The first VPN was made at Columbia University in 1993. The demand for VPNs increased, and the VPN market escalated in the early 2000s, resulting in more VPN providers in the industry offering their services differently.
VPNs protect users by encrypting their data and masking their IP addresses. After connecting to a VPN server, all your online activity or data goes through that server, which encrypts and scrambles your private information, keeping you safe from cyberattacks. High-end VPNs like ExtremeVPN use the AES 256-bit data encryption technique to encrypt the users’ data, a highly advanced encryption method.
As noted above, many new VPN service providers are now offering their services due to the high demand for VPNs. Most of the vendors provide multiple features at affordable rates. They are compatible with multiple widgets, including smartphones, laptops, tablets, and more.
People mostly use VPNs to unblock geo-restricted content and remove censorship. However, VPNs offer more than that. Businesses having multiple branches at various locations use high-quality VPNs to create private networks. But, building these networks is difficult, and it’s uncommon among users.
How VPNs Protect their Users from Viruses?
VPNs don’t directly provide virus protection. However, they keep your data safe from the reach of malware and viruses by encrypting it.
VPNs Guard You from Malware
VPNs indirectly save you from malware and other viruses. While using a VPN, malware cannot connect with its handler to complete the job because top-notch VPNs like ExtremeVPN restrict ports, making it hard to perform their tasks.
VPNs Block Ads
Many top-performing Virtual Private Networks (VPNs) provide additional security features like AdBlocker, which blocks all the ads on the website that you are accessing. No matter whether the ad contains malware. In addition, our VPN implements a split tunneling feature that lets you choose which apps to access via the VPN tunnel and which to run through the normal traffic.
VPNs Guard You from MITM Attacks
Premium VPNs like ExtremeVPN protect their users against man-in-the-middle attacks by encrypting all their information upon connecting to a VPN server. This technique helps users save their private data from data thieves, resulting in enjoying the internet anonymously.
But before relying on a VPN to protect you against MITM attacks, ensure that you use a premium VPN offering AES 256-bit robust data encryption.
VPNs Protect You Across Multiple Networks and Devices
These tools are compatible with multiple devices, including smartphones, routers, laptops, computers, tablets, and more. You can keep yourself and other family members safe from privacy breaches by creating a robust encryption tunnel to encrypt all the users’ data from various devices. In addition, we always recommend users to use a top-notch VPN while using a public WiFi network.
Comparison of a VPN and an Antivirus
Let’s determine which of the above tools is better for protecting users against viruses and hackers.
|What it does||A Virtual Private Network (VPN) masks users’ IP addresses, encrypts their data, and helps them remove geographical restrictions or censorship.||Antivirus is the software that prevents, detects, scans, and deletes viruses from your device.|
|How it does it||Connecting to a VPN server creates a tunnel between the users and the servers, which routes all your internet traffic through that tunnel, encrypting your information and making it difficult for third parties to access.||When we launch an antivirus, it scans your device (laptop, computer, etc.), detects malicious files, and removes them.|
|Benefits||1. Allows anonymous browsing easy|
2. Protects your device and data while using public WiFi by encrypting your data and changing your IP address with the IP address of the server
|1. Provides continuous protection by running in the background and scans for viruses |
2. Ensures that your device is free from all kinds of viruses
The comparison between a VPN and an antivirus makes no sense. Both are different software programs with expertise in their specific task, so there’s no specific answer to the question, “Which is better?” You need both tools to protect yourself while using the internet.
What Does a VPN Do?
A Virtual Private Network (VPN) will spoof your IP address, encrypt your internet traffic and other data, and make it difficult for third parties to access and manipulate your information. Masking your IP address allows you to browse the internet anonymously.
However, it doesn’t directly protect you from viruses or malware but helps users protect their information by encrypting it and allowing them to bypass geo-restrictions or censorship. For virus protection, you should go for an antivirus.
What Does an Antivirus Do?
Antiviruses are made to detect and remove viruses from laptops or computers by continuously working in the background and scanning for viruses, malware, etc. If it detects any virus, it removes it before it damages the device or user’s data.
Many antiviruses are available in the industry; some are free, and some offer paid subscriptions. Paid antiviruses can detect and delete spyware, compromised files, and other malicious files before they can damage your device and data. They send alerts if a virus is detected and ask you to delete it ASAP.
Selecting the Best VPN for Malware and Virus Protection
Most VPNs don’t protect against computer viruses, but some VPNs still protect from viruses and malware. Mostly, VPNs block websites containing web trackers and malicious programs. But speed, interface, functionality, privacy, and price are also vital features we should look for, and we proudly say that our VPN covers all these features.
Features to Look for in a VPN for Malware Protection
Below are the most vital features you should look for in a VPN to keep yourself safe from malware and other preying eyes:
- Malware Protection: VPNs indirectly protect you against malware, but remember this is only possible if the VPN provides robust data encryption. In addition, a few VPNs offer malware protection, which removes the need for an antivirus.
- Adblocker: Many high-end VPNs offer an adblocker that blocks ads on all the websites. It is also helpful in guarding you against malware and viruses because it blocks websites containing malicious ads, web trackers, or connections with notorious sites.
- Robust Privacy & Security Features: Before getting a VPN, ensure it offers robust features, including AES 256-bit data encryption, an automatic kill switch, a no-logs policy, DNS and IP leak protection, and split tunneling. ExtremeVPN boasts all these features and provides up to 10 simultaneous connections to protect your data on multiple devices.
- User-friendly: Ensure the selected VPN has an easy-to-use interface and is compatible with widely used devices and operating systems, including macOS, Android, iOS, Windows, and more.
- P2P Support: This feature is necessary if you want a VPN to guard against malware. P2P file sharing helps users share files under secure internet protocols. Our VPN offers this feature at affordable rates, and you can use this feature to download torrent files without worrying about your security and privacy.
How to Detect a Virus on Your Device?
Here’s how you can determine whether your device contains a virus:
- Performance Issues: When a virus or malware installs on your device indirectly, it occupies a lot of your device’s memory, leaving less space for other files. This results in slowing your device’s performance.
- Error Messages/Device Crash: Viruses damage some applications, resulting in sluggish performance or sometimes showing error messages. When malware hurts your PC, it leads to slow performance or device crashing.
- Random Pop-up Ads: When viruses access your computer, they show you ads while you are online. This type of virus is called Adware.
- Missing Files: Some malware delete files from your computer after they make their connection with the handler. Sometimes, they ask you for ransom in return for those files.
- Larger Phone Bills: If you get a high phone bill, even if you didn’t use the phone much. It is a sign of a virus because they use cell phone data to connect with the handler and send the information.
- Unknown Applications: Once the virus catches up with your computer, it downloads some applications to give the handler all access to your device.
If you have faced any of the above signs on your computer, you should immediately download an antivirus to remove the virus. This is the easiest and best method to protect your device from viruses.
Methods to Keep Your Device Safe from Viruses
After cleaning your devices from viruses, here’s how to protect your device from getting viruses in the future:
- Install an Antivirus: Getting an antivirus and performing scans regularly will help you continuously protect and monitor your device. If any virus makes its way to your device, the regular antivirus scan will easily detect and remove it before it damages your computer.
- Be Cautious While Browsing: Scammers now use artificial intelligence to create websites similar to legitimate websites, but their sites contain malware. Therefore, before accessing and entering any information on a website, ensure it’s a legitimate website.
- Prevent Installing Pirated Content: Downloading this type of content is like downloading viruses on your device. There’s no such thing as a free lunch; they exploit your data in return.
- Avoid Phishing Scams: Phishing scams take you to websites containing viruses or malware, or sometimes, they ask you to install something on your device in return for money. PayPal email scams are a common example of these scams.
- Update Your App and OS: Keeping your application and operating system up-to-date will help avoid viruses. In each update, they enhance security and privacy, removing previous viruses, if any.
Be Privacy Savvy and Protect Your Devices on All Platforms
Online security tools have become essential in this digital era to keep yourself safe from privacy & security breaches while browsing the internet. As noted above, the benefits of a VPN and an antivirus differ. However, both play a vital role when we talk about cyber security. Due to the increasing cyber threats, it is important to have an up-to-date antivirus to keep you safe from all kinds of viruses and malware.
In addition, you should use a high-end VPN like ExtremeVPN to protect your data and online activity while using the internet and various WiFi networks.
ExtremeVPN provides AES 256-bit robust data encryption that encrypts your data and saves it from malware to manipulate. In addition, our VPN is compatible with multiple devices and OS, keeping your data safe on all devices.
With its split tunneling and P2P file-sharing features, you can route an application’s traffic through a VPN server and download or share torrent files without any fear of viruses.
What Does a VPN Not Protect You From?
Below are some points where VPNs can’t help you:
Data You Handed Over Willingly
It covers the data that you shared with someone. For example, you shared your master password with your relative or friend via email. However, if the email gets compromised and a scammer accesses it, you will lose all your accounts.
Your VPN won’t save you here from getting attacked by the scammer because you provided that information to him. You shouldn’t share your password with anyone.
A Compromised Website
Website admins must ensure the best practices for website security to keep the users’ data safe that they stored on it. However, if the website fails to protect that data, it could get stolen or used without the user’s consent.
In addition, the VPN will protect you from the website trackers and restrict it from gathering your online activity, but it won’t the information you enter on the website.
Malware Site Prevention
Some VPNs don’t alert you when you access websites containing malware. Therefore, before getting a VPN, ensure it provides malware site prevention alerts.
When you download any movie or file from a torrent website, you need torrent clients to download them on your device. Torrent files have a bad history of containing viruses and malware, and downloading them from torrent clients limits a VPN to detect whether you are downloading them from a torrent site.
Therefore, the VPN won’t alert you if the file contains a virus. But, if you have an antivirus installed, you can save your data and device from malware damage.
Social Engineering Attempts
Scammers and fraudsters benefit from the trusting nature of users and gather vital information without letting them know that they have scammed them.
VPNs alert you from accessing suspicious websites. However, scammers have made websites that look identical to legitimate websites and collect user data.
The most common example of this scam is email scams on PayPal.
They email you a message that looks like they are from PayPal and requires you to click the link to open it regarding a transaction issue.
If you click on it, a website that looks similar to PayPal opens. But after entering your PayPal username and password, the website shows you an error, leading to a scam.
Cyber threats are increasing daily, and the most common method that cyberattackers use is by exploiting the users’ data by installing malware in their devices. Users having less or zero tech knowledge often access websites containing viruses. This provides a way to malware or viruses to the user’s computer – leading to a cyberattack.
However, using a top-notch VPN can indirectly save you from getting malware. But, using an antivirus is the best method to protect yourself against worms, spyware, or other viruses.
Both tools are used for digital security purposes, but there is a major difference between a VPN and an antivirus. You should use a high-quality VPN like ExtremeVPN for secure and anonymous browsing and antivirus to keep you safe from the reach of viruses.
If you detect any virus signs, install an antivirus and remove it ASAP. Once your computer gets free from malware or malicious files, work on your cyber hygiene and keep your device and data safe from predators.