A VPN offers online security benefits. VPNs change your IP address, conceal browsing activity from ISP, and allow you to access restricted content. Strong VPN encryption protects your data against hackers.

Hackers use more online threats to infect your computer, including computer viruses. Is a VPN able to protect you from all types of malicious attacks? It doesn’t, unfortunately.

Let’s start by looking at the type of malware that exists to understand why.

What are the Different Types Of Malware?

Malware is software that hackers use to gain access to victims’ computers. The malicious program damages and steals data, disrupts normal system functions, and in most cases it is successful.

There are many types of malware. You will be able to recognize the differences and make better decisions about how you protect yourself. Below is a list of well-known malware types.

  1. Viruses- viruses attach to executables, text, and PDF files. They are responsible for more than half the malware attacks. They are not like worms, which is another type of malware. Instead, they spread via infected files.
  2. Worms-cybercriminals can spread worms via software vulnerabilities or Phishing attacks. This malware can alter or delete files and infect computers with unwanted programs. Worms can also replicate to drain system resources. Cybercriminals can use a backdoor to gain sensitive information by installing a malicious wormscript in enterprise software.
  3. Bots, botnets – A bot is a malware infected computer or system that a hacker remotely controls. It can be used by hackers to carry out other malicious activities. Cybercriminals can also use infected computers to launch additional attacks such as DDoS, spam and keylogging. A botnet is a collection of bots. Botnets can contain millions of undetected devices.
  4. Trojan horses- hackers disguise the malware as a legitimate file. It appears trustworthy and tricks users into downloading it. Trojan horses are used by cybercriminals to modify and delete data, connect devices to a botnet and spy on systems.
  5. Ransomware- ransomware blocks users from accessing files or information. Cybercriminals will demand payment in order to gain access once they have been infected. Payments are not traceable because the ransom is paid in cryptocurrency. WannaCry ransomware, which in 2017 was distributed across 150 countries and compromised over 200,000 devices in a single day, is an example.
  6. Adware- The malware displays intrusive popups and unsolicited display ads. Adware attacks can be annoying, slow down computers and consume bandwidth.
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Computer viruses can infect your phone or laptop.

Infected websites, email attachments, and file sharing can spread viruses. Viruses are inactive until the user activates infected software or files. The virus spreads to other computers in a network once the user opens the host file.

Computer viruses can compromise files on your computer and cause data loss. Computer viruses can also be used to attack hardware and applications, causing billions of dollars in damages. A virus can also log keystrokes and collect sensitive information such as financial records and user credentials.

You can be infected by viruses that use your contact list to send spam messages to your contacts. The malicious program can also allow hackers remote access to computers in serious cases.

Can a VPN protect you from viruses?

VPNs do not provide protection against viruses and other malware. The VPN only protects your internet traffic and keeps it private without affecting your downloadings. Indirectly, a VPN can protect you from malware infections. Some VPN providers offer features that block malicious ads and websites.

VPNs route your internet traffic through a VPN server. It hides your IP address, encrypts communications and makes them unreadable by unauthorised parties. It does not alter or inspect files. This mechanism is not designed to protect your device against viruses.

While a VPN only works when there is an active Internet connection, a computer virus may inflict damage even when the Internet connection is down. Although a VPN cannot be used to remove or hunt malware from your computer, it can make it harder for hackers to hack your system.

Some VPNs have security features that block malicious websites, as mentioned above. It can block malicious IP addresses and protect you from infection by restricting access to these websites. Even if your device has been infected, a VPN may be able to block malicious communication from the attacker.

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Are You Requiring an Antivirus if You Use a VPN?

A VPN is recommended alongside antivirus software to fully protect you from viruses. VPNs protect against attacks on specific devices. An antivirus will also actively scan your device for malware and protect it against infected files.

An attacker cannot see your IP address or location through a VPN. Hackers will find it hard to send viruses over the Internet if they have a VPN. Some VPNs are able to automatically block websites that host malware and phishing scams.

How to Find Out If Your Device is Infected by Viruses?

If you experience the following symptoms, your device may be infected.

  1. Performance and speeds that are unusually slow
  2. Computer crashes are frequent
  3. Unfamiliar applications that begin when you boot a device
  4. Sending mass emails from your email account
  5. Passwords and personalized features can be changed on your computer

You can scan your device with an up-to-date antivirus program if you suspect it is infected. An antivirus keeps a list all known viruses. An antivirus software can identify every digital file, even a virus program, using a hash stored within a downloadable database.

How can you protect yourself from computer viruses?

These are the steps to avoid viruses infecting your computer. These steps will allow you to use a VPN with your antivirus software.

  1. Use an antivirus program that is compatible with a VPN. Some antivirus programs, particularly those that use firewalls might not be compatible with VPNs. Sometimes, these antivirus solutions can cause VPN functionality to be affected in some cases.
  2. Use antivirus software that includes a VPNSome vendors offer antivirus products that include a VPN. VPN-enabled antivirus provides enhanced security for the connection as well as the device.
  3. Keep your operating system and antivirus software up-to-date – Every software update includes security improvements that help keep viruses away.
  4. Use cyber hygiene and do not reply to phishing messages or emails. These emails are used by hackers to trick you into downloading malware infected files.
  5. Regularly scan your device and set up regular scans using your antivirus software. Before opening downloaded files, scan them.
  6. Remove insecure applications – Insecure programs that have unpatched vulnerabilities can be exploited by viruses.
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Different Types Of Computer Viruses

One type of malware that can alter the operation of a device is called a virus. Viruses can be replicated when users perform specific actions, such as opening files, running programs, or clicking links. Malicious attachments and links can spread them. Sometimes, viruses can take over an email address to spread themselves to other people.

Some viruses that are most popular include:

  1. Direct Action virus These viruses are activated when the user opens an infected attachment, or executes a file. Direct action viruses cease to work once the user closes the program. They are less effective today because of the way they work.
  2. These viruses can be classified as polymorphic viruses. They are very difficult to find. Polymorphic viruses are capable of changing or encrypting their encoding. It is difficult for even advanced antivirus software to detect polymorphic viruses because of this capability.
  3. Browser hijackers-browser hijackers are able to take over a browser and redirect users to phishing or other dangerous websites. This is a common attack tactic that can be easily detected and controlled with a security tool.
  4. The malicious software attacks websites’ links, videos and images. Web script viruses are able to alter code and create visual elements which infect users who interact with them.
  5. Macro viruses The virus targets text editors such as MS Word. This malware is created by hackers in macro language. It is the standard language used within many text editors.

Conclusion

Hackers use viruses to steal sensitive information, making computers inaccessible and making them unusable. A VPN can help protect your privacy. However, VPN doesn’t protect you directly from viruses. It is a proactive tool to protect you from online threats. A VPN is a must to protect yourself against online threats.

These are the top VPNs that block harmful websites.

Rank

VPN Service

Rating

Website

1

NordVPN

5/5

Visit NordVPN!

2

Surfshark

4.5/5

Visit PrivateVPN!

3

Surfshark

4.5/5

Visit Surfshark!

4

ExpressVPN

4.5/5

Visit ExpressVPN!

5

Private Internet Access

4/5

Visit PIA!

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Evangeline Christina is a Cyber Security Enthusiast, Security Blogger, Technical Editor, Certified Ethical Hacker, Author at Cyberspecial.net. Previously, he worked as a security news reporter in a reputed news agency.

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