Cyberspaces are becoming increasingly vulnerable in light of many different elements trying to exploit the fact that a lot of sensitive, consumer related data is exchanged there. Data, which has become one of the most valuable assets these days can be used in a variety of ways by businesses, leading brands, governments and even hackers. This is a huge concern for many but thankfully, VPN services provide a complete all-round solution.
Rising risks of cybercrimes
In 2013, losses from cybercrime were estimated at almost $3 trillion worldwide. In the span of five years, that amount has doubled with experts predicting the rise to continue. From organizations like Facebook, Yahoo and Capital One to small business owners and even individual users, no one has been spared. The types of risks continue to evolve and new threats continue to emerge at a regular basis. Despite extensive efforts across the board, we are still falling short.
Types of attacks
Over the years, the forms in which cybercrime rears its head has changed significantly. 2018 was regarded as the year of ransomware and in 2019, social engineering as well as other more modern and sophisticated methods took center stage. Hackers are aware of the efforts being undertaken to curb their activities and they are smart enough to advance before the industry can get a chance to keep up. Here are a few types of cyberattacks that are still rampant:
Any and all kinds of viruses are grouped under one heading. Spyware, ransomware, adware, Trojans, bugs, bots and a host of other viruses are collectively known as malware. Each of these variants have their own functions with new ones being reported one a constant basis. Cybercriminals also continue to experiment with the ways in which malware is sent to the victims. The most recent case has been an increased use of emails with attachments in known formats like MS Word, Excel etc.
Here hackers and other cybercriminals user the public IP address of business and home users to identify their location and keep track of data traffic. Then, using tactics like man-in-the-middle they can interfere with the network connection to lure and fool people into giving out private information. Online questionnaires, random forms and links are common phishing tactics. Sometimes scammers also use phone calls, text messages and emails to trick victims into revealing sensitive data.
A Distributed Denial of Service attack is usually witnessed by businesses and people who can lose a lot if their devices are taken offline. Gamers and e-commerce websites are common examples. In a DDoS attack, many servers and computers are used to send junk and irrelevant data to the victim’s devices causing it to crash. In DDoS attacks, a lot of computers are used to initiate the attack while there are also DoS attacks where one gadget is utilized in the attack.
This is one of the most recent forms of cybercrime. The growing use of social media has allowed a large amount of private information to become available on public platforms. A new breed of hackers is using this to exploit their targets. A cybercrime can pose as a supervisor, senior company executive, colleague or friend to make the person dispel private information about themselves or their company resulting in dangerous consequences.
There are numerous other types of cybercrime too and new ones also continue to surface. It is crucial that users be aware of the threats and also about the most effective ways to protect against them.
Role of a VPN in cybersecurity
A Virtual Private Network or VPN is a tool that masks user IP addresses and makes all data traffic anonymous. The IP address, which is public by default, acts like a virtual location beacon that pinpoints where a person is and what they are doing on the internet. It is therefore imperative to hide your IP address and this is exactly what a VPN does. In the process, it blocks the most easily exploitable loophole in a user’s cybersecurity.
Features that ensure a secure VPN connection
A VPN for Windows can be one of the most effective tools in preventing cyberattacks but there is a catch. With the increased use of these services, there are now hundreds of options available which makes it a challenge to pick the right one. It is imperative to perform proper research before picking a VPN because it handles a lot information that can be crucial to the user. There have been cases where VPN service providers have been caught stealing data about the people who use them.
Here are a few features that are important to have in a secure VPN:
Data masking is necessary and a good VPN does this through encryption. This is an added layer of security which ensures that even if a hacker who is really persistent can break through the protective cover of the VPN, they are not able to access any user data. The leading VPNs provide AES 256-bit encryption which the highest level available so far.
Strict zero logging policy
The primary way a VPN works is by rerouting internet traffic to go through a secure server instead of through the local internet service provider. The servers that a VPN provides and how secure they are is vital. It also provides the users with a wide range of IP addresses so that they can access the internet freely from anywhere in the world.
A VPN for Windows is the most secure and affordable way to prevent cybercrimes which can cause significant damages to all kinds of users no matter what field they belong to. This is why it is crucial to have a reliable VPN for all your devices.
Scott is a cyber-security professional. He’s been writing in the internet privacy niche for a while now and has churned variety of informational pieces to educate his audience. Connect with him on Twitter.