Protect Yourself Online With an Antivirus or VPN

Today, the web is a very dangerous place if you’re not being extremely careful. Threats are lurking from every corner of the web from viruses to hackers or scammers. These threats endanger everyone, including multinational corporations, small businesses, and even innocent café customers.

High-profile data breaches make top headlines almost every day. And during the tax period, tax-related identity theft is always high. As such, most people worldwide are more concerned about their online safety.

Everyone working online requires a security shield either as antivirus software or virtual private networks (VPNs). These two have emerged as the most trusted and secured way to protect your online presence and your devices.

But which one is the best? To best answer this question, we’ve curated this comprehensive guide to explain what each does and why they work to complement each other.

Why Will You Need Device-Level Antivirus Security?

To understand why you will require an antivirus on your device, we must start first by defining what antivirus is.

An antivirus is a solution that shields devices from malware and other forms of cyber threats. It is a program that’s designed primarily to keep your device free from infection. Antivirus works at the device-level.

But what is malware? Malware is malicious software, or any software designed to do damage. Malware tries to undermine antiviruses installed on various devices including, PC, Mac, and even smartphones like Android and Apple devices.  

We live in an ever-shifting threat landscape, meaning cybercriminals are constantly working to change their approach to stealing personal information and sometimes money.

The most common type of virus today include:

Trojans: Programs that resemble useful apps but have viruses hidden within them. Banking trojans are designed to steal financial data.

Spyware: Also known as a keylogger and can covertly surveil your keystrokes and use the data to steal your passwords and Personal Identifiable Data (PII).

Cryptojackers: A unique category of malware that can remotely hijack your computing power for its own purpose.

Worm: Very distractive programs that infect numerous devices by self-replicating.

With the right antivirus in your device, you can protect your device and yourself from these ever-changing threats. As a result, you can safely download files and software without the worry of being hacked.

And if you don’t want to bog down your device with a complete antivirus suite, consider getting a cloud antivirus. Cloud antivirus offloads antivirus workloads.

What’s even better, once a new threat gets identified, it can get categorized in real-time based on the way it behaves. And if it proved to be malicious on any device, the entire network of users gets notified instantly. Detection to protection occurs in a few minutes.

Why Will You Need Network-Level VPN Security?

Unlike Antiviruses, VPNs help to protect your data online. It encrypts data on its journey to and from a device and the network it’s communicating with. VPNs work at the network level.

VPNs camouflage the data traveling between a computer and the network so cyber-criminals and spying agencies can’t access it.

While free Wi-Fi might be convenient for you because it allows easy access to the internet, it’s also a hotbed for criminals. For example, packet sniffers are great tools to help network admins troubleshoot issues. But most criminals tend to use them to monitor network traffic on wireless networks.

These tools are easy to use, and anyone with the right technical abilities can use them to compromise routers with man-in-the-middle attacks. This means criminals can easily take control of routers and use them to see and copy traffic traveling between a device and the network they control.

Internet Service Providers (ISP) who install home Wi-Fi services can also use the same method to snoop on your traffic with the intent of selling your data.

However, if you have a VPN, all your data, including instant messages, login information, social media gets encrypted, making them unreadable to government agents or cybercriminals who discover it.

If you check your bank account balances or pay bills online, consider getting a VPN to encrypt your connection. You don’t want such information to fall into the hands of the wrong people.

Final Thoughts

From the above information, it’s completely clear that you can’t choose between antivirus and a VPN since they’re both essential in this modern world. If you want complete protection for your data, whether online or offline, consider combining top-notch antivirus software with a high-quality VPN to achieve 100% protection.