By now, you likely know that a Virtual Private Network (VPN) is essential to remaining safe when working remotely. But, once set up, how can you optimize your VPN to work well with your devices and meet your security needs? Here are our top five tips for maximizing your VPN experience.
Pair it with an Antivirus
One of the biggest misconceptions about VPNs is that they protect your device from malicious programs. While a VPN will encrypt your network traffic, preventing others from viewing intercepted data, most do not warn you when you visit dangerous sites. If your VPN provides advanced web filtering for risky sites, that can be an additional defense against cyber threats such as malware and phishing. Alternatively, while strong antivirus software actively monitors for viruses and malware within files and applications, it does not encrypt your data or prevent it from being monitored. Both are equally important for protecting your devices, and are ideally used together. Combining the two services provides additional security.
Enable a Kill Switch
Setting up a VPN to keep your data safe is an important first step, but what happens if your VPN server goes down or disconnects while you are entering sensitive data and you don’t notice the connection was lost? Without the protection of a VPN kill switch, your devices will often automatically reconnect to the network without alerting you, this time without the protection of your VPN. A kill switch feature blocks sending and receiving data until the VPN connection is re-established.. For maximum protection, select a VPN with a kill switch feature and ensure it has been enabled.
Understand the Impact of Setting Up a VPN on Your Router
Having a VPN on your home router may seem like a helpful boost to your cybersecurity, but it’s actually the opposite. Most routers lack the processing power of a modern CPU, meaning that even older personal devices (phones, tablets, computers) will have a much easier time handling the task of encrypting/decrypting data than your router will. Instead, set up a VPN for each personal device to prevent a bottleneck of data to your router while simultaneously securing it at all access points. Selecting an easy-to-use VPN solution with cross-device functionality will make this task much easier on the end user, while providing maximum security.
Protect All of Your Smart Devices
When it comes to cybersecurity, we tend to imagine a nefarious hacker out to steal and sell your data. But not all data collection is illegal. Your Internet Service Provider (ISP) has a vested interest in tracking your streaming habits, and they may even throttle your network depending on your usage. Our phones, computers, and tablets are each a potential interception point for our private data. Securing each of your smart devices with a VPN, even those that stay in your home, is the best way to prevent your data from potentially being monitored by third parties.
Encrypt Your LTE Connection
While your cellular network is more secure than public WiFi options, it remains vulnerable to an attack. LTE user data can be exploited by what is known as an “aLTEr attack”. This attack redirects domain name system (DNS) requests, performing a DNS spoofing attack that can fool your device into using a malicious DNS server. This spoofed DNS server will deliver you to websites as normal until you request a high-value website the attack is targeting, like your banking or email provider. Oftentimes this fake website will scrape your data before you realize what has happened. You give yourself an extra layer of security by wrapping your LTE connection in a VPN, allowing you to access your most sensitive data confidently.
When it comes to getting the most out of your VPN, this list is just the beginning. Our privacy concerns and security needs will continue to change as our connected devices mature and we recommend keeping an eye on your VPN provider for any potential updates to their services.
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