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Can A VPN Be Hacked? Common Vulnerabilities You Should Be Aware Of

VPNs are often touted as miracle tools that protect our identity and keep us safe online. Yet how good are these tools, and can a VPN be hacked? We’ll be sharing this information and more on VPN vulnerabilities.

Even though more people are familiar with online safety and how the internet works, new problems still need to be resolved. We’ve all heard internet horror stories about stolen identity and credit card fraud caused by hackers who steal personal information.

So how much safer will you be with a VPN?

Can VPNs Be Hacked?

The short answer is yes; hackers can compromise VPNs.

While a VPN will prevent your connection to the internet from being spied on and compromised, there’s still a risk if you accidentally download any malware or let someone else learn your username and password.

Thankfully, some of the best VPNs, such as ExpressVPN, offer numerous security features. For example, Threat Manager helps you detect harmful apps and websites. But this still doesn’t make you immune to all attacks.

Even if you have military-grade encryption, that doesn’t eliminate the possibility of human error.

Here’s a list of everything a VPN will protect you from (and not);

A VPN will protect you fromA VPN will NOT protect you from
Snooping and malicious connections
Natively introduced malware (USB)
Compromised or malicious websites collecting data
Downloaded malware or spyware
Governments and ISPs collecting data
Sending personal information yourself (phishing & catfishing)

Even though they aren’t perfect you can better protect yourself by understanding how to use a VPN.

How Exactly Are VPNs Hacked?

By concealing your IP address and encrypting your connection, a VPN is a vital tool that protects your network and device from hackers. That’s why it helps defend against cyberattacks that target your IP address and Internet connection. Unfortunately, a lot of other attack types don’t fit those descriptions. The following are the different ways how your VPN can get hacked.

Malware attack

Hackers can use malware to introduce malicious software and code into your system and then take control of your device and network. Malware is typically obtained when you download third-party apps from sketchy vendors, visit unsecured websites, and click on pop-up ads or fake virus warnings online.

You can stay safe from malware by using antivirus programs like Clario, Norton, and Avast.

Phishing attack

A hacker who sends many phishing emails posing as a representative of reliable companies is the first step in a phishing attack. That’s why it can be difficult to spot a dangerous email if you receive many unwanted or spam emails each day.

The purpose of phishing emails is to trick you into taking specific actions, like downloading an attachment or clicking a link.

By doing this, you’re giving hackers access to your system after downloading malware onto your computer.

Human Error

On our computers, almost all actions require user authorization. Even if that were the case, if you commit errors that result in hacking, even the best cybersecurity tool won’t be able to protect your device and network.

By clicking on sketchy and untrusted links, downloading insecure apps, or failing to enable a VPN when using public Wi-Fi, you risk becoming a victim of a cyber attack.

What Happens If Your VPN Gets Hacked?

Hackers may be able to access devices, steal personal information, and monitor your online activity if a VPN is compromised. You may be more vulnerable to the following security and privacy issues:

1. Increased vulnerability to malware

Malware of all kinds, including spyware, rootkits, and remote access Trojans, can be used by hackers to gain access to your device. Your device won’t become infected with malware due to VPN hacking, but a compromised connection can make it simpler for a hacker to infect it in other ways.

Attackers can change significant portions of network traffic, reroute it, or insert malicious code into a data packet on an insecure network.

While some VPNs can give you some protection, we don’t recommend them as a first line of defense against malware.

A VPN is not a replacement for antivirus or internet security software, which continuously checks your device for malware and performs malware scans. On your devices, install antivirus software, and keep it updated.

2. Man-in-the-middle attacks

A man-in-the-middle (MitM) attack is a general term for when an intruder, or in this case, a hacker, inserts himself into a conversation between a user and an application. They do this to either eavesdrop or impersonate one of the parties, giving the impression that a typical exchange of information is taking place.

Most MitM attacks aim to steal personal or financial data. That includes credit card numbers, account information, and login credentials. Various activities, such as identity theft, unauthorized fund transfers, or unauthorized password changes, can be carried out using data obtained during an attack.

To better relate, we can compare a MitM attack with someone opening your mailbox and reading your mail after the mail carrier deposits it there. That person will then have access to the information in your letters.

3. Data leakage

A private IP address masks your regular connection whenever you connect to a VPN. Any websites you visit will see the IP address of the VPN server instead of your original IP address. There is little to no chance that anyone can see your actual IP address while your secure connection is active.

However, this becomes a different story if your VPN connection drops unintentionally. When this happens, your IP address may be exposed, giving hackers access to your information.

That’s why you have to ensure that the VPN you’re using has a kill switch feature and is always activated. The kill switch prevents a data leak because if your VPN connection drops, your network connection will end immediately.

4. Third-party surveillance

Your government, your ISP, or any malicious third party can see your browsing activity if your encrypted VPN connection gets hacked. Once the encryption breaks, they can read or divert any information you pass through the connection.

Fortunately, most top-tier VPNs use Perfect Forward Secrecy (PFS) by default, and most VPN software encapsulates its encryption keys. This system makes it much harder for hackers to break encryption algorithms.

What To Do If Your VPN Is Hacked

Suppose you believe your VPN connection has been compromised or you used a low-quality VPN that experienced a data leak. In that case, we advise you to do the following:

  1. Stop using your VPN to prevent hackers from accessing your sensitive information further.
  2. Uninstall your VPN to prevent it from running in the background.
  3. Don’t use the same credentials (email, password, username, etc.) you used for your VPN on any other account.
  4. Use a better VPN to prevent this from happening again.

Protect Yourself Better With The Best VPN Services

While using a VPN won’t necessarily protect you from all types of cyberattacks, it can significantly lower your risk of being hacked on most unsecured networks. The following are the best VPN services you can use to protect yourself from hackers:

  • NordVPN The top VPN for preventing hackers from accessing your data. IKEv2/IPsec, OpenVPN protocols, a strict no-logs policy, and RAM-only servers are some of its most outstanding features. NordVPN also includes a 30-day money-back guarantee.
  • Surfshark The best value VPN for your money. Aside from multiple servers in 95 countries, it also offers MultiHop servers for additional security against hackers.
  • IPVanish One of the fastest VPNs that protects you from hackers using encryption and a VPN kill switch. They also have a no-logs policy and around-the-clock support.

Lower Your Chances of Getting Hacked

The internet today is a more dangerous environment. That’s why you should get tools like a VPN if you’re concerned about hackers stealing your money or data! While they aren’t perfect, VPNs can cover many vulnerabilities with solid encryption and IP concealment.

Naturally, that applies to high-quality VPNs. Choosing a free or substandard VPN may cause you more harm instead.

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