Do I Need Antivirus Software If I Have a VPN?

Antivirus or VPN

Written by: Per-Erik Eriksson

A trustworthy VPN is extremely useful, as it protects your devices from unwanted intrusion. However, even though it does a great job keeping your connection and information safe and private, a VPN does not protect you from viruses.

A VPN’s task is to keep your location private by hiding your IP address and protecting the contents of your internet traffic by encrypting it. Although a VPN will not protect you from viruses, the VPN server’s protection will be extended to your device, so malware will not come your way. Some VPN service providers have also introduced novel protocols and defensive features that make it impossible for viruses to harm your device.

How Do Modern Viruses Work?

Computer viruses are malicious software that spreads across programs and systems. Today’s viruses do not frequently spread on their own. Instead, many users are tricked into installing malware onto their devices through an email attachment claiming to be from the bank, the government, etc. 

Can a VPN Increase My Security Against Viruses?

Yes, to some degree. Good anti-virus software will search your device for malicious content, inform you about it and then delete it. On the other hand, a VPN will not notify you that your computer has been attacked by a virus, let alone do anything to combat it.

A VPN’s contribution to your anti-virus battle is more subtle. Even though VPNs do not have software that protects you from viruses, your VPN server does. This way, you are safe from suspicious cookies, attachments, and software entering your device. Additionally, because your IP is hidden, you will not be targeted by malicious content.

Nonetheless, if you willingly (though unknowingly) download an infected file, there is nothing a VPN can do to protect you.

Final Word

Three components make up a solid foundation of your device’s security: a good VPN, state-of-the-art anti-virus software, and anti-spyware. These should also be complemented by good cyber hygiene. This includes regularly updating your apps, web browsers, and operating systems, using a firewall to prevent unauthorized access, keeping your hard drive clean, and not downloading suspicious files. Last but not least, creating strong passwords and changing them frequently is also a good measure of protection.

In conclusion, although none of the above-mentioned measures can perform miracles on their own, together, they represent the cornerstone of a reliable cybersecurity system.

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