You may be wondering if a VPN can help clean up your online experience. Can a VPN stop spam, reduce junk mail, stop phishing, and keep you safe from additional frustrating and dangerous cyber-threats?
Cyberthreats can begin with something as simple as email. Some questionable websites collect email addresses only to hand them over to spammers and hackers. They flood our email with junk and within that junk is a common and dangerous cyber-threat, the phishing email.
What is Phishing?
Phishing is one of the least sophisticated and most widespread types of cyber-crime. It does not involve any of the familiar hacking skills or techniques. It is more like an old fashioned confidence (con) game just modified to work in a digital world. The most common phishing approach involves sending an email that appears to come from a trusted source. It might look like it is from your bank, credit card company, an online retailer, or a social media account. It will include a link sending the user to a bogus website that will attempt to collect sensitive information.
Phishing attacks can also be disguised as banner and pop-up ads and can also link to sites loaded with malware and viruses.
Can a VPN Prevent Phishing?
Because phishing attacks are relatively low tech and always morphing to find new victims, no software can completely eliminate the risk. However, choosing the right VPN can help prevent phishing attacks. A basic VPN will only offer limited protection, but more advanced VPNs provide tools to keep you safe. Here are five ways your VPN can mitigate the risk of phishing attacks.
How a VPN Can Prevent Phishing
1. Blocking Malicious Websites
Some VPN services, such as NordVPN, include features specifically designed to detect and block malicious websites. This means, if you do click on a link in a phishing email, the service may warn you that the site is unsafe and may be trying to steal your information. These services maintain a database of known phishing website links to ensure users don’t fall into the trap.
2. Blocking Pop-ups and Ads
One of the ways users end up on malicious websites is through clicking on pop-ups and other advertising. Clicking on these links can lead to a site phishing for information or one that attempts to install malicious files. Some VPN services bundle ad-blocking software that blocks ads from malicious websites or blocks ads altogether.
3. Encrypting Connections
A VPN directly protects you from cyber attacks like phishing by encrypting all of your connections. All of your internet traffic is encrypted as it travels to and from your secure VPN server. That means that there is no way that hackers can monitor your activity or intercept any data.
4. HTTP, HTTPS, and VPN
Many people believe that by surfing only HTTPS websites, their data is secure and safe from hackers. The new HTTPS (Hypertext Transfer Protocol Secure) indeed offers a safer browsing experience by encrypting some of the traffic traveling back and forth between your computer and the website you are visiting. However, it is not foolproof and does not encrypt everything. The best way to keep your data secure is by trusting an always encrypted, secure VPN connection.
5. Protecting Your Email Address
As already mentioned, the most common phishing method is initiated through an email. But where do hackers get your email address? There are many methods, but one is through unsecured, non-encrypted web traffic.
Will a VPN Stop Spam?
Since a VPN keeps your web traffic secure and can help keep you away from malicious websites, it can help to stop spam. While the VPN is not explicitly designed to block spam, keeping your data safe online can keep your email address out of the hands of spammers.
Does a VPN Reduce Junk Mail?
Again, a VPN is not explicitly designed to affect email traffic. However, the increased online security it provides can reduce junk mail. It may not stop junk mail completely, but it is another piece in keeping your private information private.
A VPN on its own is not designed to filter out the spam from your email. However, it can prevent phishing attacks by blocking malicious websites and ads. It also would encrypt your communications so your email address is not leaked to hackers and spammers.
Not all VPN providers actually have malware and ad blocking features that could potentially reduce the junk mail. NordVPN, Surfshark or Private Internet Access are the ones that can block trackers, ads and malicious websites.