Have you heard about scareware before? If you have been surfing the Internet, you have for sure met scareware, but maybe without knowing that what you have experienced is actually scareware.
Scareware is by definition information (most frequently given to you through a pop-up) that will scare you. The consequence is that you will take steps to solve the problem, and this will lead to the actual problem. In other words, scareware is only there to scare you into installing actual malware, spyware, or paying to fix the non-existing problem.
Do you get it? What does this mean?
Hackers can add code to website, making sure that visitors will see certain pop-up messages as they visit the given domain or website. The pop-up will look like the operating system or general virus programs, and thus, the user will often free threatened as it looks so real.
The text of the pop-up might be something like this:
- A virus has been detected on your device.
- Your device and your data is at risk.
- Fix this immediately, and you still have a chance to fix it.
- Click this link to run a program that will help you solve the problem.
The program they want you to install is what will cause the actual trouble on your device. The pop-up in itself is harmless, unless you actually heed to its advice.
But, scareware can also be other information shared with you to make you scared, and force you into buying products that you don’t really need. And that leads us to the question of the article – Are VPN services and their threats about online security just scareware?
Are you just fooled into buying VPN services by scareware websites?
If you have read websites about VPN services, you will often see them recommending that you use a VPN all the time. It comes as a means to protect your data, your privacy, and your activities online. They might also say that your device is a risk, so make sure to use a VPN.
Whenever you visit Torrent sites, they also show your IP address. This is also used to warn you, that people might spy on your activities, and if you do not use a VPN, your identity might be revealed and you might be punished.
So, is this a big scareware business? Or is there an actual need for using VPN services?
The truth about VPN services
Most people know that it is smart to install an antivirus program on their devices. But, you can easily stay safe online also without a program. In fact, most people go safely without getting any viruses no matter what.
But, then you have the unlucky person without an antivirus program that gets infected. That person regrets deeply for not keeping the virus program up to date and the virus-database up to date.
Most people will have no trouble surfing the web and doing all their activities without a VPN connection. But, then you have the few cases in which people have deeply regretted it afterward. So, let us learn some more about what a VPN can do for you and what it cannot do for you.
What a VPN can do for you
- A VPN will hide your actual location.
This is useful if you want to change your IP address. It isn’t necessary for most people, but it can be a nice addition. If you download illegal Torrent files or do other activities online that you don’t want people to spy on or find out about, this is very important and needed. All your activities will seem to origin from the IP address of the VPN server, and since they do not keep any logs (if you use a no-logging VPN), it should be impossible to trace the activity back to you. If you just surf with your normal IP address, any activity you do online can be traced back to you easily.
- A VPN will secure your data online
It has been shown many times that hacking a device on an open Wi-Fi network is very easy. But, if you take the same device and connect it to a VPN server, it is way harder. Now the data is encrypted, and the hackers cannot find the device at all on the local network.
- A VPN will often protect your from malicious websites, spyware, and malware
This is something you might not know about, but many VPN services include protection in addition to the basic VPN connection. NordVPN has their CyberSec function (for example) which blocks ads, but also hinders you from visiting websites known for malware, spyware, and on blacklists online. The actual VPN connection will also hinder you from transmitting data to known hacker sites, which again can protect you if you even have malware/spyware installed on your device.
What a VPN cannot do for you
- A VPN cannot clean viruses on your computer
If your device is infected by some malware, spyware, virus, or something like that, you need to find an antivirus program to clean your device. A VPN might hinder some signals and data from being sent to other devices, but it will never be able to clean your device.
- A VPN isn’t an almighty super-tool that will fix everything
Just like I mentioned above, the VPN isn’t a super-program that will solve all your trouble. In fact, you can run a VPN, and have an antivirus program running, and still get malware installed on your device. In other words, you still need to use common sense. But, a VPN combined with a good antivirus program with updated definitions should give you a way higher chance of steering clear of danger.
- A VPN cannot fix your daily tasks for you
This is just a joke to make my point, but a VPN cannot cook a meal for you, it cannot go to the toilet instead of you, and it cannot take care of your family for you.
Is VPN scareware or not?
I can clearly say a NO to that question. Just like most people will survive without car insurance, or without an antivirus program, you will also do well without a VPN. But, if you want that extra layer of protection, in case of trouble, then a VPN is a great investment that will do you good and keep you safe.
Once again, most people don’t need it… but if security and privacy is of the essence to you, or if you are frequently using open WiFi networks, a VPN gives you that layer of protection that will come useful and give you more freedom to visit all sorts of websites without worrying about security.
I have tried to gather some thoughts on the topic in this article. If you have further comments or questions or some experience that you would like to share on the topic, use the comment field below.