Recently I have read several articles telling me that VPN services are not at all as necessary and useful as they were before. And the interesting fact is that the more such articles I read, the more Google recommends such articles. As a result, I feel like I am bombarded with articles telling me that VPNs are out-of-date and not at all necessary anymore. But, I guess the storm of such articles origin from the fact that I read them, and thus, Google just keeps digging for more several articles on the same topic. But, let us rather discuss the facts – should people dealing with cryptocurrencies use a VPN? Will a VPN improve their security and maybe even protect their funds?
If you are an active trader, there are lots of things you should do in order to secure your funds. The truth is, a VPN will not at all protect your funds unless you combine it with common sense and wisdom. What does that mean?
A VPN will not give ultimate protection!
There is nothing that can give you ultimate protection against theft in the world of cryptocurrencies. What do I mean? There are hardware wallets, but if you don’t watch out for your security phrase (12, 18, or 24 words), anyone with access to that can steal your funds (even if they are secured by your ledger). And if you store your security phrase on your computer or maybe in your cloud, they can easily the keys and then transfer the funds to their own wallets. A VPN cannot protect you against this!
Many people use the same computer for all their online activities. As a result, they visit a Torrent site to download a game, a program, or maybe a movie. Later they look for a live stream showing the Champions League final in football before they go to Binance to do some trading. This might work out, but it is a hazardous game. Do you know why? A VPN can hide your IP address, but if you allow programs to be installed on your computer and in your browser that is infected with spyware or other hacking tools, you will still be at risk. What do I mean?
When you install plugins and programs, you are always in danger. These might contain content that will start to record your screen activity, and they might record what you type on your keyboard. A combination of the two is even worse. They can also change DNS options in your browser, meaning that they will send you to phishing sites instead of the real thing. As a result, you believe that you are visiting Binance.com, but in reality, you are visiting a scam site that is there to steal your passwords and your money.
Hackers can also easily get access to your email once they record your keyboard clicks or record your screen, and once they have access to your email, they can often take advantage of this information to find stored passwords, reset passwords, and get access to your funds and other private information.
Once again, a VPN will not protect you against stupidity and other ugly mistakes (that many of us really do).
A VPN will give you an extra layer of security!
I have already said that a VPN will not give you ultimate protection. But, if you decide to use a VPN, it can and should give you an extra layer of security. But, it is very important to use a VPN service that you pay for. Forget about free VPN services. This is not something I write because of the commission I receive from VPN providers. It is because all those free VPN providers also make an income. Do you know how? They record your data, steal your data, and take advantage of it. A free VPN is normally way more dangerous than no VPN at all. In other words, find a good VPN and purchase a subscription.
How can a VPN boost my security?
A VPN will boost your security by encrypting your data online and hiding your actual IP address as you visit websites. This is actually really important to understand. When you visit a website or a forum, people will not see your IP address, but they will see the IP address of the VPN provider and their server. Maybe someone finds you interesting, but as they start to track you down, they will not be led to your actual location, but to a different device. Also considering that most VPN providers come with firewalls protecting you from attacks from the outside, this is actually giving you a nice extra layer of protection online. If someone should start to try and hack your IP address, they will not be taken to a router in your home with bad protection, but it will be taken to the VPN server which is constantly running with maximized security.
Many VPN providers also add additional services to their products such as the CleanWeb tool from Surfshark and the CyberSec tool from NordVPN. These tools will add an additional layer of security as they do the following:
- They keep lists of millions of malware infected websites. If you ever try to visit such a site, you will be warned and the website is blocked.
- Just like they can protect you from malware infected sites, they can also warn you against phishing sites.
- Such tools will also remove ads and pop-ups from many websites.
Once again, your safety isn’t guaranteed, but it will add an additional layer of security to your computer and your privacy, and to your cryptocurrencies.
These are some of the most important functions of a VPN when adding an extra layer of security to your data and privacy as you deal with cryptocurrencies!
How to secure your data and your cryptocurrencies online?
Here I will give you some advice that will help you take security to the next level. You might not be able to follow every single piece of advice, but the more you do, the better it is!
- Store your cryptocurrencies in a hardware wallet (Trezor, Ledger, Safepal). Never store your recovery keys online. Only buy such hardware wallets from the original sources, that is, do not buy them from third-party sellers!
- Have a computer that you only use for cryptocurrency trading and such activities. If that is impossible, keep a browser set aside for such activities that you do not use for anything else.
- Never visit or install programs on the device from sources that you do not trust 100%. Once again, THIS IS NOT a computer to use for downloading porn, programs, and other content from illegal or suspicious sites.
- Never use the same password for all your accounts, but use different passwords elsewhere. Just as important, do not store all those passwords in your Google account, but use a password manager or something else.
- Pay for a real antivirus program that is up to date and that will protect your device at all times. Maybe you feel sorry about spending $50 per year for an antivirus program, but you will be way more sorry if someone steals your cryptocurrencies because you felt sorry about spending $50 on an Antivirus program. If possible, use an antivirus program that also protects your browser and computer against malware and phishing attempts.
- Run a VPN on the same device that is always active. This will hide your IP address and add an extra layer of protection.
- If possible, use a phone for 2FA that you don’t use for anything else. This will make it harder for hackers to perform sim-swaps and so!
These are just some basic pieces of advice for those who want to secure their cryptocurrencies in a world getting more and more used to hacking and phishing. I don’t expect you to follow all of them, but the list will for sure help you boost security and make the job for any hacker who wants to steal your funds harder.
Do you have any additional advice that you want to give? I would love to hear from you!