Is Antivirus Enough?
An antivirus may not be everything you need to stay protected when browsing online.
In the 3,300 data breaches reported last year, 2.2 billion people had their private info and sensitive data broadcast to the world. Internet security is a growing problem – and the truth is no one is safe from prying eyes.
And it’s not just criminals who want to steal your stuff and track your every move. In fact, every time you use the internet you are being spied on.
Anytime you open your browser to stream video, play games and shop, run a Google search, click a link or update your status, you are being watched. Website owners collect data on every little thing you do online and use that data to sell to marketers.
This allows them to know who you and what you are interested in, so that they can target their ads more effectively. But for many people, it’s also a clear breach of privacy.
What is a VPN Anyhow?
Luckily, you don’t have to leave yourself open and can keep your private stuff private. A VPN, or virtual private network, is a great tool for keeping your online activities shielded from prying eyes.
It works by re-routing your connection to the internet via a remote server or even a couple of different servers. Basically, you’re assigned a completely different IP address attached to the server you’re connected to.
What Does a VPN Do?
It might not be able to fool the NSA if they take an interest in what you’re up to, but for the most part, a decent VPN will make it a lot harder for companies, marketers and hackers to trace your online activity back to you.
This means you won’t get any annoying retargeted ads up every time you’ve looked at a product or searched a term in Google. It means you have a level of anonymity while you’re going about your business online. With a VPN, you don’t have mysterious people collecting data on every click or word you type.
And, more importantly, you make it much harder for potential hackers and cyber thieves to figure out who you are, track what you’re doing or gain access to your devices to capture your data.
What’s more, give you the freedom to access the internet as if you’re located in a completely different part of the world, by selecting to be assigned an IP address from a server in a particular region or country.
That means you can access any content, websites or information that you desire. Many people use a VPN when they’re traveling abroad or to check how their websites and other content looks to an overseas audience in a specific country.
Does That Mean I Don’t Need Antivirus?
Um, no, it doesn’t mean that. It means you can make your antivirus work even better.
That’s because antivirus protection does something different. It keeps you safe from all kinds of malware and spyware , so your devices won’t be infected by something that could damage or delete your files, block applications, slow down your computer or automatically capture and transfer information from your hard drive or home screen.
These are different problems to the privacy and anonymity concerns that a VPN deals with for you.
So… I Need to Buy Both?
If you want to be truly protected online, you do indeed need both an antivirus program and VPN. If you want total privacy and rock solid security then yes, you’ll need a VPN and excellent antivirus, too.
That’s because, by and large, your antivirus is there to protect your hardware, whereas your VPN is there to protect you, the human being, from being compromised. Having both things in place covers all your bases for you.
Where Should I Get It?
Some of the top Internet Security Software bill themselves as antivirus package, but in fact come with a bunch of privacy tools to boot.
That means it is possible to buy the best virus protection that comes with a VPN thrown in. This can work out cheaper, and it also means you don’t have to worry about your antivirus mistaking your VPN for malware and trying to block it – which can happen occasionally.
Think carefully, though. There are ton of different features on offer depending on the VPN and antivirus you go for and what you’re planning to do with it. If you do decide to invest in a single solution, make sure both parts do everything you need them to do.
Want to learn more about the best antivirus software? Read our expert reviews here.