What is a VPN and its importance in preventing a ransomware incident?

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Most people have heard of a VPN through friends or promotions on social media platforms.

A Virtual Private Network, also stylized as a VPN, is an online privacy protection tool which allows you to create a private network through a public connection. It creates a layer of added security by adding a mask between you, the internet user, and the potential hackers/cyber attackers trying to monitor your digital footprint. In short, it creates an encrypted connection with an IP address of a different location that your activity cannot be monitored online.

Due to COVID19, most of the companies and individuals have started relying on Virtual Private Networks in response to stay-at-home orders to continue working remotely.

Generally a VPN is seen as a means to attain and retain privacy in a world where data is capitalized upon by various organizations both for beneficial and malevolent reasons.

There is more of a focus on the use of VPN software for privacy as opposed to adding a layer of security to delay life and business operations. Security is becoming increasingly important in a world that continues to rely on telecommunications for daily life.

To reduce the exposure of our private data online, usage of VPNs have skyrocketed and for all the good reasons.

But in this specific article, we’ll be exploring why using a VPN is important to help in preventing a ransomware attack.

First things first, what’s a ransomware attack?

Grasping the mechanics of Ransomware can be a rather daunting task. Hence, having a better understanding of how ransomware attacks occur is something of a simpler endeavor.

A ransomware attack takes place when cyber criminals attack an IT infrastructure of a company, encrypting the data, and making it render useless unless a payment is made. And the payment is most often in several thousands, even hundreds of thousands of dollars.

Most of the time, attackers provide a decryption key to decrypt the data once payment is made. But that doesn’t come with a 100% guarantee. Ransomware is a menace and the only way to keep yourself safe is to remain vigilant.

How does a VPN prevent a ransomware attack?

VPN essentially creates an extra layer of security. By masking your IP, hiding your real identity, and leaving no footprints, it becomes extremely difficult for a hacker or a government agency with malicious intentions to track your activities and steal confidential information.

A virtual private network first sends your data to a secure server, then encrypts the data so that it becomes impossible for hackers to infiltrate.

It takes a lot of time for ransomware attackers to stage a successful cyber-attack and they won’t want to waste their time and energies in infiltrating a highly secure and encrypted connection. It just isn’t worth their time. This puts VPN users at a competitive advantage as compared to others when it comes to security and online privacy.

But that doesn’t mean that a VPN is an end-to-end solution for keeping you at bay from hackers. You still need to practice cyber hygiene, install and update a top anti-virus system and avoid clicking any malicious link in an email.

A VPN can prevent the vast majority of ransomware incidents by allowing connection to private networks without the use of RDP over a connection which can be eavesdropped upon. One of the biggest threats that can be averted through the use of a VPN is what is known as a Man in the Middle attack, in which a network, website, or device can be interfered with in order to capture potentially sensitive data and credentials which are being communicated.

You always have to make sure that you are using the right VPN which does not keep logs of your information. When it comes to corporate communications, a VPN is absolutely essential.

The last thing that a company wants is to have an employee using an unsecure remote desktop protocol. Having a VPN set up for your company is just the first step in the right direction.

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How to stay safe from ransomware attacks?

VPN does most of the work when it comes to providing you with extra security and peace of mind. It is however, still important to follow some tips to minimize your chances of getting compromised:

  • Always use a strong password with combinations of small and capital letters, numbers, and alphabets.
  • Disconnect from the system once the work is done.
  • Keep your antivirus system regularly updated.
  • Do not click on any suspiciously looking link or email.
  • Do not download any file.
  • Keep your backups updated and disconnected from the network.

As always, prevention is better than cure. And using a VPN for all your online activities is the right preventative measure you can take to reduce ransomware attacks.

Final Thoughts

Ransomware attacks are fatal, and devastating to any business. Using a secure VPN will ensure you go a long way without any major network breaches. Alongside, you should also rope in a cybersecurity company such as BeforeCrypt, which specializes in ransomware data recovery and decryption services. We will help you in finding the right VPN tool, and preparing a comprehensive cybersecurity plan to harden your network.

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