VPN Hacker Protection: Can a VPN Be Hacked?
Virtual Private Network (VPN) is becoming more common. Both free VPN and premium versions are in demand from all segments of society — from schoolchildren to entrepreneurs and top managers of huge companies.
But such popularity also generates the interest of intruders, including hackers, who are increasingly asking a question about VPN hacker protection: can a VPN be hacked?
Let’s try to consider it!
Previously, we’ve told about VPN security. Learn more here.
VPN encryption: how does it work?
To understand whether VPN hacking is possible, you need to figure out how VPN encryption works. And to understand how VPN encryption works, you need to start with how you log on to the internet at all.
You open the browser and enter the site you need in the address bar. From your device, the request goes to the router, and from there to the provider. The provider connects to the site you need, receives the content of the page you requested, and sends it to you along the same route.
The problem is that such a connection is not secure. A router (especially public Wi-Fi!) is a very vulnerable thing for hackers. Using an unsecured connection in 2022, when hackers and other Internet scammers are lurking on every corner of the internet, is a very bad idea.
How to protect your Wi-Fi? Follow several rules here.
However, when VPN encryption is enabled, the data that you send to the internet is transmitted encrypted. Encrypted even from the provider. Thanks to VPN encryption, the sites you visit see the IP address of the VPN server, not yours.
– Does this mean that VPN encryption gives 100% security? Is hacking a VPN impossible?
Let’s figure out sequentially which way the information goes when you use a VPN — and exactly how VPN encryption protects your data at each stage.
VPN hacker protection
1. Computer (as well as any other device you use)
VPN encryption starts working as soon as you turn on the VPN app. As long as your device’s connection to the VPN server is active — any data that you transmit to the network, VPN encryption protects initially. And even if a hacker breaks into the router you are using, he will only see the encrypted data.
If your device was infected with a virus or access was obtained in another way (up to the peeped password that you entered a public place – yes, this method is still relevant in 2022) — no VPN will help you, no matter how reliable VPN encryption is. The attacker already has access to your data. Therefore, check regularly for viruses and be reasonable.
The virus vs. worm? What’s the difference? Learn more here.
2. VPN encryption: how strong is it?
We said above that hacking VPN encryption is possible if a hacker has gained access to the router through which you transmit encrypted data. And how easy is it to crack this cipher? This directly depends on the VPN encryption level.
Today, the VPN encryption standard is 256-bit AES encryption. How much is that? So much so that the selection of the key by simple brute force makes the task impossible, even for those who plan to live forever — and are ready to spend their entire eternal life hacking your secrets. There are so many decryption options in 256-bit AES encryption that even modern supercomputers will search through combinations for about a billion years!
3. VPN servers. Is hacking the VPN server itself possible?
But the answer to this question depends very much on the specific VPN provider. We have said many times and will say many more times in our articles that you should not trust free VPN services that do not have a paid version. A VPN service is not a one-page website with text and a couple of pictures, it is a complex ‘machine’ that requires fine-tuning, consisting of many servers in different parts of the globe, professional software, and people who can manage all this.
The list of VPNs with trial period is here.
Well, what can be a free VPN server in such conditions that would be safe for the user? Only one: paid for by the paid version of the VPN application from the same company. In this case, the free VPN service is maintained at the expense of users of the paid premium version.
If there is no paid version, such a VPN provider will simply have to look for money somewhere else to survive. In the best case, it will be advertisers who will buy the logs of users of such a service. At worst, hackers.
Hacking a VPN server directly is a very difficult task. Although we, who are sincerely worried about the VPN business all over the world, are sad to admit that such a precedent has already taken place — a free VPN server of a poorly protected provider was hacked, saving on everything that is possible and what is not.
Hackers will be able to hack a good VPN service very soon. Therefore, for the stage when your information protected by VPN encryption is decrypted on the VPN server to be transmitted to the destination you specified in a readable form, you can rest easy. Of course, if you use a good VPN service.
What attacks can’t a VPN prevent?
A VPN won’t protect you from attacks that don’t require access to your IP address. For example, malware attacks and phishing attacks.
Read more about phishing and its danger here.
Some attackers can gain control of your device by introducing malicious programs, files and scripts into your system. You may be exposed to malware when visiting untrusted websites or trying to download unlicensed applications.
Sometimes, hackers can send you a fake email containing malicious files that can compromise your system after opening or downloading. In such cases, a VPN will not be able to help you either. For better protection against malware attacks, you should install antivirus software on your device.
The fair comparison of VPN with other private tools is here.
VPN encryption protects your data, but it won’t save you if you give your data to a fraudster yourself. For example, there have been so-called phishing sites for a long time. They literally catch you on the hook: when you go to such a site, your computer or other device becomes infected with a virus. And an attacker no longer needs a VPN hack at all to read any of your data.
Therefore, it is best to use Utopia P2P — a decentralized network that from the very beginning does not have access to any of your data does not track your online activity, and is completely protected from hacking and data leaks.
Learn more about Utopia P2P here.