Will a VPN Protect Your Device from Internet Viruses?

2 min

No, a VPN will not protect your devices from internet viruses. While they do offer some protection from malware attacks, virus infection is beyond the purview of a virtual private network.

You may wonder why. Well, the simple answer is that a VPN only tunnels and encrypts your web traffic. It has no control over the websites you visit or files you download. And as you can guess, websites and downloaded files are the primary sources of internet viruses.

While a VPN will encrypt your connection to a malicious website, it can’t prevent the website from attacking your device or planting a virus in it. Neither can it detect or disinfect viruses in files downloaded from the internet. For that, you will need a good antivirus software.

Let’s take a deeper look at the relationship between computer viruses and VPNs.

Why Can’t a VPN Protect from Viruses?

A virtual private network (VPN) cannot prevent virus attacks because it is not designed to. Instead, a VPN is meant to encrypt your web connection and route it through a distant server. This prevents snooping, hides your IP address, and ensures privacy. 

Viruses and other internet threats like malware and ransomware usually find their way into your devices from the internet. If you’re not careful, your devices may get infected even if you have a VPN switched on.

If you download an infected file without knowing that it contains a virus, a VPN will not be able to quarantine it, let alone detect it. The VPN software will only be responsible for encrypting your connection. The only 2 ways to avoid such viruses are to download files from websites and senders you trust and install a strong antivirus or security software.

There may be VPN apps that claim virus protection but it’s better to stay away from them. We recommend getting VPN and anti-virus software separately.

How Does a VPN Protect from Malware Attacks?

While VPNs cannot detect or remove viruses, they can still tackle some malware attacks. It can do this by blocking ports in your devices and restricting the connection between the malware and its handler over the internet. 

However, all of this will happen in the background and you’ll most likely not be notified. We believe this is not the ideal way to deal with potential malware attacks. You are better off buying a standalone anti-malware app.

This is why both VPN and anti-virus applications are essential in all devices that connect to the internet. Even if you are careful about the websites you visit and the files you download, there can be occasional slips. 

Most operating systems these days come preloaded with security apps like anti-virus software. For example, the default security software in Windows 11 is sufficient to detect and thwart common internet virus attacks. However, older Windows versions may require additional software.

If you have to download a lot of files over the internet or if your job requires you to visit hundreds of websites a day, we recommend installing a standalone antivirus software. The same applies if you feel your browsing demands a bit of extra virus protection.

For privacy protection, you can continue to depend on tuxlerVPN.

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