Antivirus vs VPN: Which is Better at Preventing Hacking Attacks?

Antivirus programs and VPNs are two of the most popular tools netizens use to protect themselves online that are cheap and effective at what they do at the same time. They are both very good at their specific field of designed expertise. This means that one is not objectively superior to the other.
The criterion must be first selected in order to determine which one is more suitable for the narrowly defined requirement. With that said, when deciding which is better for the specific purposes of preventing attacks from unscrupulous hackers, it is important to assess each one based on this standard before determining which one is more useful.

What Does a VPN do for You?

The best VPN service will provide two main services, and those are encryption protection and IP address protection. It performs the first one by layering every exchange that comes in and out of your device with encryption.
Now, this does not necessarily mean that your exchanges will not be intercepted. Indeed, there technically nothing stopping unprincipled hackers from simply lying in wait for any exchanges to intercept and look at.
The difference now that a VPN is in operation is that all these exchanges that are intercepted will have that layer of encryption over them, making the information completely useless to the hackers unless they have the exact same encryption program to decipher the exchange (they don’t). The alternate IP address system works quite simply. Each VPN has a list of alternate IP addresses that their customers can choose from. Once you have settled on an IP address, simply choose it after the VPN has been turned on and all exchanges will be rerouted through one of the servers located in the place you chose as your perceived location.
Almost everything you see online will change noticeably. For example, you will see country specific ads pop upon social media or Youtube just because everyone online thinks that you are where your alternate IP address says you are.
So, when anyone being overly nosy wishes to know where you are, they will be none the wiser and their hacking plans will be foiled as a result. You will be able to avoid most hackers’ attempts to find where you are. And even if they somehow manage to break through and see your true location, they will not be able to put any intercepted information to any use on their end.

What an Antivirus Can Do for You

A good antivirus program works quite a bit differently. It essentially tries to mimic the human antivirus system. When a virus enters your computer, the antivirus program will identify that the virus is indeed a virus and poses a threat to the well-being of the computer.
It will then examine the virus and observe the inner workings of it as best as possible and figure out how to best tackle and eliminate the virus. It will then proceed to counter the virus by forming into the appropriate anti-virus for that specific virus and start to attack the virus until the virus has been dealt with thoroughly.
Generally speaking, antivirus programs have a built-in scanning schedule whereby it will scan the computer on a set regular schedule with fixed intervals. If there are indeed virus programs that the program is able to detect, the antivirus program will start mounting a counter virus attack on the virus program.
You also have the option of performing a manual scan on your computer whenever you wish. If you feel that your computer is performing noticeably subpar, all you have to do is to go on to your antivirus software and command it to perform an off-schedule scan of the whole computer.  The main fundamental difference between VPNs and antivirus programs is that VPN operates with a preventative mindset whereas antivirus
programs generally operate on reactionary principles. Both are well-suited for
those specific goals, but only one can be best suited for a specific purpose.
The downside to an antivirus is sometimes problems with the interworking relationship between the software and Microsoft.  Sometimes these compatibility issues can cause problems, forcing the end-user to wait for special patches for their computer drivers.

And the Winner is…

For the specific goal of preventing hackers from causing harm to you and your personal information, having the services of a good VPN is the single most effective way to ensure against unscrupulous hackers and their self-enriching habits.
This because VPNs are specifically geared towards protection against harmful interceptions by outside third parties who can be a bit too nosy for comfort. By employing high-grade encryption technology into their service features, a good VPN ensures that you as a ustomer will be protected against online incursions.
In contrast, antivirus programs are geared towards protecting against viral infections. Antivirus programs are great for protecting against unwanted cookies and other more overt forms of hacking. This, however, is not enough to prevent exchanges from being intercepted in readable form once data is sent out from your computer.
Ideally, the best possible way to go about the issue of privacy protection is to employ the services of both the VPN as well as antivirus program. This would provide the perfect double punch that will make it all but impossible for hackers to either infiltrate your computer with fiendish viral programs or intercept information going to and from the computer.
But at the end of the day, in a contest with such a specific criterion for victory, it must be said that if you could only pick one of them, it would be best to acquire the services of a well-ressected VPN.


Irfan Shakeel
Irfan Shakeel, the founder of ehacking project, he also hosts cyber security training classes at EH Academy. He has discovered many vulnerabilities in the famous platforms (like Google, Dailymotion, Harvard University & etc.). He specializes in Network hacking, VoIP pentesting & digital forensics. He is the author of the book title “Hacking from Scratch”.

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