November 9, 2023

The Role of VPNs in Mobile App Security: Protecting Data Transmission

Cybercriminals are getting smarter. The tools and methods they use are becoming increasingly advanced, creating a cat-and-mouse game between those developing security programs/apps and those exploiting them.

One of the best tools available to combat these attacks is the virtual private network (VPN). Whether you’re using the best VPN app for Android or a program for desktop, VPNs work by routing the user’s connection through a secure network, thus cloaking/encrypting their activities. In this guide, we’ll discuss why they are so important.

The Rise of Cybercrime

Internet users have faced a range of cyber threats over the past few years. Gone are the days when the only thing you had to worry about was the odd spam email and dodgy banner ad. These days, a few online missteps could result in everything from ransomware to hacked social media accounts and even stolen IDs.

The Cybersecurity & Infrastructure Security Agency has been gathering some shocking statistics that make for a very stark warning:

  • 1 in 3 homes with computers have some kind of malware
  • Consumers lose an average of 21 hours and $358 per year dealing with cybercrime
  • 47% of US adults have had their personal info exposed

How VPN Apps Can Help

When the average user thinks of a VPN, they probably think of a tool that allows them to stream content from other countries. And that’s no coincidence, as it’s essentially how many popular VPNs have been marketed through YouTube and TikTok videos over the years.

But VPNs offer so much more than the chance to binge the latest TV show a few days or weeks earlier than your compatriots.

VPNs encrypt the data that travels to and from a device, essentially blocking it from prying eyes.

For instance, hackers can connect to unsecured public Wi-Fi networks and spy on other users. They can direct those users to spoofed websites to steal their information, spy on their passwords and usernames, and even just monitor their conversations and activity.

There is even a practice known as Evil Twin, whereby criminals set up networks that mimic real ones (such as “Starbucks_WiFi” near a Starbucks location) and then monitor everyone who connects.

Simply by connecting to one of these networks, you could expose everything from your social media accounts and emails to your banking details.

However, if you use a VPN, all that data would be encrypted, preventing criminals from getting their hands on your valuable info.

Providing Privacy

If your response to reading the above is, “I don’t use unsecured networks, I’m fine,” think again.

Your internet service provider (ISP) can also track your activity. It won’t record your passwords and other sensitive data, but it can track which websites you visit and even what videos you watch. This is true even if you use a private browsing window.

They’re not criminals, and they have no intention of using this information against you, but many internet users are still alarmed by this fact. What you do on your phone is private, after all, and it’s disconcerting to know that it’s being tracked.

It’s not just your ISP that’s tracking you, either. Marketers also track this information, as it’s very valuable when determining which products to show you. They want to know where you live, what language you speak, and even how affluent the local area is, as this information can feed an algorithm that tells them what you might be interested in and how much you might spend.

If you have a VPN, your data can’t be tracked, thus providing a degree of privacy that everyone deserves.

Summary: The Importance of VPN Apps

VPN apps are instrumental in the fight against cyber criminals and a good VPN app should definitely be on your checklist. It doesn’t matter if you have “nothing to hide” and don’t use unsecured networks. These apps are safe, secure, and easy to use, and they offer a much-needed level of protection in this increasingly complex, always-online world.

Of course, a VPN app won’t do all of the work for you. You’ll also need to update your software regularly to fix bugs and flaws, never give out your password, and refrain from clicking strange links or opening suspicious attachments. But a VPN is certainly a major piece of the puzzle.

About the author 

Kyrie Mattos

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