Is VPN Safe for Online Banking?
In 2019, the rate of account takeovers (when login data is used to gain access to accounts) rose by 79% in the US alone. This has served as an eye-opener and is the reason why people are more curious about VPNs and the safety they provide.
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Is VPN safe for online banking? The answer is relative as it depends on the user, but yes, a VPN is safe to use for online banking.
What Is A VPN?
VPN is short for Virtual Private Network and is a tool that helps you enhance the security of your private network. You may think of connecting a cable to your bank’s network to ensure the security of your data, but that’s not possible and so a VPN takes care of this for you.
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When you connect to a VPN, every data you send from your device is encrypted as a VPN creates a tunnel through which all requests pass. This encryption process makes a mess of the information you are sending so that it’s impossible to decipher the information even if it gets intercepted by your ISP, hackers, spies, or other third parties.
Is It Safe to Use VPNs for Online Banking?
In one word, yes. Using a VPN connection as you go about your online banking transactions will protect your data even if you connect to a public Wi-Fi.
The primary purpose of a VPN is encryption and there are different levels of encryption available. Currently, 256-bit encryption is the most sophisticated and nearly impossible to crack in a lifetime. And so this type of encryption is used where security is of utmost priority. This being established, you can see how every data through a VPN connection is safe even if you connect through a public network. Hackers have different sophisticated means to steal your data and even if they succeed, the encryption your VPN offers will protect your data regardless as all they would see is gibberish.
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Even if you connect to your home Wi-Fi, you need to be on a VPN connection as your home network could be tampered with, putting your connection and data at risk. So for better security always connect to a VPN. Apart from the security you get, VPNs also give you privacy so it’s difficult to track your online activities. So whatever you do online remains unknown to your ISP, spies, and snoopers.
Note however that banks can get suspicious and even lock your account if they think you are connecting from another country. So when using a VPN, connect to a server in your own country.
When It Isn’t Safe to Use A VPN
Free VPN apps are out of the question as they are not safe for use, especially for online banking. Free VPN app services lack the funds and even the will to be up to date with the latest technology that would ensure your protection, so using them would be putting your banking details at risk. An analysis of free android VPN apps showed that 18% of those apps don’t encrypt data and 84% leak data. To do research and develop apps aren’t cheap and you can’t get premium services for free.
Since free VPNs have to generate revenue one way or another, you will most likely have ads bombarding you and slowing down your connection. In some cases, the app may even track you and leave malware. The previously cited research also shows that 38% of free VPN apps contain malware codes so you can’t be too careful with them. Free VPN steals and sells your data, and that can include your banking details.
The best way to avoid these compromises that come with the use of free VPNs is to use a premium VPN service, but this can only take you to an extent as your actions also influence your safety.
One way you can protect your data and ensure your security is to avoid visiting untrustworthy or fake websites. Such websites may parade themselves as legitimate websites but they are put up as clones to steal your data. Using tools like CleanWeb will be helpful.
Other tips to help you improve your online banking security are discussed below.
Improve Your Online Banking Safety
To ensure your online banking is secured, here are some things you can do:
- Don’t use one password multiple times: data leaks exist even when we are extra careful and your password for another account may have been leaked. You wouldn’t want whoever gets access to it to be able to log into all your accounts, so use different passwords for different accounts.
- Use strong passwords only: it’s common to see people use passwords like “12345” or “password”. Thanks to advancements in tech, many platforms won’t allow you to use such weak passwords. Only use strong passwords which are a combination of uppercase and lowercase letters, and numbers too combined with special characters.
- Make use of two-factor authentication: two-factor authentication makes it more difficult to gain access to your account as it adds a step to the login process. With this in place, hackers would find it even more difficult to hack into your account.
- Update your software: updates provide better security as they close loopholes and backdoors that existed in the previous software version. Your antivirus and VPN software will also be updated from time to time and these updates come with improved security functionalities. So whenever there is an update, don’t ignore it.
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- Lock your screen when not in use: this applies to every device you use including your laptop, smartphone, tablet, etc. Even with a VPN connection, a hacker can gain access to your data if they have physical access to your device.
- Avoid suspicious links: It’s common to see pop-ups on websites and links even in your emails. Don’t click on them as they could lead to a malicious website, or install malware on your device.
- Turn on your banking notifications: most banks and their apps have the feature to notify you of any activity on your account. This way you get to know what is going on in case you need to take prompt actions. Turn this feature on for your protection.
- Use antivirus software: install antivirus software on all your devices to protect your data and prevent malware.
Following these steps will keep you safe and your banking details secured and out of the reach of hackers. They will also help you get the best out of your VPN.
How A VPN Improves Your Online Banking Experience
- Security across devices: by subscribing to a VPN plan, you can connect with multiple devices. So your online banking remains safe on your smartphone and your computer.
- Kill switch: this feature is present in many premium VPN apps and it prevents connection to the internet if the VPN connection is down. This way you don’t end up exposing your data.
- Prevent phishing: some VPN services prevent pop-ups and block links especially those suspected to be malicious. You can easily avoid clicking on the links or pop-ups but preventing them altogether keeps you safer.
- Split tunneling: some banks are against the use of a VPN, and so if yours is one of such, this feature will allow your traffic to go directly to the bank’s servers. Split tunneling allows you to select which processes can be exempted from the VPN.
Internet banking details are one of the most targeted as access to these grants hackers entry to your account. There are different ways through which you can protect your internet banking details and ensure it’s safe including the use of a VPN, but is VPN safe for online banking? Your practices and the type of VPN you use determine your internet safety and security, and that’s why it’s important that you only connect to a VPN that offers you state of the art security. LimeVPN uses 256-bit encryption to protect your data so that even when it gets intercepted, all that would be seen is an incomprehensible mess.