Can a VPN Protect You From Viruses? We Did the Research

Updated on February 14, 2024
Can a VPN Protect You From Viruses? We Did the Research

If you’re surfing the web when suddenly everything slows to a crawl, and Pop-ups bombard your screen with scary warnings that your computer is infected. Well! Could a VPN have stopped this virus attack? We did the digging to find out what does a VPN protect you from. Get ready to separate fact from fiction on whether VPNs keep viruses at bay. We’ve uncovered key insights into the VPN-virus connection that could save your computer. Read on to get the inside scoop.

What Is a VPN and How Does It Work?

To understand how a VPN works, let’s examine the three key features below

Connecting You Privately

A VPN or virtual private network establishes an encrypted connection over a less secure network, like the internet. It allows you to create a secure tunnel between your device and a VPN server operated by the VPN service. Your internet traffic is routed through this tunnel, hiding your activity and location.

Masking Your Identity

When connected to a VPN, your real IP address is hidden, and your internet traffic is routed through an encrypted tunnel. This prevents others from seeing your online activity and identifying your location. VPNs mask your true IP address and encrypt your data to provide anonymity.

Accessing Restricted Content

VPNs allow you to access websites and streaming services that may be geo-restricted or censored. By tunneling your internet traffic through an IP address from another location, you can access content as if you were actually in that country or region. Many people use VPNs to access streaming libraries in other countries or share information on networks with censorship.

While a VPN helps protect your privacy and access restricted content, it does not prevent viruses on its own. You still need comprehensive antivirus software installed on your devices to fully protect against malware. A VPN provides an extra layer of security for your online activities but should not be considered a replacement for standalone cybersecurity solutions.

Statistics about Malware and Viruses in 2024

According to researchers, the number of malware and viruses targeting home networks and devices is expected to reach over 20 billion in 2024. This is mainly due to the increasing number of connected devices in homes with poor security.

  • Over 560,000 new pieces of malware are detected daily, highlighting the constant threat they pose.
  • There are currently over 1 billion malware programs in existence, emphasizing the scale of the issue.
  • In the first half of 2022 alone, there were 236.7 million ransomware attacks globally, with an average cost of $4.54 million per incident.
  • Employees with infected machines can inadvertently spread viruses more widely, contributing to the proliferation of malware.

It’s important to note that the landscape of malware and viruses is ever-evolving, and these statistics may change over time. Staying informed about the latest trends and implementing robust cybersecurity practices is crucial to protect against these threats.

The most common types of malware targeting homes are:

  • Spyware that steals personal information like passwords and credit card numbers.
  • Ransomware that locks you out of your files and devices until you pay a ransom.
  • Bots that turn your connected devices into nodes in a botnet for attacks on businesses and infrastructure.

The threats are real but the good news is a VPN can help protect you. By encrypting all the data sent to and from your home network, a VPN makes it much harder for malware and hackers to access your information or infiltrate your network.

Does VPN Protect from Viruses and Malware?

The short answer is no. A VPN only encrypts your connection and masks your location – it doesn’t scan for viruses or block malicious websites. To stay protected, you still need to take the usual precautions. Run antivirus software on all your devices, enable firewalls, use strong passwords, be wary of phishing emails, and avoid sketchy websites. A VPN adds an extra layer of security for your online activities, but it’s not a substitute for basic cyber hygiene.

Some VPN services do offer additional features like ad blocking, tracker blocking or malware protection. But at their core, VPNs are meant to protect your privacy and location – not directly guard against viruses. So keep your antivirus software up to date and stay vigilant when connected to public Wi-Fi. A VPN in combination with good digital safety habits is the best way to avoid cybercriminals and stay secure online.

VPN vs Antivirus Comparison

AspectVPNAntivirus Software
PurposeProtect online privacy Detect and remove malware
FunctionEncrypts internet traffic Scans and monitors files/system
PrivacyHides IP address Does not directly impact privacy
SecuritySecures data transmission Protects against malicious code
Internet AccessMay slow down connection No impact on intern

How to know if your device is infected with a Virus?

If your device suddenly starts acting strangely, it could be a sign of a virus. Some common symptoms to watch out for include:

How to know if your device is infected with a Virus

Slow performance

If your computer or phone is running much slower than usual, that could indicate a virus. Viruses run processes in the background that bog down your system. Try running an antivirus scan to check for any infections.

Strange error messages

Seeing unusual error messages pop up on your screen is another clue your device may have a virus. Viruses can disrupt normal operations and trigger weird errors or warnings.

Unusual activity

Notice new apps appearing that you didn’t download? Hear strange noises coming from your speakers? See the mouse pointer moving on its own? These types of unusual behaviors could point to a virus that has taken control of your system. Shut down your device and run a virus scan immediately.

Difficulty connecting

If you have trouble connecting to the internet or certain websites, a virus may have compromised your network settings or be blocking connections. Run an antivirus program to scan for and remove any infections.

When in doubt, it’s always a good idea to run a virus scan on your device. An up-to-date antivirus program should detect and remove any malware, adware or other viruses found on your system so you can get back to worry-free computing.

How to prevent viruses from infecting your devices?

A VPN alone cannot prevent viruses from infecting your devices. You need to take additional precautions to strengthen your security.

Update your software regularly

Keep your operating systems and software up-to-date with the latest patches. Updates often contain security fixes for vulnerabilities that could be exploited by viruses and malware. Enable automatic updates on your devices whenever possible.

Use reputable antivirus software

Install comprehensive antivirus software on all your devices and keep it up-to-date. Reputable antivirus software uses signatures and heuristics to detect and block known viruses, malware, and other threats. Perform regular scans of your system and connected storage drives.

Be wary of phishing emails

Phishing emails are a common infection vector for viruses and malware. Never click links or download attachments from unsolicited or suspicious emails. Legitimate companies will not ask for sensitive information like passwords or account numbers via email.

Practice safe browsing

Be cautious when visiting unknown websites or clicking links, especially those asking you to download software or update system files. Only download software from trusted sources. Enable popup blockers and ad blockers on your web browser.

Back up your data

Regularly back up your important files and data in case your devices do become infected. That way, even if a virus corrupts or deletes files, you’ll have copies to restore from. Store backups on external storage drives and consider using a cloud storage service for offsite backup.

Following these best practices can help prevent viruses and other malware from compromising your privacy, security, and data.

How AstrillVPN can help in protecting you from viruses?

AstrillVPN uses strong encryption and other security features that can help shield your device from malware and viruses.

Encrypted internet connection

When you connect to the internet through AstrillVPN, all your online activity is encrypted. This means hackers and snoopers can’t see what websites you visit or what data you send and receive. Without being able to monitor your activity, they have no way to inject viruses or install malware on your device.

No logging

AstrillVPN maintains a strict no-logging policy. They do not store any records of your internet usage or personal information. Since AstrillVPN doesn’t keep logs, your online activity can’t be traced back to you. This also means there is no data for hackers to access and use to target your device.

Kill switch

AstrillVPN includes an automatic kill switch. If your VPN connection drops for any reason, the kill switch will immediately terminate your internet connection. This prevents your real IP address and online activities from being exposed. The kill switch adds an extra layer of protection against viruses that may try to access your device when the VPN is down.

Using AstrillVPN along with standard security practices like updating your software and using antivirus tools, is one of the best ways to shield yourself from malicious viruses and other online threats. AstrillVPN helps create an encrypted tunnel for your internet traffic and hides your real IP address, making it very difficult for hackers and their viruses to find or target your device.

Best Practices for VPN and Antivirus Usage

While a VPN can help protect your online privacy and security, it does not directly protect against viruses, malware, and other cyber threats. For the best protection, use a VPN in combination with a reputable antivirus program. Here are some best practices:

  1. Install antivirus software on all your devices, including those connected to the VPN

Antivirus programs scan for malware, viruses and other threats and either quarantine or delete them. Look for antivirus with features like real-time scanning, malware detection, and phishing protection.

  1. Keep your antivirus software up to date with the latest virus definitions and patches

New threats emerge constantly, so frequent updates are critical. Most antivirus programs offer automatic updates, but double check that yours are enabled and running regularly.

  1. Be cautious of public Wi-Fi networks

Public networks are breeding grounds for hackers and cybercriminals looking to spread malware. Even with a VPN, avoid conducting sensitive online activities like banking, shopping or accessing private accounts on public Wi-Fi.

  1. Practice safe browsing habits

Be wary of unsolicited links and attachments, even from known contacts. Phishing emails and malicious websites are common infection points. Only download software from trusted sources.

  1. Run periodic antivirus scans on your devices

Most antivirus software allows you to schedule quick, full and custom scans. Run full system scans at least monthly or if you notice a device running slower or acting strangely.

Staying safe online requires vigilance and the right tools. Using a VPN with a reputable antivirus program and practicing good digital hygiene is the best way to protect yourself from viruses and other cyber threats.

Ways You Can Still Get Viruses While Using a VPN

While a VPN can help boost your online security and privacy in many ways, it isn’t a magic bullet. There are still some ways you might get infected with viruses, malware and other cyber threats, even when connected to a VPN.

  • If you download an infected file or visit an unsafe site, you could get a virus. VPNs protect your internet connection and hide your online activities, but they can’t scan files or websites for viruses and malware. It’s still important to be cautious of what you click and download. Using antivirus software and practicing safe browsing habits is key.
  • You’re also still at risk if you use an unsecured Wi-Fi network. Public networks are prime targets for hackers trying to spread malware. Even with a VPN, they may be able to see your online activities and infect your device. For the best protection, avoid doing anything sensitive on public Wi-Fi.
  • VPNs also won’t protect you from phishing emails, infected ads, or malicious social media scams. These cyber threats rely on tricking users into clicking links, downloading files or entering login credentials. While a VPN hides your location and internet traffic, it can’t stop you from falling for a well-crafted phishing scheme. Vigilance and security awareness are the best defenses.


Do I still need antivirus software if I have a VPN? 

Yes, a VPN does not replace antivirus software. Antivirus scans for and removes actual malware on your device. A VPN only hides your internet traffic.

Will a VPN prevent phishing emails or malicious websites? 

No, a VPN does not filter out phishing, spam or malicious websites. Be cautious of unsolicited links and emails, and only visit reputable websites.

Do VPNs have flaws or vulnerabilities? 

Yes, like any software, VPNs can have vulnerabilities that are exploited. Choose a reputable AstrillVPN that keeps its software up to date with the latest patches and keep your device’s software up to date as well.

Should I turn on my VPN when I’m not using it? 

For maximum protection, keep your VPN turned on whenever you’re connected to the internet. But if it’s slowing your connection speed, you can turn it off when not in use for non-sensitive activities like streaming media. Just remember to turn it back on when done.

Does VPN block viruses?

A VPN does not directly block viruses. Its primary function is to encrypt and secure your internet connection, providing privacy and anonymity. While a VPN can add a layer of security by encrypting your data and hiding your IP address, it is not specifically designed to detect or block viruses.


VPNs can protect you from viruses and malware to some extent by encrypting your traffic, hiding your IP address, and blocking access to malicious sites but they aren’t foolproof. You’ll still need comprehensive antivirus software and safe browsing habits for full protection. The best bet is to use your VPN along with updated antivirus software, avoid questionable sites and downloads, and keep all your software updated. With the right combo of tools and smart practices, you can browse the web safely with a VPN.

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About The Author

Bisma Farrukh

Bisma is a seasoned writer passionate about topics like cybersecurity, privacy and data breach issues. She has been working in VPN industry for more than 5 years now and loves to talk about security issues. She loves to explore the books and travel guides in her leisure time.

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