You may be aware that NordVPN is one of the most popular VPN service providers around. With over 5 million downloads on the Google Play Store and over 4 million on the App Store, it’s clear that people are finding the app very useful.
Unfortunately, it appears that NordVPN has made some recent changes, and as a result, many users are struggling to find the app they know and love. If you use NordVPN, then this article will tell you all about the changes that have been made and how you can continue to use the app as you have before.
The Good Old Days
Let’s look back to the good old days, when using a VPN was enough of a hassle that people simply didn’t do it. We all know what happened next. With the development and rise of the smart phone, the hassle of having to continually install and maintain a VPN on a device that is always connected and kept up-to-date via automatic updates became less of an issue.
Nowadays, using a VPN is as simple as installing the app and connecting it to your account. When you next turn on your device, you’ll see a dialog box that will explain the basics of using the service. After you’ve confirmed the settings, you’re good to go.
So what has changed? It seems like a combination of the following:
- The development of more convenient methods of encrypted data transmission.
- Increasingly sophisticated malware that is capable of discovering and using these methods.
- A push for increased user privacy and security.
- A desire for an all-in-one solution.
The combination of the above has created new challenges for the VPN industry. Thanks to the proliferation of sophisticated malware that is always on the lookout for ways to infiltrate devices and accounts, using a VPN is now more risky than ever before. The good news is that there are ways that you can mitigate this risk.
On the subject of malware, it is important to note that not all threats are created equal. While some malware will try and steal your personal data or financially cripple you, many do not. They simply exist to fulfill a singular goal: to propagate and survive. Since they lack the intelligence to function beyond this goal, they can be more easily contained. Even then, since they lack the capacity for self-repair, they’ll eventually succumb to a determined attack, either from you or a security entity such as Google or Apple.
With that being said, let’s examine the ways in which you can minimize the damage that malware can do to your device, your account, and your personal data.
1. Keep Your Software Up-to-Date
One of the simplest and most effective ways to keep malware at bay is to make sure that your software is always up-to-date with the latest security patches and bug fixes. This reduces the likelihood of your device being compromised because there is always the possibility that some new and unknown flaw will be found and exploited in a malicious attack. Keeping software up-to-date is, in fact, one of the main responsibilities of a system administrator. They must continually scan and update all networked devices connected to their server.
To keep tabs on your device’s security, you can download the free uProber app from the Google Play Store. This app will regularly scan your device for software updates and security patches, notifying you of any issues that it finds. Alternatively, you can manually check for software updates on a regular basis, or set your device to do so automatically. Keeping your software up-to-date is critical because any unpatched vulnerabilities in the software could be used by malware to infiltrate your device. Once malware is installed, it could conceivably use the same methods that it uses for infiltration to maintain itself and spread further.
2. Use A VPN On A Dedicated Device
Even if you take all of the steps mentioned above to keep your device and data secure, you’re still leaving yourself open to attack if you use the same device for both personal and work-related activities. Since most devices are only as secure as you make them, the safest and most convenient option is to use a VPN on a dedicated device. This will help prevent any snooping by malware, while also providing you with an extra layer of security because the VPN will encrypt all of your data before it is sent to its destination.
If you use a VPN on a regular basis, then it would be wise to invest in a dedicated device just for that purpose. These devices are better known as splitters or gateways. Essentially, they are a dedicated point of entry into your private network, which allows you to access whatever network resources you need, when you need them. A dedicated device gives you the added assurance that no matter where you go, no matter what you do, your private network will remain untouched and secure. Because of this, you can rest assured that your personal data will be kept private, even if you stray far from home.
3. Only Use The VPN On Necessary Networks
When you’re online, almost inevitably you’ll be on insecure networks. These are the networks that you don’t necessarily need to be on, and it’s a good idea to avoid using a VPN on these kinds of networks as much as possible. Essentially, these are the networks that you don’t need to be on to do your daily activities. For example, if you’re accessing social media sites like Facebook or Twitter, you don’t need to encrypt these sites because they are already protected by whatever security measures these sites have in place (such as HTTPS).
Similarly, if you’re using an unencrypted Wi-Fi connection at a café or hotel, using a VPN may be overkill since these networks are already reasonably secure. It’s best to avoid using a VPN in these situations, as it will decrease the usability of your device. If you use a VPN on these networks, then it will slow down your connection since they will have to encrypt everything that they send to you before it can be read. In these situations, it might be better to use a proxy service, which will simply act as a gateway to the unencrypted network, allowing you to access the site anonymously (typically via Tor or a similar service).
4. Use Strong And Unique Passwords
You may be familiar with the expression ‘if it’s too easy to guess, it’s too easy to hack’. When it comes to keeping your data secure, this phrase cannot be overstated. Using strong and unique passwords on all of your accounts is the simplest and most effective way to prevent identity theft and ensure that your data stays private. Avoid using easily guessable or commonly-used passwords, especially for accounts that you value. Instead, use a combination of upper and lower case letters, numbers, symbols, and random words to create unique and strong passwords.
Some may question the need for strong and unique passwords, especially since they are available for free on many websites. However, even if you do have a unique password, it doesn’t matter much if the person who is trying to hack you knows how you created it. As long as they have access to your device or account, they will be able to guess your password easily enough to break in.
5. Use A Password Manager
If you use the same password on multiple accounts, then it’s going to be extremely easy for someone to gain access to your personal data simply by gaining access to one of your accounts. As an extra precaution, it’s a great idea to use a password manager. These programs will store all of your passwords for you, meaning that you will never have to remember them again. It also keeps track of your login credentials so that you don’t have to worry about forgetting them either. While there are many free password managers out there, it’s a good idea to invest in one that is fully-functional and capable of storing all of your important passwords securely.
In some instances, using a VPN is not just acceptable, it’s required. If you use a VPN to surreptitiously access unencrypted WiFi networks at cafés and hotels or to protect your device from cyber attacks, for example, then it might not be such a good idea to avoid using it for necessary networks. This is mostly because the security community will never be able to keep up with the rate of change within the cyber security space, resulting in a permanent state of insecurity. In other words, even if you take all of the precautions and use the best software and the strongest passwords, sooner or later, you will be exposed.