Yes, while a VPN will protect your internet connection from being spied on and compromised, it is completely possible to get hacked while using a VPN, if you allow someone to know your username and password or invite malware yourself.
If you are using one of these best VPN services of 2021, you will never be hacked. But, even then, it doesn’t make you completely immune to any cyberattack.
While a VPN will protect you from anonymous snooping, government, ISPs, and malicious websites data collection, it will not protect you from malware, spyware, or any phishing attacks.
You will be safer when using a VPN, but an idea of using a VPN and where will make it more effective.
How does a VPN get hacked?
Even the best VPN providers in the industry can easily become a target of cybercriminals due to their weaknesses. We have discussed a few VPN’s weak spots that hackers can easily exploit.
Breaking the VPN’s encryption
Breaking an encryption key of a top VPN provider requires time, money and is obviously difficult. Therefore, many cybercriminals don’t even attempt to break it.
However, not all VPNs use the same encryption standards. The providers that use older or weaker encryption are more vulnerable to cyberattacks. For example, DES and Blowfish encryption are older and maybe less secure — avoid any services that use these!
Stealing Encryption Keys
As decoding the encrypted information through programming is very hard, many hackers steal the encryption keys and use them to decode the data. In the past, many hackers have successfully stolen keys from compromised VPN servers.
Once the keys are stolen, they execute Man-In-The-Middle (MITM) attacks to decipher data as it passes between 2 points. Not only can they read but also alter the data which is being sent to you.
IP and DNS leaks
Your physical location and everything you’ve done online can easily be revealed by your IP address and DNS server requests. If your VPN provider software doesn’t include basic advanced security features such as Internet Kill Switch, then cyber criminals can acquire your personal information through any leak.
Server vulnerabilities and user logs
If a VPN provider doesn’t properly oversee its third-party server’s management, hackers may find vulnerabilities and access the network. As many VPN providers still use hard drives to store temporary information, hackers may penetrate the server and access the data records, user logs, and encryption keys.
What to do if you are hacked while using a VPN?
It is doubtful that a top-tier VPN can ever get hacked, but it is important to understand the consequences of an attack and to know what to do in the event of one.
The most immediate consequence of a VPN hack is the encrypted tunnel’s information being at high risk. Most people use a VPN as an intensified need or desire for privacy, so being hacked in this situation means that your sensitive information might be endangered or stolen.
Also, in the case of a compromised VPN, the user will likely lose personal data and face the risk of scrutiny from local authorities. Just using a VPN can put you in a tough spot in many countries, and you can face legal action against yourself.
If a VPN is hacked, all of the personal information shared or communicated through the affected VPN server is at risk. It is important to follow the same steps we would if our data were compromised in any other scenario.
First, the victim of a hack should instantly turn off their VPN. It is better to use no VPN at all than to use a VPN server that is compromised, as your data can easily fall into the hacker’s possession.
Once the immediate threat has passed, and the VPN is off, you should select a new provider with strong security and no-logging policies to continue using the internet privately.
Finally, it is necessary to change your sensitive information, such as passwords, cancel and reissue your credit and debit cards, etc. It’s also a good practice to set up a credit freeze to prevent criminals from taking out loans in your name.
How to choose a VPN that’s hard to hack?
Whenever you purchase a VPN for yourself, make sure that it offers the important security features required to prevent you from any hacking attempt. Make sure your VPN has the following:
1. AES 256-bit Encryption
Encryption is considered the core of any VPN. The best security encryption currently is called “AES 256-bit Encryption“. This is the same encryption protocol used by the Government of the United States.
AES is the most secure, advanced, and state-of-the-art encryption tool preset at the moment. Similarly, secure VPNs use keys that are at least 256 “bits” long because they’re complex and hard to hack.
VPN encryption is based on a protocol, which is the set of instructions the algorithm follows. Choosing the most secure protocol is important because it affects your safety and connection. The top protocols with the best balance of speed and security are OpenVPN and IKEv2.
OpenVPN is the most adaptable protocol for different devices and is usually the default choice for top-notch VPN providers. IKEV is a default selection for handheld devices and delivers high-speed connections.
3. SHA-2 Authentication
SHA-2 is the most state-of-the-art authentication system available to make sure that your data stays safe. The hashed message authentication code (HMAC) is an algorithm that VPNs use to confirm that transmitted data hasn’t been tampered with by third parties. Always remember to avoid such services that are using outdated authentication systems as they are vulnerable to cyberattacks.
4. No-Log policy
Even if the VPN provider network is compromised, knowing that your personal data or information is not even stored on their network is a huge relief.
Ensure that your VPN provider offers a complete no-log policy so that if hackers penetrate the provider’s network, they won’t find much since there are no logs about you.
5. Malware and ads blocker
Select a VPN that offers malware and ad blockers as this feature not only blocks annoying pop-ups but it also stops you from entering websites that host harmful content.
In today’s world, hackers are very skilled at impersonating legitimate websites. In fact, hackers often infect victims’ devices with malware on normal-looking pages.
3 Strong VPNs that are hard to hack! (Tested 2021)
We have carefully selected the 3 strong VPN that is hard to hack in 2021. These VPN providers fulfill all of our requirements for a completely balanced VPN to secure your online privacy and data.
3,000+ servers in 94 countries, No-log policy, super-fast connection speed, compatibility with all devices, and a 30-day money-back guarantee program.
A top-tier AES 256-bit military-grade encryption combined with the best security protocols to protect your identity and data over the internet. Different advanced features such as leak protection and an automatic kill switch prevent third parties from spying on you.
Read our full review about this provider in ExpressVPN Review.
5,400+ servers in 59 countries, No-log policy, state-of-the-art security, and encryption features with a 30-day money-back guarantee program.
Military-grade AES 256-bit encryption with advanced security features such as Onion-over-vpn, Obfuscated servers, and Double VPN prevents prying eyes from reading your private data.
DNS and IP address leak protection, along with built-in malware and ad blocker, keep hackers from monitoring your true location and online history.
Get to know this provider more in our NordVPN Review.
3,200+ servers in 65+ countries, most easy-to-use VPN service with unlimited simultaneous connections.
Just like ExpressVPN and NordVPN, Surfshark also offers AES 256-bit encryption with a wide range of security protocols that are fully capable of keeping your data from falling into the wrong hands.
With the Internet Kill Switch and Secure DNS feature, it ensures that at the time of disconnection, the user’s personal information is data security isn’t compromised by not allowing authorized access to it.
Learn more about Surfshark from our Surfshark Review.
Let’s take a look at some frequently asked questions.
Which VPNs have been hacked?
SuperVPN, GeckoVPN, and ChatVPN are said to be hacked in the past. A popular hacker forum was found to be selling databases that purportedly contain user credentials and device data stolen from those VPN providers.
Is VPN really secure?
Yes, only a premium VPN with state-of-the-art encryption and security protocol is secure. Many free VPNs are barely capable of keeping up with the latest advancement in network encryption and should be avoided at every cost.
Over time, new vulnerabilities are being discovered in VPNs that make them a soft target for hackers. At the same time, encryption and security technology are also making many advancements to counter such threats. Therefore, it is always good to shield your online privacy and data with the most updated VPN technology.
Currently, ExpressVPN is the only provider that fulfills all the necessary conditions to ensure your 100% anonymous and secure presence online. With its AES-256-bit military-grade encryption, state-of-the-art security protocols, and advanced security features, your personal information and online privacy will always be protected from any hacking attempt.
With few simple clicks, you can secure 5 devices simultaneously with ExpressVPN in your house. Even the devices that are known to be complicated for VPN configuration are easily protected under its wing.