Online Protection Tools – Firewall, Anti-Virus Programs, and Virtual Private Network (VPN)

Every day we hear things about people’s accounts (email, social networking sites, etc.) being hacked. Just a few days ago, a friend of mine told me that she got a message about her email account being accessed from the United Kingdom, when she didn’t leave her home that day, and she didn’t know anyone residing or even visited UK.

That was the time when I mentioned to her that she needs to be protected online by connecting through a virtual private network or VPN. She replied to me by saying she has a good anti-virus program and firewall to protect her already, but hacking still happened to her. I explained to her the difference of VPN from the pc protection tools she mentioned.

Because of my friends’ dilemma, I realized that many people can’t tell the difference between anti-virus programs, firewalls, and VPN connections.


A firewall acts as a barrier to block harmful forces accessing your computer system. It’s appropriately called such a name, after a ‘real’ firewall that works to stop fire from spreading from the area where it’s happening, to the next location beside it.

Simply put, a firewall is a hardware device or a program that filters the information coming through to your computer system, whenever you use the internet. It will not allow any packet of information that a firewall sees a red flag to.


Anti-virus programs are software that identifies harmful viruses, and stops them from entering your computer system. They also work by removing viruses that already came through to your system, such as malware, computer worm, computer viruses, spyware, Trojan horses and adware.


A virtual private network (VPN) as the name signifies is a tool that helps you surf online privately. VPN can be for business or personal use. Big companies take advantage of a VPN connection as replacement to their leased lines before, so that they can link other office branches in different locations to their main server. With a VPN connection, employees can work remotely from home and still access files and other devices in the office.

On the other hand, personal use of VPN is utilize to protect ones computer from being accessed by third party individuals, especially when connecting to hotspots.

VPN works by creating a virtual secure tunnel, where the data that passes through become encrypted. Even if someone hacks into your system, the data he or she will obtain is useless, since it will be impossible to decrypt. A virtual private network also hides your true IP (internet protocol) address, which can be used to trace your location. That way, you can surf online anonymously.

Out of all the three, VPN is the best means of protecting your system whenever you connect to the public internet. You never know who’s lurking around, waiting to steal your private information, it’s best to be protected at all times.

Michael Maxstead is a proud contributing author who writes articles on several subjects including VPN and Technology. You can read more of Michael’s articles and learn about expressvpn and expressvpn review located at .

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