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Does a VPN Protect You from Viruses?

Justin Oyaro

By Justin Oyaro . 25 January 2024

Cybersecurity Expert

Miklos Zoltan

Fact-Checked this

No. As much as a VPN is a go-to tool for online security and privacy, it does not directly protect you from viruses and other malware.

This job is designed for antivirus and antimalware software.

A VPN will not directly protect you from viruses.

A VPN will only protect you from viruses that can be injected into your online connection. This is because no one can access your encrypted online traffic and connection.

In this article, I’ll explain why a VPN won’t protect you from viruses and why you need antivirus/antimalware software.

Let’s get started!

Why Won’t a VPN Protect You from Viruses?

A VPN is designed to encrypt your online connection and traffic, mask your actual IP address and offer a set of features that enhance the security and privacy of your connection.

A VPN mostly protects you from online threats that can compromise your digital identity and online freedom; these threats rely on your insecure online connections.

Thus, a VPN won’t protect you from threats that mostly compromise your security by infecting stored data and other information on your device.

Additionally, a VPN can’t scan, detect, or remove malware. For instance, you can unknowingly visit a compromised site or download an infected torrent even with a VPN connection.

In this scenario, the VPN accomplished keeping your connection secure and private. Nonetheless, it didn’t prevent you from downloading an infected file.

Therefore, when using a VPN, you don’t have protection against viruses, other malware types, and even phishing attacks.

With a virus in your device, it will continue to wreak havoc no matter how many times you use a VPN.

Nonetheless, a VPN can protect you from viruses that rely on Man-in-the-middle (MITM) attacks. By securing your online connections, MITM attackers won’t have an avenue to spread viruses and other malware.

Also, VPNs with ad-blockers can protect you against viruses spread through ads and pop-ups.

Check out our list of best VPNs if you are looking to get a VPN that protects your privacy.

Why Do You Need an Antivirus Software?

An antivirus is the ultimate security software that can protect you from viruses and malware. It is designed to scan, detect, remove, and prevent your device from getting viruses.

Usually, it prevents viruses from compromising your device or causing further damage. It also offers real-time protection by running in the background. You can also schedule it to perform regular scans.

Premium antivirus software can also offer protection against phishing sites, block malicious sites, and detect key-loggers, spyware, and other malware.

Other antivirus software offers advanced features such as password manager, identity theft protection, spam protection, parental control, and zero-day protection, among other features.

However, antivirus software doesn’t encrypt your online connection and traffic like a VPN. Unless it offers a VPN as its feature – usually, the VPN feature doesn’t offer premium VPN functionality.


While a VPN enhances your online privacy and security, it’s important to understand that it does not offer protection against viruses. To safeguard your device from malicious software, antivirus software is essential.

For optimal security, combining a VPN with antivirus software is a wise strategy. This approach ensures both your online activities are encrypted and your device is protected from virus threats.

Alternatively, you might consider investing in a comprehensive security suite. These all-in-one packages typically include a VPN, antivirus, and other security and privacy tools, providing a robust defense against various online threats.

However, keep in mind that running a combination of a VPN and antivirus or a full security suite can be resource-intensive. Therefore, it’s crucial to ensure your system has a powerful CPU and sufficient RAM to handle the increased demand on your computer’s resources.

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