How secure is a VPN? What makes a safe VPN

Simply put, choosing the right VPN for you might mean paying for one, if you value your online privacy. On average, monthly prices for VPN software can range from $3 to $10, and some providers offer annual pricing at a discount. Next, check for a few must-have features that will ensure you’re using a truly secure and safe VPN. Here’s what to look for.

What is a Secure VPN? And the Reasons You Need One

Staying connected and sharing information online has never been easier. But with so many opportunities to share every aspect of your life, protecting your online identity can sometimes feel a bit overwhelming.

Find out how a secure VPN can protect your online privacy, keep your digital footprint under control – and why it’s important to make sure you choose the right one.

What is a VPN? A Definition from Security Pros

As our lives grow more digital each day, one of the biggest challenges we are faced with is protecting personal information. By definition, a VPN does just that by securing data transfers and keeping your identity private.

First and most important of all, a virtual private network (VPN) protects your Internet connection by encrypting all the data flowing between your device and the online resource you are trying to access, be it website, desktop app or mobile app.

For example, if you are logging in to check your e-mails, you can be sure that you are the only one reading them because the connection is safe and encrypted.

Secondly, a VPN shields all the personal data you send and receive from those who might try to harvest it, by rerouting your Internet traffic through a safe server. Some of that private information might include geographic location, your IP address, browsing habits, device information and many other sensible data like passwords or private documents.

Secure VPN from Bitdefender

What Does a Secure VPN Do?

A secure VPN has a lot of benefits to offer, especially to people who value their online privacy, and are trying to reduce their digital exposure. Let’s see what some of those benefits are according to our cybersecurity experts.

Personal Data Privacy

Almost every online resource you use knows your IP address. And they can utilize it to find out where you live, what type of device you are using and what time you are online. In fact, advertisers already use this information to target you with personally tailored ads.

The scary part is that your IP address is just a small fraction of the many things that expand your digital footprint without you even realizing it. Linked with other personal data scraped from all over the Internet, and from data breaches (like your, name, e-mail address, or phone number), it makes it much easier for scammers and other cyber-criminals to target you with customized messages that trick you into giving them what they want (information, money, or both).

“Just by knowing someone’s IP Address you can launch a Distributed Denial-of-Service Attack (DDoS) against them, virtually cutting their Internet connection. But that’s not all. In terms of privacy, you can track their online activity and find out a lot of other things about them and the devices they’re using. For example, you might find out they’re using a device that wasn’t updated and that can easily be hacked. Moreover, personal information is like a puzzle, cyber-criminals rarely find only one piece, and the more pieces they collect the more dangerous it gets for that person.”
Alex “Jay” Balan (Director of Security Research, Bitdefender)

So, when it comes to protecting your digital identity, a secure VPN is one of the most helpful tools in your online safety setup. A safe, reliable VPN hides your identity and protects your online activity, which in turn throws off any interested parties in tracking you, harvesting your data or building a profile to scam you.

  • It hides your IP address and masks your location, fending off efforts to pinpoint your whereabouts.
  • It prevents DDoS attacks that could potentially prevent you from connecting to the Internet
  • It prevents interested parties from tracking your online habits, including advertisers, ISPs, or cyber criminals
  • It prevents hackers from harvesting information about your devices
  • It does not store any traffic logs, which means it does not keep records of your online activity while you have the VPN enabled.

Personal Data Security

When talking about a VPN, often times people tend to focus only on the privacy benefits and overlook the security-oriented perks. However, this should not be the case, as security is also a vital component with compounding effect in the long run, by protecting communication and shielding devices.

A secure VPN is designed to offer robust security features and is all about making sure your data goes straight to where you intended, with no detours or interference.

In practice, a VPN creates a secure tunnel for your data from sender to receiver. The virtual private network reroutes your data through this encrypted tunnel which ensures stronger protection against tracking and certain cyber-attacks.

Basically you make it substantially more difficult for hackers to:

  • Capture your usernames and passwords and use them to hijack your accounts
  • Get your online banking details and empty your account
  • Intercept your private communication (including private pictures or video) and use them for blackmail
  • Collect your personal information and use it for digital identity theft
  • Impersonate you on social media with the details they gathered through your online activity.

A VPN does more than just securing your data under strong encryption. It also unlocks remote access to resources you would not be able to use otherwise. For example, with Bitdefender Premium VPN, you can stream content from anywhere in the world or use messaging platforms and other apps that may be unavailable in your country. And this works for all your devices, no matter if they run Windows, macOS, Android or iOS.

What Is a Secure VPN Connection?

A secure VPN connection does not compromise on the key factors that keep invasive use of technology at bay, whether they are being used by mainstream organizations or cyber-criminal operations.

To be truly secure, a VPN connection must use the highest encryption standard available (right now, AES 256-bit).

Secondly, it must include various security protocols that protect the confidentiality of your data. These protocols make sure unauthorized entities cannot access the connection and the integrity of the data you send and receive remains intact. A secure VPN should feature protocols such as Internet Protocol Security (IPsec), Transport Layer Security (SSL/TLS), Datagram Transport Layer Security (DTLS) and more.

The third most important aspect of a secure VPN connection is the no-logs policy. This is the VPN provider’s commitment to never store details of your online activity while the app is enabled. This policy guarantees that an attacker cannot gain access to protected information if they compromise the VPN developer. The same applies to other entities that may pressure the VPN maker into giving away data about their users, under legal pretenses or otherwise.

If you are looking into a variety of VPNs, make sure the one you choose protects you against IP address leaks. It is also a great sign if it has an Internet kill-switch that automatically closes certain programs in case your connection gets spotty. You can use this automated feature to avoid data leaks that might reveal sensitive information. And if the VPN app of your choosing also features two-factor authentication, then you have a potential winner on your hands.

How Secure Is a VPN? How to Make the Right Choice

The answer to this question relies entirely on the reputation and history of the organization that created the VPN application.

Take it from a cybersecurity expert to which being extra cautious is second nature:

“The thing that makes the fundamental difference in terms of how likely it is for your data to get leaked is the reputation of the company managing it.
This is the one very important thing to keep in mind when you’re sharing extremely sensitive information with a company. And that’s not necessarily your email and password – because your password can and should be different on all the websites you use.
When you share a very sensitive document, then you have to be very careful about selecting a technology ‘partner’ you’re going to share the document with. The company that will manage your data needs to be trustworthy and you need to review how they handle security, how they deal with vulnerabilities and how they’ve handled security incidents in the past.”
Alex “Jay” Balan (Director of Security Research, Bitdefender)

It is important to remember that VPN services are not secure by default. The level of protection they ensure depends on a variety of factors – like the team who developed the product, the track record of the company that created the VPN and even the physical location of the organization (as legal provisions may interfere with having a no-logs policy, for example).

Another aspect you should be careful about is using free VPNs. Tempting as it may be, cybersecurity and privacy researchers have proven time and time again that free VPNs collect user data and then share it with advertisers or other entities. This essentially defeats the purpose of a virtual private network.

How to Get a Secure VPN

First and foremost: make sure the VPN developer has a level of technical expertise and maturity that gives you peace of mind and the certainty that they hold up their end of the terms of service.

If you are ready to take the next step, check out the Bitdefender Premium VPN and see if its ultra-fast speed, servers and safe access capabilities are what you need.

How to Set Up a Secure VPN

Using a virtual private network was at some point the privilege of tech-savvy individuals who knew their way around protocols and other security concepts. But that is no longer the case.

Online privacy and security protocols have come a long way, just in time to meet the ever growing need to stay safe online.

With Bitdefender Premium VPN, protecting your connection is as simple as downloading the app from your Bitdefender Central account, installing it and then hitting the “Connect” button.

As always, our cybersecurity experts encourage you to build your online protection in layers, with a secure VPN protecting your anonymity online and other solutions fending off other types of cyber-attacks.

Pro tip: when you get all your security layers from a single provider, you will get better integration and more effective protection with no overlap or software conflicts. Just something to keep in mind for your next online security decision!

How secure is a VPN? What makes a safe VPN?


VPNs protect your public internet connection by encrypting your information and shielding your online activity from cybercriminals and even your own Internet Service Provider, or ISP. The most secure VPNs are likely transparent about their privacy policies, take steps to fix leaks, and won’t keep logs of your browsing history.

Try Norton 360 FREE 30-Day Trial* – Includes Norton Secure VPN

30 days of FREE* comprehensive antivirus, device security and online privacy with Norton Secure VPN.
Join today. Cancel anytime.
*Terms Apply

Surfing the web can be risky. If you’re using public Wi-Fi, anyone with the password and a little tech know-how can eavesdrop on your online activity. VPNs, or virtual private networks, come in handy by masking your online activity and location, and routing the data you send and receive through a secure virtual tunnel between your computer and the VPN server.

Although VPNs keep prying eyes off your information from the outside, some question the VPNs themselves. After all, can’t they simply track your information? Here’s how to make sure you choose a safe VPN.

How secure is a VPN?

VPNs secure your public internet connection by encrypting your information and shielding your online activity from cybercriminals and even your own Internet Service Provider, or ISP. In terms of your online privacy, the most secure VPNs are also likely transparent about their privacy policies, take steps to fix leaks, and won’t keep logs of your browsing history.

Here’s how an internet connection works without a VPN. When you type a website address into a browser, your ISP taps into your router — that device in your living room with an impossible-to-remember password — to forward your internet traffic to that website. Your ISP also assigns a unique number, called an Internet Protocol (IP) address, to the router, and each computer or phone connected to that router. Some websites, ad networks, and platforms — such as Google, for example — use your IP address to track your location information for marketing purposes.

When you use VPN software, your device connects to the VPN provider’s servers. Your internet traffic passes through the VPN’s internet connection, meaning your private information is cloaked from your ISP and websites so they can’t log your web browsing. As the VPN server mixes your web traffic with others on the server, your IP address appears to match the one associated with the VPN. These steps make it harder for others to monitor and gather information about where you go and what you do online.

The internet privacy solution: virtual private networks

Concerns over internet privacy have been growing in recent years, from talk about government eavesdropping and Facebook data leaks to the rise of laws that control data mining. People typically use VPNs to safeguard against cyber snooping, but this software could also come in handy when folks want to access blocked web pages or mask their online identity and location.

With the end of net neutrality, ISPs are allowed to track your IP address to observe and sell your browsing history, and could potentially throttle your connection as they see fit. VPNs are one answer to the question of how to protect your online privacy because they can provide anonymity and prevent ISPs from tracking your activity.

What factors create a safe VPN?

Not all VPNs provide the same features, and each has its pros and cons. The first step in finding the right VPN for your needs is considering the price tag. It costs money to maintain the infrastructure to operate a VPN service. If VPN providers don’t charge user fees, they may pay for costs through advertising or from gathering and selling your data to third-parties.

Simply put, choosing the right VPN for you might mean paying for one, if you value your online privacy. On average, monthly prices for VPN software can range from $3 to $10, and some providers offer annual pricing at a discount. Next, check for a few must-have features that will ensure you’re using a truly secure and safe VPN. Here’s what to look for.

No IP address leaks

VPNs are meant to hide or disguise your IP address and block others from tracking your online activities. Unfortunately, even with a VPN, sometimes security flaws can reveal your IP location. But you can look for a VPN that specifically works to prevent leaks. And check online reviews to see if the provider has a history of leakage (and what it did to correct it).


A no-log VPN means the network doesn’t collect, or “log,” any information transmitted through the network. It doesn’t save your personal details, where you go online, what you download, or your search history. This ensures your online privacy and anonymity are protected from everybody — even your VPN provider. So, if a cybercriminal does happen to penetrate a no-log VPN, there won’t be much to find.

Before signing up with a VPN, check the company’s terms of service to see if it logs your online activities, whether it keeps logs but periodically purges them, or if the provider would disclose user information in any scenario.

Kill switch

If your VPN connection drops, your internet access downgrades to a regular connection. A VPN kill switch will automatically quit preselected programs if your connection becomes unstable, which reduces the chance of data leaking from sensitive programs.

Multifactor authentication

This security method prompts users to prove their identity in more than one way before signing in to the program — in this case, your VPN account. For example, you might type in a password and then a four-digit code that’s sent via text message. The additional authentication helps ensure only the right people are accessing your VPN and make it harder for anyone to hack into it.

Norton Secure VPN provides internet privacy and security

Norton Secure VPN protects personal information like your passwords, bank details, and credit card numbers when you use public Wi-Fi, whether on a PC, Mac, or mobile device. Using the same encryption technologies as leading banks, Norton Secure VPN helps mask your online activities and location with a no-log VPN — so you can be sure no one is eyeing your data from the inside or outside.

Related VPN Articles

  • What is a VPN?
  • How does a VPN work?
  • How secure is a VPN? What makes a safe VPN?
  • 10 benefits of VPN you might not know about
  • Are free VPNs safe? 7 things to know before using free VPNs
  • What is a no-log VPN?
  • How to protect your online privacy with a VPN
  • Do I need a VPN at home?
  • Setting up a VPN on your router
  • Are VPNs legal or illegal?
  • VPN leaks: What they are and how to test your VPN security
  • VPN tunnel: What is it and how does it work?
  • Proxy vs. VPN: 4 differences you should know
  • How to delete your search history and maintain privacy with a virtual private network (VPN)
  • VPN for smartphones
  • VPN for Android
  • VPN For Windows
  • VPN for Mac

Try Norton 360 FREE 30-Day Trial* – Includes Norton Secure VPN

30 days of FREE* comprehensive antivirus, device security and online privacy with Norton Secure VPN.

Join today. Cancel anytime.
*Terms Apply

Alison Grace Johansen

  • Alison Grace Johansen
  • Freelance writer

Alison Grace Johansen is a freelance writer who covers cybersecurity and consumer topics. Her background includes law, corporate governance, and publishing.

Editorial note: Our articles provide educational information for you. Our offerings may not cover or protect against every type of crime, fraud, or threat we write about. Our goal is to increase awareness about Cyber Safety. Please review complete Terms during enrollment or setup. Remember that no one can prevent all identity theft or cybercrime, and that LifeLock does not monitor all transactions at all businesses. The Norton and LifeLock brands are part of Gen Digital Inc.

Why you need a VPN: Norton Secure VPN explained

With so much of modern life taking place online, and increasingly monitored by powerful third parties or hackers, it’s very important to ensure that your data and activities remain private when you use public Wi-Fi.

Norton Secure VPN Privacy aims to do just that, employing bank-grade security encryption and VPN technology to keep prying eyes at bay. We explore what it does and why you should be using it on your Mac, PC, or mobile device.

What is Norton Secure VPN?

norton security vpn wi fi

Whenever you use public WiFi connections like those found in coffee shops, airports, or hotels you’re taking a big risk. Hackers target these particular types of networks, using techniques such as man-in-the-middle attacks that intercept information sent between your device and the server, or exploiting vulnerabilities to directly upload malware onto your system.

Norton Secure VPN Privacy helps put a stop to this by creating a Virtual Private Network or VPN. A virtual private network gives you online privacy and anonymity by creating a private network from a public Internet connection. With Norton Secure VPN, all of the most sensitive data that you send and receive from your device like passwords and credit card numbers are encrypted and converted into unreadable, untraceable data until it reaches Norton servers.

Features and ease of use

While the idea of setting up a Virtual Private Network might sound complicated, Norton Secure VPN Privacy keeps things simple.

When you launch the app, it gives you the option to turn on the VPN. Doing so automatically creates a private network using the public WiFi. You’ll see this is working when the small map showing your location changes from red with the words ‘Unsecured Connection’ underneath to green and ‘Secured Connection’.

That’s it. No fiddling with network settings or proxy servers.

Now you can search the web with your normal browser, use online banking, access and send sensitive data, all in the knowledge that you’re protected by the same encryption technologies used by the major banks. Norton Secure VPN helps keep your online identity and activity anonymous when you use the Web. Norton Secure VPN is a no-log VPN that encrypts your personal information and doesn’t track or store your online activity or location.

Along with maintaining your privacy, the app has a couple of other very useful features. The first prevents ad-trackers from using cookies to follow you around the web and continually serve annoying ads. The other is masking your IP address and location.

By using servers around the globe, the VPN allows you a personalized browsing experience. The VPN helps protect your online privacy by blocking intrusive activities like tracking or controlling your online activities or location by Internet service providers, mobile carriers, advertisers, and websites.

Setting your location is easy. Just open the app, select the Virtual Location tab, then choose the country you want. Norton Secure VPN Security will reroute your connection in seconds. When you’re finished, simply revisit the tab and select your home nation once more.

Price and availability

Norton Secure VPN may be used on one, five, or ten Windows PCs, Macs, iOS, and Android devices, with unlimited use during the subscription term.

Mentioned in this article

Norton Secure VPN

Norton Secure VPN

Best Prices Today: $ at Norton

For one device it’s $4.99 per month (plus applicable taxes) or $39.99 per year (plus applicable taxes). Terms apply. Move to five and your monthly amount goes up to $7.99 per month (plus applicable taxes), while yearly cost remains the same. This makes it a great choice if you want to protect your laptop, desktop, tablet, and smartphone. Families can opt for a ten-device tier which costs $9.99 per month (plus applicable taxes) or $59.99 per year (plus applicable taxes).

There are also bundle deals that combine Norton’s WiFi Privacy and Security software, beginning at $69.98 per year (plus applicable taxes) for one device and going up to $94.98 per year (plus applicable taxes) for ten devices.


Protecting yourself from the increasingly sophisticated online threats around today is a regrettable necessity. Thankfully, Norton Secure VPN Privacy makes this daunting task easy due to its clean and understandable interface. With no real setup required users can quickly find themselves browsing safely and anonymously from their phone, tablet, or PC.

The ability to change server locations opens up a literal world of online content, while having ad-tracking efforts blocked at the same time is a useful side-benefit.

Norton’s wide range of subscription tiers means there are packages for everyone, from securing your phone to all your devices, and at prices that suit any pocket. We’d say it will be money well spent.

Affiliate Disclosure: We receive a commission for purchases made through the links on this page.