Online privacy and data security have taken on a new level of importance in recent times. Every other day, we are treated to a new story of data being compromised through hacking and a host of other cybercrimes. Several sectors are affected too, from banking and the financial sector, to personal user data. It is especially common to hear about a celebrity’s sensitive information being stolen and released online, along with identity theft and increasingly complex scams. The boom of the Internet age has unfortunately also resulted in increased vulnerability for users, which may well be the biggest problem we face today.

So, how can we protect our data and ensure our privacy and security when online? There are several ways to do so, but one of the easiest and most convenient options is to use antivirus and anti-malware software. Coupled with a Virtual Private Network, these two are some of the most commonly used tools for this job. It is essential, however, to distinguish one from the other.

Antivirus software is a must have

Antivirus and anti-malware software scan your device in real-time and identify potential threats that may be present. Anything that may cause a security threat is flagged. The software is also designed to eradicate these threats in almost no time. There are several antivirus and anti-malware applications online which can be used for free. However, you must invest in a genuine, updated antivirus if you wish to leave nothing to chance, and the best, most effective software will cost you.

In an ever-mutating online space, your device can get infected all too easily. Viruses can be downloaded, along with other things, as you browse the Internet, or even by simply visiting certain websites or accidentally clicking on pop-up ads. It helps to think of it as a market teeming with hidden threats around every corner. There are different kinds of viruses too, and they will affect your device differently. While some will change your device’s operating habits visibly, there are plenty of others that work in the background, masquerading as useful tools but stealing your data as you work. Either way, your PC or phone will become clunky and slow, affecting your usage.

An antivirus software installed and running on your device will perform scans of all files you interact with. If it identifies a particular file as a potential threat, that file is placed in quarantine or removed immediately.

It is because of this that antivirus software is the best bet for online security. The scanner can spot hidden threats and eliminate them as you work, leaving you free to use your device normally.

VPN: the best tool for privacy and anonymity

With regard to privacy and anonymity, a VPN has the ability to encrypt user data and send it through remote servers, where it will be protected from any potential attacks from cybercriminals. The controversial third party encryption being adopted by chat software companies is evidence that there is always a threat from external surveillance agencies, not to mention the recent uproar over news of companies harvesting user data to sell to online advertisers. A VPN protects you from these kinds of prying eyes.

In order for the VPNs to work, the brands use technologies known as protocols to perform encryption activities. Some of the more famous ones include OpenVPN, L2TP/IPSec, SSTP, PPTP, and IKEv2. Most reputable brands have high compatibility across platforms, in the sense that they can work with numerous devices and operating systems, such as Windows, Mac, iOS, Android, and Linux.

VPNs hide the user’s IP address, which is the easiest way to identify their location. They also conceal their generated content, like passwords, and the information entered in boxes or fields. Most VPNs will not store activity logs, thus ensuring privacy and anonymity, and they have strict policies against sharing any information regarding their users.

To conceal one’s location even further, a VPN can provide a dummy IP address. This has the added advantage of unlocking content that is Geo-restricted. With YouTube video, for example, some countries have restrictions on who can view certain content. With a good VPN service, users can bypass this restriction and browse freely.

Avast SecureLine VPN: the best antivirus with a VPN!

If you wish to combine the features of a VPN service and an antivirus software, you should consider using Avast SecureLine VPN. Avast carries the trusted reliability and proven track record of a long-term player in the online security business. It is truly the best of both worlds.

The Avast SecureLine is comfortably one of the best antivirus packages with a VPN feature. It boasts several nifty features, making it an easy choice for anyone looking to beef up their online safety and privacy.

The first is its relative affordability, at just $8.99 per month (with a 20% discount if users choose the yearly plan). It also has DNS leak protection, an open-source technology for Windows OS, as well as protection for all unsecured networks, including public Wi-Fi. You can therefore visit the local cyber café or library and connect to their Wi-Fi without worrying about your personal information falling into the wrong hands, or unauthorized users mining Bitcoin through your device.

Avast SecureLine VPN guarantees a secure connection. It also offers peer to peer support for torrent lovers. Customers can choose from several speedy servers around the world, specifically from 34 countries.

Whatever your online activity, it will be shielded from advertisers, employers and even governments. There are no bandwidth limits. It reaches speeds of up to 2GBps, and it allows you to connect up to five different devices at the same time.

The service does have its drawbacks, however. The pricing structure can be a little confusing, and some experts point out that it has few servers and few server locations, with no additional stand out features to offer.

In summary, and after reviewing their individual definitions, we can conclude that antivirus software is better equipped to protect you and your data, while VPNs work better in ensuring privacy and anonymity as you browse the Internet. In the never-ending antivirus vs. VPN debate, we can only conclude that the former doesn't encrypt the data you share online, while the latter doesn't entirely protect you from viruses, malware, Ransomware, worms, Trojans, and other related threats.

However, one thing is certain: those two methods, when used together, provide a robust online privacy, security and anonymity service. Having a VPN with excellent encryption protocols is the first step to browsing the Internet worry-free. the next is getting a reliable antivirus software to screen your device from malware.

Avast SecureLine VPN, a product of one of the world’s foremost online security companies, does just that. It provides both services, leaving your devices completely protected.