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You know you should click carefully while browsing the more unsavory side of the internet. But sometimes, even the most careful of us tend to forget that. Besides, having to always be on your guard can get exhausting fast. So wouldn’t it be great if there was a tool that would guard your back online at all times? Not just sound the alarm once your device is infected, but to prevent malicious software from getting on it in the first place? Luckily, there is one!
NordVPN’s Threat Protection
NordVPN is a leader in the cybersecurity software market. And while its main purpose is to encrypt and reroute your connection, in the spring of 2022, NordVPN released Threat Protection. It was introduced as an additional free NordVPN feature, a lightweight malware protection solution.
Today, it’s a standalone desktop application designed for people who don’t need or want to use a VPN but would still like a hassle-free way to protect their devices from various online threats. Threat Protection is an all-in-one solution for scanning your downloading files for malware, blocking trackers and malicious websites, and stopping intrusive and annoying ads.
How does it differ from regular antivirus software? Aside from the extra features like blocking ads and trackers, Threat Protection prevents malware from getting on your device rather than notifying you after it’s already infected. Threat Protection does not offer local file scanning like traditional antiviruses. Instead, it scans the files you’re downloading and deletes the infected ones before they can land on your device. Another big advantage over traditional security software is how lightweight Threat Protection is. It works silently in the background without slowing down your computer.
Threat Protection’s features
Users get four main functions with Threat Protection: scanning downloading files for malware, blocking ads, blocking trackers, and preventing you from landing on malicious websites.
Scanning files for malware
Whenever you download a file through your browser, Threat Protection will scan it for malware. If the file is deemed likely to infect your device, it is deleted immediately before it can do any harm. You will find two different settings for malware scanning:
1. Regular file scanning
This method of detecting malware in a regular file relies on comparing the file’s unique digital signature against a database of known malware. You can’t open or use the file in any way while Threat Protection is scanning it, but the scan takes no time at all, and you’re unlikely to even notice it. This feature works with all file types that can be malicious.
2. Deep file scans for malware detection
This method involves sandboxing and is behavior based. Deep file scans are designed for software — if you’re not sure it is safe, choose this option in the settings menu, and the file will be uploaded to the cloud and executed in a safe environment. Threat Protection analyzes how the software acts once executed and, according to that information, determines whether it is malicious. This feature only works for executable files — your pictures, videos, or documents will not be uploaded to the cloud.
With the era of ad-blocking browser extensions coming to an end, this Threat Protection feature is likely to become a favorite among internet users.
Blocking intrusive and annoying ads makes your browsing faster, smoother, and safer. Once you enable ad blocking in Threat Protection settings, it will work on all popular browsers and block ads even while you’re browsing in private/incognito mode.
The internet we are used to would be impossible without tracking cookies. They ensure that when you close an online shop’s tab and open it back up a moment later, your shopping bag still has the items you put in it. They also allow you to stay logged in to your email account for days and weeks without the need to re-enter your password every time.
Unfortunately, the same technology can be used to track your actions online. Third-party trackers constantly follow you around as you browse, collecting data about your digital habits. This information includes your device and browser type, IP address, location, browsing history, how you interact with different web elements, and for how long. This might not sound like much, but experienced data analysts can use this information to accurately determine your age, gender, marital status, religious and political views, income, spending habits, and other characteristics.
Personal data like the above is often used to serve highly targeted, intrusive ads. Threat Protection blocks these trackers so that they can’t follow you around and analyze your browsing habits.
Blocking malicious websites
Desperate times call for desperate measures — like clicking on an unknown website on the fifth page of Google’s results because maybe this one will have that toy your niece wants for her birthday. Unfortunately, you being desperate is exactly what cybercriminals are counting on. Once you’re on their website, they will try to steal your data or make you download malware to your device.
Threat Protection is here to block your access to these websites. It scans the URLs you’re about to visit and prevents you from landing on a website if it is found to be fake or hosting malicious software. Instead, you will see a warning screen. And while you can still visit the website, it is not recommended.
Threat Protection is available for Windows and macOS computers, and you can get a monthly or yearly subscription — it’s a bargain at just a few dollars per month. Get it today and browse in confidence, knowing that Threat Protection is actively guarding your devices against various online threats.