Imagine visiting the site of a popular VPN provider and later finding out that you have been the victim of a vicious hack. That is exactly what happened to some individuals who went searching for the NordVPN website. They had no idea that the site they ended up visiting was a clone of the popular VPN site that had been put up by cyber criminals.
The hackers built a website that looked identical to that of the VPN provider. When visitors signed up for a VPN they were asked to make a download. This download delivered a powerful Trojan virus to the visitor’s computer. The criminals even managed to obtain an SSL certificate so that their site would look legit. This helped the site to bypass browser checks.
Sadly, many people were taken in by this recent scam. NordVPN is surely reeling from the effects of the hack. Yet, there were many signs and red flags that could have helped people spot the cloned website. If people had only taken the time to research reputable VPN providers before they made the jump to the fake NordVPN website the damage could have been prevented.
Warning Signs That Indicate a Fake VPN
There were two specific warning signs that should have alerted visitors to a potential problem. The first of these is that the fake VPN website was offering a year of service for free. This was probably done to entice more people to click the harmful links that delivered the malware. The real NordVPN website charges for its VPN service.
A free VPN should always be viewed with skepticism. How can a VPN provider stay in business if they are giving away service? The answer is that they are making deals with third parties to serve ads and malware that may harm your computer. You sign up for one of these free VPNs with the idea that you are going to be more secure online. Then the exact opposite happens.
A reputable VPN provider like VPNAccounts is going to charge something for their service. We try to make our VPNs affordable enough for everyone. Free is never truly free when it comes to a VPN. There is always a price to pay.
Another warning sign that could have been noted was the need to download software from the fake VPN website. A legitimate VPN provider will probably not require a download for you to use their services. The reason for this is that most Internet-ready devices today have a built-in VPN client. There is no reason for you to have to download anything. All you need to do is put in the credentials that are supplied by your VPN provider and you can begin using your VPN right away.
In this case the software download is how the criminals accomplished their goal of getting a Trojan onto the computers of unsuspecting users.
Finally, you should pay attention to the domain that you are visiting. Almost all reputable VPN providers will own the .com for their business. An example is our domain, VPNAccounts.com. The fake VPN site was attached to a .club domain. That should have been a red flag for anyone that was visiting the site.
If It’s Too Good To Be True…
A good rule of thumb when you are searching out VPN service for yourself or a family member abroad is to remind yourself of this common saying: If it’s too good to be true it probably isn’t. Beware of VPN providers that promise you the world for free. Look at the offer that is being presented before you click on any links that the website has.
Does the VPN charge for their service? Do they have a list of server locations for you to view before buying? Can you use the VPN without having to download anything? These are the questions that you need to ask.
You might also want to contact customer service if those details are provided. A real VPN provider will respond to your questions. The fake VPN site will generally be sloe to respond or they won’t respond at all.