Hacked on the Road: How a VPN Can Save Your Life

By busyjordy | crypto-corner | 15 Sep 2023

So, it's been a year of travelling for me. Today you find me in Bali, where the sun is shining, the waves are crashing, and the internet is... well, less than perfect. And, as luck would have it, I just witnessed something that prompted me to write today's article.

 A few days ago, I met a graphic designer from South Africa who, like me, is a digital nomad working from her laptop while traveling the world. We bonded over our shared love of design, travel, and the freedom of being a digital nomad. You get to work from your computer and you can be anywhere in the world you like. But, as we were sitting in a café in Ubud, something alarming happened.


My friend was in the middle of working on a design project when suddenly, her computer froze. At first, we thought it was just a glitch, but then she noticed that her mouse was moving on its own. And then, a message popped up on her screen: "Your computer has been hacked. Send us $500 in Bitcoin to unlock your files."

I immediately dismissed it as yet another prank (I've seen plenty of those, I even had some emails with that very same message, but they were simply bluffing).

However, after a few minutes of being unable to take control of her screen, or anything really, I realized I am watching my friend become the victim of a ransomware attack. Her computer had been hacked, and all of her files were encrypted and locked behind a paywall. She was devastated. Luckily, she had a cyber security expert at hand, a colleague at the company she works for, who was able to change passwords of many of the logins she was using, so the damage was somewhat repaired, not everything of course, but she managed to get out of this without paying the ransom, but had to completely erase her scratch disks and reset her hard drive to a clean state, losing some software in the process and loads of data and files that weren't backed-up. Not ideal.

This experience was a stark reminder of just how vulnerable we are online. As digital nomads, we rely on the internet to do our work, stay connected with our loved ones, and explore the world. But, as my friend's story shows, there are real risks involved in surfing the web without proper protection. As a crypto user, I'm always aware that I am a target for cybercriminals looking to steal my digital assets. Unfortunately, my friend's recent experience made that concern even more real. And we all use public Wi-Fi networks, like the one in the café, and I know how risky those networks can be. In fact, we were also using the hotel Wi-Fi a lot, which is also unprotected and can leave us even more vulnerable to cyberattacks. And these days anyone is a target really.

That's why I want to talk today about the importance of using a VPN. And, in particular, I want to highlight two services that I use and find to be super helpful: Nord VPN and Nord Pass. Both provide a comprehensive suite of tools to help keep us safe and secure online, whether we're working on the go or just browsing the web from the comfort of our own homes.

I've been a victim of cyber attacks, some successful (losing about $5000 a few years back) and some unsuccessful (my outlook account is targeted every 5 minutes for over a year now, I can see the failed attempts at cracking my password in my activity log, so I have shielded it like there's no tomorrow). This is why I am very cautious about storing anything in the cloud, I just can't trust it at all. Even with my passwords, I keep some of those in offline storage, but for convenience, NordPass stores the ones I use on a daily basis and mostly those that are not related to finance.

But what's the benefit of using a VPN for security, you might be asking...

A VPN (Virtual Private Network) is a tool that encrypts our internet traffic and routes it through a remote server, making it difficult for anyone to track or spy on our online activity. There are several use cases and benefits of a VPN:

  • Secure Browsing: When we connect to the internet, our internet service provider (ISP) can track our online activity and sell our data to third parties. This can result in targeted advertisements, spam emails, and other forms of unwanted communication. A VPN encrypts our internet traffic, making it impossible for anyone to monitor our online activity. This is especially important for those who frequently use public Wi-Fi networks, as these are often unsecured and can be easily hacked.
  • Access Blocked Content: Many websites and services are not available in certain countries due to geo-restrictions. For example, if you are traveling to China, you may not be able to access popular websites like Facebook, Twitter, or Google. A VPN allows us to access content that is not available in our region by masking our IP address and making it appear as though we are browsing from a different location. This is also useful for accessing content that may be blocked at school or work.
  • Public Wi-Fi Security: Public Wi-Fi networks are often unsecured, which makes it easy for hackers to intercept our data. A VPN encrypts our internet traffic, making it impossible for anyone to intercept our data. This is especially important for those who frequently use public Wi-Fi networks, such as coffee shops, airports, and libraries.
  • Remote Work: Many people work remotely and need to access their company's network from a remote location. A VPN allows us to connect to our company's network securely, ensuring that our data remains safe and secure.

There are loads of VPN services out there, but I opted for Nord VPN because of two main factors:

First, I was already a user of NordPass - the encrypted password manager I have been using for years

Second, their pricing was better than most of the competition. Especially with a two-year package, which is what I opted for.

Here are some of the features I particularly like:

Vast choice of IPs: Nord VPN is one of the most popular VPN services available, and for a good reason. It has an impressive network of servers spread across 59 countries, making it easy to access content that is not available in our region. Nord VPN also has excellent security features, including military-grade encryption, a kill switch, and a strict no-logs policy.

Military-Grade Encryption: Nord VPN uses AES-256 encryption, which is the same level of encryption used by the U.S. government to protect classified information. This ensures that our data is secure and that no one can intercept our data.

Kill Switch: The kill switch feature ensures that our internet traffic is automatically shut down if our VPN connection is interrupted. This prevents our data from being exposed if our VPN connection drops.

No-Logs Policy: Nord VPN has a strict no-logs policy, which means that they do not store any information about our online activity. This ensures that our privacy is protected and that our data is not shared with third parties.


All of these make Nord VPN my preferred service and paired with NordPass, I feel much more at ease when surfing even on public networks.

In addition to the VPN service, Nord Pass is a password manager that I use to securely store, organize, and autofill my passwords across all devices. It also helps me generate strong passwords. Nord Pass uses the same military-grade encryption as Nord VPN and I've been using it for a very long time.

Here are some of the NordPass features I like the most:

Strong Password Generator: Nord Pass has a built-in password generator that can help us create strong passwords. This is important because weak passwords are one of the easiest ways for hackers to gain access to our accounts.

Autofill Feature: Nord Pass has an autofill feature that can automatically fill-in my logins on all websites I use.

Zero-knowledge architecture: NordPass uses a zero-knowledge architecture, which means that your data is encrypted on your device before it's sent to the NordPass servers. This ensures that only you have access to your data, and NordPass can't read your passwords or other sensitive information.

Advanced security features: NordPass offers advanced security features, such as two-factor authentication and biometric login options like Face ID and fingerprint recognition, to keep your passwords and data secure.

Cross-platform support: NordPass works on multiple devices and platforms, including Windows, macOS, iOS, and Android, so you can access your passwords from anywhere.

Secure password sharing: NordPass allows you to securely share your passwords with trusted individuals, such as family members or coworkers, without compromising the security of your data.

Alerts for compromised passwords: this is another feature that sets it apart from its competitors. With NordPass, you'll receive a notification if one of your passwords has been compromised in a data breach or hack, allowing you to take action and change the password to ensure the security of your account.

NordPass uses a Data Breach Scanner that continuously monitors the web for data breaches and scans the dark web for leaked credentials. If your email address or username appears in any of these databases, NordPass will immediately notify you and prompt you to change your password. This feature can help you stay on top of potential security threats and take action quickly to protect your accounts.

Overall, the alerts for compromised passwords feature adds an extra layer of security to NordPass, making it my go-to service for managing and securing my passwords.

In today's digital age, it's more important than ever to protect yourself online. Whether you're a cryptocurrency investor and a digital nomad like me, or simply someone who uses the internet to stay connected, using a VPN and password manager like Nord VPN and Nord Pass can provide you with the peace of mind you need to navigate the online world safely and securely. With advanced security features, zero-knowledge architecture, and alerts for compromised passwords, Nord VPN and Nord Pass are essential tools for anyone who wants to protect their digital life. So why wait? Sign up today and start protecting yourself online.

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The information contained in this video is for informational purposes only. Nothing herein shall be construed to be financial or legal advice. The content of this video reflect solely my own opinions. Purchasing cryptocurrencies poses considerable risk of losses.

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Crypto analyst and investor since 2015. Host of the Crypto Corner Video Podcast and Website: Blog:


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