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5 Best VPNs for Ethical Hacking

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Yes, ethical hacking is a thing, and NordVPN is the best VPN for ethical hacking.

The VPN service offers the best high-end security, solid user privacy through several features like IP and DNS leak protection, encryption, and a strict no-logs policy that protects ethical hackers from potential prosecution.

In addition, NordVPN is reputable and works with Windows, macOS, and Linux.

But it’s not the only tool in the shade.

Other potential alternatives include Surfshark (most affordable), ExpressVPN (fastest obfuscation), Private Internet Access (multi-hop feature), and CyberGhost (reliable public Wi-Fi shield).

If you’re an ethical hacker who just got a client request to test a system and would like to keep things kosher, this is for you.

Top 3 VPNs for Ethical Hackers (May, 2024)

MOST RELIABLE OBFUSCATION
ExpressVPN
ExpressVPN different devices

ExpressVPN has the fastest obfuscation, which hides your hacking activities and VPN use. You also get solid encryption, IP and DNS leak protection, and a strict no-logs policy. The VPN has native apps for Windows, macOS, and Linux.

4.6/5
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BEST OVERALL
NordVPN
NordVPN devices

NordVPN has encryption, IP leak protection, double VPN, and obfuscated servers for privacy and security. The VPN also has an impressive reputation, with little to no hacking incidents in the past. You can also install it on macOS, Windows, and Linux for secure ethical hacking tests.

4.8/5
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MOST AFFORDABLE
Surfshark
Surfshark Devices

Surfshark is the most affordable VPN with unlimited simultaneous connections for speedy ethical hacking tests. The VPN also features military-grade encryption, a kill switch, a strict no-logs policy, and a malware blocker for extra security and privacy. It can be installed on all PC platforms.

4.6/5
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In the vast hacking world, there are two main groups of hackers; the White Hats, also called the ethical hackers, who test for vulnerabilities in security systems so that better defenses can be set against future attempts.

Then we have the Black Hats, also called offensive hackers, who are the breathing, living versions of real-life nightmares. So, the main difference between these two groups is the intent. Otherwise, they use similar tactics, and that’s why a VPN is necessary for an ethical hacker.

Both are dangerous to the outside world, and nothing stops a White Hat from turning Black other than their professional pride and a few scary laws. So, for all the current and budding White Hats who want to know how to keep things under the radar when working, read this to the end to find out more.

Are You an Ethical Hacker Testing for Vulnerabilities? These 5 VPNs Should Keep Your Activities Secure

Want to keep your mind at ease and avoid trouble when testing security vulnerabilities for your clients? These five VPNs should give you what you need.

  1. NordVPN – Most Secure Ethical Hacking VPN With Double Encryption
  2. Surfshark – Most Affordable With Unlimited Simultaneous Connections
  3. ExpressVPN – Fastest Obfuscation for Hacking With TrustedServer Technology
  4. Private Internet Access – Reliable MultiHop Feature With PIA MACE Ad & Malware Blocker
  5. CyberGhost – Best Public Network Protection With NoSpy Servers

I paid close attention to four features when narrowing this down to the best five from the 20 VPNs I tested. High on the list was the level of security that keeps offensive hackers from taking advantage of the exposed vulnerabilities. Solid privacy, VPN reputation, and PC compatibility were the other features that ranked highly too.

The 5 Best VPNs for Ethical Hacking

So, here’s the complete breakdown of how these VPN providers can help keep your internet traffic safe and undetected as you sniff around security systems for possible vulnerabilities.

BEST OVERALL

NordVPN - Most Secure Ethical Hacking VPN With Double Encryption

Location Year Established Connections Malware Blocker Best Deal
Panama 2012 6 Threat Protection Show Offer

High-End Security

NordVPN is one of the best VPNs for hackers with a solid encryption ideal for keeping everyone else out of your business. Any traffic between you and the company’s servers/servers under testing will remain hidden (even from the network administrators), creating the perfect environment for ethical hackers to work peacefully without interruptions.

nordvpn security

NordVPN’s public Wi-Fi protection feature is another essential feature that ensures you continue your work when you step out to have a cup of coffee and connect to public Wi-Fi hotspots. By monitoring the public hotspots, it alerts you of any significant danger.

In addition, like all the other alternatives on this list, NordVPN is equipped with an in-built DDoS protection feature. Using a P2P server, for example, hides your real IP address, making it hard for targeted attacks on your device.

NordVPN also has a Threat Protection feature that stops ads and malware from executing on your device. This may be weaker than a full-fledged antivirus, but it gets your mind off the small things that don’t pose a considerable threat but can interfere with your hacking workflow.

So it doesn’t hurt to have it active.

Solid Privacy for Hacking Tests

nordvpn kill switch feature

On top of the unhackable AES 256-bit encryption, another useful NordVPN tool I love taking advantage of when testing weak security spots is the kill switch. The hacking process takes time, and your VPN connection may drop for several reasons.

The kill switch prevents any accidental IP and DNS leaks by disabling all your other connections, keeping your sensitive data from the hands of black hats. This could also save you trouble with the law if the authorities involved can’t distinguish between white and black hats.

Windows users get two kill switches.

Furthermore, NordVPN is the only VPN option on this list, with specialized servers geared toward security and privacy. You can use Double VPN servers to encrypt your traffic twice for an added security layer, considering your work’s sensitive nature.

The only downside to using some of these specialty server types is the reduction in speeds because there’s a lot of encryption involved.

VPN Reputation

With so much at stake, choosing a VPN with a good reputation and backed up with good reviews is essential. Thankfully, NordVPN checks those boxes.

NordVPN has been around since 2012, and that’s a long time for any security tool, considering the level of competition in the industry. This proves it’s trusted and delivers most of what it promises.

Although there was a minor hacking incident against the VPN provider in 2018, its security has only improved since then.

nordvpn no log header

NordVPN also adheres to a strict no-logs policy which means your hacking activities never see the light of day. With headquarters in Panama, no government anywhere can force NordVPN to hand over your browsing history since there’s nothing that’s ever stored.

PC Compatibility

I often switch between Windows and macOS for my hacking tests because they’re compatible with most of my favorite hacking tools, like Acunetix and Invicti. Fortunately, NordVPN has native apps for both platforms and even Linux.

Furthermore, you can connect up to 6 devices simultaneously, which should give you more flexibility if you want to conduct simultaneous hacking tests to speed up the process.

NordVPN pricing
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The price plans aren’t as high, like ExpressVPN, but they still cost much more than Surfshark. That shouldn’t discourage you, though. NordVPN offers a 30-day money-back guarantee, plus we have these fantastic discounts that should help you save some money in the long run.

Pros

Cons

MOST AFFORDABLE

Surfshark - Most Affordable With Unlimited Simultaneous Connections

Location Year Established Connections Malware Blocker Best Deal
The Netherlands 2018 Unlimited CleanWeb Show Offer

High-End Security

Surfshark is a cheap VPN that gives ethical hackers the protection they need to test for system vulnerabilities without interruptions or attacks.

Like NordVPN, it offers military-grade encryption, the kind that will take the fastest computer ever built millions of years to crack open with brute attacks.

This is the same technology used by the US government to secure highly sensitive files, so that should give you a clear picture of what it can do.

This VPN for hackers also offers a public WI-FI shield for continued security even when using unsecured public networks. I rarely take my work outside because that’s my free time, but when I do, I always bring out all the guns because public hotspots are an offensive hacker’s favorite hunting ground.

Furthermore, like NordVPN and CyberGhost, Surfsahrk has an in-app malware blocker called CleanWeb. Again, it’s not a magic bullet against significant threats, but it keeps trackers and minor malware attacks from executing on your device.

In addition, Surfshark offers DDoS protection by hiding your real IP from black hats, who may use it to launch severe attacks on your device and the network you may be testing. Make sure you use the P2P servers, as they offer better protection against targeted attacks.

Solid Privacy for Hacking Tests

surfshark vpn settings 1

You don’t have to worry about your IP address leaking out to the wrong people, thanks to the Surfshark kill switch, which disables your internet and other connection on the spot when your VPN drops. 

This maintains your anonymity until that connection is re-establishedAfter all, ethical hacking sessions can be intense to the point where you may not realize your VPN connection is lost. Thus, ensure you have the kill switch activated before starting work.

surfshark double vpn feature

Surfshark has a Double VPN feature for double the privacy, dubbed MultiHop. Like NordVPN, it routes your traffic through two VPN servers, encrypting everything twice. That should give any lurking black hat something to think about because they won’t be able to sniff you out.

The best part of this feature is there’s a high potential of speeding up your connections if you get routed through the right pair of servers.

obfuscated servers on surfshark

Plus, you also get an obfuscation feature called Camouflage Mode that hides your VPN use from everybody else, including your client. 

Camouflage Mode runs automatically when you switch to either of the two OpenVPN protocols, which can be done on the app settings on Windows, macOS, or Linux.

This feature will slow your speeds, but not as much as NordVPN’s obfuscation.

VPN Reputation

This VPN for hacking is one of the more recent creations, established in 2018. But don’t let that young age make you think it’s a novice; there’s a reason the VPN service gets mentioned alongside the more established competitors like NordVPN.

It offers what it promises, and there have been very few incidents where the security and privacy of its users have been compromised.

I’ve yet to hear of any significant hacking incidents against Surfshark, which means it’s doing the right things over there, and that’s the confidence every ethical hacker needs.

The strict user logs policy instills more confidence in potential ethical hackers. However, Surfshark, like Private Internet Access (based in the US), is based in a surveillance alliance country, the Netherlands.

That said, there haven’t been any incidents where the VPN client handed over user data, so we can conclude things are solid on that end.

PC Compatibility

You can install Surfshark directly on Windows, macOS, and Linux.

Furthermore, you can connect unlimited simultaneous devices with one account, the largest on this list. This is perfect for hackathon events and projects where you need to quickly do as much as possible.

Screenshot MS 1 1
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Surfshark is also the cheapest VPN on this list. It also comes with a 30-day money-back guarantee you can activate if the VPN doesn’t satisfy your needs. But if you like it, check out these exclusive discounts before they run out.

Pros

Cons

MOST RELIABLE OBFUSCATION

ExpressVPN - Fastest Obfuscation for Hacking With TrustedServer Technology

Location Year Established Connections Malware Blocker Best Deal
BVI 2009 5 No Show Offer

High-End Security

I rate ExpressVPN highly for streaming or torrenting because it’s one of the fastest VPNs. But many overlook this VPN’s ability to keep them secure, especially when dealing with something as volatile as ethical hacking.

ExpressVPN encrypts all traffic to and from your device, creating the perfect conditions for ethical hackers to conduct their tests without worrying about anything else.

expressvpn security

This is especially important when using public Wi-Fi hotspots for your hacking tests.

Can you imagine being hit with a man-in-the-middle attack while in the middle of a test? How would you explain that to your now exposed and probably hacked client who thought you were the expert? I would change my name and move to another planet out of embarrassment.

Furthermore, ExpressVPN protects you from DDoS attacks by expertly masking your IP and adding a touch of encryption on top. ExpressVPN doesn’t have a malware blocker like the other alternatives, but that isn’t a huge deal breaker. You’re a hacker; I know you have an arsenal of weapons to counter such.

Solid Privacy for Hacking Tests

network lock settings on expressvpn

First, a reliable Network Lock kill switch keeps the client’s and your data safe during the hacking tests. When your VPN connection drops, the kill switch disables the internet on the spot until the VPN veil goes back up.

Most times, a VPN connection drop is beyond your control. 

Power flickers and Wi-Fi disconnections are the two culprits I’ve had to deal with the most; nothing harmless, but annoying. So, ensure you have the kill switch activated at all times.

ExpressVPN’s biggest asset, however, is its automatic obfuscation.

It’s the only VPN with obfuscation that works with all servers and protocols without denting speed. So, if you’re handling tests that require super connection speeds while disguising your VPN activities, ExpressVPN is the best.

On top of all this, ExpressVPN has a strict no-log policy that ensures no user data is stored on its servers. Of particular note is the proprietary TrustedServer technology that wipes all data with every reboot and only runs the servers on RAM disks. This eliminates the risk of your confidential hacking data landing in anyone else’s hands.

VPN Reputation

ExpressVPN is one of the oldest VPN services on this list, and that’s enough to cement its legacy regarding reliability and good reputation.

It has undergone numerous changes over the years, with notable improvements that have kept it at the top of the VPN food chain.

Ethical hackers can rest easy knowing they’re dealing with a VPN client that knows what it is doing.

reputation of expressvpn

The only time ExpressVPN has made the headlines for any security and privacy-related issue happened in 2021 when Edward Snowden claimed that the company’s CIO was involved in a surveillance scandal in the UAE.

Other than that, I can say with the confidence of a long-time user, ExpressVPN is ace.

PC Compatibility

ExpressVPN is compatible with Windows, macOS, and Linux, allowing up to 5 simultaneous connections. This is the lowest multiple connections on this list and just enough for the needs of one ethical hacker.

ExpressVPN plans
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Furthermore, it’s the most expensive VPN on this list. The good news is that it offers a 30-day money-back guarantee that you can combine with our exciting discount deals to push that price down.

Pros

Cons

Private Internet Access - Reliable MultiHop Feature With PIA MACE Ad & Malware Blocker

Location Year Established Connections Malware Blocker Best Deal
United States 2009 10 MACE Show Offer

High-End Security

pia encryption

Fourth on my roster is Private Internet Access, another robust premium VPN that made my work as an ethical hacker easier.

PIA’s encryption ensures all traffic movement between my testing devices and the client’s servers is well secured from both ends. Not even my ISP can know what I am up to, which keeps me out of trouble.

accessibility of pia

Like the other alternatives, PIA offers a public Wi-Fi protection feature that stops other cybercriminals from taking advantage of your tests to access your client’s resources without your knowledge. The moment you connect to a new public hotspot, the VPN scans the connection for any threats, blocking the lesser ones and alerting you to anything that may need bigger guns.

Private Internet Access VPN also features an in-built counter against DDoS attacks. By hiding your real IP addresses from the public, any form of targeted attacks on the devices you’re using is effectively eliminated, giving you a safe space to check for malicious hacking vulnerabilities to your fill.

pia mace settings on pia

You also get a reliable malware blocker called PIA MACE that scans all the websites you open during your hacking tests. You get real-time alerts anytime the blocker comes across a threat to take the appropriate action.

Solid Privacy for Hacking Tests

pia kill switch feature

On the privacy front, PIA is equipped with two kill switches for Windows and macOS. The first regular kill switch works like all the others, preventing IP leaks by disconnecting your internet when your Virtual Private Network connection is interrupted.

The second is an advanced kill switch that monitors and prevents internet requests, even when the VPN is switched off. So, only use it sparingly when you feel like the threat is much more significant.

pia multi hop 1

Like Surfshark, PIA has the MultiHop feature bundled with obfuscation.

It bounces your traffic between two servers, providing you with double the encryption to make external interference impossible. Unlike NordVPN, your speeds won’t suffer much with PIA’s obfuscation; you may even boost them if you get a combination of fast servers.

pia no logs policy

PIA also pays extra attention to user privacy by following a strict no-logs policy. Every hacking test you conduct with an active PIA connection won’t save any associated details, not your DNS queries or browsing history.

My only gripe with PIA is that it’s based in the US, an active member of the surveillance alliances. But like Surfshark VPN, there hasn’t been anything to suggest that the VPN client has violated its no-logs policy.

I’d be a little wary, though.

VPN Reputation

PIA has been around since 2009, making it one of the oldest VPN services.

It has grown from strength to strength and established a good reputation among its users.

The only time the VPN service had a major attack was in 2015, when a data hack affecting the port forwarding feature was detected.

The damage wasn’t significant, and the loophole was immediately sealed. There hasn’t been any noteworthy incident since, so ethical hackers can move forward with it.

PC Compatibility

Ethical hackers will be happy to know that PIA has native Windows, macOS, and Linux apps. They can be used alongside top hacking software like Nessus, Ettercap, or QualysGuard. In addition, you can connect up to 10 simultaneous devices with a single PIA account, second after Surfshark.

Private Internet Access Plans & Price
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The VPN doesn’t cost too much, and you get a 30-day money-back guarantee to test things before committing. Remember to grab your PIA subscription with these one-time discount deals.

Pros

Cons

CyberGhost - Best Public Network Protection With NoSpy Servers

Location Year Established Connections Malware Blocker Best Deal
Romania 2004 7 Block Content Show Offer

High-End Security

cyberghost encryption

Lastly, we have CyberGhost, my go-to option when I want fast downloads, all thanks to its advanced P2P servers, but that’s not the only thing this VPN service is known for. It catered to my hacking needs by providing a reputable encryption framework that kept unauthorized users from my tests.

Breaching this iron-clad wall without the deciphering keys is a fool’s errand, and no matter how advanced a black hat hacking tool may have, it would only eat into their precious time without any tangible results.

But the stand-out feature is CyberGhost’s public Wi-Fi protection feature that keeps an eye out for potential threats when you use public Wi-Fi to test security vulnerabilities. This keeps the man-in-the-middle attacks and others from getting the upper hand on you.

cyberghost nospy servers 2

CyberGhost also has NoSpy servers, operated in-house and unlike third-party servers at the mercy of the owners, who can be compromised.

There’s a catch; it will cost you a little extra to get your hands on NoSpy servers. A small price to pay when your client’s security is at stake.

But there’s DDoS protection like the other alternatives, hiding your IP address to turn you into a virtual ghost.

The VPN also offers a malware blocker called Block Content that keeps minor cyber threats at bay when you open compromised websites.

Solid Privacy for Hacking Tests

CyberGhost provides a kill switch across Windows, macOS, and Linux

macOS users may not find the kill switch button in the app settings, but that doesn’t mean it’s not there. The feature is automatically activated when you launch the VPN.

cyberghost privacy settings

The kill switch keeps your hacking tests from being exposed by disabling your internet when the VPN connection drops. So, cybercriminals won’t interfere with your connection or steal valuable data at your most vulnerable moment.

This is also a perfect safeguard against snooping from your ISP, who’s the most likely to report you to authorities when they notice suspicious hacking activities.

Sadly, CyberGhost is the only option here without obfuscation.

But it has a solid no-logs policy that keeps all your online hacking activities from any form of data storage.

The fact that CyberGhost is located in Romania, where international data retention laws don’t hold any water, means no one can force CyberGhost to provide your information, even under the threat of a court order.

VPN Reputation

The recorded initial release date for CyberGhost is 2004, making it the oldest VPN on this list. The service has gone through all the modern cybersecurity upheavals, making it one of the best-suited VPNs for ethical hacking.

In the long time it’s been around, there hasn’t been any major hacking incident against the VPN service, meaning you can handle your ethical hacking tests knowing the likelihood of black hat attacks is low.

PC Compatibility

You can install CyberGhost on macOS, Linux, and Windows alongside any top ethical hacking software. Plus, the VPN allows seven simultaneous connections, third after Surfshark and Private Internet Access.

cyberghost vpn subscription plans and pricing
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The price plans are also affordable for most ethical hackers, with an astounding 45-day money-back guarantee for long-term plans. Check out our exciting discount deals.

Pros

Cons

Why Is Ethical Hacking Necessary?

Ethical hacking can be compared to vaccination. You don’t have to get sick before you take action. Planning for potential security breaches is what makes ethical hacking essential.

It’s necessary for the following reasons.

  • It’s the best way to test a security system extensively without the risk of losing important data. It gives companies a clear picture of what might happen by simulating hacking activities.
  • Ethical hackers provide a window into the mind of a hacker. This allows companies to prepare in advance against possible scenarios without losing anything.
  • Even governments rely on ethical hackers to keep its system updated and ready against adversarial nations. It would be bad if a nation’s nuclear war chest, for instance, is hacked and activated.
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FAQs

Ethical hacking is legal if it’s done with the permission and knowledge of the property/server owner. The main aim is to help a security system identify loopholes that potential malicious hackers may take advantage of in the future.

Ethical hacking becomes a legal problem if the hacker conducts unsanctioned tests, making it a black hat attack.

You can’t use a free VPN for something as sensitive as ethical hacking for several reasons. Free VPNs are a security threat as they store user data and even sell it to the highest bidder. Thus, doing more damage as it would only open a window for black hat hackers.

Likewise, most free VPNs don’t have the necessary privacy and security features like obfuscation or DDoS protection, making them useless for decent ethical hacking.

Final Word

Ethical hacking is necessary for an increasingly digitized society. Still, it helps when an ethical hacker takes precautions because the line that separates their work from a full-blown disaster is very thin.

NordVPN remains my top recommendation due to its vast security features like encryption, DDoS protection, and Double VPN servers. The strict no-log policy also inspires confidence, as well as high compatibility with PC platforms.

If it meets your needs, then get your discounted subscription right now.

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