Posted on June 20, 2019 at 12:48 PM
Public Wifi is a terrific tool when out and about as it allows you to remain online. However, the downside is that free Wifi hotspots are not the safest of things. Many of the hotspots found in coffee shops, hotels and any other public place are lacking strong passwords or suffer from router configurations that are poor. These can leave you wide open to hackers. You can get protection through a VPN. So, how can a VPN protect you on public Wifi?
How public Wifi networks are hacked
First, let’s deal with the question of how a public Wifi network is hacked and why. Many free Wifi hotspots are very easy to hack, even to a novice. Once hackers have gained access they will use different tools to get at your personal details. Hackers can steal your passwords, your bank details, credit card details and more. They can steal your whole identity.
Hackers are known to set up fake access points that look like the real deal, so you connect to that network. They can then inject malware, which gets onto the device connected to the network.
You wouldn’t sit on a train and use your smartphone to input passwords and bank details while the person sat at your side was looking over your shoulder. The same applies with hackers looking over your shoulder remotely when you are connected to public Wifi. In short, any traffic you send from your device onto the internet is visible to hackers. With a VPN in place, you put an invisible shield up stopping this.
A VPN provides an encrypted tunnel
One of the best tools to combat hackers is a VPN, which stands for Virtual Private Network.
VPN providers offer tools that are simple to use, which put you safely at one end of a tunnel while the internet is at the other end. Any information you send onto the internet, your bank details or credit card number for instance, is encrypted and no one snooping can read it.
Before you use the free Wifi hotspot when out and about, you simply open up the software you downloaded and installed after taking out a subscription with a VPN provider and connect to a server. Providers offer access to servers around the world and your IP address is concealed from view.
The remote IP address means that you could essentially be many thousands of miles away from your actual location. The tunnel encrypts and protects any information, forming a barrier between your device and hackers.
Choosing a VPN for public Wifi
When choosing a VPN to use when out and about on public Wifi you might want to consider the following:
- Ensure the provider offers military strength encryption;
- Make sure the provider offers a range of protocols, OpenVPN, TCP, L2TP/IPSec;
- Check they offer server authentication;
- They offer a kill switch.
There are various VPN providers out there, including ExpressVPN, CyberGhost and NordVPN. These providers offer advanced security measures and a VPN that can protect you whenever you are on public Wifi. When connected to a VPN you can use any public Wifi hotspot with the knowledge that your information will remain safe and secure.