The need for using the internet regardless of where you are is real and it’s increasing. It doesn’t matter if there’s a lecture that needs to be downloaded or a friend who wants to chat with you after a long day, your smartphone needs juice from a good and trusted Wi-Fi connection, and it needs it fast!
We come across public Wi-Fi networks that regardless of their harmful nature, draw us towards them. Public Wi-Fi connections are labeled notorious and should be least trusted, but we all like to live dangerously, don’t we? (pun intended)
Did you know 59% of the adults across the world use public Wi-Fi networks to log into their email accounts? Now, this right here is a red flag that we all don’t normally see. Public Wi-Fi networks are not the place to share personal information, but in the heat of the moment where our boss asks for an immediate reply, we forget and what happens after is all blamed on fate.
Thus, to make sure that none of the information shared over a public Wi-Fi network is breached by the pesky hackers, you may have seen a big number of people using VPNs. Surely, this little offspring of the latest technology acts as a huge life savior in keeping our information safe from breaches while using a public Wi-Fi network. So, what exactly is that VPNs do to keep our information safe? Let’s discuss it!
What is VPN?
VPN or Virtual Private Network acts as a shell of protection between you and the network you connect to. VPNs were first introduced to the world back in 1996 when a Microsoft employee considered developing Peer-to-Peer Tunneling Protocol (PPTP). Later on, in the coming years, VPN garnered a lot of attention, especially since they gave access to geo-blocked applications and websites.
Initially, VPNs were created to address the need for a secure and private network. Organizations had the need of maintaining a secure and private file-sharing among two so that only employees could get remote access to the files, without worrying about breaches from unauthorized users.
Realizing that data breaches could happen anywhere, VPNs usage wasn’t limited to organizations only. Soon, VPNs were publically available so individual users could get rid of hacker threats, potential data mining, unnecessary censorships and what not. Thus, VPN providers proved to be a great deal of help for people who find themselves using public Wi-Fi networks on a daily basis.
Public Wi-Fi Networks
Public Wi-Fi Networks are commonly found in malls, restaurants, cafes, airports, hotels, etc. The reason why people hop towards a public Wi-Fi network is that it provides internet access for free. There are hotspots spread across the country and no one thinks twice before accepting the invitation from such a connection. Such connections may seem secure, but what exactly are the risks associated with public Wi-Fi networks?
Risks of Public Wi-Fi Networks
- Public Wi-Fi networks are never secure. There is an unknown intermediary party always ready to act like an eavesdropper every time there’s a network connection.
- Private networks are safe because the data that’s transmitted over them are encrypted, unlike the public Wi-Fi networks, which promote unencrypted data. When unencrypted data passes over a network it is vulnerable to third parties.
- Public Wi-Fi networks possess several software vulnerabilities, which eventually sneak into your computer and cause malware attacks. In case you’re wondering, software vulnerability is a broken end in software, which eventually turns into a life-threatening malware if left unnoticed.
- Another risk associated with Public Wi-Fi networks is that hackers are always monitoring it. Every personal information that you share, every site that you visit, anything that you do becomes very easy to tap by the hackers. When you’re using a VPN, it’s almost as if half of the hackers’ job is done.
How to Use VPN On Public Wi-Fi?
Now that you’re aware of the risks, it’s about time you knew about the measures that make public networks safe for use. Things are much easier when you are using private, especially if it is from a reliable internet service such as AT&T Internet. However, in case you absolutely need to use public Wi-Fi, then here is how you can keep your connection safe:
- Turn off Auto-Connecting Feature
Usually, whenever there is a free public Wi-Fi network, our phone connects with it in a blink of an eye. So, the first thing you need to do is disable your smartphone’s feature of automatically connecting with a public Wi-Fi network.
- Don’t Login to Your Personal Accounts
Another thing you can do to make your VPN safe over a public Wi-Fi network simply refrains from logging in to your sensitive information. Do not log in to your online bank account, or any other information that can be at stake.
- Turn-Off File Sharing
When you’re using your private Wi-Fi connection, then you have every right to keep your file-sharing option active. On a public Wi-Fi network, however, the last of the last things that you can do is keep your file-sharing option turned on.
Summing It Up
VPN is safe, but it’s all down to the type of Wi-Fi connection you’re using it over. A good and highly-reliable VPN might cost you a bit, but at the end of the day, it’s giving you strong encryption and highly-active security to keep your data safe.
There is no doubt that the risks of malicious threats are always around; it’s only a matter of the choices you make, which can make your public Wi-Fi using experience a lot less risky. So, VPN or no VPN, make sure you’re not one of those who sprint after a free Wi-Fi connection, without realizing its cons.
About Caroline Eastman:
Caroline is doing her graduation in IT from the University of South California but keens to work as a freelance blogger. She loves to write on the latest information about IoT, technology, and business. She has innovative ideas and shares her experience with her readers. And she is currently associated with “buytvinternetphone.com” as a content writer.