These days, the VPN won’t act like a simple app installed on your device to ensure your online anonymity. Actually, in 2020, a VPN is like your advocate, always ready to represent your online causes anytime you go online. If you fell into a hacker’s trap while using a public WiFi without the VPN’s protection, you’re the guilty one.
Performing different online activities is an important responsibility, especially with all the cyber-attacks invading the internet.
Public Wi-Fi hotspots are hackers’ favorite place to go hunting for victims, so here’s what you need to know before rushing into connecting to such a network.
Why are public unsecured Wi-Fi networks our enemies?
Don’t get me wrong! Public WiFi networks have incontestable utility and are one of the easiest tools that help us stay connected to the online world. Still, not all the public WiFi hotspots are secured. Actually, almost a quarter of all the hotspots worldwide are unsecured, meaning that by connecting to one can put you in front of danger.
There are more than hackers lurking at an unsecured public network’s corners. Malware attacks, man-in-the-middle attacks and even ending up using a fake network are all there, existing.
Connecting to public WiFi networks usually happens when you are in a public place, surfing the web, and sending out important information such as your location, emails, credit card details, and even login credentials.
Therefore, you need to be extra cautious and make sure to take all the measures to ensure your online security, privacy, and anonymity while using public WiFi.
What is a VPN for public WiFi?
Using a VPN while connecting to a public WiFi can save your skin if you are the target of cybercrime.
A VPN for public WiFi is a tool which once installed on your device, can help you enable a private scope of communication with the online world. In very simple words, we can say that a VPN will enable a private tunnel for your data to be securely, anonymously, and privately transported to its destination on the web.
Therefore, just as its name suggests (Virtual Private Network), the VPN creates a private connection over a public network.
Even if in theory the whole concept sounds complicated, VPN providers make things easy for VPN users, developing VPN apps that enable VPN connections with just a click.
How does a VPN work?
To be able to grant you a secure connection, the VPN uses 3 important components that once linked, will provide military-grade encryption for your internet connection.
The 3 components a VPN uses are the VPN server, the VPN protocol, and an encryption standard.
As already mentioned, you end up using a public WiFi, when you’re in a rush, in a public place. So, there’s no time to waste with long procedures for enabling VPN connections. For avoiding unnecessary steps, a VPN app will do its magic.
Once installed on your device and enabled with a simple click, here’s what a VPN does to your connection: your app automatically connects to the VPN server which will encrypt your traffic, change your IP and, helped by the VPN protocol and the encryption standard, it will securely guide your data to its destination.
Even if this whole process sounds like it can take a while, it happens in a second, so it will not alter your overall online experience.
Additional things you need to know about a VPN for public WiFi.
Public WiFi networks can be unsecured and… groundless. What I want to point out is that a public WiFi connection can be really inconsistent in terms of speed and reliability, meaning that you may face a disconnection when you least expect it.
To prevent a situation like this, you will need a powerful VPN for public WiFi that comes with more than a VPN app. Advanced VPN features for enhanced security are mandatory while surfing the web. Such features are:
- Kill Switches. The Kill Switch feature is like an electrical switch configured into your VPN app to handle your VPN connection in case of a connection drop. There are 2 kinds of Kill Switches – the Internet Kill Switch which will automatically kill your internet, in case of a connection drop, and the Application Kill Switch which will kill a list of applications of your choice in case of a connection drop.
- NAT Firewall. Just like the Kill Switch, NAT firewall is an advanced security feature specially implemented into the VPN servers to continuously filter the incoming traffic to detect and block malicious attempts.
- DNS/IP leak protection. The VPN has its own flaws and can disconnect from the server in some situations. So, a VPN disconnection shouldn’t find you bare-handed. The additional setting from preventing DNS/IP leaks are something you should put on the list of things a VPN for public WiFi should provide.
Thinking of getting a VPN? Avoid the free ones!
Besides allowing you to secure your connection while using a public WiFi network, the VPN can also help you bypass internet censorship, access geo-blocked websites, or secure your P2P file sharing. After analyzing all the things a VPN can do, you are surely tempted to get a VPN.
My advice – avoid free VPNs by any means. Just like unprotected WiFi networks, free VPNs know nothing about security and reliability. Moreover, free VPN providers usually keep logs on their users’ activities and might use this information to make money. How? They will sell the information they have on their users to different organizations interested in their e-mail addresses or what they do online.
So, make sure to pick a trustworthy provider. Your online privacy and security are priceless.
VPNs for public WiFi in a nutshell.
VPNs are one of the easiest to use tools that can make the difference between surfing the web and surfing the web like a pro.
Based on the info presented, we can conclude that you don’t have to be tech-savvy to get, install, and use a VPN, as this technology is clearly not rocket science.
Therefore, you have your online privacy and security at your fingertips. It’s your choice if you decide to protect it or ignore it and get in serious trouble.