Secure public Wi-Fi with VPN
Public Wi-Fi networks are ideal targets for hackers – most of them lack even basic network security measures, and some were actually created by cybercriminals in the first place. If you want to enjoy the convenience of free public Wi-Fi without putting yourself at risk, you need a VPN.
Does a VPN protect you on public Wi-Fi?
A VPN is one of the most robust and secure ways you can protect your devices – it’s practically designed for use with public Wi-Fi.
It sends your traffic through an encrypted “tunnel”, which makes it very difficult to decode or intercept. Having an app on the devices you use to connect to a public network will give you this encryption on the go. We always recommend using a VPN on free public Wi-Fi hotspots.
How does a VPN protect you on public Wi-Fi?
Public Wi-Fi networks provide hackers with a great opportunity to target new victims. Public communications are often poorly protected and can be easily accessed by criminals.
Alternatively, bad actors can set up their router and give it a harmless name like “Free Train Wi-fi”. Once a passenger connects to the network without thinking, their private data can be exposed.
When you use a VPN, your internet traffic is encrypted, so no one can intercept it over public Wi-Fi. A VPN secures your connection everywhere, so you no longer need to bother with external protection. Internet browsers will not be able to break through the encryption wall and you will remain secure.
The dangers of public Wi-Fi networks
What next for hackers when they take advantage of public Wi-Fi? Any and all of your personal information. Here are some examples of valuable data you can uncover:
- Your email (login.
- Your bank details.
- Your personal photos and videos.
- your home adress.
Here are some things hackers can do to take advantage of public Wi-Fi:
- Evil twin attack. It’s easy to rename routers to literally anything. Cybercriminals will create fake Wi-Fi networks to trick you into connecting. You’ve probably connected to a public Wi-Fi called “Starbucks_Wifi_Free” in no time – without realizing that a hacker might be turning it on.
- Introducing malware. An unsecured connection may slip hard-to-detect malware onto your computer. It can steal your bandwidth, damage your system, and provide hackers with a backdoor to all your personal files.
- Man in the Middle (MITM). The cybercriminal places his device between the connection to your device and a Wi-Fi point. This allows them to covertly monitor your activity and even control your traffic, potentially redirecting you to their own site that will trick you into entering your credentials or banking details.
- sniffing Wi-Fi networks. More of a passive act rather than an active attack like MITM. With basic and legal software, a hacker can monitor and record all data packets that pass through the Wi-Fi network.
Optimizing public Wi-Fi with a VPN connection will render all the above attacks useless. The encryption process effectively protects all your data from prying eyes. While a potential hacker will be able to see that you are already connected to the Internet through a public Wi-Fi network, they will not be able to see the details of the traffic transmitted.
Protect yourself on public Wi-Fi.
Browse safely with a service you can trust
It is estimated that 81% of Americans use public Wi-Fi hotspots regularly. However, only 1% of Americans use a VPN to enhance their security while connected to public networks. The number of people using a VPN when connected to Wi-Fi is slightly higher in France (2%) and Germany (6%).
Surprisingly, nearly half of Americans surveyed believe that public Wi-Fi is safe and does not require additional precautions. This is a dangerous situation and may cause a lot of trouble to users in the long run. For those looking to protect themselves after hearing these disturbing statistics, note that some of the worst places to use public Wi-Fi are large public cafes or restaurants, airports, and hotels. The more people who can access a public Wi-Fi hotspot, the higher the risk.
Can a public Wi-Fi provider see your browsing history?
Yes, your public Wi-Fi service provider can see your browsing history. It is not given as it depends on the router it is using. But modern Wi-Fi routers keep logs – what domains you’ve visited and for how long. And if you browse a webpage without proper TLS/SSL encryption, they will also log the exact pages you’ve read and the information you’ve entered.
On mobile devices, it gets more complicated. The owner of the Wi-Fi network can see who you have connected or messaged with online, which applications you have used, and for how long.
Can Wi-Fi Block a VPN?
While most public Wi-Fi hotspots won’t be sophisticated enough to block VPNs, some ISPs can use an IP lookup tool to find the actual location on the VPN server, and then use a firewall to block that IP address. Fortunately, NordVPN has thousands of other servers to choose from, so the solution is just to choose a different one.
How to stop a public Wi-Fi hacker
The main way to prevent any hackers from breaking into your devices and snooping on your internet connection over a public network is to educate yourself. Once you understand the risks you face, you’ll be up to date on how to prevent them. Here are the things you should remember:
- Disable automatic connections. If you regularly make use of every public Wi-Fi node you can find, you may be inadvertently sticking to a network you weren’t planning on.
- Do not carelessly connect to any public Wi-Fi network. If you are using the public Wi-Fi of a popular fast-food restaurant or chain, ask the staff for the exact name you want to look up.
- Do not sign in to any sensitive accounts. When connecting to a public Wi-Fi network, do not use the connection to access any accounts that contain information of a sensitive nature. If any hacker sniffed that network, your details might have just been captured.
- Turn off file sharing and check your firewall. Simple checks often missed. While file sharing is useful on your private network at home, having it play while you’re connected to public Wi-Fi is a formula for bad news. Make sure your anti-malware software is also active.
- Get a VPNBecause your data is valuable and needs protection. With VPN security, you will be able to enjoy the convenience of public Wi-Fi without risks. A VPN also hides your IP address by connecting you to a VPN server, rather than one owned by your ISP. This means that your activity cannot be tracked by third parties.
Keep your personal data private.
Protect yourself with a VPN
How to choose the best VPN
With so many VPN service providers out there, it is hard to make the right decision. Here are some aspects you should pay attention to when choosing a VPN:
- Strong encryption. Ensure that your VPN uses the latest encryption standards and ensures proper protection and a secure connection;
- Tons of security features It also helps a lot especially if you are working in more dangerous areas. So make sure that your VPN offers services like obfuscated servers, masking the fact that you are using a VPN, or a Kill Switch, which disconnects your internet connection if you lose your VPN connection;
- good customer support In case you get stuck;
- Also avoid obscure free VPNs Because they usually do not provide a reliable service. They are more likely to take advantage of their activities by collecting your data, passing it on to third parties, or targeting ads to you, so in the end they do more badly than good. Furthermore, they can have very limited functionality and experience data breaches;
- The ability to protect multiple devices. In this case, you will be able to protect your mobile devices and laptops with one account and even your other family members. Make sure that you will be able to use the VPN service on your mobile phone as we carry these devices with us which exposes them to many unsecured Wi-Fi spots.
Therefore, the best option would be to purchase a subscription service – you know exactly what you will get for the money you pay. Here’s what you get with NordVPN:
- Trusted security. There is a reason why NordVPN won Best VPN for 2019. As any NordVPN review will tell you, our product is reliable and effective.
- Strong encryption. Our servers are secured with AES-256 encryption – the same type of encryption that governments use for their own systems.
- Stronger encryption. If the promise of one of the highest forms of encryption isn’t enough for you, you can choose to run your traffic through two different servers using double encryption.
- wider coverage. NordVPN offers more physical servers located in countries, than any other premium VPN services.
- Easy step. Once NordVPN is installed on your device, all you have to do is choose a server. All it takes is pressing a button.
- Protection for up to 6 devices. NordVPN allows you to secure all your personal devices or share them with your loved ones. It is also available on all major operating systems.
- Protection from malicious threats. CyberSec will automatically prevent you from entering blacklisted sites. It will also stop invasive autoplay ads.
Enhance your security online.
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