Most people have no idea how dangerous it is to use public Wi-Fi. It's the data security equivalent of walking down a dark alley in the dodgy side of town. You will probably be fine a lot of the time but one day you will get stung. The hacker could get it all, your credit card details, your email address and your passwords.
When you find out that all of your information has been stolen, your day will change very quickly. You will go from happily browsing memes to dealing with intense stress and fear. Who knows what will happen? It can range from someone posting nasty Facebook statuses, to losing all of the money in your bank account and even complete identity theft.
It seems like most people would like to avoid the chance of this happening. Your only two choices to stay safe are to completely avoid public Wi-Fi or to connect through a VPN.
Not too many people can resist the urge of public Wi-Fi, particularly if they are on a limited data plan or are travelling and don't want to be charged excessive global roaming fees. Don't worry, because getting and running a VPN isn't too much of a hassle.
How is Public Wi-Fi Dangerous?
You are vulnerable to several different types of attacks when you use public Wi-Fi. These include evil twin hotspots, packet sniffers and more. Public Wi-Fi has less security and there is a greater chance of being taken advantage of because there are so many people around.
Evil twin hotspots are actually kind of cunning. You would almost be impressed if you hadn't just had all of your data stolen. They involve wannabe hackers hanging around public Wi-Fi areas. They will turn on their phone's hotspot and name it something dubious, like Free Shopping Centre Wi-Fi.
Many people fall for it and think that it is the proper Wi-Fi provided by the facility. Unfortunately, the hacker isn't just being generous with their WI-Fi, they have more sinister intentions. If someone logs onto the hacker's hotspot, the hacker can download their cache, which might enable them to access the folders on the victim's device.
From here, they can begin to acquire your personal details, usernames and passwords.
Packet sniffers allow people to intercept cookies if they aren't encrypted. A hacker can then use them to take over the victim's browsing activity. Once they take over, they are able to access the data of the victim. They can use this to steal from the victim.
Some packet sniffers are getting easier and easier to use, which means that even people without much technical know-how can take advantage of this scam.
How Can a VPN Keep Me Safe on Public Wi-Fi
Now that you know how dangerous public Wi-Fi can be, it's time to learn how you can be safe. If you connect to public hotspots through a VPN, it will provide an encrypted tunnel between the client on your device and the VPN server. This tunnel means that hackers won't be able to see what you are doing and they won't be able to access your data.
VPNs are a great way to keep safe on public Wi-Fi, because the encryption essentially makes a wall around your web traffic that the hacker cannot see through.
What's the Best VPN for Wi-Fi Hotspots?
Encrypting your web traffic is central to what all VPNs do. Because of this, most popular options are great choices for keeping you safe on public Wi-Fi. We've selected our favourite VPNs that will keep your data secure and offer you even more.
#1 & Editors Choice: ExpressVPN
If you are looking for a versatile and reliable VPN, it's hard to go past ExpressVPN. They offer a lot of servers throughout the world with fast connections. Their customer service is always excellent, which makes them very easy to deal with if you ever need any help.
ExpressVPN offer excellent encryption which is sure to keep your data secure. Torrenting and other filesharing is also allowed, so they are a great choice for pirates. You can sign up anonymously because they accept Bitcoin payments. They do keep connection logs, but no usage logs.
One of the only real downsides is that their service is more expensive than some of their competitors. If you can afford it, it's worth it, because they pack in value.
VyprVPN is another excellent choice if you want great speeds. They offer a good number of servers in convenient locations, which makes them a good choice for most people across the world. They have a high level of encryption, so they will keep you save on public Wi-Fi.
VyprVPN do take some logs, so they might not be the best choice if you require complete anonymity, but otherwise they offer a fantastic service.
#3: Private Internet Access
If you want a VPN you can trust, you should definitely consider Private Internet Access. They offer great all-round service with good connection speeds. Their no logs policy is good for those who are concerned about their security. Customer support is helpful and they also accept Bitcoin. With strong encryption, they are a VPN that you can rely on.
TorGuard offer an excellent VPN service. They really seem to care about the privacy and security of their users, so they offer strong encryption with a no logs policy. They also don't mind filesharing, which is great news for torrenters. It's all offered at a very reasonable price when you also consider how good their customer service.