Eavesdropping and data snooping have become the largest threats to online privacy and security whenever a user wants to browse the internet. There is the constant threat of attackers and phishers looking to monitor your internet activity and hijack an internet session to gain access to your system and do all kinds of espionage activities. Identity theft and data manipulation are the primary activities of such hackers when they gain access to your system. Although you might set up firewalls or boost your private network’s security, there is no helping you when you are connected to a public Wi-Fi.
Public Wi-Fi networks are the most unsecured networks you can come across. Internet security in public wireless networks is almost negligible, making them completely open and unsecured. This makes them the ideal hunting ground for eavesdroppers and data snoopers. Coffee shops, cafes, schools, airports, and hotels offer public Wi-Fi to a large number of people. With no internet security, it is basically one single place with a vast number of unprotected systems and devices that can be exploited by a curious and malicious hacker. Whatever be the organization, internet security is not focussed on at all. This makes it child’s play for an attacker to eavesdrop on your activity and phish for data. It is so easy that the attacker does not even have to be highly skilled as software like Firesheep, FaceNiff, Ethereal, and Wireshark are available for attackers to eavesdrop on the activity of public Wi-Fi users.
There are many instances when you need to secure yourself while using public Wi-Fi like:
1. Using social networking sites
2. Using bank accounts
3. Using your email accounts
4. Share sensitive data
As is self-evident, compromising of your identity and data when using a public Wi-Fi for performing these activities is highly likely to happen, which makes it all the more necessary to protect yourself.
VPNs are the best line of defence you can put up between an eavesdropper or data snooper and your system when using a public Wi-Fi network. A VPN connects you to the internet through an encrypted tunnel, encrypting all traffic that is shared between your system and the internet. It connects you to the internet through one of its many servers, thereby hiding your identity as your IP address is masked by the IP address of the VPN server.
Using a VPN over a public Wi-Fi network helps you to protect yourself from malicious users. Your identity is hidden from everyone as all they are able to see is that you are connected to a VPN server. This makes it difficult for them to monitor your activity while you are connected to the public Wi-Fi network. The fact that they encrypt all traffic makes it difficult for them to hijack your internet session and expose your sensitive data.
Both of these benefits together with security of public networks make using a VPN over a public Wi-Fi absolutely essential for all users. When choosing a VPN, one must be careful to look for a VPN that uses secure protocols to ensure that your connection is properly secured. The VPN should also not keep logs otherwise your activity can be recorded by your VPN service as well. Apart from these, a good VPN offers high speed connections, unlimited bandwidth, and has features like kill switch which protect your system even if your connection was to crash immediately.