The Internet is here to stay and has been the center of our universe and everyday life for a few years now. That is no secret. And nobody can deny the joy a person demonstrates when it encounters a public Wi-Fi network in remote or unexpected places.
Every day, more restaurants have wireless connection networks, more stores, more airports, bus stations; even doctors have Wi-Fi in their consulting rooms. People have Internet connectivity at the highest spot on their priorities nowadays, and every manager and owner is making sure to fulfill those needs to provide a better customer service.
But reality indicates that many of these owners and managers are not aware of the risks involving an unsafe environment for data sharing in the online world. No protection can mean that people’s traffic and data can be unprotected and the consequences of this situation could be costly for everyone involved.
You, as a user, just cannot leave your privacy and security at the hands of some stranger: there must be something you can do to guarantee that, if you decide to establish a connection to a public network, your traffic can be virtually untouchable.
Fortunately for you, Virtual Private Networks exist. While no VPN, or any other method for that matter, can offer 100% protection in the real world, VPNs represent the closest thing to it. By channeling your traffic through a virtual tunnel, VPNs are your best friend while connected in public places where the dangers and threats are significantly higher.
Public Wi-Fi: pros and cons
A Wi-Fi connection (the “Wi” means “Wireless,” but the “Fi” has been erroneously identified as “Fidelity” over the years but has no actual meaning) is a network that allows users to have Internet access wirelessly.
Pros are relatively obvious: public Wi-Fi networks can represent a beneficial tool to have at hand in certain situations. If your data plan runs out, you could establish a connection through a library network, an airport, a waiting room, or any other public places and send that file you need to deliver through email. Or send that voice note via WhatsApp or browse the web for that last definition you need to include in your school report.
But you have to weigh in the cons, too. The majority of public Wi-Fi networks have passwords: for example, if a hotel has Wi-Fi available to its guests, not everyone will be allowed to enter, only the guests, at least in theory. But having a password does not automatically make the network secure, because you would be sharing it with many people, maybe hundreds.
Having that many people at the same time connected to the public network means that lots of them could have access to personal data and information about your device and connection if you don’t implement extra security measures by your initiative.
So the next time you think about joining a public Wi-Fi, consider the risks and evaluate whether you can do something to enhance your security and privacy levels. As it turns out, you can: get a VPN for a cheap monthly fee, and you will have peace of mind.
Places in which you can find public Wi-Fi networks
An open Wi-Fi is usually available in places like parks, hotels, restaurants, doctor’s waiting rooms, hospitals, offices, big department stores, airports and terminals, cafés, stadiums and sporting infrastructure, and many other places.
What is VPN?
Virtual Private Networks, often shortened to VPNs, are security and privacy measures that some companies provide for users in need of online protection. The system consists of data tunneling end encrypting: your traffic is sent through remote servers “shielded” against some of the ugliest threats of the web.
Hackers will have a hard time locating and harming you because the VPN will hide your IP address, making it very difficult for third parties to track you. Similarly, governmental institutions and advertisers will not be able to send you messages of any kind because you will be browsing the web “incognito.”
How does VPN work?
This system uses encryption technologies such as IP security (IPSec), Layer 2 Tunneling Protocol (L2TP)/IPSec, Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) and Transport Layer Security (TLS) with the intention of maintaining your IP address and your browsing history, location and traffic as low-key as it is possible.
Benefits of VPN
Using a VPN can take you to the next level when it comes to online security and privacy. Since no one will be able to see you online, then no one can have access to your browsing history, passwords, favorite and latest places you visited, credit card information and other vital stuff.
A VPN fits your needs, because you can set up a VPN strong in accessibility with the intention of streaming online content from anywhere in the world, and another one with different characteristics if your current needs are related to anonymity.
Because it hides the IP address of the user, you can use VPN as a “shield” for online streaming and “unblock” content from geographically restricted locations. For example, you could gain access to all of American Netflix catalog of movies and TV shows if you were to obtain an American VPN.
While it’s true that VPN may lower your speed of connection a bit, it is also a fact that it can work in the presence of DNS Hijacking, Transparent Proxies and other security protocols that your Internet Service Provider can implement in their effort to prevent users from accessing blocked content in sites around the globe.
Among the many alternatives available on the Internet, NordVPN is the most recommended out there. It has a reliable customer service, and you can connect five different devices at the same time while maintaining relatively high speeds of Internet connection. Other alternatives in the market include IPVanish and PureVPN.
So, why you need to use VPN when connecting to public Wi-Fi?
To increase security in your online sessions, you should acquire an excellent VPN service and connect through it. It does not cost a lot of money, and the benefits will outweigh the resources you spend buying it.
Connection through public Wi-Fi networks involves sharing data and traffic with hundreds of people, with a high possibility of leaving something unprotected. With a quality VPN service, not only you will be able to breathe easy knowing your passwords and browsing history will be safeguarded, but also you can hide your IP address and take advantage of it. You could download torrents, watch live sports events on streaming services, enjoy a good movie or your favorite TV show while waiting for your flight at the airport.
Static IP addresses vs. Dynamic IP addresses
A dynamic IP address is obtained from a pool of available, public IP addresses and when you purchase a VPN service, it will assign you one direction from that pool. This is more convenient if you want anonymity because it will be difficult to track you if you are using an IP address that changes every time you connect or disconnect.
However, a static or dedicated IP address exists for only one device, and while it involves paying a little extra money, it is constructive if you want to stream content online in services that provide this because it maintains faster connection speeds than shared IP addresses.
In conclusion, public connections are excellent. When a passenger flies from another country and steps out of the plane, he may need to have access to its email, messages, WhatsApp and other communication platforms to get in touch with his family, friends, partner or coworker, and connecting to the airport Wi-Fi can be a real life-saver.
The same happens when you are at the library, studying for your final test of the quarter, and you have no data to connect by your means: the library’s Wi-Fi network provides you with an opportunity to browse that information you need about the subject at hand.
Access to public Wi-Fi has its advantages, but it also comes with a significant amount of risk. For example, you may log in to your email account, or even worse, your bank account, in one of the library computers. Imagine that some hacker gains access to one or the other: it could have catastrophic consequences because your security is not necessarily guaranteed while connecting through a public network.
Your location information, financial data, and other passwords need protection, and you could get it in a better and more appropriate way by a Virtual Private Network. VPNs encrypt your data and send it through servers in a virtual “tunnel,” giving you the security, privacy, and peace of mind you need while browsing the web in public spots.
The next time you need to connect to a public Wi-Fi, be it in a library, a hospital, an airport or any waiting room, be sure to acquire the services of a quality VPN server. Install it on your device and reap the benefits of secure and private online sessions.