Using public Wi-Fi has become quite common in our lives. Whenever we reach an airport or go to a café, we have to connect to the public Wi-Fi and leisurely browse the web. But most of us do not realize that browsing the Internet on public Wi-Fi comes at a price. There are several risks of using a public Wi-Fi network unless we take the necessary precautions.
You may think that it is probably better to avoid using public Wi-Fi networks altogether. However, sometimes it is unavoidable. For example, you have just landed at an airport in a foreign country, but you do not have an international internet package from your network provider. You may need to access essential travel documents on your email or make an urgent Skype call.
Using a VPN service is one of the easiest ways to circumvent the risks of public Wi-Fi. One of the primary purposes of using an online VPN service is to conceal your IP address.
It might not be necessary to hide your IP address while you are at home, but it is crucial while using a public Wi-Fi network. Here are six reasons why you should always use an online VPN service while connecting to a public Wi-Fi network.
Your Browsing Data Might Get Stolen
When you are using a public Internet network, your browsing history will be saved somewhere. In most cases, this data is used for marketing analysis so that advertisers can learn about your preference and show you advertisements more suited to your needs.
This is probably the best-case scenario of browsing data theft. Your browsing data can also be stolen by someone who can decode your private information. Once they get your personal details, they can use them or sell them for illegal activities.
Using a VPN service can prevent your data from getting stolen by masking your IP address. It will prevent the hacker from stealing your browsing history or personal data by routing your Internet activities through a secure network.
Networks Can Track Your Activities
Everybody wants their Internet activity to stay private. You may not be doing anything illegal while using public Wi-Fi and a café. But you also do not want anyone to know how long you were scrolling on Facebook or which lingerie brands are your favorite.
And you certainly do not want anyone to go through your personal messages on Facebook, emails, and your financial transactions. Using a reputable and reliable VPN can prevent all of this from happening. You will be able to block out those curious sets of eyes and protect your browsing activity while using a public Wi-Fi network.
You Could Be Exposed to Malicious Attacks
Airport authorities or café owners do not have any control over who can use the public Wi-Fi network. So any area with a lot of people browsing publicly open Internet is bound to attract hackers. One of the most common malicious activities that occur in places with public Wi-Fi is called Man in the Middle (MITM).
It happens when hackers place themselves between your device and the Wi-Fi so all your internet traffic goes through them. That way, they can gain access to confidential information such as your financial data, passwords, business information, and others.
If the Internet website you are accessing does not use two-way authentication, you will have no way to learn about such malicious attacks. A VPN encrypts your data before sending it to the Internet so that even if hackers can get their hands on your information, they will not be able to decrypt it.
You Could Be Agreeing to Misleading Terms and Conditions
You would probably have to register before connecting to a public Wi-Fi hotspot and agree to a list of terms and conditions. But have you ever tried to read this list? Well, no one ever does. The truth is, this is another way of collecting your browsing information after taking your legal consent.
Obviously, you will have to agree to the terms and conditions if you want to access the Internet on public Wi-Fi. But using a VPN will ensure that all the data they collect will be of no use because it will be encrypted.
Your Device Can Get a Virus
It is extremely easy for hackers to plant a virus in your computer or smartphone while connected to a public Wi-Fi network. These viruses can harm your device, steal your personal information or even wipe out your stored data. A VPN would not allow hackers to isolate your IP address, and therefore make it impossible for them to plant a virus on your device.
You Could Be Forced to Pay More
They also use these tactics to increase prices the next time you visit their website, which creates a sense of urgency. A VPN can prevent these companies from tracking your previous activities on the Internet, forcing them to show you the lowest possible price.
These are just the most common ways a VPN can protect you from cyber threats while using a public Wi-Fi network. There are several other risks of using public Wi-Fi that you can bypass using a VPN. However, make sure that you use a reputable and trustworthy VPN service to make sure that you are truly protected from data theft and cybercriminals.