Accessing a Public WI-Fi Network? 3 Reasons You Should Use a VPN
Long gone are the days of dial-up Internet, ethernet cables and choosing between talking on your landline telephone and jumping in an AOL chat room or surfing the web on Netscape. Now there is the wireless Internet, and you can access it just about anywhere from just about any mobile device. But accessing a public Wi-Fi network requires a little finesse to keep your personal information safe. It’s just one of the many reasons you should use a VPN.
What is a VPN?
A VPN is a Virtual Private Network. It’s used to make a secure connection to another network on the Internet. Their origin is in business. VPNs securely connected business networks together via the Internet and allowed employees to access that network remotely. With a VPN you are simply using the Internet connection of a server (that could be anywhere in the world) that is not attached to you. Check out this list of the best VPNs.
Why You Should Use a VPN
1. Protect Yourself from Identity Thieves and Hackers
Using public Wi-Fi or hotspots isn’t always secure. Internet miscreants are pretty savvy and have figured out how to make hotspots look like they belong to the establishment whose Internet you want to connect to. Once you connect to a look-alike Wi-Fi, everything you do or enter is being tracked and recorded. Couple a VPN with antivirus software and you’ll be more protected.
2. Public Networks Aren’t Usually Encrypted
Encryption is the encoding of your data. When your data is encrypted, only those with the secret key or password can read it. More easily accessed data includes emails, text messages and passwords to various sites. Determined snoopers and hackers can still get your data if they put in the effort, but there are always easy targets on public Wi-Fi. A VPN takes your data through a secure, encrypted pathway.
3. It’s Cost-Effective
Whether you’re using a VPN for private use or for your business, VPN protection is worth the cost. For businesses, renting Internet lines to move data is expensive. VPNs use existing reliable lines to securely route data for less. If you’re saving money by using Netflix, Hulu or other streaming services, a VPN can cloak your viewing history. Not to mention it costs time and money to undo the aftermath of identity theft.
What If You Don’t Use a VPN?
Not using a VPN while accessing public Wi-Fi and hotspots can leave you open to Internet predators and hackers. There is a lot more information than you may realize that is available or tied to your “Internet person.” To better ensure your privacy and personal information, a VPN really is the better way to go.
If you’re going to use the Internet, you need to do it responsibly. There are many advantages to VPNs, including getting around censorship, geographic blocks and keeping your Internet activity private. You probably won’t notice a difference, but you’ll notice the difference when something avoidable, like your social media being hacked or worse, happens.