The internet today is a hub for all of our daily activities. It is difficult to imagine our lives without the World Wide Web. This is why we jump at every opportunity where we get to connect to a network for free. It’s like giving candy to a toddler! Sadly, nowadays, there are risks involved with using free internet connections especially public wi-fis.
The risks associated with using a public Wi-Fi
In recent years, the world has witnessed an exceptional rise in cybercrime. Hacking, data theft and invasion of digital privacy are just a few nuisances that people have reported. Numerous reports have found that a sizeable chunk of these attacks have been carried out on public wi-fi networks. This is because of the abysmal levels of security that these networks offer.
They are known as public wi-fis because anyone can request for the password and connect to the network freely. A recent study found out that almost 25% of these connections within the US have no encryption at all. This means that if a hacker were to be using the same connection as you, it would be a walk in the park for them to gain access to your device without you knowing it.
Some things to watch out for
The dangers of public wi-fi are very real and the best protection against it is being vigilant. There are a few simple things that many of us ignore. These actions cost us dearly when it comes to our own safety and that of people around us. Here are a few things that you should be careful about and should serve as potential red flags to ditch the network immediately:
- Suspicious emails with attachments: Emails with attachments in known formats like MS Word of Powerpoint are the most common tool used by hackers these days. More than 80% of all hacks are carried out this way. Since the email contains a file in a format people are familiar with, they download and open it out of curiosity. The virus sneaks into the system as soon as the file opens. Be sure you check and verify the senders of such emails before trying to download them,
- Pop-ups with surveys and questionnaires: Man-in-the-middle attacks are common where cybercriminals intercept normal data traffic and place pages on the internet asking for sensitive information from users. Make sure that any page asking for data that seems suspicious should immediately be shut down and the connection terminated.
There are also some other things like random messages even from people you know asking for personal information. These could be hacked accounts and users should always be on the watch out for these activities.
How a VPN secures a public connection?
While being careful is definitely the first line of defence, there are tools that can help secure a public wi-fi connection for you. VPNs are an effective example. Credible Virtual Private Network software today enable users to create a safety net on public connections by masking their IP addresses. It also makes the data traffic anonymous making it difficult for any hacker to find the trail to follow.
VPNs also come with an internet kill switch. It drops the network connection if the VPN stops working so that users are alerted that they are browsing unprotected.
The reliability of a VPN is the most crucial factor when selecting which service to go for. There are only a handful of programs that provide a trustworthy level of protection. Ivacy is one great example. VPN download has to be the prerequisite while using any public wi-fi connection no matter how safe you may think it is.