You feel safe and secure while browsing the Internet when you are at home or in your office. However, the situation becomes different when you are connected in a public Wi-Fi zone. At home and in the office, you can have an idea as who can connect on the same network. But once you are in a Wi-Fi area such as airports, coffee shops, and hotels, anyone can be connected and do some malicious activities or steal information. This is why it is highly recommended that you use a VPN (Virtual Private Network).
Here’s what happens when you are using Internet in a Wi-Fi hotspot. The email messages, photos, video you shared online are being stored in a server. This set of information is not encrypted, which means it can be easily accessed by anyone using the same Wi-Fi. Some websites use encryption, but only on their sign-in page. An encrypted website use “https” at the start of its web address instead of “http” only. However, this Hypertext Transfer Protocol Secure (HTTPS) protocol is still not 100% safe.
These days, more and more people are using mobile apps which provide great convenience. But what many mobile phone users don’t realize is that these mobile apps don’t use ‘https.’ In fact, many of them do not encrypt information properly. This becomes a security problem if you are in a Wi-Fi zone and you are shopping online using your credit card, checking your bank account, and even filing your taxes. Smart hackers can easily steal your personal information, contact details, and login passwords as well.
There are actually some ways to be safe and secure when you are in a Wi-Fi area. You can change the settings on your mobile phone so that you are not automatically connected the Wi-Fi. Using different passwords on different websites will also somehow protect you. Use social networking sites that use https, such as Facebook and Twitter. Check your browser (such as Mozilla Firefox) for add-ons or plugins that can protect you. But so far, VPN is the best way especially if you are an active Internet user.
With a trusted VPN, the traffic between your computer or smartphone and the internet is totally encrypted; even if the site you visit is safe and secured. In case you are not aware, many businesses and organizations have been using VPN for a long time. This is to protect their sensitive data when their employees access them remotely, especially in a public Wi-Fi hotspot. VPNs also have an option for smartphones, making you safer when you are sending private information through mobile apps.
But then, not all VPNs are the same. Some VPN service providers are free, while others are paid. Free VPNs are fine, but don’t expect them to be totally safe simply because you are not paying them. You shouldn’t also expect them to provide excellent customer service. On the other hand, paid VPNs offer higher level of security depending on the plan you choose. Other benefits of using VPN include being able to browse the Internet anonymously and allowing you to access restricted sites wherever you are.