Public WiFi Security: Can A VPN Protect You On Public WiFi?
Public WiFi security risks are manifold which is why it cannot be trusted, not without a VPN at least. The seemingly free WiFi hotspots provided at airports, coffee shops, and hotels are anything but WiFi, they are instead breeding grounds for cybercriminals. These hotspots do not require passwords to connect which is why they are dangerous for you to benefit from them.
For example, it is quite common for people to lose their credit card information and become victims of identity theft. This will continue to happen if people do not start being mindful of threats posed by public WiFi networks.
How does public WiFi attacks occur
By way of following tactics, hackers and other cybercriminals gain access to your private information.
1. Evil Twin Attack
A fake access point is created by hackers which appears to be real. For example, Starbucks_Guest can be seen in the list of possible free WiFi networks as Starbucks_Guest_FREE. Once you are connected, you inadvertently give up your data to be exploited by cybercriminals.
It is an effective strategy employed by hackers to lure you and it works like a charm.
2. Malware Injection
Malware tends to destroy your system by shutting it down. Malware can either steal the bandwidth of your connection or can let cybercriminals run amok accessing crucial bits of information in your phone or laptop. Worse, they can take control of your device.
Malware is of different kinds, some can become extremely difficult to get rid off.
Be careful when shopping such as for airline tickets or when working on your laptop at airports/ coffee shops. It is during these times that malicious code can slip in without your knowledge.
Also known as MITM, it where a hacker stands between your device and the website you are trying to access. When that happens the hacker has intercepted your unencrypted internet traffic. The hacker can see the passwords you type in, read confidential emails, and can trick you into visiting malicious links or websites.
4. WiFi Sniffing
WiFi sniffing occurs when the data passing over the network is vulnerable to prying eyes. Simple software can be employed to get hold of your information. That way a hacker can track your browsing habits and view saved passwords to your online accounts. This inadvertently could lead to money stolen from your bank.
How to use public WiFi safely
So the above pretty much sums up how attacks can take place if you are not careful. Now the question is, “What steps should I take in order to stay safe online?”
First of all, exercise extreme caution when entering passwords or filling out personal information in forms online. Check that the link has https in the beginning which adds a layer of security to the website you are visiting.
Secondly, know this – you can too become a victim cybercrime. You cannot go around telling yourself that you can’t be hacked or your privacy online can never be compromised (just because it hasn’t so far). That’s living in a fool’s paradise.
Other measures include turning off WiFi under ‘Wireless and networks’ if you are not using the phone. Otherwise, it will connect to the WiFi whenever you are in a familiar territory which could lead to a potential hack.
Use common sense. Do not connect to two exactly alike WiFi networks. There is a high probability that one of them is fake or is a ‘honeypot’ – network created by cybercriminals to make it appear real.
If you do connect to public WiFi, make sure to NEVER log into your bank accounts or other accounts with sensitive information. That is why public WiFi security is essential.
See to it that the firewall on your system is up and running when you connect to public WiFi. Also, ensure that the file sharing option on your laptop is turned off. Else, a hacker can get his way with files containing your personal data if there are public WiFi security breaches.
Use VPN – A virtual private network can always come in handy when connecting to a public WiFi. It is because a VPN such as Ivacy masks your IP address and helps you surf the web anonymously.
When your IP is hidden, not a soul will learn of your online whereabouts. You can shop knowing that your credit card information is secure. You can stream knowing your ISP is not keeping tabs on your streaming activities nor is throttling the internet speed.
In Ivacy we trust
Ivacy comes with 1000+ servers in 100+ locations. It offers up to 256-bit military grade encryption and has multiple protocols including TCP, UDP, IKEV, etc. Therefore, mask your IP address with Ivacy’s obfuscation technology and bid farewell to your online worries by circumventing public WiFi security risks.