Recently, the head of Europol’s center for cybercrimes recommended that users only send personal data across trusted Wi-Fi networks due to the number of attacks occurring over public Wi-Fi. This is nothing new, security agencies routinely issue warnings about the dangers of using free Wi-Fi hotspots. Across the globe there has been a huge uptick in the misuse of free Wi-Fi by criminals who prey on unsuspecting patrons and travelers to steal passwords, data, identities and other sensitive information over public Wi-Fi connections.
The Importance of VPN Connections and Secure Wi-Fi
For years, the issues associated with using unsecured Wi-Fi have been known and highlighted by security experts. These latest warnings only serve as more evidence that users must take the initiative when it comes to protecting the security of their data online. Using a VPN connection when accessing the internet from public locations such as airports, conference venues, hotels, or cafes ensures that your data is encrypted before you send it out over the internet. The truth is that despite these warnings, many users still leaves themselves wide open to being hacked.
A growing number of corporate entities now mandate that their employees use VPNs when traveling for business, because they understand the importance of keeping company information a confidential.
You Don’t Have to Sacrifice the Convenience of Free Wi-Fi
Security agencies stopped short of advising internet users from avoiding Wi-Fi hotspots all together, simply because they understand that accessing the internet while on the move is no longer a luxury, it’s a necessity. If you want to read your email, have a chat with friends or colleagues, or check your bank balance, it is imperative that you have a VPN service.
When using a Wi-Fi hotspot, less than two thirds of internet users take special measures to protect their online privacy. Before logging onto an internet access point, only about thirteen percent of users check the encryption standard. Startlingly, many users were not oblivious to the fact that they were using an unsecured Wi-Fi connection: only fourteen percent of those surveyed felt comfortable shopping or banking using a public connection.
Remember these Simple Rules
- Check whether the Wi-Fi hotspot/access point is password protected
- Take note of the encryption protocol used by the access point. WEP unreliable, WPA and WPA-2 and are more reliable
- Secure the Wi-Fi hotspot by activating a VPN connection on your device