Public Wi-Fi is now available everywhere; in bars, cafes, restaurants, at the beach, and even on nature trails; it’s no longer surprising to see signs of free Wi-Fi.
While it may seem like a great convenience, it can save your data and let you browse your phone without worrying about ending up with a massive bill, but it’s not the better option.
Sure, using public Wi-Fi will save your data and possibly a little money, but there are serious risks that come with connecting to a public internet server.
What Are the Risks of Public Wi-Fi?
When you join a public Wi-Fi server, you open your device up to possible hacking in the following ways.
1. Packet Sniffing
If a hacker has the correct software and know-how, they can see all the data and activity on the connection. Every move you make on your device, including inputting passwords or banking information, can be watched.
2. Malware Injection
Hackers can “inject” malicious code into your device via the Wi-Fi connection without knowing; this malware can then be used to copy your private information, according to arstechnica.com.
On top of these concerns, there is also another easier but more sneaky game the cybercriminals play. They mimic the public Wi-Fi connection and trick you into connecting to their server instead of the real one.
For example, say you’re in a cafe with free Wi-Fi, and their server is called “The Coffee Box.” A cybercriminal will set up a connection called “The Coffee Box Wi-Fi,” tricking people into accidentally choosing the wrong one.
If you mistakenly connect to a hacker’s connection, your whole device and data are exposed, says MakeUseOf.
Why Is It Better to Use Your Own Mobile Data?
None of the above can happen when you’re connected to the internet using your data. Your connection will go through a cellular network. While it’s not impossible that this could eventually be hacked, the difficulty is off-putting enough that most cybercriminals don’t even try to do it.
How Can You Use Public WiFi Safely?
You’re not going to be able to use your mobile data 100% of the time. Perhaps your cell network isn’t strong enough, you don’t have enough funds to use it, or you might even have a problem with your provider.
In any situation like this, you will want to use public Wi-Fi, and the good news is there is a way to do so securely.
The Fastest VPN for You
Using the fastest VPN (more info) available on your device and connecting to this VPN before connecting to the Wi-Fi will protect your data. The VPN will ensure you connect using a virtual private network, encrypting all your private information and not exposing your data to potential hackers.
Using a VPN is the easiest and most secure option possible in this type of situation. You can browse for as long as you need to without worrying about your activity or information ending up in the wrong hands. Being proactive in security is always the smart option.
Stay Safe on Public Connections
While public Wi-Fi does come with risks, the solution is a simple one. Connecting to the fastest VPN available to you before browsing the public Wi-Fi will greatly eliminate those dangers. So, you can stay safe using public connections and maybe save yourself a few bucks!
Last Updated: April 29, 2022