Mobile data plans can be quite expensive, with some providers charging up to $10 per 1.5 GB of data, so most people are absolutely delighted to make the most of the free public Wi-Fi available ubiquitously these days. But this “free internet” comes with its own fair share of risks.
VPN: Stealth Mode 101
Some of the risks that you might be exposing yourself to when you join a public Wi-Fi network are: risk of a Man-in-the-Middle attack (an attacker placing himself between the user and the website, eavesdropping on their communication or impersonating as the legitimate website, stealing user data), the network might be unencrypted, an attacker might be sniffing on the network or even be downloading malware on your computer. Additionally, in some cases, the Wi-Fi Network that you are connecting to might not even be the legitimate institution’s Wi-Fi and might instead be a rogue hotspot that has specifically been stepped up by malicious actors to view your private information.
Therefore, now that we see that joining a public Wi-Fi can be a dangerous proposition, let me present a simple solution to combat these risks: a VPN. A VPN – Virtual Private Network acts like a secure virtual tunnel that encrypts all the data being sent between the sender and the receiver so that all that an eavesdropper can see is gibberish and as the attacker does not have the decryption key, they cannot decrypt the communication to gain valuable information. In this manner, a VPN can be used to enhance the security of any network (public or private) and therefore assist the user in keeping their data secure from eavesdroppers, advertisers and even your own ISP (Internet Service Provider).
The main parameters that the user should use when selecting a VPN are: make sure that the VPN has a strict no logging policy, they have a large number of servers all over the globe delivering high-speed performance and has an affordable monthly or annual price. Some the most secure and reputed VPNs in the market right now are NordVPN and PIA (Private Internet Access). Both of them deliver high-speed performance, have an affordable annual price, have a no logging policy, allow you to connect multiple devices simultaneously and are easy to setup and use.