Gone are the days when you didn’t need to connect to the internet outside of work or home. Having 24/7 connectivity to the internet wasn’t a necessity. Things changed, however, when online chat services came out.
Today, most of our communications are done on WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger, and Snapchat. A problem with using these apps is that they only work on the internet. Once you’re disconnected, you wouldn’t be able to send or receive any messages on these platforms.
There are two options you can go for internet connectivity when you’re not connected to either your home or work WiFi. One option is to use mobile data that is offered by your cellular network.
But despite the convenience, using cellular data can be quite expensive and very heavy on the pockets. The other option is much better in this regard, and that is connecting to a public WiFi network.
Is Convenience Worth more than Privacy?
You might already be familiar with using public WiFi networks. They are usually available in shopping malls, hotels, restaurants, cafes, and other such public places. The best part about using public WiFi networks is that they are completely free to use.
They might be a bit cluttered and slow as compared to your home network, but who cares if it’s free, right? At the very least, you are able to receive your WhatsApp messages from the network.
Although public WiFis offer lots of convenience, this convenience sometimes comes with a heavy price: your privacy. Some public WiFis ask you to fill a form before allowing you to connect to the network.
This form might demand personal information such as your email address, your phone number, and other such details.
Even if entering these details isn’t required, your online privacy and security might still be at risk. First of all, it is hard to be sure whether the WiFi network is being managed by a trustworthy source or not. It is easy for any hacker to set up a free WiFi hotspot and use the network to hack into any connected device.
Some hackers use notorious tactics like setting up the WiFi name as the name of the hotel or restaurant you’re visiting. It’s easy for any person to set up their WiFi hotspot name as “Starbucks” or any other name for the matter. This gives the impression that the hotspot is being managed by the Starbucks brand, when in fact, it is not.
Even if the WiFi network is being managed by a reputable source, it’s still not safe enough. The public nature of the WiFi network works to its disadvantage because hackers can easily access the network and hack into any other device connected to it.
A Secure way to use Public WiFi
All this is enough to prove that public WiFi networks are not safe. But that shouldn’t stop you completely from using these networks. After all, public WiFis can come in real handy at times. The best thing to do here is to apply relevant security before connecting to a public WiFi network.
There are two ways to improve security when connected to a public WiFi network. The first of these is when the owner of the WiFi hotspot does something to improve the security of the network. They can do this by setting up a VPN for router on their network.
There are plenty of VPN services that offer exclusive clients for WiFi routers. Setting up a VPN service on a router is an effective way to boost its security and ensure that users remain safe and anonymous when connected to the network.
The other way to ensure security on public WiFi is when the users connect to a VPN service on their phones before connecting to the network. Premium VPN service, PIA VPN and PureVPN, offer online encryption to their users.
When encrypted, it would be very difficult for any hacker to hack into the device, even if it’s connected to their own public WiFi network. The hacker can only be able to see a bunch of jumbled-up characters whenever they try to into the online communications or the data of the connected device.
Now that you know how to secure your public WiFi network, you can now enjoy the best of both worlds, which is connectivity to a free WiFi network and online security.