No matter how great Wi-Fi hotspots may appear to be, you should know that there aren’t safe at all. Cafés, restaurants, and other social places will offer free Wi-Fi services to their customers, and people think that this is a great advantage. There is no doubt that checking your e-mail or doing other activities over the Internet while savoring your coffee or other beverage, is something pleasant. But would you risk your identity and personal data for this pleasure? Probably you are not willing to risk that much. Still, why are these hotspots so dangerous?
The biggest problem of public hotspots is that they show their password to anyone. It is highly visible, placed in a spot where anyone can see it, without even ask it. Thus, the network can be accessed by anyone. Hackers are much attracted by these hotspots because for them it is like a free invitation. They can enter without an issue since the password is displayed, and enter in any device found active on that network at that time. They can get into smartphones, tablets, laptops, any mobile device that uses the Internet through that Wi-Fi hotspot. From there, they can take any personal data or information the user may have saved on the device, like back accounts, address, and many others, putting your safety in danger. So there is a risk you may find your bank accounts depleted or payments made using your name, which you never did. These things are possible if the hacker enters your device and steals your identity and other precious data.
What is Wi-fi hotspot VPN?
Is there a way to enjoy these Wi-Fi hotspots safely? Or they shouldn’t be used at all? Yes, you can enjoy these hotspots in a safe manner, by doing one simple thing to keep you safe. You need to get a free VPN service and have it installed on your device. Such service comes at a very low price, and can be used on multiple devices at the same time. Why is the VPN the best choice? Well, first of all, it will encrypt your personal information, including identity and the IP address of your device, making you invisible even to hackers. By not allowing your IP address to be visible, the VPN will also prevent the hacker from accessing your device. Without knowing this particular information, no hacker will be able to enter and still the information you have stored on your laptop or mobile device. Also, he will not see where you are going. Thus, it cannot track you or your activity in the online environment.
So it is rather simple to keep your data safe while using a Wi-Fi hotspot. The encryption methods used by a VPN services are the best there is in the present market. Why avoid using public Wi-Fi networks, just because you are afraid of not being hacked. You should enjoy the mobility these hotspots give you while keeping everything on the safe side. A VPN will make sure that there are no risks involved while doing this.
There has been a growing awareness in recent years of just how unsafe it is to connect to public WiFi hotspots such as those found in most airports, coffee shops and hotels. Although very convenient, especially for travellers for who do not wish to pay often extravagant roaming mobile data fees when away from home, unencrypted WiFi connections are fraught with perils.
The emergence of Firesheep in particular has shaken up the WiFi hotspot world, and focused the minds of security experts on the dangers of connecting to public WiFi networks. This add-on for Firefox is a packet snooper that lets even lay-persons with almost no hacking skills intercept unencrypted cookies sent from websites such as Facebook and Twitter over public networks. This allows them to “sidejack” a user’s current session and effectively use a website as that user (although it won’t give the hacker access to usernames and passwords). The hacker could then download personal details, send spam, delete the user’s accounts or change their password, or even download unsavoury material using their account.
The problem is made worse by the existence of “evil twin hotspots”. Packet snoopers and the like will only work on unsecured networks, and only when connecting to unsecured websites (non-SSL .i.e. their address starts with http:// rather than shttp://) and on things such as POP3 email and FTP connections (POP3 snooping is particularly dangerous as it gives hackers access to a user’s email details when they sync with POP3 servers). It is common practice amongst hackers therefor to hang around public access hotspots, and set up fake mobile hotspots of their own, with names such as “Free Airport Public WiFi”.
Users who make the mistake of connecting to one of these WiFi “traps” allow hackers to download their cache, and possibly access shared folders. The hackers may also try to fool users into paying for internet access, and therefore handing over their payment details to the hacker.
There is however a simple solution to these problems (other than just not using public WiFi), which is to use VPN. As a VPN connection creates an encrypted tunnel between your device and the VPN server, no one, including both your own ISP and any public WiFi hackers, can ‘see’ the data you transmit (although the PPTP VPN protocol secured with MS-CHAPS encryption should be avoided as it is vulnerable to “man-in the middle attacks”).
As all VPN services (except for PPTP ones) do an equally good job at securing your WiFi signal against WiFi hotspot hacking attempts, our top 5 choice comes down mainly to other factors that make us want to recommend these particular services. We should point out that although we do commend some providers for offering 256-bit or higher encryption, this really is over kill (as discussed in this article), and 128-bit OpenVPN or L2TP/IPsec encryption is more than enough to foil any hacking attempt.