VPN services have become a vital tool for internet browsing. These services offer a wide array of features that protect users’ privacy and sensitive information by creating virtual tunnels to secure servers. These secure connections allow users to appear as if they were in another place while protecting their real IP addresses from cybercriminals.
A VPN or a virtual private network service allows private and safe communication over an unencrypted, unsecured public network by making encrypted, safe, and secure connections. Data from your computer is routed through servers in another location via the VPN, which then scrambles the data, making it unreadable. They can be used alongside antivirus software for complete protection.
Why is a VPN Important?
Unsecured information and unencrypted data that comes through your browser are vulnerable, and you could be at risk of a serious data breach, regardless of where your device is used.
Public access points and places such as coffee shops, hotels, and airports that offer free Wi-Fi are particularly vulnerable to hackers, sniffers, or computer programs that decode data to make it readable.
The, for want of a better phrase, “bad guys” engage “sniffers” to steal data, steal identities, spy, and hijack devices, whereas the “good guys” use these sniffers to find out the scale of the network’s security.
Within a small distance of around 300-500 feet, anyone can gain access to your data with the right tools and knowledge. Everything from your bank account details and password to a comment you made on social media can be seen.
However, your computer and information would be protected from sniffers and other types of hackers with a VPN, which hides your IP address. You can see more here to answer the common question: What is my IP address?
What Does a VPN Actually Do?
Data is scrambled or encrypted by a VPN so that any hackers are unable to see someone’s online activity. A tunnel is made by the VPN that essentially stops ISP’s (internet service providers), snoopers, and hackers from looking at anything you send or do over a network; this includes your browsing history, credit card info, downloads, or even your instant messages. This VPN tunnel is the stronghold of a castle, and everything, including the connection, is private. The VPN connection can also make private connections of any public network for whoever uses them. The VPN is user-friendly and multifunctional and can be used on any mobile or desktop device, which includes tablets, laptops, and mobile phones.
The most important thing to say about the VPN is that it not only protects your data, but it also changes your IP address, which makes it look like you are using your device elsewhere.
Tips for Using Public Wi-Fi Connections
Even though you know all the dangers and warnings about using public Wi-Fi, if you still insist on using public Wi-Fi without using a VPN, then here are some useful tips to try to help keep your data safe from prying eyes and inquiring minds:
- Do not leave your device unattended when connected to public Wi-Fi, not even for a second.
- Make sure you are aware of your surroundings before you settle down for a bit of surfing. Try and sit with your back against a wall, and don’t let anyone look at your screen.
- Ensure that you are connecting to the correct network. Some networks may have been set up for the sole purpose of stealing your data and private information.
- Leave anything that includes sensitive information like work or online banking until you are on a secure network.
- Again, with emails, do not send anything of a sensitive nature by email if your network isn’t secure
- When you are connected to public Wi-Fi on your laptop, do not turn on file sharing
- Only visit websites that don’t require you to give out any information that is personal to you. Again, save this for when you are on a secure network.
- Always make sure that if you don’t need to use a wireless connection, you turn your Wi-Fi off.
Scammers and hackers have been around for many, many years. As technology has evolved, so have they. Still, the fight against hackers and cybercriminals is definitely escalating. With the VPNs that are readily becoming more available, it looks like the good guys may actually win the battle against these crooks sometime in the not-too-distant future.