Using public wifi without a VPN (virtual private network)? If you are not using one—you should be.
Perhaps Kashmir Hill says it best:
. . .a VPN is like a condom for Internet use. When you use a VPN, it creates a private encrypted tunnel that your Internet requests are sent through, re-routing your activity through a server controlled by your VPN provider rather than over a shared wifi network. That way, a tech-savvy interloper can’t use sniffing tools to see you connecting to websites or loading apps. Without a VPN, that information can be up for grabs — and if the websites or apps don’t use SSL encryption, a hacker could see everything you click on or send.
Be warned: VPNs are not a one-stop security shop. “If someone really wants to get at what you have, there are tons of ways for them to do it,” explains Jennifer Golbeck, a computer scientist and world-renowned internet security expert at the University of Maryland, College Park. A VPN service improves your online privacy, but it’s not bulletproof protection against hackers, and it certainly won’t make you totally anonymous (as so many services claim). Golbeck describes a VPN as “absolutely the first priority if you’re on public WiFi,” though she notes that it’s most effective when used in conjunction with other common-sense security measures, such as an online backup service and a solid password manager.
Reviews.com looked at over 100 VPN providers for:
- Reliable security measures
- Fastest connection speeds
- Most competitive prices
Reviews.com says “there’s no such thing as total internet security (or anonymity), but using the best VPN service is the first step you can take to protect your identity online.” I’ve added my thoughts on what a good VPN service should provide as well. You can read the entire VPN review at Reviews.com.