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Safety advice on using public Wi-Fi in 2020

Last updated on 19/02/2020 by Melvyn and co.

A hacker's playground

Sadly, even in 2020, using public Wi-Fi hotspots can result in your data being compromised by hackers and cyber criminals. Whether you are in a café, bar hotel or airport… pretty much everywhere now has free Wi-FI for its visitors. However… using public and unsecured Wi-fi is far riskier than people may be aware of.

By installing a Virtual Private Network (VPN) onto your device will provide crucial security to protect your privacy at all public Wi-Fi hotspots ensuring that all personal data such as online banking and other account logins are securely encrypted and cannot be compromised.

Our VPN partner and cyber security giant Norton reported that in one year alone, 594 million people around the world were victims of cybercrime in 2015, with 21% of Americans getting their email hacked, and 12% having their financial data stolen after shopping online. Furthermore, in their 2019 Official Annual Cybercrime Report, Global cybersecurity firm Herjavec Group also commented that ‘Cybersecurity Ventures predicts cybercrime will cost the world in excess of $6 trillion annually by 2021, up from $3 trillion in 2015.’ With public Wi-Fi available everywhere, what on the surface seems like a convenience… can actually put you at serious risk and place you in a hackers playground for stealing personal information.

So how can I be hacked on public Wi-Fi and what can I do to prevent it?

The biggest risk to using unsecured Wi-FI is a hackers ability to place themselves between you and the end connection point. These are known as ‘man-in-the-middle’ attacks which occur when an individual’s data is intercepted between one connection and another. Once this is done, all of your online activity can be seen by the hacker so it is imperative to never use online banking or sign into any accounts on public Wi-Fi without the added security layer of a VPN.

It’s also far easier for hackers to install malware on to your device without you even knowing it’s happened when unsecured. Once dangerous malware is installed, they may able to view your movements and even recover passwords for your online banking and other online service providers. Not ideal!

Hackers may also utilise ‘rogue hotspots’ which is where you think your are connecting to the hotspot from the location you are in or nearby (such as Starbucks), but are really connecting to them, granting them access and sharing with them all of your online data and movements.

However, with a VPN switched on, your connection will be fully encrypted and invisible to anybody attempting this kind of attack. Ideal! expert tips for staying safe whilst using public Wi-Fi

So in summary, data compromises on public Wi-Fi result in thousands of individuals and businesses leaking data to cyber criminals each and every day globally, and in some cases cause enormous cost to those affected.

To get the best VPN to keep you safe whilst connecting to public Wi-Fi, why not check out our top 5 recommendations for 2020 by clicking here.

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