If you’ve ever used public WiFi to do your online banking, share work documents, or make other sensitive data exchanges, you’re taking a big, unnecessary risk.


These public networks are inherently much less secure than your home network or the WiFi at your office, and they make you and your data much more vulnerable to attack. For these reasons and more, you should take basic steps to stay safe the next time you go to the coffee shop to get some work done, or even check your email or log into Twitter. One of the best ways is a VPN.


VPNs (Virtual Private Networks) traditionally were a popular way for large corporations to protect their private data. A VPN lets users share data privately are more securely while using public or shared networks. And recent growth in BYOD (bring your own device) combined with remote working trends is putting a greater emphasis on VPNs that ever before.


On a typical public WiFi connection, the user connects to the Internet via a router or access point. Even though there may be other users on the same WiFi network, each user generally accesses only his or her own data. The problem arises when hackers on the same network use the shared connection to access everyone else’s data as well.


You can protect yourself on a public network by encrypting it over a VPN service, which basically creates a private tunnel to transport your data from point A to B. This makes is nearly impossible for a hacker to access your data. Even if hackers are somehow able to penetrate this tunnel, the data will be garbled and of no use to them. Instead of connecting to the Internet directly, your data goes to a secure VPN server, where data is authenticated and encrypted before going to the Internet.


There are many VPN service providers available today. We recommend a reputable service, which has high-bandwidth capabilities, like TunnelBear. These are available for PC, Mac, Android, and as a Chrome extension. For the safest connection possible, it is better to install the application on your device rather than using it online. This will ensure that in addition to your Internet browser and that data from other apps, like Outlook, are also encrypted.


Please share this, and stay safe out there!

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