Most of us don’t think twice before using public Wi-Fi networks at hotels, airports, restaurants and cafes. More often than not, public Wi-Fi networks are not secured properly and are known to be popular hunting grounds for cyber criminals. Even if the public Wi-Fi network has been secured using a password, the password is that you are sharing that network with hundreds of others of unknown people. That networks with hundreds of others unknown people. This makes you susceptible to a large variety of different types of cyber security attacks, scams and frauds. This makes it important for users to take proper precautions while using public Wi-Fi networks so that their online activity remains secure.
Using a VPN is one of the best ways to secure and encrypt your internet activity while using public Wi-Fi networks. A Virtual Private Network (VPN) is a private network that is created by connecting computers on a public network (like a public Wi-Fi network). It allows users to route their data through a secure private network even though they may be on a public network. It ensures that all data that you send or receive even while on a public Wi-Fi network is encrypted and secure. While there are many VPN providers available on the Internet. One of my favorite is Hotspot Shield which is available as a free download for both mobile phones (Android and iOS devices) and computer.
- Once Hotspot Shield has been installed on your computer, you can choose to connect to a secure and private VPN network whenever you want. If you are using a public Wi-Fi network and are worried about the privacy of your online activity, then simply launch Hotspot Shield and it will automatically establish a secure VPN connection for you via one of its servers. Hotspot Shield has servers in different parts of the world and will randomly assign a server to you. In case you have a preference for a particular country through which you want to route your connection, then you can specify that as well. While you are connected to the Hotspot Shield VPN all you’re online activity remains secure and anonymous. You can stop your VPN connection anytime you want by clicking on the Pause Protection button.
- You can start the Hotspot Shield application manually whenever you want or you can even configure it to automatically start whenever you connect to a new or unknown network.
- To test whether the Hotspot Shield VPN has successfully secured your connection or not, simply open your browser to and make sure that your IP address and location has changed.
- To protect yourself while using public Wi-Fi networks, along with using a secure VPN connection, it is also important to make sure that you disable file and printer sharing on your computer. Go to Control Panel > network and Sharing center > Change Advanced Sharing Settings and then make sure that both network discovery and sharing is turned off.