Public Wi-Fi is Putting You at Risk

Anyone living in today's world probably spends a lot of time on public Wi-Fi networks. Whether you're working out of cafes or passing time during your layover at the airport, there's usually a public Wi-Fi network arms reach available for when you need to get online on the go.

Unfortunately, that means you're putting yourself at risk — because public is incredibly insecure. Connecting via public Wi-Fi is the digital equivalent of writing down your bank account info, your social security number, your address, your passport number — basically anything important — and spreading it all over your front lawn. It’s possible that they won’t be picked up, but do you really want to take that chance? Wouldn’t it just be better to, you know, make sure all of that really important information is secure and protected?

According to an article in Digital Trends titled How Dangerous Is Public Wi-Fi?, there are three major ways that attackers can steal your data when you’re connecting on public Wi-Fi: man-in-the-middle attacks, malware, and Wi-Fi sniffing.

Man-in-the-middle-attacks are when an attacker sets up a system that gets between you and whatever you’re trying to connect with, essentially rerouting all of your info through them. Malware is a kind of attack you’re probably pretty familiar with — it’s infected software that attackers plant on your device, in this case via your login info for a cloud service, for example. And Wi-Fi sniffing has a hilarious name, but an very not funny result. For this one, attackers just grab a huge amount of data as it travels through the servers and then go in later to find and steal specifics.

And unfortunately, it doesn’t even take much tech knowledge to do any of these. Scary, right? So what do you do?

Well, first of all, be super wary of any network that doesn’t require a password. Those ones are the least secure and logging into them is just a bad idea, unless all you plan on doing is browsing YouTube for a while. But even if you’re on a network that asks for a login, you’re still not safe if there are a bunch of other people you don’t know connecting to that network. You can choose to not access anything sensitive — including email and social media accounts, because you definitely don’t want those to get hacked — or you can get a VPN.

Because VPNs encrypt your information, you can do all your usual things — check your bank account, sign into Gmail, pay your health care bill — without having to worry about hackers, even on an insecure public Wi-Fi network. However, not all VPNs are created equal and a lot of the free ones have been caught engaging in shady practices themselves. Remember: You get what you pay for. And your security is worth it, so do your research before choosing which company you’re going to use to protect your data.

Tenta's private and encrypted browser comes with built-in VPN so you can safeguard your privacy no matter where you are- at work, at the airport, or at the cafe for a late night study session. Learn more about Tenta Browser and download the app in Google Play today.

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