Public Wi-Fi Hotspots are wonderfully convenient and it’s becoming difficult to remember how we ever coped without them. Most of us now spend our days rushing from place to place – from home to the office to lunch to business meetings and back again. While we used to be out of the loop all the time we were on the move, we can now use hotspots to check our messages, contact clients, handle our finances and generally go about our daily business, wherever we may happen to be.
As is so often the case, however, new conveniences bring new drawbacks and, for the very reason they’ve become invaluable, public Wi-Fi hotspots are also a risky proposition. If you want to keep your personal information safe from hackers and identity thieves, you will need to know how to protect yourself from hackers when you’re using Wi-Fi public hotspots.
How Do Hackers Use Public Wi-Fi Hotspots?
Cyber-crime is an ever-growing problem in our virtual world. All a hacker or identity thief need do to gather the personal information that he needs is to lurk on the same network as an unsuspecting user. If you’re sitting in a coffee shop, connected to the public Wi-Fi the establishment provides, then you are one of many people accessing the same network. If one of those other people on the network is a hacker, he can wait patiently for you to log in to interesting websites, such as your bank account or your personal email. He can then “grab” your information as you type it in, using data sniffers and activity logs – and presto, he has all he needs to access your most sensitive information… including your credit card.
How Can I Protect Myself in a Public Wi-Fi Hotspot?
Even when you’re using an internet connection that’s open to the public, you can use a Virtual Private Network to protect your information. A VPN encrypts the data you are sending across the network, rendering it utterly useless to a hacker who might come across it. The hacker might be able to grab hold of your information, but all he will end up holding in his virtual hands is encrypted data he has no way to decipher. VPNs are easy to set up and can then be activated wherever you are, whether you’re using your own network at home or at the office or you’re on the move and using a public Wi-Fi hotspot to buy a birthday present or pay a bill. It’s a simple and cost-effective way to make sure that you can not only stay connected at all times, but also stay safe at all times.
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