VPNs and Security on Public Wi-Fi
VPNs are valued for providing online privacy, but you can also use them to provide security for your online activity while using public Wi-Fi hotspots. Online threats in this realm include different types of Man-in-the-Middle attacks.
In Man-in-the-Middle or MITM attacks, cybercriminals get in the middle of your computer or mobile device and the website you are trying to reach, intercepting your communication to eavesdrop or even potentially manipulate it. Examples of MITM attacks include:
Snooping and Sniffing
Software for snooping on other users on the same public Wi-Fi network is readily available on the internet. With this software, cybercriminals may see the online activity from anyone else on that network.
“Evil twin” Wi-Fi hotspots
Cybercriminals can set up malicious Wi-Fi hotspots to trick people into connecting to the wrong network. These hotspots are often called “evil twin” networks, because they are often set up to look like the real thing, such as “Coffee Shop Wi-Fi” versus “Coffee Shop WiFi” or “LA Airport Wi-Fi” versus “LAX Airport Wi-Fi.”
In these types of intrusions and attacks, cybercriminals can gain access to your online activity and valuable information that you might enter, like login credentials or credit card numbers.
This is why using a VPN when using public Wi-Fi networks is so important.
A VPN guards your activity on a Wi-Fi network, to help protect against snoops and cybercriminals from accessing your information. So even on an insecure network, you can help keep your information secure by using a VPN.