Does Using a VPN Make Public Wi-Fi Safe?
Using public Wi-Fi is convenient and sometimes unavoidable. Whether you're at an airport, hotel, café, or school, you often have the option to join a shared network for internet access. Public Wi-Fi, however, comes with serious risks.
Table of contents
- What are the risks of using a public Wi-Fi connection?
- Does a VPN secure public Wi-Fi?
- How does a VPN work to protect you on public Wi-Fi?
- How to use a VPN to secure your public Wi-Fi connection
- A VPN is useful in all situations
An astonishing 47% of U.S. consumers surveyed by GIACT in the last two years report being the victims of identity theft, with many instances involving account takeovers. An attractive offer like free Wi-Fi can eliminate any concerns or doubts. However, when using public Wi-Fi, you run the risk of criminals intercepting your data — including crucial account information — which they can then use to steal your identity and access your finances.
Fortunately, with the right tools and know-how, you can protect yourself online and avoid becoming a victim of fraud. Let's take a look at how using a virtual private network (VPN) can make public Wi-Fi safer.
Pro Tip: Whether on public or private Wi-Fi, using a VPN makes your connection more secure. Clario's all-in-one security app helps protect your Mac or mobile device, and the built-in VPN provides privacy and anonymity online. Here's how you can safeguard your data:
- Install Clario's free trial
- Create an account or log in to the app
- Enable the VPN
Securing your connection is that easy. Now let's discuss the risks of public Wi-Fi and how a VPN can help mitigate these threats.
What are the risks of using a public Wi-Fi connection?
Competent fraudsters know how to find easy targets, and luring you in with a fake public Wi-Fi network is one way for scammers to steal your private data. CNBC reports that 87% of U.S. consumers surveyed use public Wi-Fi, making compromised networks convenient tools for thieves. The dangers of using public Wi-Fi include:
- Data theft
- Malware installation
- Intercepted communications
- Identity theft
- Compromised accounts
- Financial loss
Evidently, public Wi-Fi networks carry many security risks, and knowing how to protect yourself when using an open wireless connection is crucial.
Does a VPN secure public Wi-Fi?
Using a VPN is one of the smartest ways to protect yourself when using public Wi-Fi. The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) offers several tips to remember when connecting to open networks, including using a VPN to secure your connection — and we agree.
Any extra layers of security you can add when accessing the internet will turn you into difficult prey for hackers and fraudsters. With such large numbers of people using open Wi-Fi, the softest targets will draw the most attention from scammers. Therefore, you should utilize every tool at your disposal to appear unappealing to those who would seek to defraud you, and installing a reliable VPN on your iOS device or Android phone is a simple and effective threat mitigation tactic.
The advantages of using a VPN on public Wi-Fi include:
- Data encryption
- Hidden IP address
- Protected communications
- Secure connection
As you can see, using a VPN for Wi-Fi and internet security is about protecting your private information. The less cyber criminals know about you, the fewer attack vectors they have when attempting theft or fraud.
How does a VPN work to protect you on public Wi-Fi?
A VPN makes public Wi-Fi safer by encrypting your connection and tunneling all data through an alternate server. Because all traffic filters through the VPN, anyone spying on your actions won't see anything useful. At best, they may be able to identify the secure server you're connected to, but bypassing the protections afforded by your VPN would be near-impossible and not worth the effort.
When you connect to public Wi-Fi using a VPN, your connection behaves like this:
- VPN software encrypts all outgoing data
- Data routes to the VPN server
- Server decrypts the data received
- VPN sends traffic to the correct destination
- Destination sends data back to the VPN
- VPN server encrypts new data
- Data returns to the original device
- VPN software decrypts that data
As you can see, all data between your device and the VPN server is encrypted, which means not even your internet service provider (ISP) can spy on your actions. With a safe, secure connection, you remove much of the risk of using an open Wi-Fi network.
How to use a VPN to secure your public Wi-Fi connection
If you do need to access public Wi-Fi, Clario can help secure your connection with its functional and intuitive VPN software. Setting up the app is simple, and you can protect your privacy at any time with just a few taps. Whether you're connecting to public or private Wi-Fi, Clario's VPN client for iOS and Android provides the protection you need.
Here are the simple steps for setting up a VPN to make public Wi-Fi safer:
1. Download and install the Clario free trial for Android or iOS
2. Create a free account and log in
3. Switch on Browsing Protection
4. Follow the prompts to complete setup
5. Start browsing with a secure connection
That's it. Providing protection and peace of mind, Clario's all-in-one app is the ideal answer to all of your cybersecurity questions. With 24/7 technical support, malware removal, and data breach monitoring, we've got everything covered.
If you need a VPN — and most of us do in the current climate — Clario offers that and more. Test drive the app with a 7-day free trial and experience the freedom of total security.
A VPN is useful in all situations
While using public Wi-Fi without a VPN is risky, even your home network can be a source of concern. If you don't encrypt your data, your ISP and anyone else along the line can spy on your browsing habits. Even if you've got nothing to hide, you still deserve privacy, and a good VPN can provide the security you need.