Encryption is essential to your privacy. If you turn on a VPN, all traffic from and to your computer, tablet or phone will be encrypted until it enters and exits the VPN network. Those who provide your internet connection only see that there’s something encrypted and unreadable going from your computer to the VPN server, but they don’t know what it is. It’s also protected when your traffic is encrypted so that anyone who provides your internet connection–whether it’s your ISP, your employer, school or even the free WiFi café–can’t see which sites you’re connecting to. Your traffic is free from eyes that are prying and can not be traced back to you.
Free Wi-Fi browsing? Encrypt the traffic!
Free Wi-Fi is vulnerable necessarily. Anyone who can connect to the network can snoop on your traffic potentially–unless it is encrypted. Even worse, you can see your traffic very easily by the one who set up the network. Sometimes they even creep into discussing the tracking of a WiFi hotspot’s terms and conditions.
If your traffic is not encrypted, anyone can potentially see the websites you are visiting, your personal communications, with whom you are communicating, or the files you are sending.
You can’t be sure that the WiFi is what it claims to be when you connect to a public WiFi. Anyone can call any WiFi they need. If a malicious hacker creates a rogue hotspot and calls it Free Café WiFi, you may assume it is a legitimate provider. This is amazingly easy to do.
If you are attracted to the rogue WiFi by the hacker, they can do all kinds of bad tricks. To catch your passwords, they can insert malware into your downloads or login pages. They can hack a bank login page in the worst possible way and trick you into giving your credentials.
Using a VPN will stop all this. Switch on your VPN when you’re on a public WiFi. This will mean that you have an encrypted connection to the VPN server so that you know that you are not being watched and that all of your public WiFi traffic is outsiders unreadable.
A VPN isn’t the only way you can encrypt your data. Nonetheless, it’s the most convenient way. Alternative approaches are open, such as using a plugin for Tor.
If you don’t need a lot of bandwidth, Tor browser works. Nevertheless, extended use is not very convenient. Tor speeds are very slow because it depends on bouncing your traffic through a volunteer-driven network. A VPN will therefore be much more convenient, snappier than Tor.
There’s also a variable in defense. You don’t really know who operates these Tor volunteer nodes, and if suspicious people run the nodes where your traffic enters the network and the last node, they might see your traffic unencrypted. So you need to trust anonymous people on Tor who you can’t choose, and you just need to trust the VPN provider using a VPN instead. We suggest someone with transparency and a good track record for privacy when selecting a VPN provider.
Get the encryption. We suggest our NORDVPN. You can try it for free for 30 days.