The real cost of using public Wi-FiIn today’s world we have the luxury of connecting to the Internet almost anywhere. While we are out and about, we can stay online in more ways than one.

Public places such as airports, shopping centres and coffee shops often feed our Internet-based addictions by offering free Wi-Fi. Quite often people will connect to these wireless networks without questioning their integrity and security.

How many of us can answer these questions about the wireless public networks that we might use on a daily basis:

  • How secure is the network?
  • Where does your data go?
  • Who has access to your data?

One of the most common techniques hackers use to steal your data in public places is known as packet sniffing. Packet sniffing is a technique used to capture and decode data that is transmitted across a network. With the use of network equipment and software this technique can be easily utilised in a matters of seconds and can be difficult to detect.

In other words, hackers can simply connect to the same wireless network as you and collect all the data you send and receive without you knowing. Once collected, a hacker can then rummage through the data and see what websites you visit, what you download and the emails you send & receive. They can even harvest your usernames and passwords.

So by now you are probably wondering how you can protect yourself. With the use of a Virtual Private Network (VPN) service you can encrypt the data you send and receive across the network into a format that is unreadable to a hacker. We will go into more detail about VPNs in a future article.

In the meantime you can check out the following VPN service providers websites for more information: