The Things Coffee Drinkers Don’t Care About but Should: Public WiFi Security Risks
Updated on July 13, 2021: From now on, traffic filtering, malware protection, and suspicious DNS activity blocking are available as a part of the separate DNS Firewall app.
According to the statistics, in 2017 the US coffee lovers drank about 3 mugs of coffee per day and at least 1 of these mugs was drunk in a public place. Now the big question: do you know any coffee shops/cafes/bars/restaurants that do not have a WiFi hotspot? Nowadays, the availability of free internet in public places becomes a must. The number of WiFi hotspots increases year by year: in 2018 it is going to reach 279 million and by 2021 it could get to 542 million.
Isn’t it great? Oh, how pleasant it is to read your News Feed over your favorite coffee. But do you know what security risks you take this way? And how to avoid them and protect your personal data? Let’s figure out together.
The whats and the whys of public WiFi
Of course, when constantly on the go, a free WiFi hotspot in your favorite coffee shop becomes a lifesaver. But, as Symantec Corporation puts it, 60% of consumers have a false sense of security when using public WiFi. Top 5 reasons for accessing public WiFi connection are as follows:
- Need to use a GPS app (49%)
- Need to stay in touch with family or friends (47%)
- Wish to avoid draining your data (41%)
- Wish to use social networks (Facebook, Instagram, etc.) (29%)
- Need to be in touch with a work office (26%).
Unfortunately, along with meeting your needs and wants, you put your online identity in danger. When you connect to a public WiFi without any protection, you basically open the doors of your apartment to thieves. If you use unsecured connection, any cybercriminal can eavesdrop you with a Man-in-the-Middle attack (MITM) or using special software. And since 78% of coffee drinkers admit coffee shops are among their top 3 popular locations, it becomes the most dangerous public WiFi venue of them all.
If the aforementioned facts scared or worried you, let us get all of it out of your mind. Imagine entering your favorite cafe. You order a mug of aromatic coffee and sit near the window. While waiting for your drink, you connect to an unsecured WiFi hotspot. You check your email, chat with your boss, log into your bank account. You take a selfie, add your geolocation, and share your photo on your Instagram story. All of your sensitive data remaining private and safe.
But how is it possible, considering all the aforementioned? Thanks to a virtual private network, of course! Services like VPN Unlimited send your traffic through a secure “tunnel”. As a result, all your private data is completely protected from anyone who tries to steal it. Along with an extremely secure 128-bit and 256-bit encryption, this precautionary measure saves your identity. Now, you can use public WiFi without worries!