Do You Still Need a VPN to Access Public Wi-Fi?

Igor Martis/Shutterstock.comThere are plenty of reasons to use a VPN, but one of the most important–from a security standpoint, at least–has been to protect yourself when using a public Wi-Fi network. Is this really necessary in modern internet security? Using a VPN for Wi Fi SecurityThe short answer to that question is that VPNs are still a good idea for most people. This network is now much safer, almost completely safe due to the upgrade to HTTPS. However, you need to be able to recognize if you accidentally stumbled upon a site that does not use HTTPS. It’s safer to be safe than sorry, so we recommend that you have a VPN activated when you use public Wi Fi. It’s more like an insurance policy or extra layer of protection. Let’s look at the possible threats to public Wi-Fi. Public Wi-Fi was once a potential threat due to man-in the-middle attacks (MitM). Unencrypted HTTP is used by most websites instead of HTTPS. This means that anyone with malicious intent could set up on the same network and intercept your data. Advertisement
A VPN is the best way to protect yourself from this risk. VPNs encrypt and reroute your internet connection. This has many benefits, including the ability to appear to be in another country. However, the main advantage for MitM attacks is that the hacker only sees a bunch encrypted gibberish. According to Nicholas Weaver, a professor from the University of California at Berkeley, MitM attacks are unlikely to have been that common in the first place. Although there has been much discussion about the dangers of MitM attacks, the fact that you have to set one up (and you must be in the same space as the network you are trying to infiltrate) is a deterrent to criminals. However, this point is not as important as the main weakness that makes MitM attacks possible. You used to connect to the internet via a protocol, which is a set of rules that govern communication between devices. This protocol was known as HTTP. This protocol has been discontinued and most web communication uses HTTPS. The “S” in front of the protocol stands for “secure” and indicates that your connection is encrypted. A MitM attack could result in a hacker gaining access to encrypted data. Many of the risks associated using public Wi-Fi have been eliminated if you use a site with HTTPS enabled. However, not all sites use HTTPS. Advertisement

HTTPS does not solve another problem, namely that MitM attack can still reveal your DNS requests. These attacks are generally considered low-risk because they only reveal the site you’re visiting and not the page itself. However, they can pose a threat to privacy. We doubt that hackers will be able to access your DNS requests without your permission. This problem is solved by using DNS over HTTPS. It can be enabled on Windows 11, but not on all devices. The bottom line is that public Wi-Fi is generally safe, but there are still some dangers. If you have the situational awareness and can avoid accidentally stepping on a site that uses HTTP, or if your browser warns you when you visit HTTP sites, then using public Wi-Fi is safe. However, it is best to have a VPN active while you are using public Wi-Fi. It takes only two seconds to switch on a VPN and it can provide great security. Here’s our guide to the best VPNs you can buy.The Best VPN Services of 2021 for Netflix, Privacy, and More Best Overall VPNExpressVPNShop Now Best Budget VPNSurfSharkShop Now Best Free VPNWindscribeShop Now Best VPN for iPhoneProtonVPNShop Now Best VPN for AndroidHide.meShop Now Best VPN for StreamingExpressVPNShop Now Best VPN for GamingPrivate Internet AccessShop Now Best VPN for TorrentingNordVPNShop Now Best VPN for WindowsCyberGhostShop Now Best VPN for ChinaVyprVPNShop Now Best VPN for PrivacyMullvad VPNShop NowREAD NEXT

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