How To Keep Your Data Secure Using Public Wi-Fi Hotspots

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tigerVPN reports how hackers can easily monitor anyones network traffic while making public Wi-Fi networks even more irresistible targets, very few users are aware of the dangers, and routinely give away potentially damaging personal information. One of the only ways to guarantee your safety on a public Wi-Fi connection is with a VPN, or Virtual Private Network.

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“an inexperienced wanna-be can easily download the software they need to monitor a connection, and immediately begin scooping up website logins and passwords, keystrokes, and even credit card information.”

How often have you gone to your local coffee shop, plugged in the publicly posted password, and immediately logged into your email, Facebook, or financial website? Or better yet, when was the last time you used a free, publicly available Wi-Fi connection that came with no password at all? It’s a common occurrence in our increasingly digital lives, and yet, according to a recent blog post by tigerVPN, a Virtual Private Network provider, such behavior is asking for trouble.

While we may wish to think otherwise, it's incredibly easy for someone to snoop on public Wi-Fi connections; it requires essentially zero hacking skills, and the push-button tools with which to eavesdrop on unsecured Wi-Fi connections are freely available online.

“It’s not necessarily hackers doing this,” said tigerVPN founder Sebastian Scherl, “an inexperienced wanna-be can easily download the software they need to monitor a connection, and immediately begin scooping up website logins and passwords, keystrokes, and even credit card information.”

With as little as a single tablet-sized device hidden away in a backpack, a data thief can surreptitiously monitor the network traffic of an entire store.

Indeed, last year Eric Geier, a freelance tech writer, conducted a test to see for himself just how easy it would be to scoop up the private information of hotspot users. Using a trial piece of software known as a network analyzer, Geier sat down at his local coffee shop and immediately began capturing what are known as 802.11 packets - discrete pieces of information sent over the wireless network.

Within a few minutes he had already captured much more than he could analyze in a sitting. His software reassembled the captured packets into readable webpages, but also was capable of collecting username logins and passwords that did not make use of encryption, for example FTP logins and passwords. As long as the data was not transmitted over a securely encrypted line, it was vulnerable to snooping.

According to tigerVPN, the only way to guarantee your data’s security on a public wifi hotspot is through a VPN.

“VPNs are the only airtight solution to the security problems on public Wi-Fi networks,” Scherl said. “Because all of the data passing between a user’s computer and the VPN is encrypted, that data just looks like gobbledygook to an eavesdropper. And once you’re on the internet, you’re completely anonymous. Your activities can only be traced back to the VPN’s IP address, not to your own.”

It’s clear that in our increasingly connected world, VPNs are sure to become a must-have in order to secure our data - whether at home or at your nearest public hotspot.

About tigerVPN:

Founded in 2011 by Sebastian Scherl, tigerVPN was built from the ground up to be the most complete Virtual Private Network in the world. With 51 nodes (and counting) in 38 countries, tigerVPN offers its customers security with unparalleled flexibility.

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Sebastian Scherl
tigerVPN
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