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Cyber Security Tip of the Day: Secure Your Public WiFi Access

Using a VPN to secure the connection to your sensitive data, emails, and company services can provide you the peace of mind by providing a safe link to the internet while giving you the freedom to use public WiFi hotspots.

Using Public WiFi

Using public WiFi is a convenient, easy, and fast way to connect to the internet while at your favorite spots around town. You can enjoy a latte while following up with your clients or eat a hamburger while listening to your highest sales earner’s phone calls.

The freedom to work where you please is vastly easier given this technology. However, the ease of use and openness of public WiFi comes with a risk.

Concerns Using Public WiFi

While most of the time you may be safe while browsing non-critical websites on a public hotspot (social media, video streaming services, etc.), it would be a bad idea to use services and websites that have sensitive information such as banking or company emails.

Most large-scale companies and websites have a safety net called HTTPS that secures your internet traffic with encryption. This is not enough to prevent a well-known cyber attack called the man-in-the-middle attack. This hack can intercept your private data before sending it to the secure site with HTTPS. This leaves the attacker with your private information.

VPN for Public WiFi

A VPN connects your computer to an online VPN server, which in turn access the website or service you requested. In short, a VPN can be visualized as a tunnel. Your computer and the online VPN server communicate with specific files and settings that are only known to your computer and the VPN server.

This closed circuit communication is the bread and butter of VPN. This prevents man-in-the-middle attacks, because only your computer and the VPN know the secret key. This is different than HTTPS because HTTPS follows certain guidelines and rules for communication. However, attackers know these rules and guidelines.

Although there may be weaknesses and vulnerabilities with a VPN, it will still greatly increase your security when you are connected to a public hotspot. A VPN in conjunction with the HTTPS protocols can provide a safe network environment for you to work untethered. 

Interested in a VPN? Already familiar with a VPN? Let us know what more you want to know or what some of your favorite VPN services are?

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