It seems like even the local gas station offers free WiFi nowadays. While this is great news for our data plans, it’s not entirely safe. Luckily, you don’t need to compromise on security for the convenience of connecting to a public WiFi network. When browsing the internet on an unsecure connection—like the WiFi at airports, cafés, and hotels—you can use a VPN.
What’s a VPN?
A VPN (Virtual Private Network) creates a private network from a public internet connection, hiding your IP address and encrypting all the data sent and received from a connected device. In this way, VPNs ensure that all browsing activity is safe and private. Without one, a motivated, tech-savvy person who’s connected to the same public network as you could use basic hacking tools to view all of your internet activity. This includes any sites that you visit or any information you submit online, like your username and password combinations.
A VPN solves 3 key issues:
- Public WiFi networks are unsecured
VPNs let you encrypt unencrypted communications sent to and from your device.
- ISPs track all your browsing history
A VPN encrypts all your internet traffic and masks your IP address so your browsing history is unviewable.
- You need to be able to access the internet safely from anywhere
VPNs let you connect anytime, anywhere, from any device.
1. Public WiFi networks are unsecured
Because public WiFi networks are unsecured, any unencrypted site or service you use while connected could be compromised, allowing a hacker to access sensitive information. It’s not just websites—a number of voice over IP services (the technology that allows you to make audio calls over the internet) are unsecured and unencrypted as well. A cybercriminal could even modify a page or URL to trick you into submitting credentials for a normally secured site, like Gmail—otherwise known as phishing.
How a VPN helps: A VPN encrypts all your unencrypted internet activity, from web surfing to VoIP calls and everything in between, blocking potential hacks.
2. ISPs track all your browsing history
As it currently stands, internet service providers like Verizon and AT&T have complete access to all of your browsing history. They collect personal data and may even hand it over to advertisers, the government, or other third parties. More on that here.
They are able to do so because your internet activity is connected to your device’s IP address. This information includes your exact geographical location.
How a VPN helps: VPNs hide your IP address and encrypt all the data you send or receive so the ISP can no longer see what websites you’re visiting or searches you’re making.
3. You need to be able to access the internet safely from anywhere
A VPN is an incredibly useful tool for securing your online activity and protecting your privacy. But it would be useless if it only worked on certain devices or in specific geographic locations.
How a VPN helps: Dashlane’s VPN works instantly across all your devices, in any location around the globe, so you can stay connected and protected, no matter the situation.
Turn on Dashlane’s VPN after you connect to an unsecure public network, anywhere in the world, and all of your online activity will be encrypted to ensure your personal information is safe and private.
Looking for more info?
Visit our online safety hub for the latest breach report and a complete guide to staying secure on the internet.