Free hotspots are great (most of the time). Maybe you don’t know exactly what a hotspot is, but chances are, you’ve used them in the past.
A hotspot is a physical location, that provides access to the internet over WiFi. It can be any location: a mall, a coffee shop, a private location or any other location. You can even have your own personal hotspot, by sharing your internet connection of your smartphone.
Security Issues With Free Hotspots
We don’t recommend using free hotspots, if you have a mobile data plan available (3G, 4G or 5G). Most hotspots are not secure at all, and you should avoid them if possible. By using free hotspots, you risk getting hacked.
Even hostspots that are password protected, can be unsecure. There is no real protection, if the same password is shared with multiple users.
The solution? Whenever possible, use a VPN service. A VPN will encrypt your data and lets you browse the internet anonymously.
How Does A VPN Work?
VPNs were first built for work. It allowed employees working from home or outside the office to access documents and files without jeopardizing office security.
What a VPN does is create a private address for you. It masks your actual IP address and connects you through the new address on the selected server location.
What Else Can a VPN Do?
A VPN connects you to the site or content you want to access, making the server location seem like your location. In doing this, you can access everything securely from your server location. This is how you can access blocked content.
At the same time, the VPN encrypts your data before connecting you to the server.
This is how VPNs provide security. Some can even provide an extra layer of security by redirecting your address twice.
This means your connection goes through two different servers. So if you are on a public network and use a VPN, you don’t have to worry about your information being leaked.
Yes, you should use a VPN with your wifi hotspot, especially if you access your email address or internet banking.
Most free wi-fi hotspots are unsecure and hackers could get access to your accounts. The simplest solution is to use a VPN or to stop using free wifi for email/banking.
There are multiple ways a VPN can help you.
- Protect yourself on the internet – VPN services encrypt your data and save you from the prying eyes of third-parties on the internet. Some VPNs allow you to route through two servers, giving you double protection. This makes your digital activities even harder to trace.
- Get access to your office database – This is what VPN was originally developed for. Your office database is probably restricted to multiple security layers. When you work from home or use a public network, a VPN protects both your and your company’s information. Most businesses have designated VPN software for this purpose.
- Unblock geo-blocked sites – Geo-blocked sites are those that you do not have access to because of your geographic location. Not only does it limit you from using various websites, but it can also be a hassle when you are travelling. You can use a VPN to access these sites, that mostly fall in two categories:
Media streaming – Online streaming services like Netflix, Hulu, Amazon Prime use geo-blocking to target their audiences. You can access their much larger libraries set for different locations using a VPN.
Online shopping – If you want to order something from your country while on a trip abroad, you may find certain sites blocked. This is done so that local businesses can sell more goods and services. However, you can use a VPN to bypass this block and order online.
Compare VPN software and learn more here.
A hotspot uses WiFi to provide access to the internet to various devices. A wifi is the technology that make this possible. You can’t have a hotspot without wifi.