- Public WiFi hotspots can be dangerous because anyone can connect and intercept data.
- To protect yourself against data theft and to keep your browsing private, we recommend using a VPN.
- To learn more about cybersecurity, check out our comprehensive page where we show you how to safe online.
- A VPN is a powerful tool for privacy if set up correctly. Our VPN Guides Section will teach you how to use one.
Public WiFi networks are the sirens of modern technology. They’ll bait you with their beautiful song that sings free internet, and before you know it, your ship will become a wreck. Which is why you should hide your device IP on WiFi networks.
Many people are not aware of the real dangers of public WiFi hotspots. As long as you’re using your own WiFi network at home, you’re more or less safe. But using a public WiFi network leaves you completely vulnerable to various attacks, hackers, and other shady things.
But that doesn’t mean you should avoid public networks by any means. And that’s probably impossible in some situations. But, you’ll need to take some security measures to keep your data, privacy and your whole online persona safe while using an open network.
The best security measure you can take when connecting to a public WiFi network is changing your IP address. And I’ll now explain to you why I think changing your IP address is the best precaution you can take, and, of course, how to do it.
How to change your IP address when using a Public WiFi network
Dangers of open WiFi networks
Let’s first clarify why should you be cautious when accessing public WiFi networks.
Open WiFi networks have absolutely zero security, and all the data you’re sending to the internet is completely unencrypted. That means particularly anyone connected to the same network can gain access to your personal data. So, one doesn’t even need to be a hacker to break into your computer.
Of course, if you’re dealing with a hacker, things are much worse. Because the attacker has a clear path to your data, which can include all your passwords, bank accounts, cloud data, work data, and just about anything you do when browsing the internet.
There are even scenarios when hackers purposely create a fake open Wifi network. If you connect to such network, you’re done. It will be even easier for a hacker to access all your data or even plant some malware. The attacker will be able to use your computer as if he were you.
What allows all of this to happen, besides your data being completely unencrypted, is the IP address. As soon as you connect to a WiFi network, your device gets its IP address. So, the attacker knows your IP address even before you connect.
The best way to trick the Joker is to disguise your IP address. Because if you’re not using the default IP address of the public network, it will be much harder for attackers to track you down. If you don’t know how to change your IP address, just stick with me. The explanation is down below.
Hide your device IP on WiFi networks with VPN
When you connect to a Virtual Private Network (VPN), you create a virtual tunnel that not only encrypts your data but also uses the IP address of the VPN server. So, you’ll solve both problems of open WiFi networks with just one application.
Using a VPN service is very easy and straightforward. You basically need to install the app, connect it to the internet, and that’s it. If you want to find out more about the way both IP addresses and VPN work, check out our article about hiding your IP address when browsing the internet.
There are dozens of VPN services out there, and just about any can get the job done. But if you want to be more secure, you should invest in a premium option. We recommend Private Internet Access because it offers everything you need to browse the internet securely when connected to a public WiFi network, and much more.
Private Internet Access allows you to connect to a secure server and take on a different IP address. This means that any website you visit will not see your IP address, but the server’s IP address. Additionally, you can redirect your VPN connection through an additional location for even better protection.
PIA gives you control over which apps you want to use with the VPN. You can have your entire traffic be encrypted and routed through the secure VPN tunnel, or you set up certain apps to either always use the VPN or always bypass it.
On top of keeping your data safe, using a VPN can unlock geo-restricted services like streaming platforms. For instance, if you’re travelling outside the US and you want to watch a show on HBO Now, you can connect to a US server and start watching from anywhere in the world.
Here are some other features that Private Internet Access offers:
- Protection for up to 10 devices at once
- Secure VPN tunnel
- WiFi encryption
- Peer-to-Peer support
- Blocks ads, trackers and malware
- Unlimited bandwidth
- Strict No-logs policy
- Cross-platform support for mobile, Windows, Linux and Mac
- Over 3300 servers in more than 45 countries
Private Internet Access
Private Internet Access masks your IP and keeps your browsing private and safe. Enjoy a major discount right away!
That’s about it, now you know how to keep yourself out of trouble when connecting to public WiFi networks. And remember, the Wild Wild West is now on the World Wide Web, of it’s too big of the luxury to go out there unprotected, so make sure you use a good VPN to hide your device IP on WiFi.
FAQ: How to hide your IP
- Does a VPN hide your IP address?
Yes, a VPN masks your IP address when you connect to a server. Additionally, it encrypts your data so it will remain safe even if it is intercepted.
- How to hide your Android device on WiFi?
Use a VPN that has an Android app. Private Internet Access supports both Android and iOS, as well as Windows, Linux and macOS. Moreover, you can use it on up to 10 devices simultaneously.
- What does a device on your WiFi is casting mean?
This is a common Chromecast / Google Home error whereby any Android device that is connected to the same network can interfere with it. You can switch off this feature from the Settings menu and the problem should disappear.
Editor’s Note: This post was originally published in November 2017 and has been since revamped and updated in April 2020 for freshness, accuracy, and comprehensiveness.