Pubilc 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.
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 personal 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. Basically, 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 basically 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 IP address 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, I explained the whole process there.
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 CyberGhost VPN, because it offers everything you need to browse the internet securely when connected to a public WiFi network, and much more.
If you only want to use VPN for securing your connection, the free version of CyberGhost is a good choice. But this VPN service offers a lot more, so unlocking all of its features with subscription is a pretty good deal.
For example, CyberGhost offers ad blocking, access to services and websites unavailable in your country, prevents tracking from Google and social media, and more. And I know you’re reading news about our online privacy concerns constantly being on the rise. So, having an app that can do all this is a pretty good idea.
As I said, all you need to do is install and launch CyberGhost and you’re good to connect to just about any WiFi network out there. And the best of all, one license allows you to install CyberGhost on up to 5 devices, so you can secure all your gadgets, not just your Windows 10 laptop.
I also have to say that using VPN won’t make you one hundred percent unhackable and secure on the internet. No app or program will. Because hackers will always come up with ways to break into even the most complex defensive mechanisms.
But using a VPN will probably create a deception for the attacker. Unless you’re some important person that the hacker specifically hunts, he’ll probably move on to an easier target once he notices you’re using VPN. Some basic psychology.
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.