In 2020, the FBI reported an average of more than 2,000 internet crime complaints every day. This figure accounts only for reported crimes — the number is likely much higher due to crimes going unreported or sometimes even unnoticed by unsuspecting internet users.
Public Wi-Fi hot spots are one place that cybercriminals target. Often unprotected and full of unsuspecting victims, criminals use these hot spots to access other users’ devices, hacking or infecting devices.
Luckily, there is a simple way to protect yourself and your devices, no matter where you surf: a VPN. Keep reading to learn what a VPN is, what it does and how you can use one to protect your data on the go.
A VPN, or virutal private network, is a tool that can be used to encrypt your internet connection. This means that you can connect securely to any wireless network, without worrying about cybercriminals gaining access to your device or information. Your identity and activities are hidden from view, whether you’re shopping, banking, or simply surfing the web.
After installing a VPN on your device, you can continue to surf the web as usual. Rather than sending your searches directly through a regular Wi-Fi connection, your VPN works quickly and seamlessly to encrypt your communications. Each search is sent through a secure tunnel to the VPN service’s own servers.
All of this happens instantly, so you won’t notice a difference when surfing on a VPN versus an unsecured internet connection. But the result is a safer internet surfing experience.
A VPN can help protect your devices and private information while you browse on unsecured internet connections — but what does that really mean? Most internet users in the U.S. agree that browsing on public Wi-Fi is risky. In fact, 60 percent think that it’s riskier than using a public restroom. Yet, many don’t understand what threats they might be subjected to, and even fewer are taking measures to protect themselves.
Some examples of things that a VPN can protect you from include:
- Cybercriminals tracking your online activities or accessing private information while you surf on unprotected Wi-Fi connections
- Your internet service provider accessing where and how you browse — information that they could sell to advertisers
- Apps tracking your information or behavior, either to sell or to use to target you with ads
VPNs are available from a variety of sources, but the best way to protect yourself with a VPN is to invest in one through full-suite cybersecurity services. For example, when you get protected with Norton LifeLock, you’ll not only receive a no-log secure VPN for use on all of your devices but a number of other essential security tools.
From a password manager that makes it easier than ever before to rely on more secure passwords, to credit monitoring and the LifeLock Identity Alert System that gives you real-time updates when your information appears on the Dark Web or someone tries to use your information, you can protect yourself, your devices, and your data around the clock.
Investing in a VPN takes just minutes to set up. But that small investment of time and money can help protect you from a costly, devastating attack.