Since the dawn of times of the internet, accessing the world wide web could bring a vast range of threats directly to you and to your device. This has only been increasing, since the uprise of smartphones and tablets stimulated the appearance of public Wi-Fi hotspots. In fact, these can have several associated problems, with Evil Twins being one of the biggest and most dangerous.
An Evil Twin is a fake Wi-Fi hotspot created by hackers, a practica that is gaining popularity. In short, it can be described as an imitation of a legitimate hotspot provided by cafés, hotels among other places that usually provide internet access to its customers. Since hackers are able to make an exact replica of the real Wi-Fi hotspot, using the same network name and often cloning the Mac address, it’s almost impossible to distinguish one from the other. Also, these cybercriminals will often try to boost up their signal strength so you feel more likely to connect to the Evil Twin instead.
As soon as you get tricked to connect to this, the hacker behind it can get access to whatever you do when connected, letting you download and upload at will. This way they can steal your account names and passwords – if you end up accessing Facebook or your e-mail – and credit card information – if for instance you feel like shopping online. But this is not all, since hackers can also redirect you to malware and phishing sites.
Although there is almost no way to find out if you’re connecting to a real Wi-Fi hotspot the best way to get yourself protected all the time is using a VPN since the commonly known Wi-Fi Protected Access doesn't encrypt your data until after the association between your network device and the access point has already been established.
From the moment you switch on your VPN, you will be under protocol and military-grade encryption protection so you will be assured that your traffic remains anonymous and encrypted when tunneling from your device to the VPN server. This is also useful when connecting to a true Wi-Fi hotspot itself since these can bring privacy issues as well. Because you’ll be sitting at a café accessing a publicly shared network, anyone can spy on what you’re visiting and what data you’re providing to the websites.
The VPN market today is filled with providers trying to earn your trust; some offering free trial services, others providing affordable paid subscriptions often billed monthly or yearly and all of them featuring generous discounts. Also, the vast majority supports a wide range of devices and different operating systems so you can extend your protection to varied connections. If you would like some advice on what VPN suits you best, either for Wi-Fi hotspot or home connections, be sure to check our top 5 editor’s choice of 2016.
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