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How to stay safe on public Wi-Fi

Our VPN encrypts your data and makes you anonymous online.

Hackers love public Wi-Fi—that’s because 75% of these networks are vulnerable. But there’s an easy way to stay safe, with trusted, free Avira Phantom VPN.

Avira Free Phantom VPN Boxshot

 

Does a VPN protect you on public Wi-Fi?

If you were to Google search “public Wi-Fi security solutions” you’d find that practically every article recommends using a VPN. And with good reason.   

When you use a VPN, your device connects to the VPN provider’s servers and all your internet traffic passes through this connection. Using secure internet protocols such as IPsec, the VPN creates a secure, private tunnel that shields your data and online activities from third parties and even your Internet Service Provider (ISP). Plus, when you use a VPN all your communications are encrypted, so they can’t be read even if they were accessed.

Using a VPN on public Wi-Fi protects your financial information, passwords, and other private files from hackers and snoopers. 

Why is it unsafe?

It’s free, everywhere, and convenient—but public Wi-Fi is as desirable for hackers as it is for users. It requires no authentication to establish a connection, so hackers enjoy free access to unsecured devices on the same network. Plus, common Wi-Fi encryption standards are flawed and should not be trusted. It’s hacker heaven! 


You may already know that connecting to public Wi-Fi hotspots in hotels, airports, and coffee shops is insecure and potentially dangerous. Even so, nearly 60% of us admit to logging in to personal email accounts over a public connection!

Public Wi-Fi safety tips

Connect to secured networks where possible, and if you must use an unsecured network, check that the connection requires a login or registration.

 

Turn off auto-connect. Smartphones, laptops, and tablets have automatic connectivity settings. These connect you from one hotspot to the next as you move about, which is very convenient, but a huge security hazard!

 

Monitor your Bluetooth. Bluetooth connectivity allows devices to communicate with each other, and a hacker can look for open Bluetooth signals to gain access to your device. So please don’t leave Bluetooth on in public places.


Use a VPN. This encrypts all the data that you send and receive while using public Wi-Fi, so that all your communications are safe from snoops and hackers. 

What are the main risks?

Whether you’re accessing public Wi-Fi on a laptop, smartphone, or tablet, the dangers are universal. We’re highlighting four here, but there are many other scams and hacks that can be used to access your personal data.

MAN-IN-THE-MIDDLE ATTACKS

PACKET SNIFFING

SESSION HIJACKING

MALICIOUS HOTSPOTS

Other advantages of using a VPN

Using a VPN offers additional benefits besides protecting your privacy on public Wi-Fi and hotspots.

 

Unblock websites

By hiding your IP address, you can bypass regional censorship. So, if you’re abroad, choose a VPN server from home to watch your favorite show and beat geo-blocking! And gamers can play with the world!

Evade tracking

Advertisers track your IP address to send you targeted ads. Not with Phantom VPN! It assigns you a different IP addresses with every connection, and none of them can be traced back to you.

 

Choose Avira to safely connect to public Wi-Fi

Securely connecting to hotspots is easy with our fast, free Phantom VPN! Here’s what makes it the trusted choice: 

✔ Uses the 256 Advanced Encryption Standard (AES-256), which is the worldwide norm for data encryption. AES-256 offers so many encryption combinations, it would take billions of computers more than 13 billion years to crack them!

✔ Just 2 clicks and you’ll have access to 37 server locations around the globe, so no one knows where you really are.

✔ Works on any device for Windows, Android, iOS, and Mac. There’s also a free browser plugin for Chrome!

✔ Part of a multi-award-winning software portfolio from a trusted German security leader, with over 30 years of experience.

Plus, it’s free!

Made in Germany.
Downloaded by millions.

4.5/5 - Excellent

24,000+ reviews

Stay safe on public Wi-Fi—download now.

Overcome the risks of public Wi-Fi and connect safely anywhere.

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Discover Phantom VPN Pro

Help protect your data sent and received over Wi-Fi

Three little letters and one of the best tools for helping to protect your online privacy: A VPN or a ‘virtual private network’. It’s like your own cloak of invisibility that helps keep your activities masked while you surf online, shop online, and bank online. Keep on reading to find out how VPNs work, why hackers hate them, and why we all probably need to secure the information sent and received over Wi-Fi, even if we think we have nothing to hide!

Some think of a VPN as Wi-Fi software security, but strictly speaking, it protects your data only. Imagine the internet as a public super-highway, with fast-flowing data and millions of daily ‘commuters’ like you, rushing off to various websites and online services. Anyone can see you, and track what you do online and the sites you visit. Thanks to your device’s unique IP address (the string of numbers assigned to every internet-connected device), they can even find out your city and postal code! When you use a VPN, it sets up a more secure, private connection between your device and a server from your VPN provider. You’re now navigating the web in your own virtual tunnel, where you’re safer from the prying eyes of eavesdroppers and hackers. Plus, when your data passes through this tunnel, it’s encrypted, making it near impossible to read even if it is intercepted. So that’s a double disappointment for hackers.

 

What you do on public Wi-Fi may be everybody’s business

Is the coffee shop your second office? Love a spot of online shopping at the airport? Public Wi-Fi is irresistibly convenient and free, yet it’s also a minefield of potential cyberthreats, such as:

  • A man-in-the-middle attack: This occurs when someone impersonates a legitimate public WiFi service to trick you into connecting. Your online activities and data, including login information and passwords, can be intercepted by them.
  • Packet sniffing: Hackers can use a tool called a ‘packet analyzer’ or ‘packet sniffer’ to snoop on anyone using the same Wi-Fi as they are. Stealing your login details is a hot favorite.
  • Session hijacking: An attacker intercepts information about your computer. They can then use this to configure their own computer to match yours and hijack your connection. For example, hackers could hijack your connection to your bank's website after you log in to carry out activities in your name.

 

Trusted VPN from Avira

Using a VPN on public Wi-Fi can help protect your online financial information, passwords, and other private files from hackers and snoopers. Avira Phantom VPN is free Wi-Fi protection for a more secure Wi-Fi experience. It’s important to remember that a VPN can’t protect your Wi-Fi—it helps keep the data you send and receive over Wi-Fi secure. Plus, like the name suggests, it can make you feel like a ‘phantom’ as you fly over borders and leave barely a digital trace. Sitting in London? Not for long. There are 38 Avira server locations worldwide. Poland? Japan? Select the country you wish to connect via, and your new virtual IP makes it appear as if you’re there—in two clicks. Now you’re anonymous online and your online data is encrypted. Your favorite box set is at your fingertips, even if you’ve swapped your sofa at home for a hotel room while traveling.

Whether you’re on a laptop or smart phone, the online risks remain the same. That’s why Avira Phantom VPN can be installed on most Windows, Android, iOS, and Mac devices. There’s also a free browser plugin for Chrome. If you’d like to do away with data limits on your VPN and are prepared to pay a small monthly fee, consider Avira Phantom VPN Pro. It comes with Avira premium customer support and a ‘kill switch’. This non-lethal tool kills only your internet connection if your VPN is disrupted.

 

Online privacy & security doesn’t start or end with a VPN: Welcome to the Avira family

Now we hope you’ll never use public Wi-Fi without a VPN. Yet you need multiple layers of online security to help safeguard your data and online privacy. Here are a few cornerstones of any solid online defense strategy: Avira Free Antivirus helps protect your device from many types of malware. It’s even safer in conjunction with Avira Software Updater because outdated software contains security gaps known to hackers. Speaking of security gaps, how strong are your passwords? Avira Password Manager generates strong, unique passwords and remembers them for you. So, you won’t need to re-set a password or use your pet’s name again.

For maximum peace of mind, an Avira suite of solutions takes the headache out of picking what you need: For the budget-conscious, Avira Free Security is packed with free online security, online privacy, and performance tools. Navigate them all via a handy single dashboard. If you’d like all the Avira premium solutions, there’s no beating a monthly or annual subscription to Avira Prime.

Avira is always innovating and adapting to an ever-changing digital world, but some things stay the same: Its founding principle of providing essential online security, for free.

A VPN helps protect everything you send and receive on public Wi-Fi hotspots from cybercriminals who are on the same network and want to intercept your sensitive data such as your log in or credit card details. This is because a VPN like Avira Phantom VPN uses bank-grade security to encrypt all your traffic, routing everything through a secure tunnel. This way, you can help protect your confidential communications and transactions when shopping and banking online — even on public Wi-Fi hotspots.

You can protect yourself on public Wi-Fi hotspots by never using such networks for any sensitive transactions or by only using networks that are password protected and which transmit your data in an encrypted form. You should also turn off data sharing on your laptop as well as prevent your device from connecting automatically to Wi-Fi hotspots.  Also consider using a VPN like Avira Phantom VPN, which uses the latest standards to encrypt everything you send and receive, routing it through an external VPN server.

Using public Wi-Fi hotspots poses certain risks and dangers. That’s because these networks are often unsecured and your data is transmitted unencrypted. Among other things, cybercriminals can intercept sensitive data such as log in credentials or credit card information, access your confidential communications, or inject malware into your system. You also run the risk of connecting to a malicious Wi-Fi network that pretends to be from a reputable provider. A VPN like Avira Phantom VPN uses bank-grade security to encrypt all the data you send and receive, routing everything through a secure tunnel so your data is better protected even when using such networks.

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Everything you wanted to know about VPN

IP address. Geo-blocking. These are all terms you may have encountered in the context of reading about a virtual private network. This short introduction to VPNs explains how they can make your life better.

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Surfing the net is fun, informative and useful. But you leave traces, which are collected and sold by advertisers, search engines, and ISPs, usually without your knowledge. That’s where a VPN comes in handy...

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The remaining value left on your current subscription is converted into additional days in your new subscription.
Big savings. Strong online security: 60% off Avira Prime >
Riesen Rabatt. Starke Online-Sicherheit: 60 % auf Avira Prime >