In today’s digital world, there is a hidden risk that we often know little about. As we browse the Internet, check our emails and join conference calls for work and pleasure, our information is – unbeknown to us – under threat.

Your credit card information or online identity can be stolen, passwords can easily be compromised and your data can be duped, faked or sold onto nefarious parties on the Dark Web. And these risks are heightened when using public Wi-Fi.

And so while we may have reached the peak of personal computing – with modern computers allowing us to get online anytime, anywhere – such convenience comes at a cost when your data is at stake.

Every day, thousands of passwords are stolen from internet surfers browsing the web on public Wi-Fi. With no security measures in place, you’re leaving your connection unsecured and putting your personal data at risk.

The dangers of using public Wi-Fi

When working at home or in the office, your data and communications are secured from end-to-end. When connected to public Wi-Fi, however, you’re sharing your network connection with the people around you. That puts your data at risk, with cyber criminals able to carry out man-in-the-middle eavesdropping, packet sniffing, spoof hotspots and malware attacks.

We're not just talking about using public Wi-Fi on your laptop, either. When you're connected on your phone or tablet, you're at risk too.

This is not a hyperbole; a recent vulnerability in the WPA2 protocol (which secures all modern protected Wi-Fi networks) allowed attackers within a certain range to exploit the weaknesses using key reinstallation attacks (KRACKS) to read information that was previously encrypted.

Other ‘white hat’ hackers have shown how to use Wi-Fi pineapple devices - available to buy cheaply online - to intercept traffic and steal data. It’s frighteningly easy.

Through open networks, hackers potentially get access to everything from email, sent files and banking credentials. Identity theft is also a distinct possibility. And open network risks extend beyond Wi-Fi but to cable LANs too, and even to connected cars, yet to often risks are misunderstood.

Users often click away from security notices, leading to accusations that humans are often the ‘biggest risk’ when it comes to security. A previous Intel study suggested that 38% of 2,000 people surveyed were happy to use unsecured Wi-Fi but the reality is that number is likely to be significantly higher.

How to protect your personal data on public Wi-Fi

The way forward is by using a Virtual Private Network (VPN) that protects you and your data. Even if an attacker does manage to intercept the data, it is encrypted and thus can’t be easily be gathered.

There are many VPNs to choose from, but working with Hidden24 offers numerous benefits. Using the solution, you can prevent eavesdropping of network traffic, you’ll get unlimited bandwidth and data, and there’s no need to install an app.

Furthermore, this affordable, self-service platform is more secure than cloud-based VPNs. Hidden24 owns its own data centre equipment in the UK and Sweden, so you are protected 100% of the time, which should put your mind at rest when connecting to a public Wi-Fi and could save you from a very costly cyber attack.

You can get Hidden24 VPN for just £3.33 per month by clicking here.