1 of 3 London Hotspots Unsecured

iVPN warns UK Internet users about using free Wi-Fi. A recent survey of London Wi-Fi hotspots reveals that one third of them provide no security for users. Short of ceasing to use public Wi-Fi altogether, VPN security is the best precaution for device security.

London Wi-Fi Dangers

More than one third of the free WiFi hotspots in London do not have any security measures in place to stop cyber criminals from breaching connected devices. Once connected to these hotspots, hackers gain access to devices and all data stored on them. Users have no warnig of these breaches, and often never even realize that there has been an intrusion.

Experian is a well-respected major credit reference agency. In a recent report, they announced that of the approximately 900 Wi-Fi hotspots that they surveyed in the central London area, 322 were completely unsecured. Using public Wi-Fi is already risky, warns iVPN, but connecting to the Internet through these unsecured hotspots is a sure way to attract a hacker attack. Unsecured hotspots such as those discovered by Experian are the most frequented by cyber criminals of all types. Fraudsters hang around these connections waiting to access users’ personal data to use in the execution of identity theft scams. Thieves intercept users’ traffic while they check email, surf the web or conduct online banking for the chance at getting a name and credit card number or bank account codes.

Mobile users enjoy the convenience of using free Wi-Fi at hundreds of locations near them. There is rarely any area not covered these days by one of these hotspots. And almost everyone today carries some kind of Internet-enabled device. This is a deadly combination, says iVPN, since it encourages the use of free Wi-Fi on devices that are not built to withstand attacks on their own. Modern lifestyles call for services on the go, and many users would not be comfortable without mobile devices and public Wi-Fi services. The best way to stay safe from attacks is to stop using public Wi-Fi, says iVPN, but since this is not a good choice for most Internet users, the best alternative is a VPN.


Mobile Device Security a Must

VPN services have improved quickly and significantly over the past few years to better help users secure themselves from the new and varied online attacks that are constantly being developed. This multi-faceted technology can help users to secure their Internet activities in many ways.

iVPN secures communications over the Internet first by encrypting all data sent over the Internet from the user’s device to the VPN server. When using public Wi-Fi, this is a user’s first defense. Data sent over the Internet is most vulnerable between the device and the Internet service provider. Malicious individuals who monitor public Wi-Fi intercept traffic streams at the point of connection to the Wi-Fi network. A VPN works to secure this traffic by encrypting the data and sending it through a private VPN tunnel. It is secured from the source so that it cannot be intercepted or read.

On top of issuing respected credit reports internationally, Experian scans online criminal forums to gather data on personal information traded by fraudsters. Experian shared in their report that identity data trading is on the rise, at 35 million pieces of data traded in 2012.

People need to be aware that communicating through a device over public Wi-Fi is like having a conversation in public. The best security check to perform before connecting to a hotspot, iVPN says, is to use this analogy: Imagine you are standing in the middle of a crowd of people, knowing that more than half of them are potentially thieves and fraudsters. Then imagine that you must communicate with the person or entity that you are about to contact in person, out loud. Would you still attempt to engage in the activities that you planned? If the answer is no, then do not proceed without iVPN protection.

Today, going online is like going out in public. Anyone who is also online can potentially see everything you do and hear everything you say. Granted, not everyone in interested in eavesdropping. But the chances of even one person overhearing you are far from slim. iVPN warns in no uncertain terms that if even one interested maleficent eavesdropper hears you give your name and credit card number, or your online banking login codes, or your Facebook username and password, you are going to get robbed.

Most Wi-Fi users either don’t know how to check if a Wi-Fi hotspot is secure, or don’t care because they don’t understand the risks. Some know that unsecured Wi-Fi is open to criminals, but they do not realize how open they are to theft. Even those that are careful about using public Wi-Fi don’t know that having their mobile devices set to search and connect to Wi-Fi automatically is enough to attract attention. Favorite and preferred networks are even more dangerous because hackers routinely imitate popular network names to masquerade as trusted networks.

It is therefore best to always use a VPN to secure your traffic over Wi-Fi. In addition, confirm that the website you are visiting shows the lock icon on the left of the address bar, or that it uses SSL to encrypt your traffic, indicated by “https” in the address. And stick to Wi-Fi providers that require users to log in via a secure channel and provide apps to manage the connection. Setting up a connection through iVPN is very simple even for non-techie Internet users. Here is a sample guide for iPhone users to show you how easy it is:

iVPN L2TP/IPSec for iPhone

From the home screen, go to Settings, General, Network, and VPN. Find the option to “Add VPN Configuration” and select “L2TP”. Type in a name for your iVPN connection and an L2TP address from the list provided to you by iVPN. Type in your iVPN username, password, and shared secret. Find “Send all traffic” and turn it on to have all your traffic routed through the secure VPN server you have chosen. Tap save and go back to the VPN menu. Now you can connect to iVPN anytime in just a few seconds by selecting your configuration and turning “VPN” on. You can confirm your connection status on that screen and by looking for the VPN icon on the top left of your iPhone.

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