Most of us probably use public Wi-Fi networks when out and about and some of us use these free networks to also browse and shop online.

However, when it comes to the information we use online, such as passwords and payment card numbers we want to know whether this data is safe when we use public Wi-Fi.

Unfortunately, it often isn't. In general, public Wi-Fi offers no more protection against cybercriminals than a pane of glass. It’s easy to see what is going on and it’s easy to break and enter.

This drives a spear through the heart of online shopping or leaves those who are using their smartphone on wireless hotspots in genuine danger of being hacked.

Turning it around

A virtual private network, however, turns this around. It secures the free hotspot connection so outside users can't break in and it guards your privacy when you access the internet through a public network so no one can see what you are doing.

  • A VPN gives you a private and secure way to connect to the internet wherever you use it. Your data is encrypted preventing others from accessing information such as payment card
  • numbers and passwords.
  • By creating a secure, encrypted connection between your public internet connection and the VPN service’s private server, it provides a protective barrier for your smartphone’s connection to a network that many people use at the same time such as at a coffee shop, in a shopping centre, at a hotel or at an airport.

Blindingly simple to use

On the surface, a VPN service might seem complex, but in reality, it's simple and easy to use. There’s a lot going on behind the scenes but you don’t see this. All you need to do is:

  • Connect to a public internet network, open your VPN smartphone app and let it do the work. It sets you up with a secure connection and connects you to a private network.

VPN servers are typically located all over the world, so you can connect to the server location of your choice.

Big added privacy bonus

Every time you access the internet, check out a new website or update your social media, your internet protocol (IP) address is visible.

  • Your IP address is tied to the network you use and your physical device. This virtual footprint tells a lot about you. It may identify your city and internet provider.
  • Network owners, companies and government authorities can use this information to figure out which websites you've visited. If you visit social media sites, this information could be used to determine exactly who you are.

When you connect with a VPN provider, you connect to the internet via its server. As a result, your activity shows up under another IP address which isn’t directly linked to you.

BullGuard VPN does not log your activity, so the network service provider doesn’t even have a record of your activity online.

Free or paid?

The common adage ‘you get what you pay for’ is true of VPNs. There are a number of VPNs offered for free but they typically don’t hit the required privacy and security marks.

  • Security protocols may be limited exposing users to data loss
  • Connection can be slow, laggy or entirely unavailable at times, particularly with free VPN services that cap your bandwidth usage
  • The provider may track your data, use it for advertising purposes or even sell it to third-party data broker companies and you might be plagued with pop-up ads when using the service

Shop in safety

BullGuard VPN provides all the qualities a good VPN should have so you can shop and browse online with peace of mind:

  • Easy to use with above average connection and broadband speeds
  • Doesn’t track your activity
  • Military-grade encryption which would take years to crack
  • Compatible with all major operating systems - Windows, macOS, Android and iOS (iPhone and iPad)
  • Extremely low monthly subscription price

In short, it enables you to securely access the internet and online services from home, work, on the go or abroad safe in the knowledge that your activities are both protected and anonymous. Find out more here.