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Free WiFi is available nearly everywhere these days, giving us the ability to stay connected in hotels, coffee shops, restaurants and public parks. It’s convenient and liberating, but potentially unsafe. Have you ever thought about the dangers of connecting to public wifi?

While travelling, you may have connected to open wifi in a cafe or airport in order to get some work done or contact your family or friends. But at what price? Cybercriminals are constantly looking for ways to access your valuable information. Public wifi is the perfect place for them to gain this access. However, there is a way to protect yourself: use a VPN.

First of all, what is a VPN? VPN stands for virtual private network. VPNs evolved from the need of companies to have people access a computer system remotely, but with the same credentials as somebody who was logging in from the home network. This isn’t normally possible — well, not without a ton of cabling and some serious know-how — but by setting up a special program, a VPN client, you can fool the computer you’re talking to that you’re a member of the same network. This means that the network thinks you are somewhere that you are not.

VPNs for Expats

So why would the average person want to do this?

If you are an avid traveller, then you have probably run into a few problems with accessing websites abroad. Maybe you were denied access to your online banking while in another country. Or maybe you want to access Netflix in your home country so you can watch movies in your native language and use appropriate subtitles. A VPN makes this possible.

VPNs also protect your privacy. When you are using a VPN you can remain anonymous online. This means that websites and service providers cannot trace anything back to you. Therefore, when you put in your credit card information using public wifi in a cafe, no one will be able to intercept it. That is, of course, if you choose a secure and trustworthy VPN.

Have we already convinced you to try out a VPN? Cloudwards has put together a helpful guide on the best VPN for travellers.

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