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Wi-Fi VPN: Security tips for free public networks

Public Wi-Fi at hotels, airports, and cafes exposes you to real privacy and security risks. Learn how ExpressVPN keeps you safe, even on unsecured Wi-Fi networks.

Laptop showing Wi-Fi symbol.

3 types of Wi-Fi security risks

A hacker steals data from a laptop over Wi-Fi.

Packet sniffing

A hacker records all the data that passes between you and the unsecured Wi-Fi router.

A red router with skull and crossbones stealing data from a laptop over Wi-Fi.

Rogue Wi-Fi networks

A hacker sets up a fake network that masquerades as a legitimate network to steal information from unsuspecting users who connect to it.

A hacker executes a man-in-the-middle attack over public Wi-Fi.

Man-in-the-middle attacks

A hacker secretly relays and possibly alters the communication between two parties who believe they are directly communicating with each other.

How a VPN stops hacking through Wi-Fi

Let’s suppose someone is trying to hack your phone through Wi-Fi with a packet sniffing program. If the Wi-Fi is unsecured, this public Wi-Fi hacker may be able to read your traffic directly.

ExpressVPN prevents this kind of Wi-Fi hacking by creating an encrypted tunnel between your device and a secure VPN server:

ExpressVPN encrypts your entire internet connection.

Public Wi-Fi hackers will be unable to read any data inside this encrypted tunnel.

Now let’s say you’re trying to connect to hotel Wi-Fi, but you accidentally connect to a hacker’s rogue Wi-Fi network instead. Without any additional security, the hacker can read and alter any unencrypted communication, or even inject malicious code onto your device.

With ExpressVPN, however, the encrypted tunnel prevents hackers from reading, injecting, or altering any data.

Wi-Fi hackers can also use a man-in-the-middle (MITM) attack to break encryption and impersonate sites you are visiting so they can intercept your traffic without your knowledge.

Check out the video below to see ExpressVPN stop a MITM attack in real time:

Watch ExpressVPN stop a MITM attack over public Wi-Fi

Wi-Fi hacking explained: How to protect yourself from password theft

Wi-Fi security protection on every device

VPN for Windows, Mac, iPhone, iPad, iPod, Android, and routers.

ExpressVPN has apps for every device you connect to Wi-Fi, including Windows, Mac, iOS, Android, Linux, and more.

Looking for VPN Wi-Fi security on your router? The ExpressVPN app for routers protects every device on your home or office Wi-Fi simultaneously.

FAQ: Wi-Fi safety and VPN

What is Wi-Fi?

How does Wi-Fi work?

What is a Wi-Fi hotspot?

How does a Wi-Fi hotspot work?

How can I protect my friends on public Wi-Fi?

Is it safe to use hotel Wi-Fi?

Learn more about using a VPN

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What is a VPN?

Get to know how a VPN protects your online traffic from snooping

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Encrypt your data

Strong encryption protects your data and communication

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Take the Speed Test

See how fast our VPN servers are working and choose the best one

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Ready to try the best VPN for public Wi-Fi?

A VPN is essential protection when using public Wi-Fi. Give ExpressVPN a try. You’re 100% covered by our 30-day money-back guarantee.
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