Connecting to the internet using WiFi at a coffee shop or other public
place, even with a password, makes you vulnerable. Subscribing to a VPN
(virtual private network) service protects you when connecting to hotspots.
Each year when April Fools Day comes around, let it serve as a reminder to evaluate your computer security protections. Aprils Fools is a favorite day for releasing computer malware that is no joke.
I have researched VPN services and have one to recommend to you. Here's why
you need a VPN subscription.
Other users of a WiFi hotspot don't have to be computer geniuses to
intercept your email address, usernames and passwords. They can take over
your email account and use it later on to steal your identity. Hotspot - an
apt name for a dangerous technology.
I am a big fan and user of TunnelBear, but learned in researching this post
that there is a superior, less expensive service, Private Internet Access
(https://www.privateinternetaccess.com). Both services may be installed on
up to five devices. TunnelBear is priced at $49.95 per year; Private
Internet Access at $39.95 per year.
One downside of Private Internet Access is that you need to disconnect it
to watch NetFlix. Disconnecting is easy to do from the taskbar of your
computer or the app on your phone.
A second big reason to subscribe to a VPN: Keep your web browsing history
and internet use private. Websites won't be able to keep a log of your
repeated visits based on your IP address. You can still be tracked via
cookies, but other measures can stop that.
For more details about VPNs, see this CNET article: A VPN can protect your online privacy.
Once you install the VPN it can automatically start up and protect you
whenever you fire up your devices. Now that person over at the corner table
hunched over a laptop won't be watching everything going back and forth
between you and the internet!