How Safe is 4G in Comparison to Public Wi-Fi?
One just CAN-NOT pull away from the sweet lure of public Wi-Fi. Well, why not, since it’s free and it lets one scroll through their social media profiles without wasting any mobile data on it. Isn’t this reason enough to love our favorite coffee places even more? However, we live in a world full of news of online scams, identity thefts, and hacked bank accounts. It’s as if the term “Digital Safety” is an oxymoron and those concerned with their cybersecurity, need to stop for a minute and reconsider connecting to public internet facilities. As the number of people dependent on the internet to carry out important transactions increases, the need to protect our online data intensifies. These public networks aren’t as safe as we might think they are. However, when the question of safety arises, let’s weigh which one is better, cellular data (3G, 4G, and 5G or Public Wi-Fi).
Changing Internet Dynamics
You are well acquainted with the third and now fourth-generation (aka 3G and 4G) data technology and we’ve talked about public Wi-Fi hotspots already, so which of the two technologies is safest and why?
Regrettably, a 100% safe way to access and browse the internet does not exist. As Robert Morris likes to put it; the three golden rules that one should abide by, to ensure internet security are; do not own a computer, do not think of turning the power on, and might as well, not use it at all. This is enough to assert that the internet is anything but a safe place.
Moreover, owing to the increased internet dependency, not using the technology at all, is simply out of the question. Therefore, let us have a look at the alternative and safer ways to connect to the internet:
4G vs Public Wi-Fi
Public Wi-fi is NOT a safe route to internet connectivity. As you can rarely determine who is controlling the connection. You never know if a hacker might have set up the Wi-Fi that you are connecting to considering it a safe one from your favorite restaurant. Since it neither requires any identity verification nor does it encrypt data for added security, it naturally exposes you to serious cybersecurity threats. Public Wi-FI networks are equally beneficial to the user and the hacker as well. Cybercriminals are always lurking around sniffing on your private data. You may never know when they set eyes on your information and start exploiting it for their benefits.
Private Wi-Fi networks like the ones at your home or office are password protected and end-to-end encrypted for data security. This makes them the safest alternatives to public Wi-Fi networks. Among various dependable services, you can check Spectrum internet prices to get the best packages for your home if you don’t own a good enough service already.
As discussed, the internet in our home environments is quite safe. But what will you do when roaming around? One cannot stay indoors at all times and what if you need to make an important transaction. In that case, the safest pathway to internet connectivity is cellular data or 4G these days. Since it is a little more difficult for a hacker to get inside your phone easily. I wouldn’t say that it is absolutely impossible to hack into a 3G or 4G network but it is significantly safer than a public Wi-Fi. Hacking a cellular network requires the use of specialized technology and equipment that can be a little expensive for everyone to afford.
When There’s No Resort but to Use Public Wi-Fi
Let’s imagine a situation when you are traveling and have no other option but to use public Wi-Fi. Like the times when you run out of your cellular data and your flight is delayed at the same time. You take out your phone and have no other option but to connect to a public Wi-Fi hotspot just to make sure that you don’t miss that important conference call. How will you protect your data from being monitored by a potential hacker? Simple, you’ll need a technology that encrypts your data for added security against potential hacks. Something like a Virtual Private Network or popularly known as a VPN.
VPN acts as a shield against hacking attempts by encrypting your data thus providing an extra layer of security. It works well with both your cellular data and public Wi-Fi hotspots. On top of that, you should avoid downloading or opening suspicious files as these often come packaged with malware that attacks your devices.
In conclusion, whenever you are outside your Private Wi-Fi’s connectivity range, resort to using cellular data as the first priority. It is always better to pay a little extra than risking your security for it. Also, in case of a situation like cellular data outage, use a VPN before connecting to a public internet connection. That’s all for now, folks!
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