Secure your smartphone with a VPN app
As much as the Internet has become commonplace and we rely on it every day, surfing, shopping and sharing online can expose us to digital threats, hackers and identity theft.
Now that I have your attention, let’s talk about what a VPN is.
What’s a VPN?
A Virtual Private Network (VPN) lets you access the Internet via a totally private (and secure) private network.
VPNs have most typically been used by companies to let their employees access data on a company’s private servers.
Let’s say you’re working at a cafe on an unsecured public network. The security of these networks could be compromised and company data could be breached. That’s why you would launch a client VPN, sign in with your credentials, and only then would you be able to access secure company data. Once you’re on the VPN, your Internet communication is orders of magnitude more secure.
If you’re thinking, but I use free, unsecured networks all the time, keep reading.
Using free Wi-Fi
We probably use public networks the most when we’re on our smartphones. It’s great to take advantage of free public Wi-Fi so you save on data.
Chances are you’ve logged onto a public network and received a notification on your phone that the network isn’t secure. Chances are you kept browsing anyway.
You’ll want to think again. Unsecured networks can be hotbeds for trouble. Hackers can eavesdrop on what you’re saying and even establish a “honeypot,” a fake access point that mimics the free network in order to trap unsuspecting users.
There’s a simple solution: grab a VPN for your device.
Our favorite VPN apps for iPhone and Android
Be wary when you look into free VPN apps. There’s a higher likelihood of free VPNs selling your data, paying attention to what you’re browsing and serving you ads. We’ve included our top three VPN apps for you to test out for yourself. The apps respect privacy, have easy-to-navigate interfaces and let you stay protected while you’re online.
TunnelBear | Android | iOS |
We chose to include TunnelBear’s free version here because they’re committed to privacy. The free version of the VPN service doesn’t track what you browse while you’re online (neither does the paid version) and we found it to be a simple to use, well-designed app. The free version has data caps and if you use free Wi-Fi often, you’ll want to consider the paid version. We think it’s worth it.
Just turn it on and “tunnel” yourself to another IP.
Opera VPN is a free unlimited VPN proxy that lets you browse from different locations around the world. Just turn on the VPN, choose your country of choice and start surfing privately. Use it every time you use a free, unsecured Wi-Fi network while you’re out and about or on the go. Opera VPN also lets you block ad trackers from following you around the web.
You can switch where you’re browsing from easily, by country. Unlock more locations with the paid service.
Betternet VPN | Android | iOS |
When you use the free option, you get an optimal location as chosen by Betternet.