In the moment, you may not feel threatened as you check your email, watch YouTube videos, pay bills or browse your favorite websites. But, the truth is, cyber crime is growing at a frighteningly rapid pace.
There may be malware lurking behind those suspicious links and ads, phishing scams can trick you into entering private information into a fake website, keyloggers can track every character you type, and more.
That's why it's never a good idea to use public Wi-Fi, especially if you're not being extremely cautious. But it sure is tempting, isn't it? While you're sipping coffee at a Starbucks or waiting for your plane at the airport, like anyone else, you want to jump on your smartphone, tablet or laptop to browse the Internet.
Because there are so many threats that could infect a network with viruses, or expose private information to unwanted individuals, many networks block certain types of content to reduce those risks. But there are ways to get around this, while still keeping yourself safe.
One of the best ways to keep your browsing secure is by using a Virtual Private Network, or VPN. A VPN works by encrypting your connection, which keeps your activity private. It also hides your physical location and IP address when you browse.
A VPN service lets you create an encrypted connection with one of its servers and you use that server to browse the Internet. The connection is encrypted through the server, so the VPN can't see your traffic either. Here's a diagram that helps explain it.
We've talked about VPNs before on Komando.com. There are various programs, like VyprVPN and TunnelBear that you can download. But there's another free VPN program we want you to know about.
Opera - a web browser that you've probably heard of, but never used - has just upped its game when it comes to online privacy. The company has been testing a free VPN with a built-in ad blocking program for the browser.
The new VPN app has just been launched for iOS. It's called Opera VPN, and it has no restrictions on the amount of data you use.
Opera VPN uses the SurfEasy VPN service, which was purchased by Opera last spring. SurfEasy has several other standalone apps, but typically charges a subscription fee or includes ads within the app itself. Opera VPN, however, does not have a subscription fee or ads.