How do I make sure my data is secure when using open wifi?

Hi,

I will be traveling to Israel next month and have decided to use an international sim card (talk/text/data) while there. I may still use my republic sim when I can connect to wifi, but how do I know I’m secure when the only option is “open” wifi? While here at home, I usually just use cellular (if it’s available) when the only options are unsecured wifi or cellular. Should I use a VPN app, or does that even help at all?

Thanks.

Sorry your question hasn’t generated any responses in almost a day. When I am traveling and use public wifi… I try to limit it to searching for local info, etc. That should be safe to do on an open wifi network.

Here are some commercial VPN products that I saw online

Perhaps more members with VPN experience while traveling can chime in with their experiences.

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Thanks. Yes, If others would chime in that would be great.

When we were in England, wifi was spotty at best and hardly ever secure. I did not have to access any banking information during that trip, but I want to be able to–securely–if need be.

Others? VPN security? Or something else?

Honestly, in my mind, not really anything needed. Any banking app or bank website is going to use SSL encryption. So whether over an additionally encrypted connection, or over an open connection, the data is going to be encrypted.

Good point. Thank you. Banking sites use encryption.

But what about other sites, email, Facebook, and such? I don’t use social media much when traveling, but I do check email, text my family and such? Are all such passwords and information safe on an unsecured wifi network? There’s lots of information on the web that says it’s not.

When Google started punishing sites search results for not being secure, most sites moved to SSL encrypted. You can tell by looking at the address bar and looking for the lock icon. If using Chrome it will actually indicate “Not Secure” if the site is not SSL encrypted.

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So, (this is being asked sincerely and respectfully) all the tech sites that recommend a VPN when traveling are incorrect?

Thanks for hanging with this.

@louisdi and all.
Just a friendly FYI update. The discussion (linked below) addresses my concerns. It does seem there is good cause to be careful of using open wifi when transmitting sensitive data.

One more FYI for anyone with the same question(s) about open wifi and security of private information. This was shared in the conversation I linked to above, but I found it to be very helpful and wanted to give it a post of its own. Thanks to @jben for the original share.

FWIW, @louisdi, the article does bring up the points you shared along with some additional cautions. Thanks again. :vulcan_salute:

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There are so many VPN apps out on the Playstore that it is overwhelming. I use the add-on called “HTTPS Everywhere” on the Firefox browser, and you would be AMAZED at how many sites do not offer HTTPS! I started using it when they stopped security updates on my MOTO X1, but continued on using it on my Z3 Play, and my Windows 10 Desktop. I also use the add-on “UBLOCK ORIGIN” for ad blocking. I kind of wish they would merge these two add-ons into one. Good luck on finding a good/cheap/secure VPN app.

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