Are Phone Calls Over WiFi Hotspots Safe from Hackers?

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WiFi Calling MobileYou might have heard that the new iPhone 6 supports making phone calls over WiFi networks. Using WiFi networks to make calls is the next big thing for mobile phones.

But how safe is it to make phone calls using public WiFi hotspots? Are your calls being encrypted? And should you take any steps to protect yourself from WiFi hackers?

Welcome to WiFi Calling

Using WiFi networks to make mobile phone calls is known as WiFi Calling. WiFi Calling is the technology which allows packets of data from your cell phone to be transferred over the Internet, and then inserted back into your cellular network.

This is different from VoIP services like Skype, which also use the Internet to make phone calls, because with WiFi Calling, you can actually use your cell phone.

Many people are excited about WiFi Calling because if you use the Internet to make phone calls, those minutes don’t count against your mobile plan. And it also allows you to make phone calls if you are outside your mobile provider’s coverage area.

Apple is not the first company to use WiFi Calling; smaller phone companies like Republic have been doing it for some time now.

The technology is not quite seamless yet. There are some issues when a phone moves from a mobile network to a WiFi hotspot, as calls can be dropped. Still, the potential is there for using WiFi networks in the near future for many, if not most, of our phone calls.

Is WiFi Calling Safe?

First, the good news: yes, WiFi Calling is safe, even though your data (in this case, your voice) is being sent over possibly unsecure WiFi networks. That’s because your mobile carrier encrypts your voice, including when it’s sent over WiFi networks.

So even if your voice is sent over public WiFi hotspots, it’s being encrypted by your cell phone provider, and therefore useless to WiFi hackers.

However, some voice-over-WiFi apps bypass your mobile carrier and therefore may have no encryption. If you are using one of these apps, and your phone is connected to a public WiFi hotspot, you could be in danger of being overheard by WiFi hackers.

So if you are using a voice-over-WiFi app on your phone, play it safe by using a VPN like PRIVATE WiFi. PRIVATE WiFi encrypts all the data coming into and out of your phone, including your voice if you are using voice-over-WiFi apps.

WiFi Calling is the next big thing for your mobile phone, so make sure you are making the right call by protecting your private phone calls with PRIVATE WiFi.

 

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Jared Howe

Jared Howe is PRIVATE WiFi’s Senior Manager, Product Marketing Communications. Working in high tech for over 15 years, Jared currently lives in Seattle with his wife, daughter, and their two cats.