As you’re probably aware, AT&T is heavily involved in the wifi business. They provide the technical infrastructure so that your local Starbucks can give you free wifi when you sit down with that latte and your laptop.
So you would think that AT&T probably knows something about how safe (or unsafe) it is to use their public wifi networks. They do know.
In AT&T’s Terms and Conditions (the one you probably don’t read) they literally state that any public wifi network, theirs included, is inherently unsafe. And the only thing that can protect you? According to AT&T, only a VPN can do that.
Reading the Fine Print
Maybe you are still wondering if you really need to get a VPN. Sure, it protects you from hackers, but maybe you still aren’t convinced that it’s really necessary.
Here’s what AT&T has to say about that:
The AT&T Wi-Fi network supports secure Virtual Private Network (VPN) access. If you have a VPN, AT&T recommends that you connect through it for optimum security.
Or maybe you’re one of the millions of people who still believe that public wifi comes with some sort of protection. Nope. Here’s what AT&T says about their own wifi networks:
If you do not typically use a VPN, the unsecured nature of any public hotspot technology does enable technically astute people to capture data packets from your wireless device to/from the Internet.
Planning on logging into your online bank account while using that public wifi network? AT&T strongly recommends against it:
Be aware that your surfing activities may be monitored in a public hotspot. It is advisable not to access any secure site such as on-line banking sites, portfolio management or other web sites supporting your personal data. Email access may be at risk as well.
Finally, they say the following:
AT&T suggests you do not access any Internet web site or service where personal or private information will be provided.
Keep in mind that this includes websites like Facebook, LinkedIn, Amazon, Twitter, Gmail, banking websites, health websites, search engines, and so on.
How many websites do you access in which you enter personal or private information? Probably a lot. You don’t have to take it from us. If AT&T and other wifi network providers are telling you that their networks are inherently unsafe and that you need a VPN to stay safe, then maybe it’s time to listen.