PUBLIC Wi-Fi may seem a great idea – after all everyone likes something for free – but it may actually not be such a smart move unless you take a few steps to protect your precious data.

The best and most secure way to make sure you keep all your personal details secure is to sign on to a Virtual Private Network (VPN) that will give you access to a VPN server list.

There are servers all round the world which you can connect to via your android or Apple smartphone and protect your information from prying eyes.

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SMART MOVE: VPN services increase security

But why is this so critical? When it comes down to it, a public connection is really not very secure and it has been known for hackers to make use of such networks as a route into the heart of your device.

And that means potentially giving criminals access to your bank account details, personal information , browsing habits – in fact a wealth of detail about every facet of your life.

A VPN is the route to keeping your data, browsing activity and location private. So, for example, if you are in the USA you can choose to connect to the internet via a server in Australia.

Your IP address (which identifies the user) will show up as being from Australia.

So, if you are surfing the web or watching YouTube for example, it will be impossible to tell from the server’s IP address who or where you are.

And as a nice bonus this also has the effect of fooling region-based sites and web services into thinking you are actually in any country you choose when you could in fact be on the other side of the globe.

This means that you can access sites like the BBC iPlayer – which is locked for UK only access – from wherever you are in the world.

When it comes to choosing a VPN service, there is plenty of choice out there. There are some free options, but as is so often the case, you get what you pay for.

Those people wanting a seamless user experience with the very best security features are advised to look at paying for a reputable option.

This way, not only will you be confident that your data is secure, but also know that your service provider has the resources to deal with any technical issues and offers first-rate customer support.

They also add features such as the ability to ‘hop’ between servers – routing your connection through several different servers in differing countries – to further enhance security.

This makes paid-for VPNs a critical internet security tool to have on your smartphone – and not just when you are on a public connection such as at McDonald’s.

For example your workplace might have firewall restrictions such as a block on Facebook – a VPN can help get you round this.

For whatever reason, whether for security or to overcome regional restriction, VPNs are powerful, popular and secure tools to keep control of your precious data and hide your location

The best ones are fast, secure, safe, offer encryption and are P2P friendly for sharing files with family, friends and colleagues.

If you are concerned about internet privacy on your smartphone, they are a must-have.

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