With the AT&T data cap and 3G connection speeds being generally questionable, it’s tempting to connect your iPad or iPhone to free public WiFi at any opportunity. The problem with this is public WiFi security is frequently suspect. By connecting your iPhone at Starbucks, for instance, you open yourself up to potential security risks. Open WiFi networks are a perfect place for someone to steal your username and password info from just about any account you connect with. Instead of performing the data equivalent of unprotected sex with a complete stranger, you can make your own public WiFi security choices by wrapping your data in a virtual private network.
To secure your iPhone or iPad data on a free public WiFi connection, you need to configure a VPN, which you can do for free. You need to a have a separate Internet connection available while configuring your phone, so best to do this while sitting at your desk at work or from your home computer. Simply follow these steps to get instant public WiFi security on your iPhone or iPad:
First, turn off WiFi on your iPhone.
Next browse to the VPN settings in the iPhone Settings by going to Settings > General > Network > VPN > Add VPN Configuration
Go to Hotspot Shield to get a free VPN username and password, then configure the following settings:
Select the IPSec tab/pane
Account: [Click “Get Account ID” button at the Hotspot Shield site]
Password: [Click “Get Account ID” button at the Hotspot Shield site]
Use Certificate: OFF
Group Name: hss
The Server IP address listed above may be different than the one listed on the Hotspot Shield site, be sure to use the one they provide at the time you configure your iOS device. Once you finish entering the settings, save them. Then you need to activate your VPN connection from the iPhone (or iPad) Settings page home menu. Turn the VPN on. Once you have activated your VPN, you can turn WiFi back on, connect to the free public WiFi connection, and browse safely knowing your data isn’t exposed to a public WiFi security hole.