Is Free Internet Better than a Paid Subscription?

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If you’re on a really tight budget that doesn’t allow much for a paid internet subscription, you may be considering how to get the internet for free. There are a few ways to do so. But anyone wishing to do this should be aware of the repercussions.

Illegal Means of Connecting to the Internet for Free

If you live in a building where others have a connection, and you ‘tap into’ that connection by signing on to one of the open networks, you could be charged with signal theft.

Charges for signal theft vary widely, but will probably mostly depend on what was done online while stealing a signal.  If downloading copyrighted content like games, movies or music was done, additional fines for copyright infringement could be applied.

It is also against the terms of service for two (or more) households to purposely share one internet subscription in order to split the cost.  Should the internet provider learn of you and a neighbor sharing a connection, they may take legal action against you both.

Legal Options to Connect for Free

You’ll find a few sites online which offer what they call ‘free’ internet. But there are inconveniences.  Some free companies will force you to endure banner advertising during your surfing sessions, since the company must generate some kind of revenue due to the fact that they don’t charge users for internet service.

Other companies may only offer a certain amount of free internet, such as 20 hours per month. If the company offers a connection in the form of dial-up, watch for numbers listed on their site that may result in long distance charges on your phone bill.

Public Wi-Fi Considerations

Public Wi-Fi can be found everywhere in most major cities that you happen to roam. But even in a setting that seems peaceful and not very crowded with people, accessing public Wi-Fi means that your internet-enabled device may not be protected from hackers.

For instance, if you log into a hotspot without having to enter a password, chances are that it’s not secure. Similarly, not confirming a venue’s network name before you access the network could result in your information being easily obtained. Some hackers will create networks that look legitimate, but are actually designed to lure you to log on. They can then take control of your computer for various purposes, including attacks on sites which harbor sensitive data.

You can protect your information from being viewed or stolen by others by simply being aware of a few points. You can set your device to block incoming traffic and disable any sharing of files. Installing a program which remembers your passwords will keep key loggers at bay. If possible, waiting until you’re on a more secure network, such as the one in your home, to conduct any banking or shopping with a credit card is another way to avoid having your information stolen.

Benefits of a Paid High Speed Internet Subscription

Considering that free and otherwise unsecured networks offer no protection against viruses, identity theft and remote system takeovers, having a secured connection with a paid provider can offer you many more benefits. In addition, most ISPs offer security suites which include firewalls and the scanning of incoming messages and files so that you’re protected no matter what you may do online.

About the Author

Guest blogger Ruth Suelemente enjoys helping consumers understand their options available in broadband. She recommends www.highspeed-internet-providers.com as a useful resource for educating yourself.

Photo credit: Marcela Palma

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