Add Verizon to the list of tech giants that can’t resist the temptation to offer their own virtual private network services. The carrier (and Engadget’s parent company) has released a Safe Wi-Fi app for Android that uses the encryption of a VPN to protect you against dodgy WiFi hotspots. Ideally, you won’t have to worry about a fake access point intercepting your data traffic at the airport or coffee shop. The app even blocks ad trackers that can lead to targeted marketing — yes, the telecom that got in trouble for aggressive ad tracking is now helping you avoid it.
There’s a recurring fee like with many apps, although the $4 per month you’ll pay is a bit of a bargain compared to other services. TunnelBear, for instance, amounts to $5 per month if you’re willing to pay on a yearly basis. The bigger gotcha may be the range of eligible devices. The app only secures up to 10 of the devices linked to your Verizon account. If you were hoping to use Verizon’s coverage for your WiFi-only tablet, you’ll have to look for a general-purpose alternative.