Know Foursquare? As the company itself puts it, “Discover and share great places with friends. Over 30 million people use Foursquare to make the most of where they are. Discover and learn about great places nearby, search for what you’re craving, and get deals and tips along the way. Best of all, Foursquare is personalized. With every check-in, we get even better at recommending places for you to try.”

Cool! But how does it work?

Foursquare is a location-based social networking website for mobile devices such as smartphones. Users “check in” at venues using a mobile website, text messaging or a device-specific application by selecting from a list of venues the application locates nearby. Location is based on GPS hardware in the mobile device or network location provided by the application. Each check-in awards the user points and sometimes “badges.”

People who use Foursquare are “portable” by nature—in other words, they move around a lot. They also thrive on, and feel the need to connect to, some form of wireless, either on their mobile or their laptop. As a result, Foursquare has become a great tool to find either a free wireless connection or one that requires a password, and that password is available in the comments on Foursquare location listings such as those for coffee shops and restaurants.

Frankly, I don’t use Foursquare like others do because I don’t like telling the world where I’m at. But I do use it to seek out a WiFi connection and its required password.

Another option to get WiFi passwords via Foursquare is to use another app called 4sqwfi in tandem. The 4sqwfi app uses Foursquare’s API and its user-generated venue tips, and its algorithm filters and displays only the relevant venues.

Keep in mind that with all this WiFi use, you want to protect your information. Use a free VPN for WiFi security like Hotspot Shield. It creates a virtual private network (VPN) between your laptop or iPhone and your internet gateway. This impenetrable tunnel prevents snoopers, hackers and ISPs from viewing your web browsing activities, instant messages, downloads, credit card information or anything else you send over the network.

Robert Siciliano is an Identity Theft Expert to Hotspot Shield VPN. He is the author of 99 Things You Wish You Knew Before Your Identity Was Stolen See him discussing internet and wireless security on Good Morning America. Disclosures.

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