Is Public Wi-Fi Safe to Use?
It’s easy to access public Wi-Fi when you’re running errands, if you’re low on data or don’t have a data connection at all. Even so, this doesn’t mean you should treat a public Wi-Fi connection the same as you would use your secure connection at home or work…
The unspoken issue with public Wi-Fi
The network is open to anyone, be it a few people at a local coffee shop or thousands waiting to board their flight. What does the later describe? A hackers dream. In either situation you are not sure who has set up the network, or who has access to the data which it transfers.
Although banking can be done online, or through mobile banking apps you’ll want to rethink the network you’re using to do your banking. With public Wi-Fi networks especially, it’s easy for someone to intercept your data: passwords, usernames and personal information (hackers beware!).
If you’re not using a secure or trusted network you’ll want to think again. Here’s a fool proof guide to follow for using public Wi-Fi in a way that doesn’t compromise your safety or personal data.
Use a network you trust
It’s common to be in a public space and see a variety of public Wi-Fi networks to choose from. Think again before you choose the “Free Wi-Fi” network, it might have been setup by a hacker. Our rule of thumb is that if the network is not password protected then you should most likely stay away.
Use a VPN
A Virtual Private Network (VPN) is like a secure tunnel in the Internet. It allows you to enjoy the Internet like everyone else, while protecting data. While your online experience is virtually the same, the traffic (and your important data) is encrypted through a private network giving you the security you need on public Wi-Fi.
Encrypt your login information
One thing that hackers commonly look for is username and password information. This sounds scary, but don’t fret because it’s easy to solve with a password manager. A password manager stores all your account credentials with encryption and other cryptographic technologies to stop the bad guys from seeing your log-in information. There are many free options available that work for mobile and desktop.
Update your apps
It’s commonly known that security updates protect your PC from cyber threats, but what about your mobile devices and tablets? It’s a good idea to get in the habit of updating your apps regularly, too (on a trusted Wi-Fi network of course).
Use antivirus and anti-malware protection
Especially when you’re using your laptop, you’ll want to monitor the health of your computer. Websites can be malicious and infect your computer without you knowing, but using antivirus or anti-malware tools can help. We like Digital Care AntiVirus Complete because it covers all aspects that your computer needs to remain secure: web threats, malware removal and much more.
Not all public Wi-Fi is dangerous or a threat to your device or data, but it’s important to be cautious before taking advantage of the service. A good tip is to treat public Wi-Fi differently than the connection you know best.
April 22, 2016 / By: Claire