Whilst Wi-Fi is undoubtedly incredibly useful for modern businesses and web users seeking to access the Internet when out and about, many people don’t realize that it can also pose quite a substantial security risk. That’s why we’ve written this piece focusing on the different ways in which you can keep your device secure whilst using a public WIFI spot, whether you’re using a new HP or a new Lenovo laptop tablet combo or a standard smartphone.
How to Stay Safe Anytime Your Are using Public Wi-Fi
Turn off the sharing features
It’s important to edit your sharing settings before you log onto any public Wi-Fi. Not doing so may allow anyone else using it to potentially access your computer or mobile device.
Things that should be turned off include remote logins and the sharing of any music, printers or files. These can all be stopped by accessing the advanced sharing settings within the Network and Internet Settings in the control panel. On Macs, it’s a matter of simply going to system preferences, then to the Sharing tab and un-checking all of the options.
Use a VPN
A Virtual Private Network routes the traffic through a secure connection even when the actual web is powered by a public Wi-Fi, making it perfect for helping to increase the security of a the computer. Preferably, a paid Wi-Fi is a good idea for anyone that wants to absolutely guarantee security but there are also some free half-decent ones out there.
Don’t connect automatically
Many modern smartphones actually connect automatically to the nearest Wi-Fi hotspot without asking, which should be avoided. Double check the Wi-Fi settings of your handset to make sure that any options to disable auto-connection are turned off. Not doing so could theoretically mean that your device automatically connects to a malicious network without you realising.
Try and use HTTPS
HTTPS is a form of encryption that many websites use in order to keep the connection secure. (For instance, it’s used by banks and online retailers, who have to be safe if they’re to maintain the trust of their customers). Fortunately, there is an actual browser plugin that enables users to use an HTTPS connection every single time they visit a website. It’s called HTTPS Everywhere and it’s highly recommended for those that use public Wi-Fi frequently.
Use two-factor identification where possible
Two-factor identification has become more and more frequent in recent months, with companies keen to enhance their security processes. Two factor simply involves requiring two passwords to log-in, with a standard password usually matched with a code being sent to the user’s phone, which is then entered in. Without the user’s phone, a hacker will be unable to log into a two factor account, upping the security of it considerably.
Make sure you double check the network name
Anyone who regularly checks into free Wi-Fi will know that there are usually a number of different networks ready to go. It’s important to make sure that you don’t log into a fake one. Someone trying to catch people out in McDonalds (to use a hypothetical example) might set up a network called ‘MacD Wi-Fi’ in the vicinity of one of the restaurants. Those that think they’re using a legitimate hotspot would then log-in to a malicious network without realizing. Always double check that you’re connecting to the right network.
I know these tips are just few among many that you can use, but I have to leave the decision to you now! So, what are other effective security technique you’ve used in the past that worth sharing?