Follow these 5 public Wi-Fi safety tips to stay secure on public networks.
by Susan Alexandra, Freelance Tech Writer
Public Wi-Fi is the main source of malware and data thefts. It is unavoidable in the current era to stay safe on public Wi-Fi but it’s not impossible. Public Wi-Fi is convenient and facilitates millions of people in many places. But what makes it risky?
Public Wi-Fi is free, so anybody can get connected with it. This could be anyone from regular users to cybercriminals. After all, a shared network is the easiest way of sending malware to all the connected devices and hacking their data. Besides, there is no encryption on public Wi-Fi, and all your transactions and data sharing through the network are open for predators and spies.
Tips for Staying Safe on Public Wi-Fi
1. Connect with Authentic Wi-Fi
Public Wi-Fis are not always hosted by reliable sources. There are high chances of fake Wi-Fi networks hosted by cybercriminals for malicious activities.
Therefore, it’s recommended to always opt for password-protected public Wi-Fi. It will eliminate the chances of getting connected with fake networks.
If there is no password-protected Wi-Fi available, confirm the network name with the staff members before connecting with it. Fake Wi-Fi often uses the name of an authentic business with just a slight variation to fool the users. Therefore, you must be extra vigilant.
2. Secure Your Devices
Device security is necessary to protect it with invading viruses and malware. But it becomes crucial when you are connected with public Wi-Fi.
It is essential to secure your devices with an up-to-date version of antimalware and antivirus software. It will protect your device from incoming viruses, and alert you in case of any malicious link or update. This software also scans your devices and informs you about any security risks in your system or data.
For further security of your device, enable the firewall on it. Its updates are a little annoying, but it is essential for your device security.
3. Use VPN
Public Wi-Fis are open networks, and anybody can see your transactions and activities on the web. It increases the chance of man-in-middle attacks and gives free space for spying and data theft. The only possible solution to this issue is using a VPN.
Virtual Private Network (VPN) provides an encrypted tunnel for all your online activities. It encrypts all your data and makes it impossible to decode for spies and cybercriminals. Another benefit of a VPN is that it disguises your identity and location and allows you to explore the internet as an anonymous person connecting with a remote server.
4. Limit Browsing
No matter how many layers of security you use for your device, public Wi-Fi is not a recommended place for sharing crucial data and critical files. So, avoid sharing any confidential information with public Wi-Fi.
To stay safe on public Wi-Fi, it is also essential to limit your browsing. It’s better to avoid using social media and other sites that require a password and carry your personal information. Monetary transaction and internet banking is a big no with public Wi-Fi.
5. Be Vigilant
Public Wi-Fi is the hub of scammers, so you need to be extra vigilant while using one. The chances of getting phishing emails and invading malware multifold when you are using a shared network. Therefore you have to be cautious while clicking any link. Always double-check the email receptionist and website address before opening it and avoid landing on unprotected sites.
For further protection, avoid installing any update for your system while using public Wi-Fi, as these updates usually contain viruses and bugs.
Public Wi-Fi is the favorite place for internet users, who don’t want to save the bucks on paid connections after all. At the same time, it is the most loved spot of cybercriminals, for they know they will quickly get their victims here.
Remember, once your data is in the hands of cybercriminals, they can use it for any malicious activities. So, you have no other option than to be cautious and take all necessary precautions, especially while using public Wi-Fi.
About the Author
Susan Alexandra is an independent contributing author at SecurityToday and Tripwire. She is a small business owner, traveler and investor in cryptocurrencies.