Public Wi-Fi seems to be a great blessing, but it is actually a security threat in disguise. Are you interested in knowing the reason?
Well, public Wi-Fi is not just an attraction for internet users, it is also a favourite spot of cybercriminals and predators. Hackers use various ways to steal users` data on public Wi-Fi. They track your online activities on the network and may send malware to your device while being on the same network.
Some cybercriminals also create fake hotspots and or public Wi-Fi networks by mimicking the names of well-known businesses. Their purpose is again to hack the devices and steal users` data. Remember, once your data is in the hands of cybercriminals, it can be used in several illegal activities.
Does this mean that you should not use public Wi-Fi? Though it is better to avoid public Wi-Fi, you can use it safely by taking some necessary precautions.
Top 5 Tips for Staying Safe on Public Wi-Fi Networks
Here are some great tips for staying safe on public Wi-Fi networks.
1. Opt for Authentic Public Wi-Fi
If you are using public Wi-Fi, make sure you opt for an authentic one. Usually, predators and cybercriminals create fake public networks, and if you won’t be cautious, you can fall prey to them.
It is recommended to prefer using password-protected public Wi-Fi. This will ensure that your host is genuine. But not all public Wi-Fi uses a password. Most of them are open networks. In this case, it is better to confirm the network`s name, with an authorized person, before connecting to it.
2. Secure Your Devices
Device security is a must precaution to protect your data. Whether you are using secured connections or opting for public Wi-Fi, you cannot risk your data with unprotected devices. Your device security particularly becomes crucial when you are using open public networks.
To protect your device, install an up-to-date version of antimalware and antivirus software. It will track all the activities on your device and alert you if something is suspicious. It also scans incoming data to your device and alerts you if there is any security glitch in it. The firewall is another essential feature for your device security, and it must be enabled especially while using public Wi-Fi.
3. Browse Safely
No matter how secure your device is, you must be cautious while browsing with public Wi-Fi. It is recommended to avoid signing in to social media platforms while using public Wi-Fi. All monetary transactions, especially those including your Pin or bank password, should never be carried out through open and unsafe networks.
4. Use Encrypted Websites
If you are using public Wi-Fi, make sure you only land on encrypted websites. All websites beginning with HTTP and carrying a lock symbol in their address bar are encrypted sites. This means, all your transactions to and fro the site is protected and is not open for third parties.
Though using encrypted sites does not protect data at your end, it ensures that you are not landing on phishing links and sites containing malware. Phishing links are particularly more frequent while using public Wi-Fi and pop up on your screens as important updates. So you must be extra cautious and properly check web addresses, before clicking on it.
5. Install VPN
VPN, or Virtual Private Network, is the most secure way of browsing the internet. It provides an encrypted tunnel for all your online activities and protects your data from spies and predators.
If you have no choice than to use a public Wi-Fi, for your important transactions and file sharing, then using a reliable VPN is the only safest option you have. VPN not only secures your data but also disguises your identity and location. This makes it almost impossible for cybercriminals to trace you and spy your activities.
It is not possible to completely avoid public Wi-Fi, especially when it is easily accessible and saving your money. It is okay to use it occasionally, but with caution. You cannot be 100 percent sure, about your online safety, while using these open and free networks. But you can maximize your safety, by being cautious and using appropriate tools and software.
Author Bio: Susan Alexandra is a small business owner, traveler and investor of cryptocurrencies. She is just another creative writer helping to create the kind of information that young people want.
Susan is a guest blogger, all opinions are her own.