Public wifi can be very public
you are probably among the growing number of people who connect to public WiFi at the coffee shop,in an airport,or while you are out for shopping.No matter if its called public hotspot or "open wifi" the risks are the same.In this world there is nothing for free.I am not blaming all those who providing public wifi access.But there is a change that you are connecting to a potentially unsecured network where hackers can literally grab your information straight from the airwaves
The media now this days are full of stories about what can happen next.Your personal information including bank accounts,social media profiles,email accounts might be get compromised.Besides the potential for fraud ,the loss of money,the time it can take you to recover and clean up your identity will be big.
Below are the few steps you can follow
1. Connect to a trusted network
It is very frequent for malicious people to set up fake open wi-fi networks so as to attract innocents who would connect and navigate through their Facebook and/or bank account, unknowingly giving away their account information.
These people tend to create very general SSIDs such as Free Public Wi-Fi. Please avoid using such wi-fi networks for your internet banking or social networks.Dont trust 100% free/Open network.Nothing is free in this world!
The chances of if being a fake network are very high. Most serious networks have WPA2, WPA or WEP types of encryption that don’t allow everyone to connect.
2. Prioritize WPA2 encryption
Networks have different types of security protocols and certifications which allow your network to send encoded data from your device to the router. Choosing the weakest makes your device unsecured, thus, try to connect to a WPA2 encrypted network which is the safest. If that’s not possible, then another good option is WPA, and finally connect to a WEP encrypted network (the least secured). It’s also a good idea to set up your home router with WPA2 encryption.
3.Never access your bank or credit card information out of a trusted network
Wi-Fi hotspots are never 100% secure, thus, never access your bank account or use your credit cards while using public Wi-Fi. It is also a good idea to avoid using the same user/password combination in any other website.
4. Use SSL and HTTPS encryption
SSL (Secure Socket Layer) is a type of encryption which can be used whenever you navigate on the web. It encrypts your browsing information by adding an extra layer of protection. In order to use it, you only need to add an s after the http in the URL block, like this:
Sadly, not every website allows SSL type encryption. Nevertheless, the vast majority of the banking websites, social networks and e-mail clients do support SSL.
5. Always use firewall/Antivirus/Anti-Spam software
There are a lots of risks in using a Wi-Fi hotspot. You never know who else is connected to the same network and if someone is trying to monitor, or even worse, break into your computer’s services. A good way to keep your computer secure is by always having your firewall, antivirus and anti-spam software updated.
6. Password protect your files
If someone is able to reach your computer, it is a good idea to password protect your files, so that they can’t snatch your information. Some operating systems come with a feature that allows this, but there are also programs like TruCrypt for laptops, Gallery Lock Pro and File Cover for Android and Lockdown Pro and Locktopus for iOS among others.
Of course, you cannot have absolute security, but now you have the power to avoid the most common threats. Enjoy and Happy browsing !
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