Today, more businesses offer Wi-Fi than ever before. It is not hard to find free Wi-Fi wherever you are in the country. However, you must understand the risks you are taking when using public Wi-Fi. Most public Wi-Fi hotspots are not secure and can expose your sensitive data to cybercriminals.
That is why you should know all the ways to stay safe on a public network.
Network Elites is a full-service IT firm specializing in cyber security services that help keep you and your family safe from cybercrime. Our tech experts can answer all questions about securing a public Wi-Fi connection and provide cloud and security services to your home or business.
Understand That Public Wi-Fi Is Not Secure
Many unsuspecting users of public Wi-Fi wrongly assume that all Wi-Fi networks are safe and secure. However, using public Wi-Fi networks leaves you vulnerable to malicious activity from hackers and other cybercriminals.
One of the reasons that this type of Wi-Fi is not secure is you cannot control things such as passwords and network security modes. These are things you can manage on a home network.
Places such as coffee shops and hotel rooms give out their Wi-Fi passwords to all their guests. In actuality, they can be giving out their passcode to cybercriminals, making their job easier.
A cybercriminal may hack your device for many reasons, such as blackmail, accessing credit card details and bank information, and more.
Another thing that cybercriminals will do is use your network as a front for illegal activity. This activity will trace back to your computer, leaving you at fault. Even worse, they may elect to steal your identity and spend your money.
Unfortunately, hacking is easier than ever with free online programs and mobile apps that make cybercrime easy for novice users. That is why you should research methods to keep your login credentials and other sensitive information safe.
Also, some places such as airports and shopping malls make you sign a virtual certificate before using their free public Wi-Fi. Accepting this certificate gives them access to some of your data and threatens your online privacy.
How To Encrypt Your Wi-Fi Network
Unfortunately, online users are at the mercy of the coffee shop and other businesses that use public Wi-Fi. However, there are a few precautionary steps you can take to secure your personal information and data.
Ensure a secure connection
Firstly, you should learn how to recognize secure websites.
One of the best indicators of a legitimate website is if its web address begins with HTTPS.
However, this does not mean that your personal information is safe. Scammers are experts in disguising illegitimate websites under the guise of a professional web address. When you use a public Wi-Fi network, only log in to reliable websites.
Use a virtual private network (VPN)
Another way to counteract suspicious activity is to take advantage of VPN services. A virtual private network may offer an encrypted platform to enhance your digital security. It makes your data invisible to hackers and other cybercriminals.
You can find a trustworthy VPN app in the Google Play store on Android devices and the App Store on Apple devices.
Use Mobile Data
If you have an unlimited data plan, it is always wise to use it to gain access to the internet without connecting to any public Wi-Fi networks.
If you are going to access private info such as bank statements and credit card information, always use mobile data. While it is not secure 100% of the time, it is safer than relying on public Wi-Fi networks.
Other Ways To Protect Your Public Wi-Fi Networks
There are some additional ways that you can enhance your public Wi-Fi security.
Sign out of your accounts
If you use public Wi-Fi, it is ideal to sign out of all your accounts on your mobile phone. It is easier for a hacker to intercept data when you log in to all your personal accounts on your mobile device.
Plus, if you leave your device unattended, lock your screen and close Google Chrome and other browsers so that no one can access your sensitive info.
Use unique passwords
One tip that you should take away from this blog is to never use the same password for multiple accounts. If you do, it makes the job of a scammer easier. It is wise to create unique passwords to keep your data secure.
Also, two-factor authentication is an additional security measure you can utilize to protect yourself when you use a public Wi-Fi hotspot.
With multi-factor authentication, not only will you have to enter your password, but you will have to verify your identity through a thumbprint or personal identification number. This process makes it harder for you to get scammed on public networks.
Do not look at bank or credit card information
You do not want to access financial information when you use public Wi-Fi. If a scammer is monitoring your data, leading them to your bank account information is unwise.
Plus, avoid online shopping or any site where you have to enter your credit card information. Cybercriminals can steal this information with ease.
Also, hackers may use illegal file share techniques that get you in trouble. If you have any copyrighted material on your computer, scammers may use file sharing to distribute it. This activity could put you in a legal struggle.
Check your device’s settings
Lastly, check your mobile device’s settings so that your electronics do not automatically connect to public operating systems. You can make this change on the system preferences tab.
Get More Wi-Fi Security Tips
You can never be too safe when it comes to wireless security. Being the victim of a cyber attack is a miserable existence for you and your family.
We provide consulting, management, and security services to our clients and help you build a secure network to keep you, your employees, and your family safe!
If you require any home or business IT services, call Network Elites at (214) 247-6962.