Connecting to Public Wi-Fi May Lead to Becoming a Victim for Hackers: More on Ways to Prevent This - Baltimore Post-ExaminerBaltimore Post-Examiner

Connecting to Public Wi-Fi May Lead to Becoming a Victim for Hackers: More on Ways to Prevent This

In a recent worldwide survey performed by Norton, a popular computer security company, 60 percent of consumers stated they felt their information was safe on a public Wi-Fi network. Unfortunately, public Wi-Fi is dangerous when accessed via an unsecured device like a mobile phone, tablet, or laptop computer.

Public Wi-Fi networks are currently desperately lacking in security, and anyone who connects to them is putting themselves at risk for a personal data breach. Hackers can intercept information transmitted via public Wi-Fi networks, making them privy to all data that is being sent. If a hacker manages to get access to a public connection you are using, they can access anything you send across it, including passwords, emails, credit card numbers, etc.

While most public Wi-Fi users would be horrified to learn that their information has been stolen or their privacy has been invaded, 87 percent of consumers take the chance and put their data at risk.

Accessing Public Wi-Fi with Security in Mind

The dangers are indeed lurking on public Wi-Fi networks, yet consumers still use them at a very high rate. Many argue that they need access to work or for other urgent matters. It is undeniable that there are instances that create the necessity to use a public, unsecured network. Here are a few ways to protect yourself when you absolutely must use public Wi-Fi networks.

Use a Virtual Private Network (VPN)

The best advice for those who find themselves frequently accessing unsecured public Wi-Fi networks is to download a VPN to their devices. VPN is the only way to confidently access a public Wi-Fi network.

VPN acts as a protective tunnel, allowing data to go back and forth through the tunnel securely. If you use your device frequently for work and utilize public Wi-Fi, consider encouraging your employer to provide a VPN to ensure no company data is compromised. Moreover, a VPN is a solution for Android and iOS devices.

Always Use HTTPS

Enable the “Always Use HTTPS” function on your browser and device settings. HTTPS provides a secured version of websites that encrypts information going back and forth from that website. It is vital that you access the secured HTTPS version of websites if any type of log-in or credential is required.

Disable File Sharing

Ensure all your devices have the file sharing feature turned off when connected to unsecured networks. These features could allow other users of the same network to access your files and system, leaving you very vulnerable to a breach. Most systems allow you to pre-set preferences, turning on file sharing only when your device is connected to a known, secure network.

Avoiding Public Wi-Fi Is Best

While there are those who insist it’s impossible to avoid connecting to public Wi-Fi networks, the ultimate suggestion for safety is to eliminate using these networks altogether. As discussed earlier, there are ways to protect your devices and information if you must access a public Wi-Fi network. However, the only way to ensure total security is to avoid these networks. Here are two simple ways to avoid using public Wi-Fi altogether.

Supply Your Own Wi-Fi

There are two ways to accomplish bringing along your own Wi-Fi network. First, a mobile hotspot is a great option. Setting up your own mobile hotspot ensures a secure connection that can allow you to get things done on the road. While not necessarily budget-friendly, there are “pay as you use it” options that can lessen the burden.

Secondly, your mobile phone can be set up as a mobile hotspot. This turns your device into a secure wireless connection that utilizes your cellular data plan to connect. Obviously, you will need to keep track of any data usage restrictions your plan has.

Prepare Ahead of Time

Download emails and useful information before you leave to travel via a secured network. Then, you can work on projects while disconnected from Wi-Fi altogether. Some other options can allow you to function offline, like Google Drive offline. Take care of music playlists, videos, or movies ahead of time to discourage the temptation to quickly access an unsecured Wi-Fi network. Being prepared to be disconnected for a time is much safer than accessing risky public Wi-Fi networks.

A sage consumer avoids using public Wi-Fi at all costs. However, there are instances where desperation or emergencies require the use of such a network. It is imperative that some form of precaution, like using a VPN, is taken to protect your device from unwanted access.

 


About the author

COMMENT POLICY

HOME / ABOUT / CONTACT / JOIN THE TEAM / TERMS OF SERVICE / PRIVACY POLICY / COMMENT POLICY