The Internet has become an essential tool in our every day lives. Whether it's using the Internet for work, leisure, or online shopping, many people underestimate the dangers of using a public Wifi network. But if everyone is doing it, is it safe to connect to any Wifi? The answer to this question depends on the proactive measures you are taking. Here are 4 ways to protect yourself on public Wifi from Internet hackers.
1. Beware of "Open" Networks Most of the Wi-Fi connections we connect to lack password protection. This may seem like a blessing when you are sitting in a café and you wish to use the internet, but this is a potential issue. Connections that lack password protection also lack security, and this way anyone connected to the internet connection can look into the data you are sending between your laptop/smartphone and the router.
2. Use Encryption It's not too difficult for a hacker to setup a connection between your device and the router. This person can go through everything that you are searching on the internet while you are connected to your device. Workaround and Solution
This is an easy fix; you can use encryption by simply using HTTPS instead of HTTP. The “S” denotes secure which can help you keep your privacy while surfing the internet. Websites that require your login information such as Facebook and Gmail already use this protocol, so you don't have to worry about those connections not being encrypted. However, some websites lack this functionality. Be mindful of this. If you are paying for something online, NEVER use HTTP. Transactions ALWAYS should use HTTPS.
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3. Use a VPN VPN or a virtual private network is a must have when it comes to using the internet on a public Wi-Fi. A VPN can help keep you stay safe by keeping your identity secure and also adding encryption onto the data that is being exchanged between the device and the router.
4. Disable the Auto-Connect Feature Make sure you disable the auto-connect feature to minimize the threat of network spoofing that can occur if an intruder tries to create a fake hotspot and makes you connect to the hotspot without your consent. Also, make sure you confirm the exact name of a public Wi-Fi connection before connecting to it.
Taking these measures can ensure your information and computer security is protected. As the number of hackers increase in numbers and skill, you can never be too careful or assume you're safe online in the public domain.
NE-INC is a local Indiana-based IT company, and has helped hundreds of businesses plan, build, and manage their technical setup.