Wi-Fi hotspots in airports, hotels, coffee shops, subways etc. may seem to be a convenient way to access the internet but these networks are not configured properly to safeguard your personal and financial information. Often, you do not even need a password to connect to these public networks, which makes them likely to be used by cybercriminals as well. Any information you send or receive through these networks may be altered, accessed or pilfered without your knowledge.
You should avoid using public Wi-Fi networks in the first place but in case it is absolutely necessary to do so, here are some security rules that should be followed:
Turn Off Sharing
When you are using a public network, make sure you disable sharing of files, printers and music library. This will prevent other users on the same network from accessing your personal information, particularly if it are not password protected. You should also turn off network discovery, so that your computer is not included in the list of connected devices, minimizing the risk of a potential attack.
Turn on your operating system’s firewall to prevent unauthorized access to your computer. Many windows devices automatically enable firewall during initial setup. However, you must check your computer’s settings to ensure that the firewall is turned on.
Look For Secure Browser Extensions
Many websites transmit information in plain text over the network you are connected to. This allows the hackers to easily steal the information and use it for malicious purposes. When you use websites that start with ‘HTTPS’, it means that all the data between your computer and the web server is end-to-end encrypted. Thus, even if a data breach occurs, the information will be of no use to the hacker unless he has the decryption key.
Use A Virtual Private Network
To increase your security on public Wi-Fi networks, you can consider using a virtual private network (VPN). It will encrypt your network connection and hide your IP address so that you can access the internet anonymously. By using a VPN, you can have the security of a private network, while protecting all your sensitive information from online attacks. You can also enable private browsing or incognito mode so that your browsing details are not stored on the network.
For more information on public Wi-Fi security, feel free to contact Centex Technologies. We can be reached at (972) 375 – 9654.