Using public WiFi

 

Staying connected is easier than ever. WiFi is available pretty much anywhere you go. Now that the summer travel season is upon us, you may find yourself needing to get online while you’re on the go. While public WiFi makes that easier, there are always security risks when you log on to a public network.

Here are Eight things to remember before you connect so you can keep your personal information out of the hands of cybercriminals.

One—There are two types of public WiFi networks – secured and unsecured.

A secure network means you have to do something to connect. This might mean putting in a password that has been provided for you by the establishment you’re at or that you have to register an account and/or agree to Terms and Conditions.

An unsecured network lets you sign on without doing anything other than selecting that network. Try to use a secured public network whenever possible.

Two—Don’t access your bank account, or any other account that contains sensitive data like your social security number, using public WiFi.

Even if you’re using a secure connection is not completely safe. It’s not worth risking your personal information if you don’t have to.

Three – Make sure Bluetooth is turned off on your device.

Bluetooth is handy for so many things – listening to music, connecting to our smart devices, and sharing data between devices. You need to be careful about that last one. While it might be great to share data between your phone and your laptop, youdon’t want to share that same data with a cybercriminal.

Four – Don’t shop online using public WiFi.

It can be so easy when we’re connected to a public network to forget that we can’t do everything. Some of your shopping apps, and saved logins, probably include your credit card information and address, along with your credentials for logging in.

Five – Use a SSL connection for the websites you visit.

It’s become fairly standard, but make sure the sites you visit start with HTTPS and not just HTTP. It’s a good idea to always make this a practice so when you go to that frequently visited site the HTTPS will be the one that comes up in your browser.

Six – Turn off file sharing.

If you have file sharing enabled on your mobile device be sure to turn it off while traveling. It’s unlikely you’ll need it and it’s easier to turn it on if you forget about it and end up sharing your files with a  hacker.

Seven – If you’re working while you’re traveling connect to a VPN (Virtual Private Network).

If you’re an employee, this is better for them and you. A VPN network allows you to hide your browsing activity from cybercriminals looking to access  your network. You can also purchase your own VPN to use when you need to work outside of the office.

Eight – Create your own personal hotspot with your mobile device.

If you don’t have an unlimited data plan this may cost you some extra money, but it may be worth the investment if you do need to access personal data while you’re on-the-go.