Sunday

11 TIPS TO STAY SAFE ON FREE PUBLIC Wi-Fi HOTSPOT

Now these days most of the hotels, coffee shops, libraries, airports, universities and other public places are offering free Wi-Fi option for the convenience of their customers and also to attract customers. In this way number of free public Wi-Fi hotspots is growing day by day. But every hotspot is not secure. Some feel that it is convenient to have Wi-Fi is connected to their mobiles or laptops or tablets while they are having their lunch or coffee in a shop, which helps them to surf on net and avoid going over their cellular data limits.                     

If you connect to a Wi-Fi network and send information through websites or mobile apps, it might be accessed by someone else.  Some shops will have a firewall in their wireless routers to protect you, but it doesn’t mean that you are protected from other people connected to the same network. If you are not careful about using free public Wi-Fi, strangers can snoop your data and information like email, social network conversations and also the valuable bank information also.

If you want to protect your data and keep your information secure, then follow these tips to have secure web surfing over public free Wi-Fi hotspots…… 

Tips to Stay Safe on Free Public Wi-Fi Hotspot:

1. LOOK YOUR SURROUNDINGS: 


All threats in this Digital world are not always technical threats. Stealing of information sometimes may occur in silly ways. When you are surfing on net while sitting in a public place like Hotels, busy airport lounge a hacker or snoop could be looking over your shoulder hoping that you may reveal your credit card number, username or password.

It may be some times lead to serious consequences. So you must carefully verify your surroundings to check no person is looking over your shoulder for your information.

2. TURN OFF SHARING:

In your home all devices are connected to single network where you will share files, printers, documents between one another in the same network or you will be allowed to remote login from other computers in that network. It is ok if you are in your own private network. But, when you are connected to public Wi-Fi hotspot there is chance, that others who are connected to that same network can hack into your device and access your data.

So you must conform once before connecting to public networks, that the sharing is disabled in your device by changing settings. In windows you can change these settings in the network and Internet settings in control panel.

3.  ENABLE FIREWALL:


Now these days most operating systems include built-in firewall, which will check and verify incoming and outgoing connections. Firewall protects your system from others who are trying to get it into your system. By default firewall will be in enabled position in every system. But check once whether your system Firewall is active or inactive. If firewall is turned off mode then make it turn on. Firewall does not provide complete protection but it warns you about unsecure connections. 

4. HAVE UPDATED ANTI-VIRUS SOFTWARE:

Anti-virus gives your device complete protection from virus. Anti-virus, Anti-Spyware will protect your system and gives complete protection over internet also. They inform you when any new suspicious actions occur in your system. Anti-Virus shows an alert message when known and dangerous malware and viruses are loaded into your PC and there are any modifications to registry files. So, make sure that your Anti-Virus is up-to date while you are accessing net over public Wi-Fi hotspot.

5. BE SURE ABOUT NETWORK NAME:

When you enter any hotels, airports, shopping malls there is chance of having fake public Wi-Fi hotspots, which are provided by some people with bad intention and that right skills to hack into your PC. Connecting to those fake Wi-Fi networks could place your device into the hands of evil people. If you want to connect to a public Wi-Fi network in any restaurants or something, confirm once with the employees working there about the official Wi-Fi network because they would know that correctly. This is important to check for the official Wi-Fi network of that public place.

6. HAVE A VPN: 


VPN refers to “Virtual Private Network”. VPN enables computer to send and receive data across public networks by extending a private network across public network. VPN provide security by using tunneling protocols and encryption. VPN routes all your activities through a separate private network. Both paid and free VPN services available, but paid VPN service provides guaranteed security than free VPN service.

Make sure that you have set up a VPN in your device before connecting to a public Wi-Fi hotspot network so that your information is secured.

7. HTTPS EXTENSIONS AND SSL: 


You know that websites with HTTPS protocol is more secure than websites with HTTP protocol, because HTTPS websites transfer data with the help of encryption technique where as HTTP websites transfer plain text which can be easily accessed by others. For those websites with HTTP protocol, we can make them HTTPS and transfer encrypted messages with the help of HTTPS extensions and plug-ins which can be integrated to web browsers. 
 
And also use SSL (Secure Sockets Layer), which will securely transfer sensitive information like credit card number, login data and other valuable information by establishing encryption link between client and server.

Some HTTPS extensions are: “HTTPS everywhere, Script safe…. Etc.,

8. DISABLE AUTOMATIC CONNECT OPTION:

Your smart phone, laptop and tablets may be set to connect automatically whenever there are any free public Wi-Fi networks available. This will connect your device to any open Wi-Fi network without any prior permission from you.  But this may lead your device connecting to unsecure and malicious networks which are specifically employed for stealing information form users.  So, before going out to any place make sure that automatic connecting to Wi-Fi networks feature in your device is disabled in order to secure your device from attacks. 

9. IMPLEMENT TWO-FACTOR AUTHENTICATION:


Many important and popular websites and services provide you an excellent login option called “Two-factor Authentication” to login into your account. In this Two Factor Authentication you need to have password and another piece of information to login into your account. That piece of information may be code to your mobile or mail or you receive you code by a call. If anybody has got your password by tracking your transactions through public Wi-Fi loop hole, they cannot login into your account without code you receive in your device. So, implement two factor authentications to your accounts.

10. STOP ONLINE BANKING AND SHOPPING:  

While you are outside and using public Wi-Fi hotspot for browsing avoid online banking and online shopping. Although the banking apps use SSL in order to protect your information from theft. But it is safe for us to wait until you reach your home, where you can perform your online transactions. If it is an urgent case, at that time you use your mobile network instead of using free public Wi-Fi network to stay safe. This will save your money being theft by hacking you bank accounts. 

11. MAINTAIN UNIQUE PASSWORDS:

Do you maintain different passwords for different online accounts? It is good to have different and unique passwords for different online accounts you have. Because if any malicious person got one of your accounts password, then you can stop him getting access into other accounts of you. Especially if you have habit of accessing your accounts through public Wi-Fi networks, It is better to have unique passwords for different accounts you have. But keep track of all passwords you own.

For so many reasons I feel good to use mobile network, because anybody can’t track our information. So, avoid free public Wi-Fi hotspots as much as possible to stay safe. If I missed any tips to stay safe on public Wi-Fi networks, please comment below. Feel free to comment your queries and doubts, I will respond to you as soon as possible.   

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