How to Stay Safe on Free Public Wi-Fi
Free public Wi-Fi might sound convenient, but the truth is that it isn’t as innocent as it looks. Public Wi-Fi networks should be treated with great caution. If the above statement has generated questions, below you will find all the answers you are looking for. The threats of using public Wi-Fi networks without any protection barrier are multiple. In this article we will discuss some examples of threads that users could face when connecting to public networks, and we will also see how users can protect themselves against hackers and other online threads.
According to Forbes,“Con artists and hackers know it is fairly easy to confuse people when they are looking for free Wi-Fi. They hope you will pick their fake when you peruse the list of available networks (aka SSIDs).”
It’s easy for hackers to take control of a Wi-Fi router, when it is not properly configured, which will let them to watch your data stream by.
The scammer sets up a network with a similar Wi-Fi network name hoping that the user will accidentally click on that option instead of the official one. If the official name is Airport_WiFi, they would create a network and name it WiFi_Airport, for example, in an attempt to create confusion.
In such a case it’s not easy to identify the trick unless you pay attention to the details on the signs.
Some locations and areas do not have a Free Wi-Fi available at all. Scammers would create a SSID and name it Free_WiFi in order to trick users who are looking for a free internet connection.
6 Steps to Keep Your Device Secure On Public Wi-Fi
Step 1: Make sure you stay away from any site asking for your personal data, and of course don’t forget that financial transactions on public Wi-Fi is a big no.
Step 2: The Wi-Fi network you are about to connect to should have an official login page. If it doesn’t, this might be a red flag.
Step 3: Use secured websites, meaning that the first part of the URL should start with HTTPS, instead of HTTP. If there is no S at the end, you should not use it.
Step 4: Install a powerful Antivirus. Most antiviruses and security programs block malware, viruses and other threads that can plant bad software on your devices for later access to your personal data.
Step 5: Keep your firewall always enabled, especially when you are connected to a public Wi-Fi network.
Step 6: Use a Virtual Private Network (VPN). A VPN protects your journey between the starting point and the website. VPNs automatically encrypt all your web traffic, change your IP, and prevent cybercriminals from tracking your fingerprints on the internet. VPN basically sends all your traffic over an encrypted connection, which means that not even the official network administrators will be able to see what you are doing.