Do’s and Don’ts of Public Wi-Fi
Free public Wi-Fi can be a real lifesaver. Whether you’re in the airport, on a business trip, at a conference, or any other place with public Wi-Fi networks, it can help you stay connected. However, connecting to public Wi-Fi can have serious security risks. Here are some tips on how to stay safe on free public wifi networks.
Two Types of Public Wi-Fi
First, it’s important to understand that there are two types of public Wi-Fi networks; secured and unsecured.
Unsecured networks are networks that you can connect to without any kind of password or authorization. Also, they won’t have protections built into the network to prevent hackers. Unsecured networks lack cybersecurity measures that keep your information safe. Therefore, you need to be very cautious what information you are accessing when using an unsecured Wi-Fi network. Many experts recommend to never connect to unsecured networks because you are far too vulnerable. Your insta posts and reply all emails can wait a little while longer.
A secured network requires the user to agree to legal terms, use a password, or create an account to sign in. Secured networks with these login steps also have some added security features. These features are put in place by the owner of the Wi-Fi network (the airport, restaurant, hotel etc.) to offer a safe and usable service to their guests. However, even with these added security features you still need to be cautious when using public Wi-Fi, even if they are secured. Just because they are secured doesn’t mean you’re not vulnerable. The level of security that you’ll find on Wi-Fi networks will vary greatly. Thus, some will still be very insecure.
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Do’s and Don’ts of Public Wi-Fi
Here is a list compiled from the experiences of trained IT experts. In the list, you’ll find some hard and fast rules of how to stay safe when using free public Wi-Fi.
Don’ts of Public Wi-Fi
Access Bank Information
All public Wi-Fi networks can be hacked. These hacks could be simple spyware, which would allow hackers to see what you’re doing on your computer, or something more malicious like ransomware. Accessing your bank information can give them an easy entry into all of your finances. With a hack like this, the user would often be completely unaware that it’s taking place.
Access Sensitive/ Personal Information
Even with secured public Wi-Fi networks your sensitive information, like work emails or information about your children, can be accessed by hackers. Be very cautious of what you access or view while using free public Wi-Fi.
Entering in credit card information or your address can leave that information vulnerable to hackers. Even when you have your card information stored on your phone and it auto inserts into the site with all of the safe looking ****’s, that information can still be accessed by skilled hackers.
Leave Device In The Open
Don’t leave your laptop, tablet, or phone out in the open. Passersby can steal your device or quickly look through it to obtain personal information without your knowledge.
Assume Your Safe
Assuming that your safe on these networks is the biggest mistake you can make. Always act under the assumption that it could become compromised. This mindset will help you establish good habits of internet safety and keep you safe from cyber attacks.
Do’s of Public Wi-Fi
Connect to Secured Networks
Even if it requires a few extra steps, the added security is definitely worth it.
Turn Off Automatic Connectivity
Most phones, tablets, and laptops will have an automatic connect option. These will automatically connect to Wi-Fi networks, and some of those will be unsecured Wi-Fi networks, as you’re going about your business. That will instantly expose you and your information without you being aware. Especially make sure it’s off when you’re traveling or going to unfamiliar places.
Turn Off Bluetooth
Bluetooth is the ability that devices have to communicate with each other. Leaving your Bluetooth feature always on can leave you vulnerable to hackers. Hackers can lock into open Bluetooth signals and can communicate with your device to gain access to your information. Therefore, it’s helpful to get into the habit of turning it off when you are out of the house and office.
Use a VPN
A VPN (virtual public network) is a tool to help protect you when you need to use public Wi-Fi networks. VPN’s can encrypt all of the data that you send and receive. This will help to secure your data and protect you from possible cyber-attacks. Many companies who employees need to work remotely will invest in VPN programs to help secure the companies information. So, if you work remotely and your company doesn’t offer VPN services, you should ask to change that.
Just be smart and cautious. People are constantly attempting to access your data. Free public Wi-Fi is one way that makes it way to easy for them. So, before you connect to free public Wi-Fi ask yourself if you really need the internet, and if you do, be very cautious of what information you access. Also, be aware that others may be watching what you do.
Types of Attacks
A type of attack that disables or damages computers and computer systems. There are many different forms of malware. Malware is one of the most common kinds of cyber viruses today. The goal with this kind of virus is to shut down and disable your system. From there, hackers can take several courses of action that could benefit them
A form of a malware attack that blocks access to computer systems until a sum of money is paid. Ransomware is an especially scary form of cyber attack because your system is being kidnapped and held hostage. With ransomware, they promise the hope of having your information restored for a hefty fee, but often even after paying the fee your data is never restored.
Another form of malware virus that secretly gathers information from your device without your knowledge and relays that back to the hacker. This is one form of malware that is often deployed via free public Wi-Fi networks because the hacker is able to gain information without the user’s knowledge.
Visit this page to learn more about other types of cyber attacks and what tools are available to protect yourself.
Executech: Cybersecurity Experts
Executech is the leading managed IT services provider in the west. We specialize in every aspect of cybersecurity for businesses from firewalls and anti-virus software, to VPN’s and cloud backups. Contact us today to find out how Executech can help beef up your cybersecurity.
Here is a FREE in-depth course taught by Eric Montague, the founder of Executech, and a seasoned cybersecurity expert with over 20 years experience.
Executech is, and always be, a people first company. We will always have your back. Since your computer needs are always changing, shouldn’t your IT coverage change with you? This idea is why we don’t require contracts. That’s right, no contracts. If you have a few busy months every year and then several slower months, your IT should be able to adapt with you. There’s no need to be locked into a blanket contract that doesn’t match the way your business works. Contracts like that don’t put people first.
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Contact Executech today to receive a FREE cybersecurity audit. This audit will assess your current vulnerabilities and provide suggestions on how to tighten up your system.
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