How to be Safe When Using Public Wi-Fi

Sep 18, 2017 | Blog, IT Services

Everyone wants access to a strong Wi-Fi signal, but there’s a number of simple things you should do the next time you connect to a public hotspot to ensure your data is safe.

Wi-Fi HotspotHaving access to a strong Wi-Fi signal can have a strong influence over when choosing a hotel, restaurant or even an airline but what do these users actually know about using public Wi-Fi? Well, as it turns out, not very much. According to a Wi-Fi Risk Report by Symantec, 60% of respondents feel their personal information is safe when using public Wi-Fi and yet 53% admit to not being able to tell the difference between a secure and unsecured public Wi-Fi network. So how can you be sure that your information isn’t at risk when using public Wi-Fi? Well, there’s a number of simple things you can do the next time you connect to a public hotspot to ensure your data is safe.

Choose Wi-Fi Wisely

Have you ever wondered why when you search for a hotspot to join there seem to be a lot of available networks with similar names? Well, this is due to a common practice with hackers that are trying to trick you into joining the wrong network and obtaining your information known as Wi-Phishing. So, if you see two similar named networks how do you know which one to choose? Typically, the imposter network will have a slight spelling error that would be easily missed by someone just glancing at the available networks

Hotspot Subscriptions

This solution costs a bit of money but will provide you with a safe way to do all of your online banking while watching cat videos on YouTube. Services like Boingo provide various level plans designed to help you safely navigate the web from anywhere on your phone, tablet or laptop.

Use a VPN

A virtual private network (VPN) will allow you to extend a private network across a public network so you can send and receive data as if you’re connected to a private network. There are a lot of VPN services out there that can get you setup with a secure, encrypted connection.

Turn off file sharing and AirDrop Options

This is a simple step you can take while using your laptop, tablet or phone on a questionable Wi-Fi spot. This gives you control over your device when you don’t have control over who is sharing your network.  If you have to use an untrusted network, turn off your Wi-Fi when you’re finished.

Surf with Caution

The simplest and most cost-effective way to protect yourself is to be mindful of the kind of web browsing you’re conducting while on a questionable network. If you are in doubt about a network’s security then it would be best to avoid any websites that require your password, especially any banking or finance sites.


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