Increasingly, individuals across the world expect to be able to get online wherever they may be. Indeed, 75% of people polled by Iconic Displays in 2013 said a week without WiFi would leave them grumpier than a week without coffee – and our reliance on wireless web has only increased since then. However, if you’re not careful when you connect to public networks, you put yourself at risk of potentially serious security breaches. With this in mind, here are some useful suggestions to help you stay safe online.
Be savvy in your network selection
First and foremost, make sure you only connect to WiFi networks that are run by trustworthy providers. Businesses, from hotels and coffee shops to retailers, can now take advantage of reliable web solutions such as Airangel Public WiFi. When you’re searching for networks, only click on the official versions that firms promote. In contrast, avoid networks that simply say ‘Free WiFi’. If you’re at all uncertain about this, take the time to verify the name of the correct network with staff members, or lookout for signage.
Click on ‘public network’ setting
If you’re using Windows, it’s important to mark your WiFi connection as a ‘public network’. You can do this by going to your computer’s control panel, selecting ‘Network and Sharing Centre’ and then clicking on ‘Change Advanced Sharing Settings’.
Consider using a VPN
Although it can make web browsing and file downloading a little slower, it’s also worth considering using a third-party virtual private network (VPN). These solutions offer protection from hackers and other threats by effectively creating a tunnel that is secured against anyone who might attempt to intercept your web session. Data that passes through this tunnel is encrypted and decrypted at each end.
Increase your data security
It’s always important to use suitable antivirus software and security suites, and it can also pay off to boost your data security settings. For example, in Windows hide folders that contain any sensitive information. This is simple to do. Just right click on the relevant folder, select ‘Properties’ followed by ‘General’ and then change the setting to ‘Hidden’.
Stick to trusted networks for software updates
You might feel like you’re always being prompted to install software updates on your mobile devices, and so it’s not necessarily something you put much thought into. However, avoid installing patches when you’re using public networks. Instead, wait until you’re on a home or work network that you know you can trust. There have been examples of people being tricked into allowing updates only to discover that malware has been installed on their devices.
Log out at the end of your session
Once you’ve finished your public browsing session, remember to logout of any services you’re signed into. Also, make sure your device is set up to forget the network, otherwise it will reconnect automatically next time you’re within range.
As long as you follow advice like this, you can feel confident when you’re using public WiFi.