Google’s free airport Wi-Fi: Tips to protect yourself

There has been announcements that google will be offering free Wi-Fi at many U.S. airports during the holidays. Great news if your flight is delayed and you have a bit of catching to do on your laptop or even your iPhone, maybe to email a few friend or work colleagues. But unfortunately it might be good news also for identity thieves and hackers, if people fail to protect themselves.

Below are tips from who ask Edgar Figueroa, the executive director of industry trade group the Wi-Fi alliance.

Safety tips:

  1. Configure your Wi-Fi device to not automatically connect to an open network without your approval. By doing so, you’ll be aware when you’re connecting to an open Wi-Fi hotspot. “Many devices either come out of the box or are later configured to automatically accept any available Wi-Fi connection,” Figueroa says. Auto-configuration is most popular on handsets and some consumer electronics products like gaming devices.
  2. If there’s a storage device or another PC on your home network, you may have sharing enabled on the laptop you’ve brought to the airport. “When you’re connecting to a public hotspot, make sure that you disable sharing,” says Figueroa.
  3. If you’re conducting business or sharing sensitive information, it’s best to use a virtual private network (VPN), which creates an encrypted, private link across a public network.
  4. Use a personal firewall, either the one that came with your Mac, or a third-party firewall app from a reputable security vendor like Symantec. Firewalls come with a range of configurations. “You can configure a firewall that is somewhat impermeable, and then there are times you can have it pretty open,” Figueroa says. “At a minimum, you’ll want to know when an incoming connection is attempting to gain access to your system.”
  5. Should you pay bills and shop online at a hotspot? Well, it’s probably not the smartest idea. If you must, however, “it would be best to do these types of transactions over a VPN connection,” Figueroa says. At the very least, use a hotspot that has WPA2 security. Not every public hotspot offers WPA2 though.

Be smart they are people out there thats waiting.