I would like to give a quick thank you to for allowing me to stop by and warn users of the fraudulent possibilities of public Wi-Fi and how to counter them.

This world revolves around technology and is advancing at an incredible speed; everything is starting to become user friendly and simplified to the lowest level possible. This means most users don’t have to read lengthy manuals anymore to set up their devices or call up tech support to start the new Wi-Fi router. This can be great, but at the same time you are now allowing for a broader range of users to join in and can cause veterans to prey upon the new users. Today, we will talk about public Wi-Fi abuse and the facts you should know that can keep you safe.

Using HTTP: On Unsecured Public Connections

Before connecting to any wireless network, it is always best to ask the owner if it is SSL secure, so you can take things into your own hands if not. Something you should do if the network is unsecure, is to stay on HTTP: secure websites. This can be simple: take a look at the URL address bar, and locate the tag at the beginning of the URL to see if it is HTTP: or not.

If you would like to use a more simplified method, you can use Google Chrome, and look for the bright green lock on the address bar. Some find the colors easier to notice and won’t forget to double check. Never post vital information on non-HTTP: websites when roaming on an unsecured wireless network, as this can be a huge opening for identity theft.

Anti-Virus Software

Most devices have an anti-virus program built in - like McAfee - but many users never use it. Anti-virus programs are extremely beneficial when you are connected to public networks. There are many on the market today, as internet crime-fighting is in great demand, due to the sheer amount of hackers and frauds out there. If you use an anti-virus program while connected to a public network, you can have your computer warn you about any types of invasions.
Take the time to look through all the features of an anti-virus program and find the one that is right for you.

Virtual Private Networks

This stand-alone tool is incredibly powerful. Basically,it masks the user and makes them invisible in a room full of connected computers. The program also puts an encryption on all traffic going in and out of your computer, giving you the added security you need against hackers and things like malware.
Did you know someone across the room having their coffee could potentially be watching your every action with a steaming program? It is always best to use a VPN, especially when unsure of the connection’s security or if there are an overwhelming amount of users connected to the same public Wi-Fi network.

File Sharing In Public

All computers have some sort of file sharing feature to allow for easier access between family computers. This feature can be a very popular way to invade, as it serves as a front door into your system. When out and connected to a public network, make sure to turn off these features. They should never be used in these types of environments and could possibly lead to having your data compromised.

Using the Basic Firewall

Most users don’t know their basic operating system comes with a firewall that can actually be very useful. There are many websites and video tutorials on how to properly set this program up. The firewall can provide low-tier security and that might be the extra layer you need over your anti-virus software. Any type of malicious actions happening on your system will be displayed with a notification, allowing you to take action as things happen.

This can always be activated without any real system slowdowns and works well with public Wi-Fi. Due to its notifications, it can warn you about dangerous websites that you might want to avoid.

Using the Cloud

Storing information in a cloud system has gotten very popular and is a great way to transfer work between peers. If traveling abroad, or at a crowded internet cafe, it is a good idea to use the cloud to store any type of information. Cloud programs have their own security and can be a lot better than your current setup. Think of it as placing files into a safe.

Leaving You PC Idle

Turn off the Wi-Fi and Bluetooth features when not using your computer anymore while connected to a public network. Someone can easily make their way into your system and you will not be there to stop it, this is why you need to make sure everything is off when not in use.

Mobile Devices

Most mobile devices have low security standards and cannot tell whether a websites is truly SSL encrypted or not. Surfing the web on public networks can be a risky thing to do. It’s possible to have data copied from your HDD. A great way to add a layer of security to your phone is by getting a mobile VPN to encrypt and mask your connection when attempting to enjoy public Wi-Fi.

Changing Passwords

Having your accounts protected with complex passwords can really add the icing on the cake. Take the time to come up with difficult passwords that even hackers would have a hard time cracking. If someone attempts to crack your information at a public network, they might even give up due to the high level of security you have. If coming up with passwords is not your cup of tea, you can always locate really good generators online that may help you, and then you can store this information in a cloud so nobody else can access it.

Money & Wi-Fi

Stay away from ever using applications/websites that have to do with banking information or money transfers. These types of transactions should never be done on unsecured public networks, if you have to absolutely result in doing such thing abroad you should use every security method mentioned to keep you safe. It is highly possible for information leaks to happen, as this is a prime target for all hackers/frauds. I really hope you can learn from this information and benefit when it comes to self-protection on public Wi-Fi networks.

Post Author: Caroline

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