There are some occasions when hooking up to public Wi-Fi can be necessary – or a very welcome option. You might need to check on your messages while in a coffee shop or else do some browsing while you are staying in a hotel.
This is a good way of going online very conveniently and often for free. Yet, not everyone is aware that public Wi-Fi networks are highly insecure and easily hacked. Thankfully, there are some simple ways of staying safe while you use this sort of network. Just follow our tips.
Choose Reliable Networks
The number of public Wi-Fi networks is growing all over the world, but they aren’t all the same. In fact, some are a good deal less secure than others. A good example is an airport or large train station. The free, open networks here aren’t as well protected as those in the stores or coffee shops, where Wi-Fi is usually password-protected.
You should also avoid any networks that appear of dubious origin. These might not say the name of the business offering them. If a network simply lists the offer of free Wi-Fi as their name then the chances are that it isn’t a good choice – it might even be a trap to steal your personal information.
Use a VPN
You have probably heard of VPNs and there is a good chance that you know this stands for Virtual Private Network. What you might not know is that they offer a simple way to give you added security and privacy while using a public network.
A few of the best free VPN options are Cyberghost, Windscribe, HideMan, and Hotspot Shield. It is easy to get going with these VPNs and feel a greater sense of security wherever and whenever you connect to the internet. There are VPNs for laptops but also for tablets and smartphones, so there’s really no excuse not to use one.
Turn off Wi-Fi When You Aren’t Using It
When you connect to Wi-Fi at home the chances are that you leave your mobile device connected for hours on end without giving it a second thought. However, when you are hooked up to a public network this isn’t a good idea.
You simply need to disconnect when you have finished doing whatever it is that you had to do. In fact, you should look to get into the habit of thinking carefully about whether you need to connect in the first place, rather than just doing it automatically because free Wi-Fi is available.
Use Secure Sites
The simplest way to see if a website is secure is to look for the HTTPS version of the site. Not all sites have this protocol, but you should look to use it anytime that you can.
In this way, the information that you send to a site is encrypted, which is important if anyone is possibly trying to look in and steal your details. It won’t give you complete protection but it will help you to avoid some common problems.
The best idea of all is to not use public Wi-Fi networks at all. However, on those occasions when you need to go online in this way a few simple security steps should keep you out of harm’s way.