Our lives today revolve around the Internet and we feel the need to always be connected to it. Some people have the kind of job that requires constant Internet use, while others want stay connected as part of their online social circle. Considering this need for the Internet, many institutions, like College campuses and libraries, have set public Wi-Fi for everyone. However, public Wi-Fi has its risks. Here I’ve shared everything you need to know about using public Wi-Fi to keep yourself secure.
What it Means to Connect to Wi-Fi
When you connect to Wi-Fi, you connect to a network. Depending on the settings of the network, each member has specific access to other member’s information. The admin of the system has a lot more rights than that. Using that Wi-Fi, admin can see your activities. They can also access your device threatening your privacy and security.
It Might be a Fake Hotspot
Make sure the connection isn’t fake before you connect to it. If you are sitting in a restaurant, confirm with one of the employees that the hotspot is legit and not an “evil twin”. There could be a hacker who has created a fake hotspot to get you and other people to connect with it.
There Might Be Hackers in the Network
Even if the admin of the network isn’t a hacker himself, there might a hacker connected as a guest just like you. The hacker can use that network to gain access to your sensitive information. That’s why it’s important to keep your device safe too.
Install a Virtual Private Network (VPN)
A VPN is a tool that connects you to the Internet through a proxy server. It also encrypts all of your information so not even the admin of the Wi-Fi can see your data. Using a VPN will keep your connection secure and thereby eliminate the threat of hackers when using public Wi-Fi.
Turn Off Automatic Connection
Computers and mobile phones automatically connect to a network every time it’s in range. These devices save the network information, including its password, so it doesn’t have to bother you. While it makes things easier for you at home, you shouldn’t connect to public Wi-Fi if not needed, at least not without authentication.
Make Sure the Firewall is Working
A firewall is a security system in every device which can connect to a network. Its job is to ensure that all incoming and outgoing traffic is according to security rules. Sometimes we give access to a network or software from the Firewall which may reduce its security. You should make sure that firewall is up and running when you connect to a public Wi-Fi.
Don’t Use it for Transactions
No matter how secure your device is, you shouldn’t make any transactions when connected to a network. There might be exploiters hiding for a good opportunity. An expert hacker will break through all security walls. You shouldn’t give them a reason to do so.